Journeyman Ovill McKenzie took the fight on 11 days notice, and nearly pulled off the upset tonight in Buenos Aires, fighting defending IBF cruiserweight titleholder Victor Ramirez to a draw on foreign soil, with scores of 114-114, 115-113 Ramirez, and 115-113 McKenzie. BLH had the fight 114-114, while Argentina's TyC Sports saw it 116-112 for Ramirez, and the UK's BoxNation had it 115-113 for McKenzie.
McKenzie (25-12-1, 13 KO) figured to be a fairly easy opponent for Ramirez, even with a four fight win streak and the nickname "The Upsetter." But the reigning British and Commonwealth champion was no picnic for Ramirez (22-2-1, 17 KO), whose plodding approach lost him some early rounds before a stronger charge as the fight went on.
Ramirez, who has staged a strong career comeback since returning in 2013 after over four years out of the ring, did land the stronger shots during the fight, no surprise as he's surely the harder puncher. But McKenzie did frustrate him by jabbing well from distance and moving around the ring very nicely, giving Ramirez fits as the home fighter struggled to effectively get inside for much of the fight. When he did, and unleashed his punches, he looked the stronger fighter, but he didn't do that enough to get the win.
Getting the draw on the road in Argentina is almost as good as a win for McKenzie, though obviously he'd have preferred the win and the world title. Still, he's got a lot to be proud of with this performance, among the very best of his career. In a more cynical light, Ovill may kick himself for a couple of the rounds he lost close, and the same would of course go for Ramirez, who may well have eked out a win had he started a bit faster.