(Yakubu Amidu, left, Juan Carlos Burgos, right; via)
Top junior lightweight contender Juan Carlos Burgos was taking what had the air beforehand of a stay-busy affair on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights, yet ended up nothing like it against his short-notice opponent Yakubu Amidu.
After the naturally larger, relentless Amidu took the fight to Burgos for 12 rounds, Burgos escaped with a split draw thanks to his experience in championship rounds of a fight that accomplished a couple things: we learned that Amidu is worth paying attention to whenever he fights next; we discovered that Burgos ought to stay away from 135 pounds; and we got some swell, unexpected action.
One judge scored it 116-112 for Burgos, another scored it the opposite and the third had it 114-114. I saw it the way the third did. Burgos was in control to start, although Amidu was landing some hard shots on occasion. By the 3rd, it had become a seesaw affair, with almost all of the rounds close — Burgos would box reasonably well and throw more punches for the majority of the round, then Amidu would storm back over the last minute after cornering Burgos and tattooing him along the ropes. Burgos showed stretches of using his jab, his length and his legs, but Amidu wouldn't leave him alone and wouldn't back down from any of Burgos' power shots.
Burgos might have been fading under Amidu's pressure, but he found a new gear in the 11th, when he backed Amidu up with some nasty punches that would've hurt most junior lightweights. But Amidu was the prototypical tough Ghanaian. How an Amidu who was fighting on two weeks notice and did this well against a serious contender lost to the primitive Ji-Hoon Kim boggles the mind. Anyway, Burgos was in charge most of the 12th round, too, although they slugged it out in the seconds before the final bell.
On the undercard, lightweight Miguel Gonzalez stopped Josenilson Dos Santos in the 8th round. It was a bout where many of the rounds were competitive but Gonzalez won them all. In the 8th he landed a right to the head that got Dos Santos turned around and Gonzalez capitalized with a hard left to the body that literally made Dos Santos run away. As Dos Santos slunk into the corner, a pursuing Gonzalez landed on top of him like a wrestler coming off the top rope. It didn't matter, because Dos Santos didn't want any more. Gonzalez lost to Mike Dallas, Jr. two fights ago, then bounced back with a win over semi-faded former contender Miguel Acosta. I'm not convinced he'll arrive at "contender" himself, but Gonzalez fought well and in an appealing style Friday.