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Lamont Roach gets the short end of 10-round draw against Orlando Cruz

Lamont Roach (left) and Orlando Cruz.
20
Apr

Junior lightweight Lamont Roach may have been cheated out of a victory, but he also learned more about himself than in any of his previous fights.

Roach and Orlando Cruz fought to a 10-round split decision draw Thursday night at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The 22-year-old Roach (16-0-1, 6 knockouts), from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was fighting outside the U.S. for the first time. Despite having lost his previous two bouts, Cruz was the toughest test of the young prospect’s career to date.

Southpaw Cruz dictated the pace early. Roach began pressing the action in the middle rounds, initiating exchanges rather than waiting for counter punching opportunities.



Undaunted, Cruz continued to let his hands go, scoring repeatedly with left hands. Both fighters had their moments in Round 8, prompting cheers from the small crowd in attendance.

Sensing the fight hung in the balance, Roach upped his game in the final two rounds. With a minute remaining in the ninth, he dropped Cruz with a left hook but referee Luis Pabon inexplicably ruled it a slip.

That error cost Roach a split-decision victory. One judge scored the bout 97-93 in his favor, another scored 96-94 for Cruz and the third judge scored the bout even 95-95.

“I think I should have won, but I showed that I was a true champ by going into his backyard,” said Roach after the fight. “We didn’t get the decision we wanted, but that’s boxing. (Washington) DC would be fine with a rematch, but whenever I get back in the ring with him, I’m going to destroy him.”

“The shot I landed in the ninth round should have been a knockdown, but sometimes you get the short end of the stick in the sport of boxing.”

Cruz, who was fighting in his home city, drops to 25-6-2, 13 KOs.

Undercard

In the co-feature, Jose Lopez won a 10-round unanimous decision over Miguel Angel Gonzalez of Mexico.

Scores were 99-91, 98-91, and 97-93 for Lopez, who resides in nearby Carolina.

Both fighters were on the attack early, staying in the pocket and unloading with vicious body shots. However, what many had hoped would be another enthralling chapter in the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry dissolved into a one-side bout where Lopez was in control, consistently beating Gonzalez to the punch.

Lopez worked from the center of the ring, outboxing Gonzalez. Early in the 10th round, Lopez stunned Gonzalez with a right hand. He didn’t follow up, electing to stay at distance until the bell rang to end his night’s work.

Gonzalez (22-4, 19 KOs) has now lost two of his last three bouts.

In the opening bout of the ESPN2/ ESPN Deportes telecast, middleweight Magdiel Cotto won a six-round majority decision over Elie Augustama (6-8, 3 KOs).

One judge scored the bout 57-57, while the other two judges scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Cotto, who goes to 9-0, 7 KOs.

In junior middleweight action, hard-hitting Juan Carlos Abreu (21-3-1, 19 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, dropped Luis Hernandez (16-6, 9 KOs) en route to a 10-round unanimous decision. Scores were 99-90, 98-91, and 97-92.

 

Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing

 

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