I've been busy a lot this week given that I had siding ripped off my house during the big snowstorm that hit southcentral MI earlier, so not as much boxing has been viewed as I would have hoped. But I finally watched this today and was pretty pleased with the entertainment value derived. But who cares about my back story?
Juan Alberto Rosas' gift title win against Zolani Tete was the opener for the night. The first ten rounds I felt were pretty easy to score: Tete took the first five fairly easily using much superior footwork, handspeed, and technique. Then he got tired, and Rosas got busy. From rounds 6-10, it was the El Topo Show - he started mugging Tete by pushing him back constantly, walking through the jab, and working the body and head with all sorts of wild, wide combination punching. If one man hurt the other in this bout, it was unquestionably Rosas huring Tete, generally with some uppercuts thrown from the waist at the end of body punching combinations. This meant that the championship rounds were basically where the fight would be won or lost.
Tete made a big comeback and started again dictating the pace in the 11th round, having apparently survived the Rosas onslaught. In the twelth though, controversy enters the bout. Having not been seriously warned for holding, ref Ray Corona comes out of left field and deducts a point from Tete. The round itself is fairly close, giving the possibility of a large swing in the points depending on who won the round on one's card. For myself, I gate the round to Tete - while Rosas was chasing him down in earnest, he landed nothing of practical value, while Tete landed a goodly number of shots and blocked or parried most of what was thrown (at least in my estimation). That had my card ending at 114-113 in favor or Tete. Rosas, meanwhile, walked away the winner of a majority decision. Clearly the point deduction alone didn't lose him the fight on two of the cards (which held Rosas at 115-112) but a third card with a 113-113 draw was turned in. The deduction gave the feeling of being something in which "insurance" was being built into the scoring. Its a set back for Tete, but the fight was compelling enough that perhaps a rematch will be warranted.
The main event was a bit less compelling, but by no means not interesting. For those that missed the original bout betwen Jorge Arce and Angky Angkota, here's a synopsis: Arce outboxes the Indonesian fighter cleanly for 6 rounds, including some pretty beefy attacks in the corner for the 2nd and 3rd before laying off. In round 7, Angkota is having slightly more success, but a headbutt causes a cut and the fight is over. Arce wins a technical decision. For reasons that have everything to do with making Arce still popular in Mexico (which, I assume at this point, he will be forever), the rematch was made for a useless vacant strap, and the 3rd/4th career of Arce continues barrelling forth unabated.
The fight this time was completed and reached the distance. As was the case in the first fight, Arce put forth a lot of effort early to put Angkota down and away, failed to do so, and we had some actual back and forth action in the middle rounds. Arce again really put forth a solid effort to end this one as we closed on the championship rounds, but Angkota proved to be a very sturdy, albiet mediocre, opponent. Stylistically it worked well for Arce: Angkota would typically react to the volleys of offense by turtling up and heading to the ropes. He simply never mustered up enough offense to seriously trouble Arce, though he did buzz him with the occasional punch and won a pair of rounds on my card. As did two of the official judges, I had this 118-110 for Arce when the fight was over, allowing Arce to procure his 7th world title of some sort or another.
Considering that to most audiences, Arce's career has died not once, not twice, but at least three times, that's an astonishing statement to make about his longevity at the lower weight classes both in popularity and at least in some reasonable amount of skill. It doesn't, however, change that by far and large, the best men he's shared the ring with have either defeated him or probably should have defeated him (Carbajal, Darchinyan, Mijares, Parra). Nor does this win change that Arce has never been the top dog at any weight class he's performed at regardless of what time he was performing there. Arce is an entertaining figher responsible for some of the wildest contests in recent memory and one of the sport's most engaging personalities, but he's also a first ballot Hall of Very Good fighter.