An entertaining scrap between Andre Berto and Jan Zaveck came to an abrupt halt, after the Slovenian was unable to continue due to a badly banged up right eye. Zaveck, who had been in the fight the whole way, suffered cuts to both eyes during a hectic fifth session, with the right optic swelling almost shut before the sixth round could get underway.
Defense took a back seat in the give and take battle, with both fighters letting their hands go from the start. The first round was a high contact affair, with Berto maybe gaining a slight edge thanks to some heavy body work. The action didn't let up in the second and third rounds, both of which were closely contested, before Zaveck had his best round of the fight in the fourth, a session in which Berto maybe took a breather from the hot pace.
The fifth was a scrappy session, with the fighters mixing frequently, sometimes at close quarters, shoulder to shoulder, where their heads were almost touching. Those moments seemed to favor Zaveck at times, as Berto needed a little more room to unload his quicker shots, though it was likely during one of those in close exchanges where Zaveck suffered the facial damage that would end the fight.
There was no arguing the stoppage, though it was ultimately an unsatisfying way to end what was a very good battle to that point. A rematch would be well received, and hopefully the parties involved can work something out.
Gary Russell Jr. won an easy, though not very thrilling, eight rounder over Leonilo Miranda in the opening bout of the HBO telecast. Russell controlled his much slower opponent with a lightning fast right jab, that he often doubled and tripled up with. He also mixed in some straight lefts, and a nice amount of heavy hooks to the body that will no doubt have Miranda feeling a little sore in the morning. Miranda tried hard, though simply wasn't in Russell's league and the fight was never much of a contest - and really not the type of match-up we expect, or would like to expect, from HBO. Russell is a real talent, and hopefully will be matched appropriately in his next outing.