Showtime: Mikey Garcia vs Sergey Lipinets and Rances Barthelemy vs Kiryl Relikh 2
BY KID HERSH
Showtime championship boxing from The Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas.
Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13KO's) vs Kiryl Relikh (21-2, 19KO's). The referee was Luis Pabon. In the first round Barthelemy was doing lots of moving but not much punching. The announcers thought he looked good but to me he looked like a man trying to stay away from the heavy handed aggressive pressure fighter. Not good or Barthelemy if that is how the fight is playing out in the very first round. The second round was a lot like the first, with Barthelemy looking a bit trigger shy because he was getting caught nearly every time he was throwing anything except for a quick jab. Relikh dominated the action in the third round, further increasing his lead and getting a firmer grasp on the fight as a ring general with his pressure via cutting the ring off and throwing combinations on Barthelemy, who looks like he could fall over at any time. Barthelemy just looks very weak to me. Relikh was in such control that he was actually mocking Barthelemy - something that as Al Bernstein said is "uncharacteristic of him" but he is so comfortable that he feels he can do anything. Barthelemy was trying to change the course of the fight by standing his ground and then pressuring at times but he could not get control of the fight. His punches were straying low - just like in the first fight. Barthelemy has also been head hunting the entire fight which is ridiculous considering he hurt Relikh and won the first fight off of - you guessed it - body punching. It wasn't until the tenth round that Barthelemy had a focused body attack - far too late in the fight but go figure; it was showing rewards! It was too little too late though as Barthelemy actually appeared to be coasting at times in the championship rounds but perhaps he was just tired and the veteran knew how to hide it well. The cards came in a UD for Relikh.
Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30KO's) vs Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10KO's). Laurence Cole was the referee. In the first round it was a feeler round - with Lipinets throwing somewhere around a dozen shots as he moved his head and came forward but was mostly taking a look at Mikey. Mikey, on the other hand, was his usual self as he moved effortlessly with perfect balance and fired straight punches. Mikey did not throw many shots be he did enough to establish himself in the round and blunt anything Lipinets wanted to get going. Mikey had a great second round - showing that his power carried up to 140lbs as he stopped Lipinets in his tracks numerous times with heavy punches. Lipinerts was able to bloody Garcia's nose in the second round and then further made it bloody in the third - with it being the first time I can remember seeing blood flowing down on Mikey that was his own. Mikey could simply not miss with his 1-2, sinking the right hand home on Lipinets. Lipinets was taking Mikeys power well but you could see that Garcia has very heavy hands because it was stopping the tough Russian right in his tracks. The fight pattern continued with Lipinets doing well early in rounds, with Garcia not doing much and allowing himself to get backed into the ropes, and then Garcia landing very hard right hands near the end of the round. The fight continued in the pattern aforementioned midway through the seventh round Garcia landed a left hook that floored Lipinets for the first time in his career. He rose and while he was still hurt Garcia was respecting his man and staying on the outside, still looking to box. Mikey would take control of the fight back over, boxing his man while Lipinets was trying his damndest to turn the fight around but had taken too much damage to be 100% powerful in the championship rounds. Lipinets was landing, especially in the eleventh round, but either his punches did not have steam anymore or Mikey has an iron chin. The twelfth and final round was a very good one, with both men trading their best shots down the stretch - including brutal left hooks at the same time time. The cards came in a UD for Mikey, as expected, to give him his fourth divisional weight title.