By Marc Livitz: Steve Claggett pushed onward, punched hard and drove his way through Emmanuel Robles en route to a split decision win for the vacant NABA-WBA USA super lightweight title at the Downtown Event Center in Las Vegas.
Southpaw Robles (15-1-1, 5 KO’s) used a steady right jab to keep his Canadian opponent at a distance in the opening minutes. Claggett’s strategy was all about keeping a steady pace and making Emmanuel change his tactics. He was able to land his right hand over Robles’ jab, which helped him apply more effective pressure. As the bout moved into round three, Steve was able to connect with body shots while not allowing Robles to affect him with his lefts. Emmanuel wasn’t countering as much as Claggett (24-4-1, 16 KO’s) used the ring to a greater advantage.
In the fourth, Robles (San Diego, CA) began to reemerge with his counter shots as opposed to using his jab as he previously had done, yet in the fifth he seemed to be looking more to coast instead of push forward. His punches didn’t have the same power as Claggett was effectively cutting off the ring. Steve’s right was starting to find a home, over and over again. Emmanuel came out punching in the opening moments of the seventh. He threw multiple shots upstairs but his efforts were abruptly halted by a right uppercut from Steve. To some extent, each fighter was visibly slowing down due to the late summer Vegas heat, where it often feels one can catch a sunburn at night.
Claggett was surely winning the contest in the sense of clean, effective punching and aggression. Robles was running out of answers. He remained disciplined but was likely confounding his trainers. His punches just weren’t hard enough to allow him to box as opposed to fight in the hopes of winning on the cards. Painful, thudding body shots from Steve Claggett smashed the sides of Emmanuel Robles deep into the ninth round. As previously stated, Robles landed shots of his own but he couldn’t hurt his Calgary, Alberta, Canada opponent. The contest made its way to the tenth and final round.
The action didn’t slow in the last period. Robles appeared to be headed for his first professional defeat although he fought to the final bell. He had absorbed a long night of abuse from his hard punching foe. The judges scorecards would ultimately seal the deal, however they ended up. They read as follows: Two apiece at 98-92 for Claggett, and one at 96-94 for Robles.
Co-Main Event Report - Macias KO’s Garza in Firefight
In the evening’s co-main attraction, Neeco Macias scored a fifth round knockout win over Rolando Garza in an all out super welterweight slugfest between two young, unbeaten fighters. There was no feeling out period between the two contestants as Macias (13-0, 7 KO’s) found Garza (9-1, 6 KO’s) to be a willing participant to fight hard and match him nearly punch for punch. Neeco used a fast paced approach as he threw equal shots from both sides, mostly head shots as Rolando easily countered with equal measure.
The second round was no different as "The Rooster" Macias utilized a fine right hook to the head. The Palm Springs, California native showed amazing levels of energy, yet his opponent from Austin, Texas (by way of Monterrey, N.L., Mexico) connected with intense left hooks to highlight the period. Up to this point, six minutes of pure entertainment had transpired and those in attendance out in the hot Vegas night showed their appreciation.
Round three belonged mostly to Macias as Garza’s overall pace slowed yet he was still able to connect with his trusty left hook. Neeco’s uppercuts likely won him the round. Rolando remained on the inside in the fourth while he tried his best to lean in on his Southern California foe. He found this to be a difficult task as Macias kept coming forward. Back and forth slugging, per the usual highlighted the stanza.
The first and only knockdown came late in the fifth. With just under fifty seconds to spare, Macias caught Garza flush across the side of the head thanks to a less than accurate right hook. This was a case of accumulation simply catching up with the Mexican fighter. He’d taken too many shots and although only his gloves touched the canvas and he easily beat referee Jay Nady’s count, the answers he gave weren’t to Nady’s liking, who waved the contest to a close at the 2:31 mark of round five. Neeco "The Rooster" Macias remained unbeaten and captured the WBC USA super welterweight title.
Additional Results from Las Vegas
Junior middleweight Jeremy Nichols UD 4 Jerry Belmontes
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September 9 2016