In an entertaining bout between two junior featherweights coming off their first career losses, Teon Kennedy fought to a majority draw with Chris Martin over 10 competitive rounds inside The Joint at The Hard Rock in Las Vegas for the main event of ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights.
Scores were 97-93 for Kennedy and 95-95 twice.
Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 knockouts) brought the fight to Martin (23-1-4, 6 KOs), walking the San Diego, Calif. native down and pushing him to the ropes. The Philadelphian never relented, as he continued to march forward and deliver debilitating body shots.
Martin, 25, sought to counter Kennedy’s power shots, but had success only in spurts. Kennedy, also 25 years old, seemed to be too strong for Martin, who couldn’t keep his opponent off as he gave up the early rounds.
Kennedy’s right eye starting closing in the late rounds and he finished down the stretch with limited vision. The last few rounds were especially spirited due to the high stakes of the bout, with neither fighter able to afford a second consecutive loss. Kennedy and Martin furiously exchanged, much to the delight of the crowd.
Kennedy had the cleaner shots and pressed the action, landing 192 of 715 punches, while Martin displayed the tighter defense, landing 160 of his 555 punches.
It was a crowd-pleasing match, one that could happen again with the draw.
The televised co-feature saw Cuban prospect Yordenis Ugas (11-0, 5 KOs) dominate Esteban Almaraz (10-4, 4 KOs) over eight one-sided rounds. Scores were 79-72 twice and 80-71.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist set the tone early, dropping Almaraz in the first stanza; Ugas opened up his opponent with a left jab to the body then followed up with a sharp right cross over the top that put him on the canvas. The 31-year-old Texan beat referee Joe Cortez’s count, but found little success after the knockdown.
Ugas, 25, controlled the action, methodically out-boxing the trialhorse for the remainder of the bout. Ugas appears to be a prospect worth watching in the junior welterweight division.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda