SACRAMENTO – Yoshihiro Kamegai and Jorge Silva battled to a majority draw in a fun welterweight brawl, the main event of Fox Sports Net’s Championship Boxing on Saturday from the historic Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
Judge Steve Morrow scored it for Kamegai, 96-94, overruled by scores of 95-95 by Kermit Bayless and Bruce Rasmussen.
It was a fitting conclusion to a bout contested on even terms. Kamegai and Silva abandoned their jabs, electing to fight on the inside for most of the fight with looping shots and stiff straights.
Silva, 20, opened up with a big first round, landing with crisp hooks and some nice left uppercuts on the inside.
In the second, Kamegai, 29, pinned Silva in the corner and missed. Silva (18-2-2, 14 knockouts) taunted his foe and then followed up with a crushing right over the top.
Kamegai (21-0-1, 18 KOs) began throwing more punches in the third, electing to go with left hooks to the body, set up by his jab.
The Japanese aggressor landed a series of left hooks with his foe pinned in the corner in the fourth: hooks, uppercuts and jabs. Silva, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, who is promoted by Erik Morales, finally got himself off the ropes with a nice right, but Kamegai won another round.
They fought on the inside and mixed it up — lots of ebb-and-flow in the middle frames.
Kamegai was landing power shots in the closing moments of round six when Silva caught him with a devastating right hand that buckled his knees. Kamegai stumbled back and barely missed touching the canvas, as Silva jumped on him and tried to put him down, but the bell sounded. Kamegai not going down was the difference in the bout: The extra point would have given Silva the nod on the cards.
The seventh was the best round of the fight. Both fighters landed some big shots and traded on the inside with reckless abandonment.
The late rounds were very difficult to score. There was a lot of action and each had their moments, leading to the inconclusive ending.
“The scoring is done by the judges and to me, I just had to do more to get better scores,” said Kamegai. “I would like to go back and start from scratch and look at the video and decide [if I want a rematch].”
Silva was the underdog and was confident he earned the decision, a moral victory of sorts. Unlike Kamegai, he said he would “definitely want a rematch.”
“I thought I won the fight,” said Silva. “The fans saw it.”
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In the co-main event, Jorge Linares got back in the win column after two consecutive knockout losses, a unanimous decision victory over Mexican lightweight veteran Hector Velazquez.
Scores were 100-89, 99-91 and 97-91 for Linares, who struggled at times though earned the much-needed win in a decent scrap.
“I’m really happy with what I did and it was a good win for me. I was happy to come out with the victory,” said Linares, a native of Venezuela. “In the fifth and sixth rounds I was a little bit tight, but after that I settled down a little bit and started to let loose. From 1-100, I give myself a [grade of] 80.
“One more tune-up fight and then, God-willing, a title shot.”
Velazquez, best known for his loss to Manny Pacquiao on HBO in 2005, sought to grind Linares down, applying constant pressure, but Linares’ superior talent and counterpunching won the fight.
The first round was fought on even terms, but Velazquez, 37, scored often in the second, particularly with the overhand right. Velazquez (52-18-3, 35 KOs) came forward during the early rounds while Linares sought to box off his back foot and work the body, finding modest success.
The Japanese-based Linares (who lost to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson in his last two outings) landed some crisp left hooks in the third mixed in with shots to the midsection.
Linares, 27, was cut over the left eye in the fourth, but showed the offensive weapons that made him one of the best prospects in the sport before his string of losses, getting off with dazzling four-punch combinations before escaping harm’s way.
Linares (32-3, 20 KOs) connected on some devastating short right crosses on the inside in the fifth, but Velazquez took them well and kept the pressure on. Linares landed another big combination which riled the crowd up in the closing moments, but again Velazquez showed his whiskers.
Linares prospered down the stretch, avoiding Velazquez’s bombs while sticking his jab.
Velazquez never quit trying, marking Linares’ face up, but was deducted a point in the 10th round for hitting behind the head and lost wide on the cards. It was Velazquez’s seventh loss in his last 10 fights.
Photos / Naoki Fukuda
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