It's all too rare in this sport that we get unification bouts. We as fans, as much as anything else, love them when they come around and wish we'd have more of them.
Less than a week ago it looked nailed on that we would have a unified Super Flyweight champion. The WBA and IBF titles were bound together with Liborio Solis (16-3-1, 7) set to face Daiki Kameda (29-4, 18).
There was just one problem, weight. On Monday Solis, failed to make the Super Flyweight limit. In fact he was closer to the Bantamweight limit than the Super Flyweight limit. This saw Solis stripped of the WBA title and unableto win the IBF belt. Daiki however was eligible still to win the WBA title and unify it with his IBF belt.
Unfortunately for Daiki the weight difference on the scales had multiplied by the time the two men had gotten in to the ring. Daiki, although above the Super Flyweight limit in the ring was physically smaller than Solis who was said to have been around the Lightweight limit.
Sadly for Daiki the weight difference came in to play early on.
The fight began as a phone booth war, a real tear up with both men unloading on each other in the first 3 rounds. There was more action in these 3 rounds than many 12 rounders have combined as both men decided to go to war with each other.
By round 4 the size disadvantage was taking it's toll on Daiki. The Japanese fighter couldn't hurt Solis who took every shot and came back with his own heavier shots. This saw Daiki changing his game plan and trying to box with Solis rather than going to war with him.
Trying to box with Solis didn't really help Daiki who was walked down, hurt and forced to clinch. By now it was clear that Daiki was going to need to move to a third game plan. This involved lots of shoe shining at Solis's body. No shot was going to hurt the Venezuelan but they could catch the judges eye and help Daiki claim the rounds.
By round 9 it seemed like Daiki had the toughness to take the best of Solis shots. He didn't have the fire power to force Solis into thinking twice about letting his hands go however he did have the work rate to make things interesting and the heart to keep going.
It was the heart and toughness of Daiki that was outstanding and in the final 3 rounds he upped his work, his effort and his energy as he tried to close the show and take the championship rounds. Whilst no one would have begrudged him those later rounds it was simply too little too late, he was in a hole and there was no real escape on the cards.
To us it seemed Solis was a clear winner. The cards would have been close, of course they would, Daiki may well have taken 2 of the first 4 and possibly the last 3, but that was about as good as it got for him. He was battered in the middle portion of the bout and rounds 4-9 were clearly Solis's with the Venezuelan having a very good shout to have won the first 3 as well. At best for Daiki we had it a 115-113 loss, at worst it it 117-111 to Solis.
As per usual however the judges saw things very differently to us. They had it, rather remarkably, a split decision. We believe the cards were read out as 115-113, 112-116 and 116-112, though there was confusion with the announcements.
Oddly the reactions of the two fighters were very odd. Solis celebrated as if he had won the lottery or been told he was crowned master of the universe when in fact he had effectively won a fight for naught, he wasn't going to be reinstated by the WBA nor was he to claim the IBF title. Daiki on the other hand looked solemn despite technically retaining his title on a loss.
Interestingly this result has actually set up some very interesting looking possibilities for 2014.
We are likely to see Daiki fighting against Zolani Tete in a defense of the IBF title, that appears to be almost set in stone with Tete claiming a mandatory position this past weekend.
With Solis beating Daiki but unable to make the Super Flyweight limit we'd not be shocked if 2014 brought us a bout between Tomoki Kameda, who retained his WBO Bantamweight belt on this same show, and Solis. It's a bout that allows the Kameda's to gain some form of revenge over Solis and allows Solis a chance to return to Japan for another world title and another decent payday.
The fact the WBA Super Flyweight title is now vacant could also see Koki Kameda aborting plans to fight Anselmo Moreno in a Bantamweight title fight and instead dropping to Super Flyweight. If Koki does that he could potentially be Japan's first ever 4 weight world champion.
One thing is for sure, there was probably more "good" from Solis failing to make weight than their was bad. Sure we failed to have a unified champion but on the other hand we have seemingly gotten a very, very interesting situation.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.