John Ryder’s win over Daniel Jacobs won’t go down without any controversy or debate, but in the end, he got the split decision in their WBA super middleweight eliminator in a strangely compelling fight that looked one-sided early but became a lot more interesting in the middle rounds.
Ryder (31-5, 17 KO) won two cards on scores of 115-113, with Jacobs (37-4, 30 KO) taking the other card, also at 115-113. The British judge, Marcus McDonnell, was the one who scored the fight for Jacobs, while Monaco’s Jean-Robert Laine and Mike Fitzgerald of the United States had it for Ryder.
Jacobs, who hadn’t fought since a dreadfully dull win over Gabe Rosado in late 2020, appeared to get off to a great start, winning at least five of the first six rounds, and Ryder’s only argument in any of those coming in the first, which was pretty tentative both ways, a truly feeling-out opener.
But Ryder started getting good work done late in the sixth, too, and took that momentum into the next round. Ryder was able to wobble the 35-year-old Jacobs at a couple points, and was able to take the momentum in a big way, clawing back into a fight that appeared pretty hopeless, as Jacobs started to look mentally lost at points.
But Jacobs did fight better as the bout became a war of attrition late, too, and it’s not hard to have scored two of the final three rounds for him. I had the fight 116-112 for Jacobs, but two of three judges just didn’t see it that way. To me, it’s very hard to find seven rounds in this fight for Ryder, but that’s just my opinion, too, and I think you have to give credit to both guys here, Ryder for never giving up on the task at hand and making it a conversation, and Jacobs for rebounding some after it looked like he’d really fallen to pieces.
The result is an upset, though not a huge one. Jacobs was at -160 on DraftKings Sportsbook, with Ryder at +130 coming in. We did wind up seeing a fight that reflected those odds, however winding the road to get there.
“It feels like a coming-out party after 12 years in the game,” Ryder said. “I feel I won the cards. It was nip-and-tuck the first couple rounds, but I feel I nicked a few of the early ones, and I thought it was quite convincing.”
“If Canelo wants to fight in the UK, he’s got the perfect opponent,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “John Ryder just beat Daniel Jacobs tonight. It was his attrition that got him through that fight, his desire to win that fight. He’s been on the end of a lot of bad decisions. Tonight was a very close fight, could have gone either way, but it was one that went his way.”
Ryder will be a huge darkhorse to land a fight with Canelo, thought Alvarez has definitely stated his desire to fight in the UK before, and at 168, Ryder would be the logical choice for sure in that situation.
Johnny Fisher PTS-6 Gabriel Enguema
A learning fight for Fisher, who goes to 5-0 (4 KO) in his first time going the scheduled distance as a pro. Much was made of him selling over 2,500 tickets for this show, and for sure the young “Romford Bull” has a fan base that will only grow so long as he wins — he’s a likable sort, big guy with power.
Fisher is still a work very much in progress, and that showed against Enguema (10-12, 6 KO), who if we’re being honest, didn’t fight so much like he was there to win as he did like he was there to give some useful work. This happens plenty, of course, and as they say, it is what it is, at the end of the day.
“It was a huge step up for him tonight,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “Enguema is a very durable heavyweight, and Johnny’s what he is, he’s a novice in the sport still, but he’s moving fast.”
Hearn said it’s a “long journey” for Fisher, and that he’ll likely have an “away” fight next time out, which could mean Fisher will be seen in Spain or Italy on a Matchroom card, which would be a smart move. We saw them do that with Campbell Hatton — another young, raw fighter in the Matchroom stable — and it was a good idea. That would be valuable experience, as this was.
Felix Cash UD-10 Magomed Madiev
A very rough comeback fight for Cash, who does get the win and I think did deserve it, but he was lucky here, barely scraping this out in the end. Scores were 94-93, 95-92, and 95-92. Bad Left Hook also had it 94-93 for Cash.
Cash went down in the second round, and also again in the 10th, where he then had a point taken for aggressive, clearly foul-level holding as he was hurt and hanging on, no matter what he said after. Referee Mark Lyson honestly could have taken a second point after that when Cash (15-0, 10 KO) wrestled Madiev (15-1-2, 4 KO) to the ground, but that would have probably been seen as over-officiating, too, so I get why he didn’t.
Between the first two rounds and the last one, Cash looked good, got into a groove, shook some of the early rust — he hadn’t fought in 10 months — and was the better fighter. He’s not the best defensive fighter and never will be, but he won those third through ninth rounds pretty clearly.
Cash wasn’t hurt, it didn’t seem, on the second round knockdown, but he was at the very least pretty gassed on the one in the 10th. After it was all over, he mainly sounded ready to take the win, get back to work, and move on with his career.
“I got caught and that was it. I’ve been out of the ring. I got switched on and got caught, and that’s it. But I won every single round other than the knockdowns. It was an easy fight, really, other than the knockdowns,” Cash said after the fight.
Madiev, who had never really fought anyone and had a couple draws at home, didn’t really on paper look to be the threat Matchroom wanted to hype him being as a way to make a Cash win look really good, but he showed some real ability. He may be an inconsistent sort in the sense of how good he is on the night, but he’s aggressive, fun to watch, and even without big power was able to drop Cash twice here. He’d be welcome back on my screen any time, and however you want to reason it, he gave us the fight Matchroom sold it being.
“I hope he gets the credit for fighting someone like Madiev coming off a big injury and spell out of the ring,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “After the last round, I’m very relieved to see his hand raised.”
Cash said he’s still targeting a fight with Matteo Signani for the European middleweight title.
Ellie Scotney UD-10 Jorgelina Guanini
Good, competitive, and interesting fight, as Scotney (4-0, 0 KO) edges the decision on scores of 95-94, 96-94, and 96-94, which I think are all totally fair. I had it 95-94 for Scotney, who built up a lead, did fade some late as Guanini (9-4-2, 1 KO) kept the same work rate throughout, basically, and also Scotney lost a point late in the 10th and final round for some roughhouse tactics.
It was a rough fight in general, with Scotney leaving with a cut on her left eyebrow, some head clashes and plenty of wrestling in close. When Scotney was able to relax and box from some range, Guanini couldn’t do much with her. But Guanini kept her pressure coming, and a lot of the time it was a bit much for the inexperienced, 23-year-old Scotney.
Scotney has plenty to work on for sure, but this is a really good win against a former 115 lb titleholder in just her fourth pro fight. She’ll be in position to challenge for a 122 lb world title soon enough, but may want to keep grinding and improving and not risk being brutally over-matched like we saw last weekend with Carly Skelly against Jamie Mitchell.
Austin Williams TKO-6 Javier Maciel
The 25-year-old Williams goes to 10-0 (8 KO) with a dominant, totally one-sided performances against 37-year-old veteran Maciel, who drops to 33-16 (23 KO) with his 10th straight loss. But it needs to be said that of those 10 straight losses, this is the only one where Maciel has been stopped, and it’s just the third stoppage loss of his career, the other two coming against Michel Soro in 2017 and Matias Franco way back in 2009.
Williams is a really good middleweight prospect, now working with Kevin Cunningham who has excelled with southpaws in his career. Williams has power, he didn’t get overly aggressive like we’ve seen him do at times in the past, and he put the heat on Maciel from the start here, scoring a first round knockdown and then two in the sixth, breaking Maciel’s spirit every round in between. A nice showing, and hopefully we see “Ammo” back soon.
- Hopey Price TKO-4 Ricardo Roman
- Cyrus Pattinson PTS-6 Evgenii Vazem (60-54)
- Shiloh Defreitas PTS-6 Alexey Tukhtarov (60-54)