Junior welterweights Alex Saucedo and Arnold Barboza Jr. went to war. They were the co-main event to Lomachenk vs. Lopez and didn’t disappoint.
As the co-main event to Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez, junior welterweights Alex Saucedo and Arnold Barboza Jr. went to work and primed viewers with a thrilling battle. Both men came to fight, but there can only be one winner.
Barboza (25-0, 10KOs) had his hand raised at the end of the night despite Saucedo’s best effort.
Barboza vs. Saucedo featured a brawling power puncher in Saucedo against the fleet-footed boxer in Barboza. Even though Barboza is known for his slick skill, he stood toe to toe with Saucedo for most of the night. He showed a new dimension to his boxing game as he outboxed the more experienced Saucedo.
Saucedo (30-2, 19 KOs) controlled the action for the first two rounds. He pressured Barboza, who confusingly tried to operate out of the southpaw stance despite being an orthodox fighter. It proved to be a mistake as Saucedo caught him with heavy left hooks.
Barboza got the hint and switched to orthodox, where he remained from the third round on. He found his groove and used his faster, more accurate hands to pile up points against Saucedo.
Arnold Barboza Jr. raised his game against Alex Saucedo and proved he’s a contender in the junior welterweight division
Drama struck in round seven. Saucedo caught Barboza out of position and sent him to the canvas with a pushing left hook. The referee ruled it a slip, but between rounds, referees outside the ring reviewed the footage and reclassified the slip as a knockdown giving Saucedo much-needed points. Nevada is one of the few states that has an instant replay rule for reviewing knockdowns.
Barboza regained his composure and boxed well for the remainder of the bout. Saucedo looked good, but Barboza was even better. Saucedo lacked defense. He told FanSided days before the fight that he spent a lot of time retooling his defensive skills with his trainers, but he rarely moved his head and made an easy target for Barboza.
The judges scored the fight 96-93, and two scores of 97-92 all for Barboza. It was an exciting fight, but Barboza’s skills overpowered Saucedo’s best punches. It will be interesting to see who’s next for the talented Barboza.