Juan Carlos Burgos felt unfairly treated in his last fight by ringside officials, who scored his title-seeking effort against Roman Martinez a draw in January.
When meeting late substitute Yakubu Amidu in Friday’s main event of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights in Lincoln, Calif., a split-draw verdict was once again rendered.
This time, Burgos didn’t wear the look of a guy unhappy to be getting a draw, and with good reason.
Burgos didn’t fight much like a guy with a long term memory of the recent betrayal by judges. He dominated early portions of rounds but allowed his hard-nosed opponent to come on late in rounds, obviously affecting the scores.
Despite Burgos being the one who hadn’t fought in six months, he seemed much sharper in the early going than Amidu, who lost a split-decision in April to unheralded prospect Haskell Rhodes in Oklahoma.
Burgos worked his combinations early and often, while Amidu was struggling to put more than one punch together. Amidu was rendered largely ineffective as Burgos utilized the ring and head movement to keep Amidu from landing much of worth.
Burgos employed a fierce body attack from the outset, turning a left hook to the ribcage at the end of his combinations on a regular basis.
Amidu came alive a bit in the third round as he began to find his timing. Towards the end of the round, he backed up Burgos with a solid combination, but the bell kept him from furthering his assault.
In the fourth, Amidu landed a borderline shot that was ruled a low blow. The punch clearly bothered Burgos, who went into a crouch, but was given time to recover.
By the fifth round, a pattern had been set. Burgos would jump out to a great start, boxing and moving, before Amidu’s relentless attack would allow him to land some eye-opening combinations. Burgos stumbled a bit towards the end of the round, some of it due to Amidu’s output but also due to being off-balance.
Amidu began building some serious momentum, though Burgos was never really out of the fight by any means. But again, he was letting things slip away to the point the judges were going to decide his fight.
Burgos broke out of his amnesia in the 11th round, putting together a hellacious series of combinations that had Amidu hurt for the first time in the fight. Amidu, a tough man who fought early fights in his Accra, Ghana home, took them well.
In the 12th, both guys went for it in a fight that was very much on the table. In the end, the judges scored it 116-112 for each fighter respectively, with a 114-114 score ruling it a draw.
Burgos and Amidu both seemed satisfied with the draw, having survived the unbearable heat in the parking lot setup at Thunder Valley Casino & Resort. Amidu will benefit from the verdict slightly more than Burgos, who was a decided favorite heading into the contest.
In a battle of fringe lightweight contenders, Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio outlasted Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos (26-2, 16 KOs), eventually stopping his opponent in the eighth round following a body shot.
The early rounds were fairly competitive with Dos Santos being the more active fighter in the opening stanza. Gonzalez became a bit more tricky as the fight wore on, and the ungodly heat played a big role in the fight as the rounds wore on.
At 6-foot-1, it can’t be easy for Dos Santos to make 135 pounds. That makes the heat seem like a bit more of a disadvantage to the Brazilian than to the 5-foot-7 Gonzalez. Gonzalez was the better conditioned athlete and used his superior technical skills to tire out Dos Santos.
It wasn’t the prettiest of fights, with a lot of holding and leaning and awkwardness throughout, but as the fight got deeper, it was clear Gonzalez was the one in the driver’s seat.
With a sizable lead, Gonzalez finally dropped Dos Santos with a well-placed body shot in the eighth round. Dos Santos was down in the corner on the seat of his pants, and didn’t return to his feet due to what seemed to be exhaustion. Stoppage came at 2:47 of the round.
Referee Dan Collins didn’t give the best performance, often interrupting the action unnecessarily while also maintaining little control over the fighters.