Welterweights gave it their all in fight of the year candidate
By Mike Sloan at ringside: Hard-hitting Marcos Maidana lived up to his knockout artist reputation by icing the unbelievably tough Jesus Soto Karass in their heated brawl. The two welterweights beat the snot out of each other for seven full rounds before the Argentine finally was able to detonate his unbridled power onto Soto Karass’ jaw.
The two waged a war for the ages as they tore into each other from the opening bell. At first, Maidana was in control of the action with a savage attack of bombs to both the body and head. It seemed as though Soto Karass wouldn’t be able to handle the attrition, but his rugged Mexican blood prevented that. Soon after he was rocked by a series of left hands in the second, Soto Karass was answering Maidana blow for blow, which created quite the frenzy in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which was almost filled to capacity at that point.
The action was so heated, so intense that each man had points taken away from them by referee Kenny Bayless for continuously hitting after the veteran third man told them to break, and twice there were hostile scuffles after the bell. Bayless and both fighters’ cornermen had to intervene to prevent an unnecessary disqualification.
By the time the time the sixth round had ended, Soto Karass’ face was swollen but he slowly seized control of the battle. It was Maidana who suddenly found him retreating and clinching, the result of a vicious body attack and lethal hooks up top. Maidana never stopped firing his missiles, but Soto Karass was applying a massive amount of pressure and it looked like Maidana was wilting. Maidana also had another point taken away in the seventh for again hitting on the break.
However, Maidana came back alive midway through the seventh and began rattling his nemesis’ clock with that deadly right hand of his. With about ten seconds to go in the frame, the Argentine disguised a rocket of a right hand behind two left jabs; the explosion sent the Mexican onto his back.
Soto Karass beat the count, but it was clear he was out on his feet. Saved by the bell, he had the interval between rounds seven and eight to clear his head.
Once the eighth stanza began, Maidana was all over his foe. He landed dozens of hard rights and lefts and though Soto Karass was firing back, his power was gone and his head visibly not clear. Finally, after another brutal right hand, Soto Karass backed into the ropes. Maidana closed the gap and was relentless, throwing murderous punches from everywhere. Soto Karass fired back and blocked many, but too many clean shots got through and he was on the verge of getting iced. That’s when Bayless jumped in and pulled Maidana off him. The official time of the TKO was 43 seconds of the eighth.
In the end, it was easily the fight of the night and a leading candidate for fight of the year. Maidana, who bolstered his pro ledger to 32-3 with 28 KOs, kept himself alive and well among the elite of the 147 lb. weight division. There was already talk ringside about a potential rematch. Soto Karass, for his inhumanly game effort, dipped to 26-8-3 with 17 KOs.
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