Jesus Soto Karass and Yoshihiro Kamegai were expected to go to war tonight, and they did just that, fighting tooth and nail over a brutal ten rounds, ending in a split draw at a sold-out Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles.
Soto Karass (28-10-4, 18 KO) and Kamegai (26-3-2, 23 KO) didn't put on a display of slick boxing. There was nothing fancy about what we saw here. Nothing artful or skillful, at least not in the most stereotypical manner. This was not a matchup of pound-for-pound elites or even top contenders within a division.
This was two veteran fighters, both 33 years old, whose livelihoods are dependent upon them giving and absorbing mass amounts of punishment, meeting in a fight that really couldn't help but be what it was.
Neither man took a real step back over the 30 minutes of action, and the volume punching of Soto Karass in particular was incredible. Kamegai appeared to land the harder blows, at least by my eye -- I scored the fight 96-94 for Kamegai -- but there was very little to really separate the two. They fought harder in rounds nine and 10 than they did early on. There's really no way to watch this fight and not come out of it with renewed respect not just for these two guys, but for all fighters.
Maybe it wasn't Barrera-Morales or Vazquez-Marquez, Corrales-Castillo or Hagler-Hearns, or even Rios-Alvarado I or Bradley-Provodnikov. But it was a hell of a fight between two incredibly tough men whose styles guaranteed savagery.
How did you see the fight, and what did you think of it?