Paul McCloskey managed to sneak through and get a win today in Belfast over Breidis Prescott, but his status as a legitimate world title contender didn't go up in the process.
Official judges' scores were 114-113, 114-113 and 115-113 for McCloskey. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-112 for Prescott.
Was it a robbery? That's debatable. Prescott did very well early on in the fight, but down the stretch the fight was McCloskey's for the most part, as the Colombian visitor tired visibly and lost his punch speed and power as the fight wore on, which is pretty much according to script for Prescott in fights that last longer than 54 seconds.
If anything, I can't help but think Prescott all but gave this fight away by getting bullied by McCloskey late. The 12th and final round was a close brawl between a couple of exhausted fighters, which I tipped slightly to Prescott as he closed it very well. But that could have gone to McCloskey, too, which would have made my own card 114-113 for Prescott, with the one point separating the fighters being a bad knockdown call in the first round, which made a 10-9 Prescott round a 10-8 round for me.
Realistically, we saw a scrappy fight today between a couple of mediocre fighters who aren't true contenders in the 140-pound division. It's very hard to see McCloskey beating or even giving a stern test to the top fighters. His lack of power and his awkwardness -- which is just for awkwardness' sake, it seems -- won't help him against top guys, as we saw in April against Amir Khan. He's a Euro-level fighter, and nothing more. Prescott is about the same, a fringe contender good enough to beat McCloskey or the other weaker fighters he's beaten lately, but likely not good enough to truly contend.
In the co-feature, super bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton improved to 11-0 (7 KO) with a fourth round stoppage of game but overmatched Aussie Mark Quon (11-4-1, 2 KO). Frampton is now the Commonwealth champion, and his raw skills and fighting style are worth watching as a legit prospect at 122. He's still a ways off, but he's got talent.