NEW YORK — RING No. 8-rated Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones used his height, his jab and his movement while also occasionally standing toe-to-toe with his rugged Argentine rival remain to remain unbeaten over the course of Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised unanimous decision against slugger Sebastian Lujan before a sellout crowd of 21,239 at Madison Square Garden.
The 28-year-old Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) ended a 12-fight winning streak that had included six knockouts by the 31-year-old Lujan (38-6-2, 24 knockouts), in the process, earning the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s ratings and a shot at IBF No. 2-rated Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the organization’s belt that was recently vacated by Andre Berto.
“Randall Bailey is an older guy, and he’s had his time to shine. It’s Mike Jones’ time to shine now. He’s a cagey veteran, but I know Randall Bailey well. [Friend and trainer] Danny Davis has worked with him, so we have a little inside scoop on him,” said Jones trainer, Vaughn Jackson.
“He’s slow, and he works at a slow pace. All that we have to do is stay busy on him and stay away from tha right hand. I think that fight is going to be easier than it was against Lujan, and then, Randall Bailey’s chin is not like Lujan’s.”
Jones won by scores of 119-109 on the judges’ cards of Ron McNair and Waleska Roldan, and, 118-110 on that of Don Ackerman. RingTV.com had it 118-110 for Jones as well.
“There are no easy fights. There is never an easy fight in boxing. This was a tough fight, because he throws a lot of awkward shots,” said Jones, who stands nearly 6-foot-1 compared to the 5-6 Lujan.
“He never stops working, and I respect a fighter like that. I was always on my guard with him. I thought that I won every round. At worst, I thought that it was 11-1.”
Jones-Lujan took akes place on the undercard of a main event that featured RING No. 1-rated junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto- (37-2, 30 KOs) scoring a 10th-round technical knockout over ex-beltholder Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs).
“I think Mike did a great job. He followed the gameplan and really stuck to it. The guy was short, and he was 5-6, so I wanted to see Mike stay behind his jab and keep him on the end of his shots. He listened to the corner. None of the fights are easy, I mean, Lujan, he is tough. It’s just that the way that Mike fought him, Mike is a tall welterweight and he slowed Lujan up like I knew that he could,” said Jackson.
“Mike when to his body early, and once we slowed him up, we saw Mike pushing Lujan back. In the later rounds, we wanted Mike to do that and push him backward because we knew that Lujan can’t fight moving backward. He only knows one way, I know that if he’s backing up from Mike, then Mike can take control of the fight.”
Jones was coming off a second-round knockout of Raul Munoz, which was accomplished in June before his hometown fans at the South Philly Arena. Prior to Munoz, Jones battled through consecutive majority and unanimous decisions over Jesus Soto Karass in February and June.
Lujan, who was coming off a ninth-round knockout of Mark Melligan in July, had spent time preparing for Jones by training alongside Margarito, Soto Karass and RING No. 1-rated lightweight and WBA beltholder Brandon Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs), who scored an 11th-round technical knockout over Johnny Murray (31-2, 18 KOs) on Saturday night.
Jones lost the fourth round and 10th rounds on Ackerman’s card, and only the fourth on that of McNair and Waleska.
Jones out-landed Lujan, 292-to-174 overall, had a 192-to-130 advantage in power shots, and, 100-44 in jabs.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org