A Slog, a Thriller, and a Stunning KO on the Cotto-Martinez Undercard

Photos: Will Hart

By Kieran Mulvaney

It isn’t too often that the highlight of a fight is when one of the boxers accidentally lands a right hand on the chin of the referee, but the final round blow – landed unintentionally on, and taken well by, ref Steve Willis – was arguably the most memorable moment of a strange featherweight ten-rounder between MarvinSonsona of the Philippines and Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. It all started brightly enough, with Sonsona dropping Vazquez with a body shot in the opening frame, but soon degenerated into a scrappy and histrionic affair. Sonsona was deducted a point for hitting on the break and complained frequently about accidental head butts. At one of point the two men managed to fling each other to the canvas. The crowd reacted to the verdict – a split decision win for Sonsona by scores of 96-92, 96-92 and 92-96 – with utter indifference, and turned its attention to the main event.

Javier Maciel dropped Jorge Melendez in the fourth round en route to a stirring majority decision win over ten rounds in an exciting 154-pound title eliminator. Argentina’Maciel swept the first four rounds on two of the three judges’ scorecards; hetook the fourth by three clear points as a result of the knockdown and  Melendez being docked a point for low blows. That left the Puerto Rican with a mountain to climb, and although he rallied over the second half of the ten-rounder, including a rousing final round that saw both men swinging for the fences, it was too little, too late. Maciel took the fight on three weeks’ notice after Melendez’s scheduled opponent Yuri Foreman, unhappy with his managerial situation, announced his retirement.

Wobbled, hurt and seemingly on his way to stoppage defeat, former middleweight title challenger Andy Lee uncorked a righthand that knocked John Jackson out cold, dropping his opponent face first to the canvas and giving the Irishman a dramatic victory in the opening bout of the pay-per-view. Up until that point, it had not looked like Lee’s night: he was dropped in the first round by a right hand, and, in his first outing at junior middleweight, didn’t look especially convincing at any other stage of the contest. For most of the four completed rounds, Lee tried to keep Jackson at distance, and Jackson looked for a chance to unleash a combination. In the fifth round, one such combination shook Lee, who covered up against the ropes, stumbled uncertainly over to another part of the ring, but then suddenly unleashed the punch that ended Jackson’s night and may have been the knockout of the year.