By: Sean Crose
Boxing returned to the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California for the second night in a row Sunday when Aleem Jumakhonov faced off against Maliek Montgomery in a PBC on FS1 card. Things started off with the 5-1 Angel Barrientes battling the 7-8-1 Victor Torres in a scheduled six round super bantamweight affair. Torres tried to get through Barrientes’ considerable height advantage in the first. In the second however, Barrientes began employing pressure of his own.
The left hand of Barrientes allowed him to perform very well in the third. Torres tried coming in behind the jab in the fourth, to limited success. Torres continued to gamely come forward in the fifth. The sixth and final round played out like the previous five, with Barrientes trying to edge the aggressive Torres with his size and strength. Needless to say, Barrientes left the ring with a unanimous decision win.
Next up was a junior welterweight affair, as the 26-12 Jairo Lopez took on the 11-1 Omar Juarez in a scheduled eight rounder. Juarez came out swinging in the first, while Lopez tried to carefully apply pressure. Juarez, however, was able to land well. Lopez continued to fight gamely in the second while Juarez employed patience and foot movement. Lopez resumed his attack in the third, while Juarez tossed off occasional thudding punches. Juarez started having some quite impressive moments in the fourth, employing a speed and power advantage over his foe.
A powerful right in the fifth put down Lopez. The man got up, but he was clearly looking beat up. Still, the gutsy underdog managed to survive the round. The sixth round saw Juarez remain disciplined. This was not a man who was going to exert too much energy in the ring. Lopez continued to earn his pay in the seventh, unwilling to stop pursuing his man. Juarez pursued his opponent in the eight and final round, perhaps looking for a late stoppage or knockout. The judges ended up ruling in Juarez’ favor, giving the man a unanimous decision win.
It was time for the scheduled 10 round featherweight main event. The 9-3-2 Jumakhonov found the 10-0 Montgomery coming right at him with a determined jab. The man’s sharp, disciplined movements were immediately telling in the first. Jumakhonov certainly proved he was game in the second, coming forward to face his man. The third round was an action affair. Montgomery had found a fighter in his grill, determined to win and unwilling to give him space. Montgomery put his man on the ropes in the fourth and banged away to the body. The round ended with both men firing away.
Montgomery employed distance to good effect in the fifth. By the sixth, Montgomery landed well and was trying to end the show, landing furiously on his still game opponent. Yet Montgomery continued to fire back. He may not have been in the same league, but by the seventh it was clear Jumakhonov deserved a lot of credit – for it was a grueling affair.
The fight remained a war in the eighth, but by distancing himself from his opponent at times, Montgomery was able to use the range he created to his advantage. Still, Jumakhonov kept on brawling. In between rounds referee Jack Reese had the ring doctor look at Jumakhonov. The fighter was allowed to continue. To the surprise of everyone, Jumakhonov actually hurt Montgomery at the beginning of the ninth. Montgomery, however, hacked away at his opponent in return. Sure enough, Montgomery unloaded in the tenth – but Jumakhonov simply wouldn’t stop fighting to win. The final seconds were an explosion of violence. The judges ultimately ruled in favor of Montgomery via unanimous decision.
It was some kind of fight.