The IBF Super Featherweight Championship bout between champion Argenis Mendez (21-2-1) and Arash Usmanee (20-1-1) came to an anticlimactic ending on Friday night at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y. as the two fought to a majority draw.
Douglass Fischer of Ring TV tweeted out the scorecards:
From the very outset of the title fight it was clear that the champion wasn't going to have an easy title defense. Usmanee came to fight and showed that if he was going to go down, he was going out on his shield.
Fischer of Ring TV noted the challenger's strong start thanks to his aggression:
Mendez was rarely the aggressor, but he was content to take advantage of the openings he saw in Usmanee's defense. Mendez utilized counterpunching to keep up with Usmanee's pace. As one would guess from the final result, the rounds were not always easy to score.
Throughout the first five rounds, Usmanee's pressure was forcing Mendez to defend constantly. The champion was still countering with effectiveness, but not enough, according to those judging the bout at ringside. Doug Crego praised Usmanee's pressure:
As the fight wore on, Mendez's advantage in sheer skill began to shine more brightly. He consistently tagged Usmanee with clean combinations as the challenger continued to plod forward with little effect. Fischer pointed out the change in momentum:
Even with the loss of momentum, Usmanee showed a ton of heart by keeping the pressure on the champion and making him pay when he dropped his hands. Even in the 12th round, the two were exchanging combinations as the final bell rang out.
The televised bout served as the season finale to ESPN's Friday Night Fights series. Fans can only hope that a potential rematch will also be seen on free television, because it was certainly an interesting clash of styles.