Litzau beats Juarez by technical decision
LAS VEGAS — Jason Litzau pulled out the biggest victory of his career on the Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones Jr. undercard with the help of a cut on Saturday.
The junior lightweight contender had a narrow lead over Rocky Juarez when he suffered a cut below his left eye as a result of an accidental head butt and couldn’t go on, which sent the fight to the scorecards and gave Litzau a victory after seven rounds.
The St. Paul, Minn., fighter, leading 68-65, 67-66 and 67-66, took a solid step toward a chance to fight for a 130-pound title even though his performance was more tactical than exciting.
“This is the biggest victory of my career,” Litzau said. “Rocky is a true champion. ÔÇª Me and Rocky gave them a helluva show. I felt like I had another 10 rounds I me. I was so calm. I was relaxed on the inside. I was going to turn it up in the later rounds. I knew Rocky was coming.”
Litzau (27-2, 21 knockouts) has now won four consecutive fights since he was stopped by Roberto Guerrero in eight rounds in 2008.
Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs) is a 2000 U.S. Olympian who hasn’t quite lived up to his promise. The Houston product has lost five fights for major titles, although three of them were close. He’s 5-6-1 in his las 12 fights.
Juarez said the cut was the result of a punch, not a head butt.
“The cut was by a short left hook,” he said. “By saying it was an accidental head butt, I was disappointed. ÔÇª I knew I was eventually going to catch him.”
What does the future hold for Juarez?
“It all depends on who they throw against me,” he said. “If they are going to use me as a stepping stone, I don’t care as long as they put me in with big-name fighters. I have never ducked a fighter.”
In other undercard fights, Sergio Mora bounced back nicely from a 19-month layoff, stopping game, but overmatched journeyman Calvin Green 1:50 into the eighth round of a super middleweight bout.
Mora (22-1-1, 6 KOs) had to contend with the aggression of his determined opponent but got the better of most exchanges, landing dozens of hard, punishing shots that ultimately prompted referee to Russell Mora (no relation) to stop it.
Mora won all but one round on one card.
The Los Angeles resident made a name for himself on The Contender and by beating Vernon Forrest in a junior middleweight title fight but hadn’t fought since Forrest easily regained his belt in August.
Green (21-5-1, 13 KOs) is from Baytown, Texas.
And, in the first televised bout, Southern California-based Ukrainian prospect Ismayl Sullakh (12-0, 11 KOs) continued to plow through his opponents, this time stopped veteran Daniel Judah (23-5-3, 10 KOs) 49 seconds into the second round of a light heavyweight bout.
Sullakh dropped and hurt the former contender from Brooklyn, N.Y., twice in the second round before referee Vic Drakulich stopped the one-sided fight.
“I was not surprised to knock him out so early,” Sullakh said. “I told you I’d knock him out. I was looking to go to the body because he was holding his hands to his face. Then he dropped his hands and I hit him with my favorite punch, the right cross.
“I need more and better opponents. I’m ready to be world champion.”
Sullakh has stopped eight of his 12 opponents within two rounds.