It was a tale of two halves in Showtime’s main event tonight. WBC light heavyweight titleholder Adonis Stevenson started quick, throwing lots of punches against a seemingly gunshy Badou Jack for the first six rounds.
But once the second half of the fight started Jack started to step on the gas, which was precisely his game plan. Jack would bust up Stevenson’s nose and was really getting to a tiring Stevenson, who’s only saving grace was a 10th round surge where he caught a second wind to fight Jack off of him. In the end the judges turned in official scores of 114-114, 114-114, and 115-113 in Jack’s favor, resulting in a majority draw. I also scored the fight a 114-114 draw for BLH.
With the draw Stevenson (29-1-1) retains his light heavyweight title while saying in the post-fight interview that he believed he won the fight but was willing to give Jack a rematch. Meanwhile Jack (22-1-3) records his second draw in his last three fights. Jack could only think that maybe disdain for Floyd Mayweather plays into his difficulty securing wins in close fights.
Really, though, I think this is a microcosm about game plans specifically designed to win fights in the second half. It’s completely understandable that some strategies revolve around letting certain fighters blow off steam early, fatigue, and then come on strong late. The only issue with that is if you don’t make a real effort to win some early rounds, you give yourself little margin for error in the late going, desperately needing to win all of the late rounds. Jack won one of the first six rounds on my card, but that late surge from Stevenson in the 10th was enough to split the 12 rounds.
How did you score this fight? Would you like to see a rematch?