Elon de Jesus was able to hand the opponent in front of him but was no match for the officials assigned to his latest bout.
The Orlando-based Boricua thoroughly outfought former amateur rival Rajon Chance, only to have to settle for a majority draw in a fight de Jesus very clearly appeared to have won. None of the three judges saw it that way, with Rudy Barragan (57-55) awarding in favor of Chance, while Sergio Caiz (56-56) and Zachary Young (56-56) had it even after six rounds in producing the highly questionable draw Saturday evening at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California.
Referee Jerry Cantu played a major role, calling for a point deduction from de Jesus’ scorecard in round four without a prior warning and also denying a knockout finish for de Jesus after hurting and subsequently flooring Chance in round five.
Chance boxed well early on, though it was clear that his perfect knockout to win ratio was a mirage. The East Orange, New Jersey product lacked the equalizer to keep de Jesus at bay. Chance was the more active boxer through the first two rounds, though momentum would shift in a hurry.
De Jesus found his rhythm in round three, loading up on right hand shots for which Chance had no response. The power punching display offered by the Orlando-based Boricua, who took over the fight at this point while also opening a cut along Chance’s forehead.
At least until referee Jerry Cantu decided to make it a two-on-one effort.
Chance found himself on the canvas and unprotected in round four. The sequence was due to Chance losing his balance and correctly waved off as a slip. Cantu was nowhere to be found to break the action, as de Jesus threw and landed two more punches before the referee intervened.
Time was called, with Chance ordered to go to a neutral corner. de Jesus was in the other corner, expecting to be warned only to learn of a point deducted from his score total.
It was the wakeup call de Jesus needed, going on the attack in round five and badly stunning Chance who turned his back as he winced in pain. A stoppage was warranted, only for Cantu to restrain de Jesus and order Chance to a neutral corner before allowing action to resume. The bout’s lone official knockdown came moments later, as de Jesus connected with a flush right uppercut.
Chance beat the count but complained of blurred vision. Rather than calling for a stoppage, Cantu called time to allow the ringside physician to examine the visually impaired boxer. Action was permitted to resume, with Chance making it to the bell and then spending the entire sixth round on the move, clinching when at close quarters and looking up at the clock in hopes of lasting the distance.
It proved to be a wise strategy, as the judges did their part to keep his unbeaten record intact. Chance is now 5-0-1 (5KOs), going the distance and beyond the third round for the first time. De Jesus is now 3-0-1 (2KOs).
Amed Ali Medina was forced to go the distance for the first time in his young career, much to his dismay both in being denied a shot at a knockout and two more rounds to accomplish the goal.
Los Angeles’ Medina earned a four-round, unanimous decision over Abdul Raheem Abdullah in their featherweight bout. Judges Abe Belardo (40-35), Ralph McKnight (40-35) and Zachary Young (40-35) awarded every round to the 19-year-old Medina, who scored an opening round knockdown and remained in control for the rest of the bout.
Medina set the tone early in the opening round, flooring St. Louis’ Abdullah (4-5, 0KOs) with a right uppercut. Abdullah was able to beat the count and make it to the bell, marking the first time Medina was extended beyond the first round in his young career.
Momentum never shifted in the featherweight bout, though Medina ultimately found himself out of time to close the show to his liking. The bout was originally scheduled for six rounds, though shortened to four—apparently unbeknownst to Medina who was ready to continue fighting in a fifth round that would never arrive.
Instead, Medina—who turned pro this past March—settles for a shutout win in advancing to 4-0 (3KOs).
In addition to being changed from six to four rounds, the bout changed networks at the last minute. Medina-Abdullah aired live on FS2, bumped from FS1 due to a preceding college football game between Ohio State and Tulsa still on the clock by the time the boxing telecast was due to air.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox