A Close, Yet Controversial Decision: Mario Barrios vs Batyr Akhmedov

The Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (26-0, 21KOs) vs. “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 17KOs) fight in itself was one of the best fights we have seen so far this year. However, the undercard was also one of much excitement. Almost every fight was a great battle. Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (25-0, 18KOs) took on Batyr Akhmedov (7-1, 6KOs) for the WBA Super Lightweight Title. Barrios, a solid young fighter had the clear edge to many coming into this fight. As the fight progressed, it seemed to keep edging away from Barrios. To those who watched the fight it would seem this fight had three parts. This included rounds 1-4, 5-11, and the final round. Lets review how and why some feel this fight was closer than what some of the scorecards revealed.

Rounds 1 thru 4

Barrios was able to control much of these rounds by using the jab and distance as an advantage. At the end of the first round he was able to catch Akhmedov with a solid uppercut. One of Akhmedov’s strengths is his ability to get inside, but early in the fight Barrios was able to avoid most of his attempts. Barrios continued to use the left and guard with the right, while using his own body shots to try and slow Akhmedov down. As the fourth round started Barrios stunned his opponent and then landed a double left to gain the first knockdown of the fight. Akhmedov was able to weather the storm and make it through the end of the round. At that point it seemed as if Barrios had the fight somewhat secured as he had a knockdown and won every round (40-35 Barrios) after the first third of this fight.

Rounds 5 thru 11

The fifth round was a fairly even round but was the first time Akhmedov was able to outland his opponent. Barrios has show a few moments of lacking discipline and began to lower his hands, which allowed Akhmedov to land strikes. His opponent also began to shorten the distance and get inside. At this point the fight was still in Barrios’ hands but a slight shift in momentum was beginning to take place. Akhmedov was still landing a lot of shots and at some point in the seventh round a cut was opened above the eye of Barrios. The corner attended to this to make sure it didn’t become more of an issue. The scoring gap could be seen shrinking and going into the eighth round Barrios was now only up two rounds. Barrios continued to get solid advice from his corner but he was not adhering to it. Akhmedov had landed more shots than Barrios in four straight rounds. As the fight went on, Barrios continued to be outworked in not only punches but every aspect in the ring. The punch output began to swell in the favor of Akhmedov who was almost 100 punches ahead by the end of the eleventh round. Barrios looked slower and gassed. The unofficial scorecard had Akhmedov winning every round between the 5th and 11th, and ahead by two rounds heading into the twelfth.

Round 12 (The Saving Grace)

The first half of the twelfth, and final round was more akin what we saw when round five started. When fight seemed to be slipping away from Barrios and the belt was slipping from his grasp, suddenly, with just under thirty seconds left, Barrios stunned Akhmedov with a solid shot, giving him a second knockdown. In a round where not much was happening, many thought that Barrios had stolen victory from the hands of defeat. The unofficial scorecard at best should’ve shown a 113-113 draw, but as you know in boxing this wasn’t the end of the story.

Judgment

I will preface this by saying that Barrios could have won one or two of the middle rounds, in which Akhmedov was dominating the fight. Scoring in boxing can be flawed, as one onlooker never sees the fight the same as another. In the end, the three judges scored the bout, 116-111, 115-111, and 114-112 in favor of Barrios. I would have to agree with Barrios taking this fight with a 114-112. But when you see such a tough close fight, it is hard to accept when you hear a scorecard of 116-111.

What I called a flawed system earlier, some may see as the beauty of boxing. It is all in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes you feel that well known boxer gets a bias because they are popular or because they have been seen before. This will forever be one of the defining facets of boxing and in my eyes this deters the casual fan from gaining more interest. I know for one thing, I would not want to judge a twelve round battle. With that said, how did you score the fight?

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