Coming off a loss to rough and rowdy Sakio Bika for a "vacant" major world title and defending his regional, North American title, Marco Antonio Periban matches against undefeated former Olympian Badou Jack. It's a meaningful contest in a division that is overflowing with good names.
In round one, Periban working his jab with dedication among his combinations. Periban gets warned for a low blow-it didn't look low to me. Both men committing to the body early on. A sloppy hooking flurry from Periban to the head on a hesitant Jack. Periban edges the round for me. Jack seems cold.
In round two, still competing closely at the start but Periban is more free with his punches and runs away with the round as it goes on. Jack is hesitating more. He's unsure and waiting on Periban, throughout his flurries.
In round three, Periban's getting outworked, and clearly. He can't keep up the pace Periban is setting. Periban is rarely throwing one punch by itself. Very rarely. Periban is not discouraging his output either. There is a headbutt that affects Periban on the cheek, it looks.
In round four, Jack is starting to step it up and step into his punches more in this round. When he lets the punches go, he is good. Periban is still going as before, high volume. He's eaten some nice looking shots in this round though, as Jack is finally taking advantage of the openings more. Both men commit to the body well. Periban is cut above the right eye. This round is close. I'll edge it to Jack. 3-1, in rounds, for Periban. All 10/9 rounds.
In found five, though the pace suits Periban far better, Jack is in this. Close to Periban, but it easily could've gone the other way. I can't help but think some of the steam has come off Periban's punches in this round but he was still landing enough to edge it on my card. 4-1, Periban.
In round six, Periban keeps chugging along, at his own high pace. He never settles into Jack's pace. He never gets lazy. Jack catches him on one good, hard right hand. He just won't sustain his attacks in any way, relative to what Periban has been doing. Periban's offense still flows like water. Temporary excitement when Jack connects with a right and Periban stumbles a bit. I don't think he was hurt, only stumbled. It seems misleading to me but will no doubt convince many scoring the round to give a clear advantage to Jack. Which is fair. The best single punch in the round was still the original right hand I mentioned from Jack, but he was still easily out-hustled. He's simply not mobile enough to avoid all these combinations or throwing enough to meet them. His guard is not enough to block all of this and that guard is his whole defense. He's not getting it done for me. 5-1, Periban.
In round seven, some solid shots from Jack but he won't put them together. He's still not comfortable punching while Periban is putting together combinations and moving. Periban keeps shaking his gloves like a tick. Periban looks like he's now reacting more to Jack's punches than he has but it's not stopping the constant work by Periban and Jack's so flat-footed compared to Periban. His guard is, again, inadequate for Periban's constant stream of combinations. I have to edge it to Periban in still a close enough round, trying to find exactly where quality and quantity separate themselves from each other (think Calzaghe/Hopkins). Again, single shots that are the best looking, the best, perhaps two, were Jack's, but he refuses to let his hands go enough to get the round. Periban is landing. A lot. 6-1, Periban.
In round eight, punch stats have Jack landing more punches through seven than Periban. So, when the punch counters were little, they weren't hanging with Sesame Street's Count von Count, I theorise. They were likely in the dumpster with Oscar. As a result, they stink. Amusingly, Paulie Malignaggi adds "Those numbers aren't necessarily facts."It looks like Periban has a bloody nose now. Periban is moving far less on his feet entering this round and Jack is landing more. His punches do have authority. He's finding the target more inviting. Periban is starting to look bad but the punches keep flowing for him. I do feel Jack has done the better work in this round. Not more work, but the difference in quality of punches is the round, this time, for me. A Jack round. 6-2, Periban.
In round nine, I still have the impression that Periban's feet getting flatter make the fight much more conducive to Jack. He seems to want to do damage now. Jack is landing some good, thudding shots. Jack's jab is really coming off in this stage of the fight, now that Periban is no longer moving particularly well. Jack is finally having more exchanges throwing in combination than one at a time. And it's working so well, it illustrates to me how mistaken he was not to put his foot on the gas just a bit more early on. When he fires, you know the punches are doing damage. You know he can trade with Periban. This is easily Jack's round. 6-3, Periban.
In round ten, Periban's combinations are coming off very weak and ineffective now. He's still throwing them but they're very inaccurate and lack pop. Jack seems to have adjusted well to the more stationary Periban and timed him. Periban fires one of his big body shots, and it looks to stray low, but I don't hear the ref mention it. It didn't seem deliberately dirty so much as a result of arm-weariness. He's worn out from the pace he himself set and Jack is hitting a much softer target as a result. Periban is landing on the gloves a great deal in this round, but all ineffective now. Periban tries to dance a bit but you can tell he's not got the legs anymore. Jack expended so little energy early that he doesn't seem to have any less in the tank than he had to begin the match. Another late Jack round. 6-4, Periban. My card totals 96-94 for Periban.
Outcome: One judge matches my card of 96-94 for Periban. Two judges have it a draw, or 95-95. This means a majority draw, with Periban keeping the North American title.
Summary: Periban, to me, was a fairly dominant frontrunner and Jack a fairly dominant closer in this ten-rounder. However, I have Periban putting away just slightly more in the bank before wearing out than Jack was able to pick up late, considering that it was over ten, instead of twelve. There's no question Periban ended worse, but boxing isn't about who finishes best in a decision fight as the last word. In a distance fight, finishing best isn't guaranteed winning. This was not an ineffective aggression issue early on, as I saw it. Many fans feel differently, as I'm reading real-time on the forums. He landed, damn it. The punches landed for Periban were many and if they weren't impactful, then why did they seem so discouraging to Jack early on?
Jack looks incredulous at the decision. I see nothing outrageous with the cards, considering I said a few of the rounds I gave to Periban were close enough-swing rounds. I don't feel anyone has a right to complain here. It was a good contest and one worthy of a rematch. Periban showed a fine display of a workhorse attitude that suits him despite really causing himself to flag late by overexerting himself a bit and Jack displayed a fine level of precision though he was flawed with waiting on a high volume fighter too much to count on a decision. It was a good fight. I do believe a rematch would test each man's ability to learn and adjust. Those are my two cents anyway. Take it or leave it.
Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing