Mike Coppinger

George held to controversial split-draw against Lopez on FNF

Donovan “Da Bomb” George badly needed a win. The hard-punching Chicagoan had a promising career, but ran into a rough patch when he stepped up in competition, losing two of his last four bouts, a punishing 12th-round TKO to Adonis Stevenson and unanimous decision to Edwin Rodriguez.

Convinced he wasn’t strong enough to compete at super middleweight, he set his sights on the middleweight division. He looked comfortable fighting at 163 pounds in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, but had to settle for a controversial spit draw against former title challenger David “Destroyer” Lopez at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago before his hometown crowd.

One judge scored it for Lopez, 97-94, another card had it for George, 96-94, while the third judge had it even at 95-95.

George (24-3-1, 21 knockouts) was more patient on this night. He doubled and tripled up on his jab, looking to set up shots, rather than deploying his usual reckless, whirlwind style.

He found a few openings in the opening round, scoring with overhand rights, but maintained his composure against the southpaw.

George, 28, amped up the attack in Round three; he bullied Lopez into the ropes and unloaded with a few blistering overhand rights that found their mark, buckling the 35-year-old Mexican. Lopez, (41-13, 23 knockouts) withstood the onslaught, eating several shots, but never went down, although he suffered a cut over his left eye.

George dominated the first four rounds, but the cagey veteran rebounded in the fifth, utilizing his southpaw job more. In the waning seconds of the round, Lopez absorbed a right hand, but countered with a left hook that wobbled George’s legs, though the bell tolled before he could follow up his attack. Lopez also was in control in the sixth as he dictated pace.

Lopez was plagued by inactivity; he simply never let his hands go for a sustained period and allowed George to get settled as a result. But George seemed to cruise down the stretch and hardly resembled the power-puncher boxing fans have grown accustomed to watching. Though he wasn’t buckling Lopez, he controlled the pace down the stretch and seemed to gain the victory, but the judges didn’t agree with most observers who though George gained the victory.

It’s a big setback for George, who needed to gain the win after the setbacks he endured against Stevenson and Rodriguez. Unfortunately, he was robbed of a deserved winin a fight where he wasn’t the exciting brawler he used to be.

***

Former welterweight beltholder Kermit Cintron made his return to the ring – and the welterweight division – in the co-feature, fighting to an unpopular split draw against Adrian Granados.

One judge scored it 96-94 for the underdog Granados, one scored it for Cintron 97-93, while the third judge had it 95-95.

It was Cintron’s first fight since a November 2011 loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. He looked rusty in the fight, rarely throwing combinations, and most observers thought Granados won. At this point in his career, Cintron is clear no more than a gatekeeper.

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