Super middleweight titleholder Jose Uzcategui won tonight on ESPN+ but not in a fashion that’s going to earn him many fans. Uzcategui entered this fight in what was known as a showcase outing against Ezequiel Maderna, but opted to toy with him over the distance rather than step on the gas and end the fight early.
It was clear from the opening round that Uzcategui could land hard shots on Maderna at will, and whenever he had Maderna in any real trouble he seemed to take his foot off the gas and give Maderna some reprieve. Uzcategui still did enough to win clearly throughout — winning on official scores of 100-90, 100-90, and 98-92 — but the crowd and announcing team seemed to get bothered by Uzcategui’s casual cruise control approach to the fight.
Uzcategui wasn’t throwing the tremendous number of punches he’s demonstrated in his last couple of outings against Andre Dirrell, and if it turns out he was just fighting down to his competition than he probably didn’t do himself many favors. Halfway through the fight the crowd started booing, and continued to do so until the fight was finally over. Uzcategui promised to make a statement victory tonight. This wasn’t it.
That said, in the post-fight interview Uzcategui (28-2, 23 KOs) said he was happy with his performance and that he essentially planned to take this fight the distance in an attempt to lure other top super middleweights to fight him. Uzcategui specifically said he wants fight Gilberto Ramirez.
In the co-feature, super flyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas retained his IBF belt in debatable fashion. He went up against Alex Santiago as the heavy favorite, but Santiago quickly showed that he belonged and seemed to outbox Ancajas over 12 rounds.
Ancajas would get hit over and over again by a looping Santiago right hook and couldn’t really make any adjustment to stop it. Meanwhile Santiago showed his craftiness and heart, and took advantage of Ancajas propensity to focus solely on throwing straight shots which earned him a 115-113 win on my unofficial card.
That said, the judges were all over the place, turning in scores of 116-112 for Ancajas, 118-111 for Santiago, and a 114-114 draw. The result would be a split draw that the crowd wasn’t pleased with, believing Santiago deserved the win. Either way Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KOs) retains his world title belt while hard-luck (Santiago 16-2-5, 7 KOs), however disappointed, likely earns himself another significant fight.