ESPN’s Friday Night Fights kicked off its 15th season with a compelling main event (and a hometown decision) as Rances Barthelemy defeated Asam Usmanee via highly-controversial 12-round unanimous decision at the Magic City Casino in Miami in an IBF 130-pound eliminator.
Scores were 116-112, 115-113 and 116-112 for Barthelemy.
Barthelemy, who is from Miami, started off strong, winning rounds with his superior boxing ability and educated jab but Usmanee’s pressure took its toll over the middle rounds, as he walked in and landed power shots as the Cuban abandoned his jab. Usmanee took many of the late rounds, making the bout close on the cards, but he didn’t earn the nod officially.
Usmanee (20-2, 10 knockouts) absorbed left hand leads and rights as he walked in, but he began to establish his presence. The fighters seemed to sense how close the fight was and turned it on down the stretch, as they furiously traded to end the ninth and carried their vigor into the championship rounds. In the 10th, a clash of heads opened a gash on the bridge of Usmanee’s nose, which seemed to bother him for the remainder.
It was the first time either fighter had been past 10 rounds and Barthelemy (18-0, 11 KOs) seemed exhausted over the last few rounds while Usmanee had gas. The 12th and final round was one of the best for the Afghan, who unloaded on his weakened foe.
Both fighters had great output, but Usmanee broke the 1000 punch barrier, throwing 1088 but landing just 282 of them (26 percent), while Barthelemy landed 238 of 824 shots (29 percent).
In the co-feature, Puerto Rican junior middleweight Jonathan Gonzalez outpointed Derek “Pooh” Ennis by majority decision.
One judge scored it 95-95 even, overruled by tallies of 98-92 and 97-93 for Gonzalez.
The win followed Gonzalez’s HBO debut in September, when he fought to a draw with Sergiy Dzinziruk. For that fight, Gonzalez missed the junior middleweight limit by nine pounds, coming in at 163. Ironically, it was Ennis Ennis (23-4-1, 13 KOs) who missed weight for this one, weighing in at 161 while Gonzalez was at 152 ¾.
The fight was a boring affair, with many rounds tough to score, but Gonzalez’s greater activity and success down the stretch took the fight.
According to CompuBox, Gonzalez (16-0-1, 13 KOs) threw far more jabs, landing 19 of 37, while Ennis landed 18 of 96. Gonzalez also produced double the output in total punches, connecting on 174 of 690 to Ennis’ 123 of 327.