Anthony Dirrell vs Marco Antonio Rubio & Jamie McDonnell vs Tomoki Kameda
BY KID HERSH
PBC on CBS on a Sunday afternoon.
The first fight up was Jamie McDonnell vs Tomoki Kameda. In the first round we saw the two men fighting at range, with Kameda pumping his jab very well and scoring with it often while McDonnell was content to box from the outside as well, being the much longer man. In the second round Kameda took over, showing his much better movement and much faster hands as he sharp-shooted from the outside and moved on McDonnell, who was looking frustrated with finding the mark and was squaring up at times while trying to push his punches. McDonnell suffered a cut above his left eye in the second round. In the coming rounds Kameda was still the sharper man, with McDonnell having his moments but looking like his length was actually working against him, because Kameda was just too fast of hand and foot tonight - making it look like a much different fight from the first one. In the fifth round the champion was looking even more urgent, but in trying to close the distance he was still getting tagged with sharp shots, mainly jabs, as Kameda is still the ring general. McDonnell was desperately trying to cut the ring off but even when he managed to corner Kameda he was not able to unload because Kameda would deftly maneuver out of trouble unharmed - showing a great defense. McDonnell was able to land a couple right hands flush but they had no effect on Kameda and surprisingly didn't even move him. The champion finally had a good breakthrough in the sixth round as Kameda's punch output dropped and McDonnell was first to get his shots off, hitting the mark more than in the previous rounds as he had Kameda reacting for the first time in the fight. Kameda does not look very tired, but perhaps he is starting to feel the effects of a very busy effort on his part thus far. In the seventh round both men were vying for the upper hand, McDonnell trying to build on his success the previous round and Kameda getting busy and trying to re-establish himself again. McDonnell had the better of the action in my opinion, as it seems his work rate is steadily increasing as the fight goes. In the eighth round Kameda took control again, establishing ring generalship with his movement and speed yet again. McDonnell was hitting mostly air, having trouble finding the mark like in the early rounds. McDonnell had more late success in the championship rounds, after Kameda picked him off in the tenth. It was in the eleventh round that he landed some of his best punches of the fight - a couple of blistering right hands with one finally doing some noticeable damage to Kameda as his head snapped from the great chin blast. In the twelfth and final round we saw great action to close out the show for this fantastic bantamweight championship fight. Midway through the round McDonnell scored a knockdown as Kameda was trying to pivot and he landed a solid right hand blow that sent him off balance and down. It was a legit knockdown but Kameda was not hurt from the shot. He got up and the action ensued in a very spirited fashion, with the fight closing as both men were throwing punches to the final bell. Great fight! But, sadly, I thought Kameda won very clearly just like in the first fight but the cards came in a UD for McDonnell, with a couple of the scores very puzzling. They were: 116-111, 115-112, 117-110. The one card is wider than my score inverted! There will be a lot of controversy over this fight, likely even more than the first fight because Kameda boxed beautifully in this one.
Main event time featuring Marco Antonio Rubio vs Anthony Dirrell. Rubio came out looking very soft around the midsection and very slow moving. Dirrell was apprehensive, likely showing respect until he feels Rubio's power - which is always there and what he relies on. Two minutes into the first round Dirrell landed a thudding right hand that stunned Rubio. Rubio did not react well, looking discombobulated but eventually cleared his head because Dirrell didn't go for the kill (he has never been a finisher!). In the second round Dirrell still was not opening up fully, but he is easily controlling the ring over the plodding and slow Rubio - who is not getting his shots off. Dirrell unloaded another right hand that slammed home, with Rubio shaking his head and shaking it off but with everyone viewing knowing that it hurt and took a piece of him away. Dirrell continued easily picking off Rubio until the fourth round, where Rubio landed some powerful shots in the final minute that got people out of their seats and thinking that he is still in this fight - which have been my sentiments all along because Dirrell does tend to lose focus in most of his fights and if Rubio catches him with a flush overhand right I am sure he can hurt him. Dirrell took right back over in the fifth round, going back to picking off Rubio who was again plodding forward, not throwing much and just acting more as a heavy bag or sparring partner. Rubio did come alive again at the end of the round but is looking tired at this point, with less speed in his shots (he never had a whole lot to begin with keep in mind). Dirrell would go on to win the unspirited shutout decision, again showing that he just doesn't have an extra gear which drives me insane at times.