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Demetrius Andrade looked superb while handling Artur Akavov in a rather one-sided fashion, but the ending wasn’t free of controversy.
Andrade improved to 27-0 with his 17th professional knockout Friday night at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, which was the main event of the latest boxing event on DAZN. “Boo Boo” used superb boxing skills to nullify most of what Akavov threw at him and the American countered beautifully throughout. The Rhode Island fighter was in total control from beginning to end in a 12-round affair and a victory was essentially an inevitability.
But in the final round of the WBO middleweight championship bout, things turned ugly.
With little time remaining in the stanza, Andrade landed a solid punch to the Russian’s head. Out of nowhere, with Akavov (19-3, 8 KOs) showing no ill effects of the punch, veteran referee Arthur Mercante Jr. intervened and waived off the battle. As expected, Akavov vehemently protested, as did his promoter Lou DiBella. The DAZN commentary team soundly criticized the stoppage, but the ref’s call was final; a TKO win for Andrade was awarded with 24 seconds left, allowing him to retain his title.
The co-featured bout was a shocker as Pablo Cesar Cano scored a stunning first-round knockout over former three-division world champion Jorge Linares. Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs) came out swinging with reckless abandon and dropped the Venezuelan with a right to the head. Linares (45-5, 28 KOs) rose to his feet and dove right into Cano, forcing a wild toe-to-toe exchange. Cano blasted his foe with another right to the jaw, dropping him again. Linares struggled to his feet and tried engaging the Mexican again but was felled for a third time. Surprisingly, the referee let him continue but after he swallowed a few follow-up punches, the third man called it off, ending the junior welterweight brawl at the 2:48 mark.
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