Steve Cunningham had to dig deep and climb off the canvas twice tonight, putting on a tremendous performance to outlast the incredible determined Amir Mansour in a top-notch heavyweight main event on NBC Sports. Cunningham won the fight on scores of 97-90, 95-92, and 95-92. BLH had it 96-91.
Cunningham (27-6, 12 KO) was floored twice in the fifth round by the heavy-handed Mansour (20-1, 15 KO), and was barely able to survive the round. Coming out for the sixth, Cunningham, 37, was still on wobbly legs and didn't appear to be all there mentally, but he was able to miraculously win the round with a brilliant display of ring IQ and veteran savvy, staying elusive and outboxing Mansour.
That would be the tale of the remainder of the fight, as Cunningham peppered the increasingly tired Mansour, 41, with little shots and a few hard right hands, digging to the body enough to keep his opponent weary of those shots, and as he regained his senses completely, Cunningham simply took over the fight, showing that high-level experience definitely can make the difference.
The fight was also classic Cunningham in that no matter how well he was doing, it always felt like that could change. But in the 10th round, seemingly up with an insurmountable lead, Cunningham had to guard against Mansour's big charge. With his eyes both just about shut, Mansour came out swinging and laid everything on the line. That got him caught and dropped, sealing the fight for Cunningham.
After the excellent Stevens-Johnson opener, this main event made for one hell of a great doubleheader from Main Events and NBC Sports tonight. Pound-for-pound, this has been the best card of 2014 on American TV, no doubt. Two great fights, four guys who all came to win. You can't ask for more.