Close shave (and a haircut) for Porter, Dell Long and the short of it, and ‘Joe Smith’ is not just my hotel registration name

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The card from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson supplied a nice variety of action in different weight classes.

Efe Ajagba and Amir Mansour faced off in the Heavyweight division.

Ajagba is a big, scary man.

He stands 6’5” and has a wingspan a condor would envy…over seven feet.

None of Ajagba’s previous five-fights (all in 2018) went past the 1st round.

His match with Dell Long lasted a mere 35-seconds and Ajagba’s next fight was even shorter.

He stands 6’5” and has a wingspan a condor would envy…over seven feet.

In fact, his bout with Curtis Harper set the record for the fastest win in boxing.

The bell rang, Harper spun to his left, stepped out of the ring thru the ropes, and headed directly back to the locker room.

Mansour’s bout wound up being the second longest fight Ajagba has ever had: two rounds.

Southpaw Mansour showed nothing but heart in his attempt to make a fight out of it. He just couldn’t.

Ajagba’s reach and power were too much. He dropped Mansour twice in the final minute of the opening frame. Mansour got up and he lasted to the bell.

He survived Round 2 and stayed on his feet but Mansour was getting pelted with four-punches to each one he landed. His team wisely tossed in the towel between rounds.

Efe Ajagba improves his campaign to 9-wins against no losses, with 8-victories coming by way of knockout.

***

In the first defense of his WBC World Welterweight title, Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO’s) took on Yordenis Ugas (23-4, 11 KO’s) in the main event.

Porter had taken that belt away from Danny Garcia in a fight that was full of hugging and dancing. Porter would charge in to close the distance and Garcia would wrap him up and hold him.

Porter landed more…Garcia had greater power.

The bout went the distance and Porter won by unanimous decision (UD).

At the weigh-in with Ugas, Porter almost lost the belt on the scale when he came in nearly 2-pounds over the limit.

Things got desperate when he returned to the scale, stripped naked, and was still more than an ounce over.

With a minute left, they took scissors to his sweat-filled hair. It did the trick and Porter vows it will never happen again.

The action was not the donnybrook that some expected. Porter was purposeful in his restraint to box rather than brawl.

His concentrated efforts were headshots; while Ugas did a lot of chopping to the trunk.

Neither boxer took control, nor truly distinguished himself in a match that went the distance. It was no surprise the judges rendered a split decision; 116-112 and 115-113 for Porter; 111-117 for Ugas.

Porter retained his title…by the hair of his head.

***

In the fifth defense of his WBA World Lightweight title Dimitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KO’s) laced them up against Joe Smith Jr. (24-3, 20 KO’s) in Verona, New York.

Although undefeated Bivol started his career with six consecutive K.O.’s, his last two fights (before the Smith smash) ended in UD’s.

Against Issac Chilemba (August, 2018) Bivol dominated from start to finish. Two judges gave Bivol every round in the unanimous decision victory.

Last November Jean Pascal also went the distance, but Bivol landed nearly four times as much as Pascal, in another lopsided decision win.

Smith had a loss early in his career, then strung together a streak of fifteen wins before suffering a decision loss to Sullivan Barrera.

Smith got back on track and knocked out his last opponent halfway through the first round.

In Verona last Saturday, he was spoiling for an early upset.

That did not happen.

However he was dangerous throughout; and stunned Bivol with headshots in the 4th and 10th. Bivol remained metered and consistent.

Punch stats said it all: Bivol landed 208 of 714 against Smith’s derisory 39 of 395.

Dimitry Bivol retained his title with a sweeping (118-110 and 119-109, twice) unanimous decision win.

God Bless and Beannachtaí  na Féile Pádraig!

Mark Felicetti suggests you avoid the amateur drinkers on St. Patrick’s Day, and stay home with a loaf of Irish soda bread and a bottle of Bushmills, or perhaps Jameson…depending on your proclivities. Reach Mark at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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