LAS VEGAS – Luis Melendez managed to do enough against a tricky Thomas Mattice to extend his winning streak Friday night.
Judges Chris Migliore, Dave Moretti and Patricia Morse Jarman all favored Melendez by the same score, 77-75, in their eight-round lightweight bout on the Mikaela Mayer-Maiva Hamadouche undercard at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Miami’s Melendez (17-1, 13 KOs) has won 14 fights in a row and beat the best opponent he has faced in three years as a professional.
Cleveland’s Mattice (17-3-1, 13 KOs) is 2-2 in his past four fights, including a 10-round, majority-decision defeat to Mexican contender Isaac Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) in February 2020.
The Melendez-Mattice match seemed to be up for grabs entering the eighth and final round.
Mattice landed a right uppercut barely a minute into the eighth round, but Melendez countered him with a left hook. Mattice made Melendez pay with another straight right hand toward the end of that eighth and final round.
Mattice landed two right hands to Melendez’s head with just under 1:50 on the clock in the seventh round. Melendez came right back, though, with a combination that made Mattice stop punching.
Mattice also landed a right to the top of Melendez’s head with under 10 seconds to go in the seventh round.
Melendez turned Mattice’s head around with a right hand that landed with just under a minute remaining in the sixth round. Mattice connected with a right-left combination during an exchange just before the sixth round ended.
Mattice’s right-left combination to Melendez’s body made Melendez hold him just before the midway mark of the fifth round. Mattice landed a right hand up top with about 40 seconds on the clock in the fifth round and drilled Melendez with another right hand just before the fifth round ended.
Mattice landed a thudding right to Melendez’s body with just over a minute to go in the fourth round. With just under 50 seconds to go in the fourth round, Mattice popped Melendez with a right hand to the middle of his face.
Melendez caught Mattice with a left hook to the body with just over two minutes to go in the third round.
Mattice connected with a left hook with just under 1:20 to go in the second round. Melendez landed a right hand to the side of Mattice’s head that made Mattice hold him with just over 10 seconds on the clock in the second round.
Mattice and Melendez mostly jabbed at each other throughout an uneventful first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.