Sadam Ali stayed unbeaten as he continues his prospect journey in the welterweight division, taking a split decision victory over Jeremy Bryan tonight on Showtime Extreme.
Ali (20-0, 12 KO) won on scores of 96-93, 96-93, and 93-96. BLH had it 97-92 for Ali, which admittedly felt a bit wide to me at the end, but without poring over the rounds, I think I wound up giving all or most of the "swing" frames to Ali, while the judge that scored it for Bryan gave them to him.
Ali did score a knockdown in round eight, and it was over the last few rounds that I think he took over the fight. After four rounds, I had it even, and after eight, I had it 77-75 for Ali. The 10-8 in round nine and then a 10-9 in round ten gave him the 97-92, 7 rounds to 3 score on my card.
That said, Ali certainly didn't look like a major blue chipper in this fight. Bryan (17-4, 7 KO) is a competent fighter and gave him a good scrap, using his jab very nicely as his main weapon, but if Ali is going to be a world-level contender, you'd expect him to have done more in this fight than he did. As much as I think he won, he did have some very exploitable issues, and better fighters might not be as forgiving.
22-year-old junior welterweight prospect Zachary Ochoa found himself in a fight tonight with Luis Cervantes, but ringside the three judges sat ringside and clipped coupons or something, because they blatantly gave Ochoa the fight on scores of 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55. BLH had it 58-56 for Cervantes, same as SHO's Steve Farhood. Like Farhood, I could have seen a draw, but I was expecting Ochoa to get the win, because he was the promoter's prospect, and Cervantes won the fight (by my eye) largely on very good body work.
Opponents don't get credit for body work very often, though. Maybe we should just outlaw body punching. No underdog that uses it effectively ever gets any damn credit for it, and outside of Miguel Cotto, not many guys do at all in today's game. It's all but totally ignored in a fight like this, where I think it was the clear difference.
For Ochoa, look, it's a learning experience. These fights happen for most guys on the way up. It's good work for him. But the scoring, which is nothing to do with Ochoa personally, was atrocious, and blind either willingly or ignorantly.
Anthony Peterson started tonight's Showtime-televised action with a first round knockout of unprepared veteran Edgar Riovalle on Showtime Extreme, stopping him on a sharp left-right-left combo, ending with a hook that put Riovalle down for the count.
While the knockout itself was nice, and got Peterson (34-1, 22 KO) an easy win, Riovalle (37-19-2, 26 KO) was never a threat, and the Showtime broadcast team said he had to drop an extreme amount of weight on two weeks' notice just to get into this fight, including not eating for three days at one point. That's simply dangerous. As little chance as an in-shape Riovalle might have had, he had no shot to even last rounds tonight, because he wasn't in fighting condition.
Other early results from the Barclays Center
Marcus Browne TKO-1 Paul Vasquez
Prichard Colon UD-6 Lenwood Dozier
D'Mitrius Ballard TKO-1 Barry Trotter