Welterweight gatekeeper Jesus Soto Karass outslugged former two-time titleholder Andre Berto to a dramatic 12th-round TKO on Saturday in the main event of “Knockout Kings II,” a Showtime-televised tripleheader from San Antonio. Lightweight standout Omar Figueroa outpointed Nihito Arakawa in a 12-round Fight of the Year candidate in the co-featured bout.
And welterweight contender Keith Thurman stopped fellow unbeaten puncher Diego Chaves in the 10th round of a competitive open bout to the broadcast. Thurman (21-0, 19 knockouts), who dropped Chaves (22-1, 18 KOs) in the ninth and 10th rounds, was awarded a $10,000 bonus for ‘KO of the night.’
However, the fight of the night belonged to the lightweights. Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) won a unanimous decision by scores of 119-107 and 118-108 (twice), but the bout was far more fierce and hard-fought than those lopsided tallies indicate. Figueroa, who scored two knockdowns, landed the heavier punches throughout (despite hurt hands) but Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs) was a relentless punching machine who never stopped coming forward and threw more than 11,000 punches in the bloody, brutal bout. The spirited Japanes veteran somehow outworked Figueroa in breathaking final round.
The final round of the main event was equally dramatic because Berto (28-3, 22 KOs), a 3-to-1 favorite, had survived wobbly moments in the early rounds to punch his way back into the fight and score a body shot knockdown in the 11th. Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18 KOs) needed to do something special in the 12th round to regain his momentum and he did by dropping Berto hard enough to prompt referee Jon Schorle to halt the bout 48 seconds in to the round.
A full ringside report by Bart Barry will be posted shortly.