Two title fights on one card in Inglewood

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Jorge Linares put his WBA World Lightweight title on the line against Mercito Gesta at the Fabulous Forum recently.

Linares is a solid fighter with good boxing skills.

Gesta (a southpaw from the Philippines) has put together a decent career…by fighting mediocre talent.

Gesta was the aggressor throughout the opening frame.

But he threw wildly. He was off-balance, and never got his weight behind any of his punches.

Linares was content to back away, and land some crisp counterpunches.

Matthysse could smell the blood in the water and closed in for the kill.

Linares took control of the tempo over the next few rounds, and pressed the action.

He remained in command into the middle rounds, picked up the pace, and landed with more authority.

Gesta just got slower and sloppier.

Linares dominated the fight, but seemed to lack a game plan (or the power) needed to put away a lesser talent.

The bout went the distance and the three judges gave Linares a unanimous decision, and by an appropriately large margin (117-111 and 118-110, twice).

Jorge Linares extends his record to 44 and 3, with 27 wins coming by way of knockout.

***

Welterweight Lucas Matthysse has only fought once in the last two years.

He won a controversial decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in April of 2015. It was a bitter battle that was touted as a “Fight of the Year” candidate.

Six months later Lucas stepped into the ring as the favorite against Vikor Postol…and things could not have gone worse.

Maybe Matthysse was fighting too soon after his onerous and punishing bout with Provodnikov. Whatever it was, Matthysse couldn’t get in a rhythm and he had no medicine for Postol’s stiff jabs and longer reach.

Seconds before the end of Round 10, Postol landed a heavy right hand that dropped Lucas.

Matthysse got to his knees, put his glove to his eye, and stayed there through the entire ten-count.

Matthysse had a fractured orbital bone, and had suffered a scratched cornea. He took time off to fully recover.

In June of last year, Lucas looked sharp while collecting two vacant titles in a 5th round TKO victory over talented Emmanuel Taylor.

Matthysse has been spoiling for a big fight. He would love a match with Manny Pacquiao, or even a second chance at Danny Garcia…to avenge a loss in 2013.

Last Saturday Matthysse slid between the ropes to meet undefeated Thai fighter Tewa Kiram.

Kiram has never fought anyone of name or notoriety; this was his first bout in the United States.

Matthysse can’t be faulted for being cautious in the opening frames as he was getting a feel for Kiram’s reach and timing.

Looking at these two on paper, they were nearly identical in height, reach and weight. But looking at them in the ring, Kiram seems markedly larger, with massive calves and impressive shoulder span.

Neither boxer had a high punch output, nor were they landing with significant power.

Matthysse finally broke a sweat in Round 4 as he started to push the action.

Over the next three rounds he began to throw harder, but he still didn’t seem to be anything more than methodic.

Fortunately that changed in Round 8 when Matthysse connected with a spearing jab. He immediately followed with a right hook that put Kiram on his back pockets.

Kiram got up, took the mandatory 8-count, and went back at it.

Matthysse could smell the blood in the water and closed in for the kill.

He landed a spearing left to the brow that sent Kiram south for the second, and last time…it was over.

With the knockout victory, Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KO’s) positions himself a little bit closer to that “big fight”.

God Bless and don’t settle for mediocre.

Mark Felicetti is nothing, if not methodic. Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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