Knockdowns in the fourth and 12th rounds gave Mario Barrios an argument, but two of the three judges’ scorecards in his win tonight over Batyr Akhmedov were questionable at the very least.
Barrios (25-0, 16 KO) got scores of 114-112, 115-111, and 116-110 tonight, giving him the previously vacant secondary WBA “world” title at 140 pounds. Akhmedov falls to 7-1 (6 KO) with the loss.
Bad Left Hook’s two cards were both 113-113, with Barrios starting very well, winning the first four rounds to open up a 40-35 lead, an extra point taken from Akhmedov, 28, thanks to a flash knockdown in the fourth.
But the Russian southpaw dug his heels in from there, and started to physically dominate Barrios with pressure. As Barrios clearly faded, Akhmedov seemed to be piling up round after round, out-throwing and out-landing Barrios clearly from the fifth through the 11th frames.
Then, with the fight seemingly going his way again in the 12th, Barrios did catch Akhmedov late with a counter shot, putting him down for a second time. That drew him even on our cards, as well as the card of PBC scorer Marcos Villegas.
The judges, however, saw it differently. 114-112 for Barrios isn’t the worst card — you might argue the sixth for Barrios, for instance — but the 115-111 and 116-112 cards are atrocious. It’s extremely difficult to figure a way that Barrios won seven or eight rounds in this fight as he wilted and seemingly came close to folding as the fight wore on.
CompuBox punch stats had Akhmedov landing 238 of 924 (26%) total punches, and 181 of 652 (28%) of his power shots, compared to 135 of 772 (17%) total punches from Barrios, who connected on 113 of 413 (27%) power shots.
This is a fight where a rematch might make sense, but perhaps not if you’re the one guiding Barrios’ career. Akhmedov is no star attraction or anything and the fight may be more risk than it’s really worth running back.