Esquiva Falcao didn’t get a convincing win, but he got a technical split decision over Patrice Volny, edging through in an IBF middleweight title eliminator and setting himself up for a possible world title shot in 2022.
Falcao (29-0, 22 KO) was on the worse end of a horribly brutal but completely accidental clash of heads in the sixth round, where Volny (16-1, 10 KO) connected about as hard with the headbutt as you can, including if you were doing it on purpose — which, again, he wasn’t.
Scores were 58-56 for Volny on one card, and 58-56 and 58-57 for Falcao on the other two. Bad Left Hook had the fight 58-56 Falcao (Wil Esco’s card) and 57-57 (mine) on our unofficial score cards.
It really does suck for Volny in particular, as the 32-year-old Canadian — who had never fought a contender or had any promotional push or big hype — was acquitting himself pretty well against the former Olympic silver medalist, who was a heavy favorite here but wasn’t outclassing Volny by any means.
The win ostensibly sets the 31-year-old Falcao up for a shot at the winner of the Dec. 29 fight between IBF titleholder Gennadiy Golovkin and WBA titlist Ryota Murata. Murata beat Falcao in the Olympic final in 2012, and Falcao has said repeatedly he wants a pro rematch, though he hasn’t done much to actually get that other than say he wants to do it.
Janibek Alimkhanuly TKO-8 Hassan N’Dam
N’Dam hasn’t been in his prime in years, and this was a showcase of how far past that prime he is at age 37. Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KO) completely dominated this fight, dropping N’Dam (38-6, 21 KO) in the third round and otherwise having his way, probably breaking N’Dam’s nose along the way.
Referee Kenny Bayless finally stepped in at 2:40 of round eight, stopping the one-sided beating. N’Dam pleaded with Bayless, saying he was “ready to die,” but that’s Bayless’ job, to make sure N’Dam, you know, doesn’t.
The stats do basically tell the story on this one. Alimkhanuly landed 55% (111 of 202) of his power punches, which is dangerous territory, and 43% (152 of 353) total punches. N’Dam landed 72 of 319 (23%) total punches and 65 of 184 (35%) of his power shots, none of which seemed to bother the Kazakh fighter whatsoever. N’Dam was never remotely in this fight.
Raymond Muratalla TKO-5 Elias Araujo
Muratalla (13-0, 11 KO) was doing great work in the fifth round especially, and this was a fun fight if getting increasingly one-sided, but I thought the stoppage here was lousy and the crowd agreed. Referee Allen Huggins stepped in while Araujo (21-4, 8 KO) was still throwing back, they were exchanging in the middle of the ring. Araujo was taking shots, but he wasn’t wobbling and was still in there trying to win.
I’m usually fine with a safety first stoppage, but this one didn’t feel right, and Araujo was furious. It’s a good win for Muratalla, and I’m confident he was going to win the fight had it kept going, but still. Araujo was fighting in a way that he deserved the chance to stay in there and keep going for it.