British welterweight prospect Josh Kelly took a step up against Philadelphia veteran Ray Robinson tonight on the Joshua-Ruiz card in New York, and came out of it with a majority draw, with judges scoring it 95-95, 95-95, and 96-95 for Kelly.
Bad Left Hook scored the fight 97-93 for Kelly, but there were some swing rounds here, too, and I can’t get upset about the scoring in the end.
Kelly (9-0-1, 6 KO) was, again, taking a genuine step up in competition here from the likes of Kris George and Przemyslaw Runowski, and Robinson (24-3-2, 12 KO), while no world-beater at 147, is a crafty, skilled southpaw who can make fights ugly and be a problem for young fighters.
Robinson, 33, showed that in March, when he took Egidijus Kavaliauskas to a majority draw in Philly, and he did it again here. Kelly is a talented guy, but doesn’t use much of a jab, doesn’t always work consistently, and maybe gave a round or two of this fight away, including the 10th, which Robinson pretty clearly win, at least on my card. If the judges saw it that same way, losing the 10th cost Kelly this fight.
Kelly is 25 and still has plenty of time to get better and become a contender, but there have been questions about how far he can go with his style, too, as there always will be when someone fights in that sort of Roy Jones/Naseem Hamed hyper-athletic manner. There are simply way more fighters who got found out early than became true world class fighters doing that. It takes someone special.
But at the very least, this is a learning experience for Kelly, and may be one that sees him try to adapt going forward. Robinson, meanwhile, has in back-to-back fights made it clear that he is if nothing else a very high-level gatekeeper for this division, and that’s not a bad career. He’s a guy who is going to tell promoters what they have on their hands with young fighters.
Austin Williams TKO-1 Quadeer Jenkins
23-year-old middleweight prospect Williams improves to 2-0 (2 KO) with his second straight first round stoppage, following his April 26 pro debut in California. “Ammo” was a highly-rated amateur star and a good get for Matchroom, and is a legit prospect we’ll be seeing plenty more of on these undercards in the months and years to come, which — since we’ll be seeing him a lot — will probably have people screaming about his level of opposition within 5-8 fights. Jenkins is now 0-2. Williams did suffer a cut outside his left eye, so he might be on the shelf a bit longer than was the design coming into this.