Jason Sosa outpoints Stephen Smith in a war
In what proved to be a thrilling battle of junior lightweights, American power-puncher Jason Sosa scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Stephen Smith at the Salle de Etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday. The official scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 116-112.
Sosa, who is rated No. 10 by THE RING at 130 pounds, was awarded a knockdown in Round 2, although video replay suggested that feet were tangled during a messy exchange. However, the New Jersey native did plenty of genuine damage in a brutal encounter.
“I paid the price for a bad start,” said Smith when interviewed by Sky Sports in the U.K. “I’ve got no excuses and the better man won. I still feel that I have a lot left to give and I think you’ve still to see the best of me.”
The action was high-tempo from the first bell. Sosa went on the attack with varied assaults and displayed no respect whatsoever for Smith’s hitting power. The American used quick feet to close the gap and his power shots and aggression were decisive during the early rounds.
Smith was cut badly near the right eye in the third and was shipping a lot of punishment at ring center and against the ropes. He was not being given the time or the distance to use his skills and Sosa proved to be a lot more than just a heavy-handed aggressor.
The Englishman gave up trying to box and started winging in the fourth. That approach worked and he had some success. The problem was that Sosa walked through every shot that came his way. A brace of right hands made him pause momentarily and Smith also worked well to the mid-section but normal service soon resumed.
Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) lost a bit of accuracy and his aggression was tempered somewhat in the late rounds but he had the security of a big lead. Smith, bleeding heavily, gave it absolutely everything he had down the stretch but the former British and Commonwealth champion just didn’t have the punch to turn the fight around.
It was a solid performance from Sosa who was coming off an 11th-round stoppage of Javier Fortuna in June.
- Editor’s note: Sosa was defending a version of the WBA junior lightweight title that is unrecognized by THE RING. Jezreel Corrales is the WBA titleholder at 130 pounds.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
Struggling to locate a copy of RING magazine? Try here or…
You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: Double Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. The U.K. Issue featuring cover star Carl Frampton is available now.