Junior welterweights Amir Imam and Fidel Maldonado Jr came out firing tonight on Showtime, and five knockdowns in five rounds later, the fight was over, with Imam prevailing and keeping his undefeated record in an exciting battle.
Imam (16-0, 14 KO) was outfought by Maldonado (19-3, 16 KO) in the first round, and was arguably losing the second, too, when he drilled Maldonado with a right hand at the bell to end round two, putting the Albuquerque fighter on the canvas and hard. Maldonado might have been finished off there if there had been time remaining, but he got the break between rounds, and wasn't done yet.
Imam found himself on the deck early in round three, Maldonado blasting him with a heavy shot that let Imam know that it wasn't over yet. But Imam, a Don King prospect, just came back harder, putting Maldonado down twice in the rest of the frame. The fourth round was a solid but knockdown-free round that went in Imam's favor.
Toward the end of the fifth, Imam floored Maldonado for a fourth time, and referee Robert Byrd had seen enough. He gave Maldonado a count, and Maldonado did get up to keep fighting, but Byrd saw the shakiness in his legs and the diminishing output and competitiveness of the fight, and decided to call a halt to the action.
"I'd like to fight the best. Anyone with a title. Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, I don't care who it is. I want the best," Imam told Jim Gray after the fight.