Jermall Charlo retained his belt and his undefeated record, but had to go the full 12 rounds against Juan Macias Montiel to do it.
Fighting in front of an adoring hometown crowd in Houston, Charlo (32-0, 22 KO) largely controlled the fight from beginning to end. He waited out a very odd, awkward opening that saw Montiel (22-5-2, 22 KO) frequently switching stances and making occasional odd arm motions, repeatedly backing himself into the ropes and corners.
Charlo stayed patient, collected rounds, and started to land powerful, damaging shots in the middle stage of the fight.
Charlo looked on the verge of a knockout or stoppage in the 6th round, but didn’t press hard enough to end the night. BLH (and apparently one of the three judges) scored the round 10-8 in favor of Charlo, despite Montiel avoiding the knockdown.
Montiel was never in that kind of jeopardy again, though. He finished the fight strong, opening a cut on Charlo’s eye and landing some quality punches.
In the end, the judges all scored the fight wide for Charlo, who showed a lot of respect for Montiel’s heart and effort. We had it 118-109, which matched the friendliest score for Montiel from the official judges (118-109, 119-109, 120-108).
“He was a true warrior and he wanted to fight,” Charlo said. “Montiel- thank you, man. Thank you, man! Warrior! Warrior!”
Charlo went on to say he plans to continue fighting at middleweight, and wants a unification in Houston against Gennadiy Golovkin after Golovkin fights Ryota Murata.
Isaac Cruz UD-10 Francisco Vargas (97-92, 99-90, 100-89)
Hopefully, referee James Green made a lot of good memories and enjoyed his television experience. He shouldn’t get the chance to do it again.
The Showtime broadcast team made several mentions of Green’s relative lack of experience in major fights. It’s understandable that he might prefer not to make himself the center of attention, but he needed to act more firmly and decisively than what we saw.
Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KO) came out aggressive, charging like a bull and throwing powerful Tasmanian Devil combinations. He tackled Vargas (27-3-2, 19 KO) early in the fight, received only the slightest reprimand for it, and things got steadily uglier from there.
If you love egregious headbutts, low blows, and headlocks, this was a hell of a fight. Cruz did a lot of good work, and a lot of dirty work behind it, too. Green let it all slide, never taking a point and only rarely even giving so much as a firm scolding.
Things bottomed out in the final minute of the fight, when Cruz dove in head first and opened up a gruesome cut over the right eye of Vargas. The ringside doctor took an extended look, waffled on whether or not to stop the fight, and finally decided that Vargas was fine to fight another half minute with his eyebrow flapping in the breeze.
Cruz pressed the advantage, punching, pulling, and headbutting Vargas to the mat for what was ruled an official knockdown. He didn’t need it, winning widely on all three cards.
It was a promising fight that turned ugly quickly and ended disgracefully. BLH scored it 97-92. But, under proper supervision, the fight probably should have ended in a disqualification.
Angelo Leo MD-10 Aaron Alameda (98-92, 96-94, 95-95)
The opening fight of the card was a lively, back-and-forth affair. Leo (21-1, 9 KO) started out working the body aggressively, while Alameda (25-2, 13 KO) focused on snapping shots to the head.
Both fighters represented well, doing quality work throughout and generating multiple tough to score rounds. BLH scored it a draw at 95-95, but a narrow decision either way was perfectly justified. It could be argued that the 98-92 in favor of Leo was a very generous perspective on the fight, though.
Leo bounces back nicely from his decision loss to Stephen Fulton earlier this year. Alameda has now lost two in a row including his 2020 defeat against Luis Nery, but nothing about his performance tonight should take him out of the mix at 122 lbs. Or, if you’re feeling critical, at 123.4 lbs, Alameda’s measurement at the weigh-in on Friday.