This evening at 6:30 pm EST on Showtime and streaming live right here at Bad Left Hook, the Mayweather-Berto festivities kick off with the preview show, which will include a live fight between Vanes Martirosyan and Ishe Smith.
Martirosyan (35-2-1, 21 KO) and Smith (27-7, 12 KO) are both contenders in the muddled junior middleweight division, Smith a former titleholder and Martirosyan a world title challenger in the past, and they're pretty evenly matched on paper. The 37-year-old Smith, promoted by Floyd Mayweather, last fought on April 30, beating Cecil McCalla handily. Martirosyan, 29, is coming off of a competitive 10-round loss to Jermell Charlo on March 28. This is a pivotal fight for both of these guys, truly one neither man can afford to lose and stay in the hunt at 154. Or maybe they could, it's boxing, who knows? But it's fun to be dramatic.
The pay-per-view portion of the card starts at 8 pm EST, and we'll continue our live coverage then, as well. But this is where it all starts, so join us!
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Vanes Martirosyan def. Ishe Smith by majority decision (95-95, 97-91, 97-91)
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ROUND BY ROUND
VANES MARTIROSYAN vs ISHE SMITH
Round 1: Martirosyan jabbing to start, moving around the ring, Ishe following. Smith trying to work his way inside. Good right hand from Martirosyan, he's controlling this round. Jab and a right from Vanes. Good hook to the body from Vanes, Smith with a jab back. Ishe with a clean counter right, then a counter left hook near the bell. Martirosyan 10-9
Round 2: Tactical fight still, which should be expected. Vanes getting off first pretty routinely and landing the harder shots when he gets there. Keeping enough range that he clearly wants, and going to the body here and there, too. Vanes just looks sharper and quicker thus far. Martirosyan starting quicker than normal, it seems, perhaps consciously so. Ishe still largely following Vanes around the ring and trying to get inside so he can do some work. Two body shots from Vanes. Martirosyan 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Smith picking up his pace a bit more in the first minute of this round and getting some work done, getting closer to where he wants to be. Martirosyan with a knot above his left eye. Martirosyan's jab not the weapon it was in the first two rounds, and Ishe gets in a nice body shot, forcing Martirosyan to tie up. Left hand from Ishe, and then a little right over the top that grazes Vanes. Smith definitely doing more and more effective work this round. Right hand from Vanes. I liked Ishe this round -- but then he goes down right on the bell! Huge swing there. That's a real blow to Ishe Smith. Martirosyan 10-8, 30-26
Round 4: Vanes coming out jabbing again this round, hoping that maybe Smith will be frustrated and overaggressive after the debatable knockdown. Martirosyan jabbing and moving, Ishe trying to work inside again. Ishe with a solid shot when he gets in close, and Vanes ties him up as soon as he can. Martirosyan not throwing his power shots this round. Smith working harder this round and landing more noticeable shots. Good right from Vanes from distance, he's bringing it out again late in the round. Smith with a counter right, Vanes with a left hook that gets in. Close round. Martirosyan 10-9, 40-35
Round 5: Smith getting inside and working, perhaps feeling the pressure build up. If my card is accurate according to official judges, he needs to get moving for sure. Much better round for Ishe, and he takes this one pretty clearly. He needed that round, and he took it. Smith 10-9, Martirosyan 49-45
Round 6: Smith coming out fast with body shots. Right to the body, left to the head is becoming a combo he's leaning on. Martirosyan with a right hand. Smith flicking his jab out, keeping Martirosyan holstered. Ishe coming on strong these last couple of rounds, really starting to outwork Vanes now. Martirosyan has a habit at this level of maybe not giving away rounds, but always winding up in a close fight even if he looks fairly dominant at moments. Ishe working hard and Vanes landing an occasional right hand. Ishe with a hard left hook and then another. Vanes getting tagged this round. Another really good round for Ishe. Smith 10-9, Martirosyan 58-55
Round 7: Martirosyan rushes out but doesn't actually do much with that show of aggression. Martirosyan's jab has gone away and he's not countering at all, giving Smith control of the fight. Ishe with a left hand with Vanes against the ropes. Martirosyan moving again and not working enough. Tactically he's failing himself right now. Vanes lands a right, Smith fires right back with one of his own. Fairly close round, but I liked Ishe again. Smith 10-9, Martirosyan 67-65
Round 8: Vanes pumping the jab again to start this round, and following it with his right hand. Hook catches Smith, and he digs to the body. Martirosyan's jab is being thrown with intent again. Right hand from Vanes. He's looking sharper this round. Ishe trying to pick it up late in the round, throwing to the body and head. Vanes tying him up when he gets going. HARD LEFT AND THEN A RIGHT HAND AND DOWN GOES ISHE SMITH! BIG knockdown! Round ends when he gets up. Martirosyan 10-8, 77-73
Round 9: Ishe's not a puncher, but he needs something big at this point, more likely than not. Smith working to get himself a chance, but he's just not a power guy, and it's hard to see him winning this fight anymore. Martirosyan also moving around comfortably still. Left hand from Smith and he's really targeting Martirosyan's closing right eye, so he does at least have a bullseye to aim for. Right hand from Smith. Ishe did the more damage this round, but it was debatable enough, with Vanes coming on later in the round. Smith 10-9, Martirosyan 86-83
Round 10: Martirosyan taking on risks this round and likely shouldn't, all things being equal. Martirosyan giving this round away, basically, but throwing a couple hooks in the final minute for the appearance of effort. Smith not exactly fighting urgently, either. Now Ishe's throwing some bombs with about 30 seconds left in the round, but wild and wide. Smith 10-9, Martirosyan 95-93