Khabib Allakhverdiev won a split technical decision tonight in Sunrise, Florida, handing Joan Guzman the first official loss of his career, winning the vacant WBA "regular" junior welterweight title, and retaining his IBO belt.
Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8 KO) won on scores of 76-75, 76-75, and 75-76. Bad Left Hook had it 77-74 for Allakhverdiev when the fight was stopped on a leg injury suffered by Guzman. Referee Luis Pabon had ruled several slips that could have been called knockdowns, and this was another that was arguable. Pabon, in short, did an awful job refereeing the fight, but that's more or less par for the course, no matter what commentator and former NYSAC chairman Randy Gordon would have had you believe. But we'll get to the remarkable broadcast journalism on display in a moment.
Allakhverdiev was able to pressure Guzman (33-1-1, 20 KO) and do some damage, and more important, perhaps, he looked like a real 140-pound fighter, while the former super bantamweight Guzman looked like a guy trying to fight at 140 pounds.
Guzman wasn't bad in the fight, necessarily, but he's going to have serious trouble with legit junior welterweights. He's not getting any younger, for one thing, and his power hasn't translated up to 140 against real fighters. He still had a lot of fire and fought with determination, and it was a good fight. But the bombs he landed on Allakhverdiev didn't deter the Russian at all, and that was a big deal.
For Guzman, it's the first time he has to go home with a loss, and at 36 and given his past inconsistencies with dedication to the sport, a next move isn't clear. The shills insisted that there must be a rematch, but one has to ask the question of whether or not Guzman would have given Allakhverdiev one if he'd gotten that extra point on one of the two cards he lost, or if the roles were reversed and Allakhverdiev had been the one with the injury. I expect not, quite frankly.
That said, it was a fun fight to watch and a rematch wouldn't be unwelcome. When Guzman was able to get on his toes and box, he did well. But when Allakhverdiev could put the screws to him, he got himself into trouble, and the physicality of the 140-pound division might be an issue for Guzman no matter what he does.
In the co-feature, junior middleweight prospect Domonique Dolton improved to 13-0 (7 KO) with a win over gatekeeper Richard Gutierrez, who has now lost seven straight to fall to 26-11-1 (16 KO). Dolton won on scores of 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90, which were all pretty fair. It was a solid performance for Dolton, a 23-year-old out of Detroit.
Top Ten Pursuit Channel/Bounce TV Broadcast Dream Team Quotes
10. "And of course in our co-main event we've got ... DOLTON!"
9. "I've done the math. I've done all the math."
8. "I know the folks over at Russia's gotta be excited."
7. "Wow. We're gonna have a big-time bout. Here in the ring."
6. "(Richard) Gutierrez is unbelievable."
5. "That was a knockdown. Pabon missed it." "I'M NOT SURE?"
4. "Dolton is the newly-crowned super welterweight champion."
3. "This is a world class ref. This fight NEEDS a guy like Pabon."
2. "I tell you guys, we've been waiting for this for a long time, and the proof is now."
1. "They're usually one-trick ponies. This guy's shown us about 15 ponies already."