LAS VEGAS — Rock-fisted Marcos Maidana rose from 140 to 147 pounds for the second consecutive fight to score a sensational, eighth-round technical knockout in a war with rugged Jesus Soto Karass on Saturday night’s Showtime-televised undercard of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand.
In what was a ferocious, toe-to-toe affair from the outset, Maidana (32-3, 29 knockouts) absorbed a brutal beating in the sixth round, and the same could be said of the seventh, when referee Kenny Bayless penalized him for a low blow.
But just prior to the bell ending the seventh, Maidana dropped Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KOs) with a big right hand. Soto Karass beat the count, but could not escape Maidana’s punishment in the eighth, which halted 43 seconds in.
“I didn’t care when they took away the point. I knew that I would come back,” said Maidana. “I feel great at this weight, and much better the second time around. I knew that he would be tough, but I knew I could win.”
Soto Karass was coming off his second straight win, which was a fifth-round stoppage of Euri Gonzalez on July 7. The win over Gonzalez marked the third straight time that Soto Karass had fought as a junior middleweight.
“I respected his power. He was an accurate puncher,” said Soto Karass. “It was a war, like I predicted that it would be, but I think that the referee stopped it too soon.”
Soto Karass was knocked out in the fifth round by Gabriel Rosado in his 154-pound debut in January, this, after having battled through losses by majority- and unanimous decisions to then-unbeaten welterweight Mike Jones in November of 2010 and February of 2011.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com