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Butt, draw ends Martirosyan's night

Boxing: Undefeated Glendale fighter is opened up by head butt; fight is scored a draw.

November 10, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk

LAS VEGAS — Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara's rivalry started as a war of words and, unfortunately for the aspirations of both fighters and fans in attendance at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas Saturday night, the first meeting between the two rising light middleweight stars ended as little more.

The anticlimax of the HBO "Boxing After Dark" World Boxing Council light middleweight title eliminator saw both fighters trading insults, barbs and boasts through a microphone, over a chorus of boos, of what they would have done if only the main-event fight had been allowed to run its 12-round course.

That ceased to be a possibility when Martirosyan's left eye was split wide open by an accidental head butt from the Cuban southpaw with 29 seconds elapsed in the ninth round and the decision went to the judges' score cards. The development was met with no small voice of displeasure from the crowd, but that reaction paled in comparison to the collective groan that went up when a technical draw was announced.

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"I feel great," Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 KOs), a Glendale resident, told HBO interviewer Max Kellerman in the ring following the decision. "It sucks about the head butt. Our plan was to come on later on because he gets tired. The last round I kind of took off and wanted to finish strong, but unfortunately the head butt happened."

In addition to providing Martirosyan with the first blemish on his pro record, and furthering Lara's reputation as a fighter who can't get the benefit of the doubt from the judges when a big fight is on the line, there is now no clear No. 1 contender for the WBC belt held by Saul Alvarez, who was mandated by the WBC to fight the winner of Saturday's fight.

Both fighters expressed a desire for a prompt rematch.

"One-hundred percent," Martirosyan said of fighting Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs) again. "As soon as the stitches come out, I'm going to rematch."

Judge Jerry Roth scored the fight, 86-85, in favor of Martirosyan, Ricardo Ocasio had it 87-84 for Lara and Dave Moretti failed to break the deadlock when he called it an even draw. The News-Press had the fight scored 76-76 in favor of Martirosyan heading into the ninth round.

"We can continue it right now," Lara said to Kellerman. "In the final few rounds, I was going to hit him and he was going down."

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