Photos: Ed Mulholland
By Kieran Mulvaney
In the co-main event, Antonio Orozco remained undefeated with a controversially wide decision over veteran Humberto Soto. The judges’ scores of 98-91 and 97-92 (twice) did not reflect the general ringside view of a contest that, although undeniably hard to score because of numerous close rounds, had been competitive throughout. In fact, there was some concern before the scores were announced that maybe Orozco, who improves to 23-0 with 15 KOs, might have been denied victory by a ninth-round decision by referee Jerry Cantu. In that round, Orozco, who by that stage was coming on, appeared to drop Soto with a body shot; but instead of a stoppage win or, at least, a 10-8 round, the San Diego native was denied the knockdown and docked a point for what Cantu deemed a low blow. Replays showed that the punch was borderline at worst, and surely not deserving of a point deduction, although Cantu had warned the American for low blows earlier in the bout.
Otherwise, the fight was an entertaining contest between the strength of the younger Orozco, and the skill and guile of Soto (65-9-2, 35 KOs), who was in his 76th professional prizefight. Early on, the veteran’s straight punches and combinations appeared to befuddle the novice, and despite being seven years his opponent’s senior, the Mexican looked the fresher at the end of each round, making sure to close every frame with a series of eye-catching flurries.
Orozco began to impose himself from the fourth onward, digging ripping hooks to body and head, and switching from suffocating brawling to skillful boxing, but Soto continued to have his moments. Every time Orozco threatened to build momentum, Soto responded to seemingly take rounds down the stretch and leave the outcome in doubt at the final bell – except, apparently, in the eyes of the judges.