Sports

Abner Mares vs. Joseph Agbeko II: Round-by-Round Analysis

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By Nick Tywalk

It's main event time from Anaheim on Showtime Championship Boxing. Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko will do battle for a second time after Mares' victory earlier this year was sullied by what appeared to be numerous unpunished low blows. Referee Russell Mora ended up at the center of attention on that night, but the focus will be back on two talented bantamweights tonight.

The announce team of Steve Albert, Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver dissect the first bout, coming to the conclusion that Mares was not throwing low shots on purpose, but Agbeko still got done dirty by the officiating. All three commentators expect a tighter leash by tonight's referee and a close, competitive bout.

Agbeko, who is known as "King Kong," makes his way out, seeking to regain his IBF title. He is 28-3 with 22 KOs over the course of his career.

Wearing a skull bandanna and accompanied by a live rapper, Mares comes out second. The young Mexican is undefeated as a pro, coming in with a 22-0-1 record with 13 knockout victories.

The tale of the tape shows that these fighters are basically even in height and reach. Mares is five years younger, which could make a difference when you consider what these men have been through during Showtime's bantamweight tournament. 

As usual, Jimmy Lennon Jr. introduces the fighters in classy style. Tonight's referee is Dr. Lou Moret, who will clearly be keeping a keen eye on all body shots. The formalities are out of the way, so let's settle in for a scheduled 12 round of boxing.


Round 1

Both men test the water with jabs. Agbeko tries a sneaky hook and misses a few big swings. Agbeko lands a left hand, and they go to work at close range. Mares lands a quick combo while Agbeko tries the body. Mares punches Agbeko a few times in the back. King Kong works the body again; Mares whips out an uppercut. Left hook by Agbeko as he hops in. They both land hooks, and there's a scramble with the fighters' arms tangled up.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Agbeko


Round 2

Mares already has some marks by his right eye. Agbeko hustles with his jab, trying to add to them. Mares throws some range-finding jabs. The boxers trade hooks with some landing both ways. Mares connects with a right hook that looks very sharp. Agbeko is on target with his jab. Mares strays a tad low for the first time. Mares wins a battle of hooks as he lets his hands go. Agbeko misses with a big shot, and Mares lets him have it until the bell rings.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 3

Mares had a cut open up over his right eye late in Round 2, and it appears to have been caused by a head butt. But Moret does not mention a head butt, so he felt it was opened up by a punch. Agbeko complains about a low shot, but the ref warns him for pushing the head of Mares down. Both men come out swinging until they fall into a clinch. Mares flurries while Agbeko looks to the body. Bernstein thinks Agbeko's hooks are too wide. Mares picks off his man with an uppercut and a hook. Agbeko answers with his own left hook. Close round without a signature punch.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 4

Jim Gray confirms that Moret has ruled that the cut was caused by a punch. That could make things interesting. Agbeko rips hooks that Mares tries to counter. Short right hand by Mares right on the chin. There's another one, followed by some body work. Mares chases Agebko back to score with a left downstairs. Both men try combinations in the center of the ring. A brief outburst erupts as the boxers unload with both hands. Agbeko advances but can't pin Mares down.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 5

Agbeko starts strong with a right hand and a left hook. Mares is waiting on him a bit more, looking to counter. Wild left hooks by Agebko with Mares throwing at the same time. Agbeko is still a half-step out of range. Here come the hooks again. Agbeko jabs, and the fighters just miss clashing heads. King Kong leaps in for a straight right. A nice exchange closes things out with powerful head shots scoring both ways.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Agbeko


Round 6

A left hook glances off Mares' head as he comes in. Another one partially connects, but Agebko misses wildly with a right. Mares nails a short right hand in the middle of a combination. He bounces another right off his foe's head. They trade shots and positions in the center of the ring. Mares emerges with the edge thanks to a double left hook. Agbeko gets hit with some body shots and complains about the location.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 7

Replays show that the final body shot from Mares was below the belt. It's like he can't help himself. Left hook by Agbeko from a decent distance. Mares peppers him with both hands, showing off his hand speed. He chases Agebko back to the ropes. Nice head movement helps Agbeko dodge some serious heat. Mares looks up and under for an uppercut or three. Agbeko doubles up his jab to knock Mares back.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 8

Some nice work between rounds on Mares' cut, which hasn't been a major factor. Abner's corner also told him to stay outside and not throw low punches. The fans like it as Agbeko lands a right that sets off a brief brawl. Mares circles around, trying to find an opening. Agbeko crashes home a right hand, then they trade hooks once more. King Kong lands a stiff jab, right on the cut. The fighters pop each other from range, and Mares closes the distance to try smothering Agbeko along the ropes. Good round.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Agbeko


Round 9

Agbeko uses a counter right to good effect. They wrestle after some missed power shots both ways. Mares has turned mostly jabber, but he knocks Agbeko for a loop with a left hook. Abner pulls his foe's head down and lets his hands go. Agbeko has to be wary of a straight right. He jabs right in Mares' cut again. Right hand by Mares to punctuate this frame.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 10

Mares' trainer tells him to throw more and keep his hands up. He tries to search his man out with a right hand, while Agbeko resumes jabbing in the cut. An exchange goes Mares' way thanks to some body work. Agbeko fires back with a left hook to the torso. Mares sits just outside the jab of Agbeko. The ref has to break them up as they clinch. Mares strikes with some sharp punches to the head. Agbeko uses a one-two off the jab. King Kong jabs his way to the bell.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Agbeko


Round 11

The cut is still open, but apparently not bleeding right into Mares' eye. Very cautious first minute to this frame. Agbeko tries to press the issue, but Mares keeps him honest with hooks and straight rights. Mares comes up and under with his left hand. They twirl around, trying to get some punching room. Mares jabs and backs up. They finally decide to trade with 30 seconds to go. Mares comes out on top thanks to a stiff right hand. He pours it on with an uppercut and a left hook. Furious action that stole that round for Mares.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares


Round 12

Agbeko looks a little woozy as he comes out for the final frame. Mares isn't completely throwing caution to the wind, but he is looking confident. Agbeko makes him miss and ties him up. Mares triples the jab. They hunt for openings, with Agebko doing a bit of chasing. Right hand glances upstairs for Agbeko. Mares slams home a left to the body and a right upstairs. Mares tries to work out of a clinch. Both fighters hook to the body. Mares waves Agebko in. He flurries with fast hands to the head. Both men let it fly in wild fashion as the fight comes to an end.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Mares

Tylwalk: 116-112 Mares

The judges score it 118-110 three times, all to the winner by unanimous decision... and still IBF bantamweight titleholder... Abner Mares. 

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