By Jason Pribila: There are times when the bright lights of a nationally televised event could cause a fighter to wilt. On Friday night at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, CA Mother Nature dialed up conditions that would test anyone’s attrition. Fans sat through temperatures in the upper nineties while fighters entered a ring that was giving off heat of over 100 degrees.
The main event featured former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20KO) trying to get back on track against late replacement Yakubu Amidu (18-4-2, 16 KO). In order to keep the fight on track, and more importantly get paid, each fighter had to make concessions. Burgos agreed to fight at a division north of his natural weight, while Amidu risked his third straight loss against a heavy favorite who benefited from a full training camp.
Early on Burgos put his better boxing skills on display. He threw fluid combinations and controlled the distance against a rusty Amidu. The Ghanaian fighter made adjustments and soon found a home for his crisp left hook.
As the fight wore on it appeared as if the extra weight was proving to be a disadvantage to Burgos. Although he remained busier, his punches lost their steam and he was relying on arm punches to keep Amidu off of him. Amidu was gaining confidence, and the fact that he had an opponent in front of him who was unable to hurt him; he started to control the real estate.
Burgos used his legs better in the seventh and eighth rounds, but Amidu regained momentum when the two traded punches against the ropes at the end of a furious ninth round.
Burgos finally broke through in the championship rounds when he finally seemed to hurt Amidu. Burgos caught Amidu walking straight back and landed a big right hand with thirty seconds left in the eleventh.
The fight seemed to be on the table in the final round, and the fighters fought as if the final three minutes would determine their fates. Burgos continued to throw punches that CompuBox registered at a remarkable total of 1206 when the final bell rang. Amidu, made his case by landing the bigger shots that forced Burgos to the ropes.
The crowd gingerly rose to their feet to give a standing ovation to the effort put forth by both fighters.
The final scores read: 116-112 Burgos, 116-112 Amidu, and finally 114-114 for an end result of a Split Draw.
Although fans usually want a conclusive decision, this was an occasion that a Draw was just and rightly kept both fighters careers on track. Burgos hopes to return to 130 lbs where he will hopefully be considered to face the winner of a proposed Rocky Martinez – Mikey Garcia fight, and Amidu will no doubt get the call as an opponent in a meaningful fight, with the hopes that he remains more active.
There was a very positive side note to this fight. In Burgos’ corner was his uncle Victor Burgos. Victor was the super flyweight titlist that was once carried out of the ring on a stretcher after suffering a knockout defeat at the hands of Vic Darchinyan.
In the televised opener, Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KO) kept the momentum rolling that he established by beating Miguel Acosta in his last fight. On this night, Gonzalez, pressured and broke down Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos (24-2, 14 KO).
Gonzalez fought aggressively and controlled the distance from the opening bell. Although the 5’11” Dos Santos had a height advantage, he did not have a jab to keep Gonzalez at a distance.
Gonzalez took control on the cards when he hurt Dos Santos in the fourth round with a straight left that landed at will. Unable to control the distance, Dos Santos relied on excessive holding, which cost him an extra point.
The fight fell into a pattern, and by the mid-way point Dos Santos fought as if his only chance was to catch the charging Gonzalez with a lead hook. He was never able to do so and he soon succumbed to the pressure and heat. Gonzalez landed a left hook to the body, and Dos Santos turned his back in retreat. Gonzalez landed a final body shot that sent Dos Santos to the canvas, where he was more than content to get counted out.
The bout was waved off at 2:27 of round eight. Gonzalez now has two impressive performances on national television, and fight fans could expect him back in a meaningful fight soon.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com and followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing.