Rances Barthelemy retained his IBF lightweight title via split decision tonight in Florida, beating former titleholder Mickey Bey over 12 rounds.
The split decision is ludicrous, with judge Hilton Whitaker III scoring the fight 117-110 for Mickey Bey. If you recall that name, or if it rings a bell, that's because Whitaker was one of the judges who gave Paul Williams a majority decision win over Erislandy Lara back in 2011 and was consequently suspended. His judging here was just as bad, and frankly he seems ill-suited for the job. The other two judges had it 116-111 and 117-110 for Barthelemy. BLH had the fight 116-111 for Barthelemy, as did Spike's Steve Farhood.
Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KO) mostly had his way here, able to use his height and reach to frustrate Bey (22-2-1, 10 KO) at times. Bey never really convincingly won any rounds -- maybe one or two at best, with arguments in only one or two more -- and one of the rounds he got on the scorecards was the second, where he was given an official knockdown of Barthelemy late in the round, a blown call by referee Samuel Burgos. No punch landed, as the two clashed heads and Bey's shoulder and skull are what put Barthelemy down.
But even with that, Barthelemy retains his belt, and now perhaps moves on to a fight with Ghana's Richard Commey (24-0, 22 KO), his mandatory challenger, who was in attendance tonight.
Caleb Plant KO-4 Carlos Galvan
Galvan (12-5-1, 11 KO) is a Colombian fighter who beats scrubs and gets beaten by anyone decent. That's what he got here. Plant (13-0, 10 KO) played it cool for the first few rounds, jabbing and baiting Galvan into throwing reckless shots. Then about a minute into the fourth round, Plant feinted with his right hand, and threw a left to the body that put Galvan down and out. Plant, a middleweight prospect, is nicknamed "Sweet Hands," he's 23, and he's got good size for the division at 6'1". Worth keeping an eye on.
Emmanuel Rodriguez UD-10 Alberto Guevara
A good showing for Rodriguez, the 23-year-old bantamweight prospect from Puerto Rico, and a decent test for him against Guevara, whose only prior losses were to Leo Santa Cruz and Shinsuke Yamanaka.
Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KO) won on scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 100-90. BLH also had it 99-91 for Rodriguez, whose tight boxing and stiff, clean shots carried the day. Guevara (24-3, 9 KO) did make him work for the win, but not overly hard -- most of his success was in playing the spoiler role, tying Rodriguez up frequently. It wasn't much of a fight for action, but a solid win to build from for Rodriguez, and he does have the look of a good prospect.