The bout in question saw Thailand's Knockout CP Freshmart (9-0, 5) narrowly defeat Nicaragua's talented Carlos Buitrago (27-1-11, 16) in what was one of the most competitive and fairly scored bouts that we've seen this year with little to split the men overall and no real complain about the scorecards.
The first round and the final round were the easiest to score. In both of those Knockout did very little as he effectively gave them away albeit for different reasons. It seemed he gave the opening round away to try and get a measure of Buitrago's speed and reach which were both clear advantages that the Nicaraguan visitor had, despite that the crowd cheered anything Knockout landed. The final round however was one where Knockout looked too tired to make much of an effort whilst also looking confident that he had done enough to take at least 7 of the rounds, a view the judges all agreed with.
Although he had given away the opening round Knockout came out fighting in the second round throwing bombs with the intention of stopping Buitrago. The shots that Knockout landed were eye catching and backed up the Nicaraguan fighter who seemed shocked by the sudden change in pace from the Thai who had done next to nothing in the opening round.
Rounds 3 and 4 were tough to score with both men giving as good as they got on the whole and these rounds could easily have been split either way on the score cards. They saw Knockout again landing the better shots but Buitrago landing the better volume of shots with his jab in particular being successful. It seemed the crowd were trying their best to sway the judges, cheering everything Knockout did but it they were too close either way and it really was a case of what you prefer between light volume on the back foot or aggressive pressure with heavy but fewer shots.
Through a number of the middle rounds it appeared that Knockout had began to find a groove and was backing up Buitrago whilst landing heavy artillery that caught the eye of everyone. Every punch Knockout threw was thrown with the intention of breaking Buitrago who seemed to depend on his jab, double and tripled, for all of his responses. It was strange that Buitrago seemed so committed to his jab despite how beautiful and flowing it looked through the contest.
In round 7 the Thai suffered a cut around the left eye. It was difficult to tell if it was from a punch or a headclash though thankfully it didn't matter either way the doctor said it was fine to continue and the two went back to work in what appeared to be a short round, as if they forgot to stop the clock whilst the doctor was inspecting Knockout who seemed to narrowly take the round.
The run of rounds that Knockout took in the middle was broken on our card by the 8th round which Buitrago appeared to win despite a late attempt at stealing it from Knockout who appeared to be slowing and suffering from his lack of finesse which led to him missing an awful lot of shots through the round. Missing when you're throwing bombs can take a lot out of a fighter and that appeared to be the case here in the championship rounds, especially the 12th.
Although clearly tiring Knockout gave his all in the following rounds as he tried his best to bag the rounds needed to take the win. As with earlier he was generally out worked though made up for it with his power shots and round 9 in particular was difficult to score either way as the men each gave as good as they got in a round that saw both men landing power shots.
By the end of round 9 swelling around Knockout's face was notable and telling, the effect of the countless jabs that Buitrago had been landing through out the contest. His heart however was still as it was at the start of the fight and he continued to try and stop Buitrago who took everything incredibly well and fired back in his own flurries.
By the start of round 12 it was clear that both were tired though it appeared pretty clear that Knockout was the more tired of the two and Buitrago still appeared to have some spring in his legs and snap on his punches. It showed through the round as Knockout did very little and almost welcomed Buitrago's punches, at one point smiling as if he knew he had done enough to win the bout even if he was giving away the round.
It was close and for the moments leading up to the score cards there was a feeling it could have gone either way. For once all 3 judges agreed on the scores with all 3 returning cards of 115-113 to the Thai and although Buitrago may have felt he did enough the cards were fair with 115-113 either way being very acceptable cards. Neither man had clearly won though when a fighter goes on the road they perhaps need to give their all to make sure they win, at the end it looked like Buitrago had plenty left in the tank. Whilst you do feel sorry when a fighter loses a close one we have less sympathy when it's clear they had plenty left in the tank and chose not to use it. Had Buitrago used up that excess steam there is a strong case that he could have won.
The win for Knockout does put him in the mix of the exciting Minimumweight division though on this performance he's really got work to do. He fought like he had dynamite in his hands but he doesn't have that type of power, he needs to add finesse to his shots and turn down the power slightly for more control. As for Buitrago this will be a painful loss though hopefully it will improve him as we do enjoy watching the Nicaraguan youngster. Strangely this bout may well improve both men in the long run and if that's the case then boxing wins.