It was an eventful card today in Manchester, with Scott Quigg scoring a career-best win, followed by Anthony Crolla having what seemed to be his own snatched away by a controversial decision by the judges. Here's a recap of what went down.
Darleys Perez and Anthony Crolla fought to a draw (114-113 Perez, 116-111 Crolla, 113-113)
This was a terribly gutting decision for Crolla and the Manchester fans, as it appeared for all the world as though he'd won a version of the world lightweight title, only for the judges to come back with a three-way draw decision. BLH had it 115-111 for Crolla, which was enough even without the two low blow point deductions in rounds 11 and 12 against Perez, but somehow or another, even with Crolla at home, that was the decision we got.
Crolla (29-4-3, 11 KO) was scheduled to face Richar Abril earlier this year for the WBA lightweight belt, but that fight was canceled when Crolla suffered serious injuries in a home invasion on his neighbor's property, including a fractured skull. That could have easily ended Crolla's career, let alone just his world title hopes, but he battled back and signed on to face Perez for the WBA belt, even though most felt he should have had some kind of tune-up fight first.
"Seeing where he was seven, eight months ago, to be in there now, pushing the world champion very close -- I thought he won by two or three rounds," trainer Joe Gallagher said. "But it's a success story to be in the ring again tonight. He proved everyone wrong tonight."
Crolla, of course, felt he'd won the fight, and one can only imagine the feeling when it turned out that he had not. "I'm deadly disappointed. I wanted this world title to take home with me. I thought I'd definitely done enough," he said.
He also made a vow to keep plugging away in his mission to win a world title at home. "I'm only going to get better. When this came up, there was no way I was going to turn it down," he said. "I think I proved tonight I can mix at world level. I'm going to win a world title, I promise you. In Manchester. There's nowhere else I'd rather do it."
Promoter Eddie Hearn added, "I felt he won the fight even without the deductions. He was controlling the fight with his jab. With the two point deductions, I just can't see how you can't give that fight to Anthony Crolla. He deserves to be world champion right now. That's honestly what I believe. We will get him another world title shot."
Asked if he would pursue a formal protest with the WBA, Hearn admitted that the fight was competitive enough that he couldn't see going that route. "It's not going to go down as a shocker, it was a close fight. I felt with the two point deductions it was three or four rounds. Anthony Crolla has proved he's beyond world class. He can challenge for another title again."
Perez (32-1-1, 20 KO) can count himself lucky that he leaves with his belt, and could find himself back in the ring for a rematch with Crolla before long. It's likely the biggest fight Perez is going to be able to find, and there's really no doubt that the Colombian can fight better than he did in this one, learning from what he did wrong.
For Crolla, it's got to be the absolute biggest disappointment of his boxing career, as he appeared for all the world to have capped a great comeback story with a big win in his hometown. But it wasn't to be on this night.
Scott Quigg def. Kiko Martinez via TKO (1:04 of round 2)
This is a big statement win for Quigg, who had Martinez coming at him hard in the first round, and then caught him early in round two getting overaggressive, dropping Martinez. From there, Quigg went for the knockout, and he got it, unloading with both hands and battering Martinez back down to the canvas. Kiko was on bad legs on the first knockdown, but they were gone the second time. He got up, but received a full count and was clearly finished.
Martinez (32-6, 24 KO) is known to make mistakes and get himself into trouble, and he did that here, with Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KO) taking full advantage. This might also set up Quigg for a showdown with Nonito Donaire later this year, which is an even bigger fight. Quigg's been knocked a bit for his level of opposition the last couple of years and some questionable performances, but tonight he made it count. This is a big, big win for Quigg.
- Martin Murray def. Mirzet Bajrektarevic via TKO (2:51 of round 5)
- Sam Eggington def. Glenn Foot via technical decision (80-71, 79-72, 80-72)
- Chris Jenkins and Tyrone Nurse fought to a majority draw (117-112 Nurse, 115-115, 114-114)