By Dave McKee: At Centro de Convenciones in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Marco Antonio Rubio (51-5-1, 44 KOs) defeated unranked Mohammed Akrong (13-3, KO2). The prize for the evening was the interim WBC Latino middleweight title.
From the signing of the contract this contest appeared to be a keep-busy match for WBC #1 and Ring Magazine #10 ranked Rubio. Akrong had won the last three of his previous six against fighters with a combined record of 2 wins, 18 losses and 1 draw.
Prior to the onset of hostilities, Akrong appeared unenergetic. As the first round began, he stood flat-footed behind a peek-a-boo defense as Rubio pecked with jabs and left hooks. One minute into the action Rubio connected with a hook that served as a strong foreshadowing of ensuing events. Thirty seconds later a right hook landed, causing Akrong to retreat into a corner. Here he continued his lifeless defense while Rubio warmed himself up with a variety of punches.
In the second period Rubio came out jabbing, continuing to telegraph his ultimate intent with sneaky hooks to the body of Akrong. After a minute of this Rubio moved to a corner. Thirty seconds of ineffective action from Akrong proved enough for Rubio, who slipped out and finally landed a left up top at the :55 mark. Akrong replied with an ineffective combination.
Akrong appeared slow and imprecise from the beginning of the contest, and his punches swung in wider arcs as the action continued. Round two concluded with an Akrong hammer-like chop to Rubio’s left shoulder.
Round three saw Rubio continue to control the action, while his jab began to split Akrong’s high guard. A left uppercut rocked the haggard-looking Akrong in round four. He fell against the ropes and was punished relentlessly by Rubio for the duration of the period. He ended the round with a cut in the area of his left eye.
Rubio turned up the action in round five, targeting Akrong’s head with hooks, uppercuts and straights. The left hook with which Rubio had been teasing Akrong finally landed on his ribs, clearly hurting him. Moments later, a second left hook dropped Akrong. It appeared to glance off his belly, and the knockdown seemed more a result of accumulation than the consequence of a single solid shot. Akrong rose, but the referee declared him unfit to finish. Akrong’s left eye was bloodied and swollen. He was clearly hurting, and offered no complaint.