Evgeny Gradovich and Jayson Velez both impressed tonight on HBO, and at the end of a tough 12-round battle, both left with their undefeated records intact, as they went to a three-way split draw. Gradovich won one card, 117-111, with Velez taking a 115-113 card. The third card was 114-114. BLH had it 115-113 Velez.
Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KO) also retains his IBF featherweight title with the draw, using his pressure tactics and combination punching to form an argument for the win. Velez (22-0-1, 16 KO) used an effective jab to try to disrupt the rhythm of Gradovich, and averaged 86 punches per round, out-throwing Gradovich in a very active fight.
On the fight, Gradovich landed 310 of 875 (35%) punches, with Velez scoring on 278 of 1,032 (27%). Gradovich threw more power punches, landing 236 of 641 (37%) compared to 211 of 553 (38%) for Velez.
Both fighters probably come out of this fight with more fans than they had coming in, particularly Velez, a Puerto Rican prospect who was taking a pretty big step up in competition. Whether or not Gradovich is a true elite fighter at 126 pounds, he's a world titleholder and has been very successful at this level. Velez, unproven before tonight, showed he can fight at this level.
What did you think of the fight, and how did you score it?