Chris Martin versus Teon Kennedy, a classic battle

Chris Martin (C) is accompanied by his support staff which includes (L to R) Kimo, Joe Delgadillo, coach Sergio Melendrez and assist. coach Adrian Melendrez.

As forecast, Friday night’s match between the high-caliber boxer, Chris Martin, versus the inside brawler, Teon Kennedy at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, was a gripping fight to the very end. Both top ranked boxers entered the bout coming off the first defeat of their professional careers.


Seeing as this bout meant so much for their careers, there was no stone left unturned in their preparation. Both boxers trained like never before and sought out every possible sparring partner to toughen them up and hone their skills.

Christopher Martin (L) has Teon Kennedy (R) lined up in his sites.

It was one of those matches that puts tremendous pressure on the presiding judges. They have to hate matches like this where there’s a need to be so precise in keeping the punch counts, weighing the velocity and affect of each punch and being ever so vigilant to see if a punch is being blocked by the other man’s glove.

One can only imagine what went through their heads. ‘Please make my job easy. Let there be some kind of an edge, a knockdown would be nice. How about a strong combination of blows, a heavy body shot, a counter that turns the tide. Sitting here alone, I feel so isolated. I’ve got to keep my head clear to run the tally of blows. I can’t be distracted by one of these gorgeous ring card girls with their skimpy outfits and high heels. The even rounds, like that second round, they’re the worst. Why is Martin backpedaling so much? Is he hurt or maybe he’s just setting a trap?

In Round #6, after Chris Martin landed a left hook, Teon Kennedy (R) lost his footing and went down on the canvas. Instead of being considered a knockdown, the referee, Jay Nady, ruled it was a slip.

What made things difficult? On occasion, you would see Martin pinned against the ropes and taking these pitter-patter punches from Kennedy. Kennedy was landing more punches (715 to 555) but Martin’s punches had better leverage and were on the mark more so than the punches thrown by Kennedy.

Martin’s sharpshooting led two of the judges, Dave Moretti and Robert Hoyle, to end up with identical 95-95 scores and thus this ten round super bantamweight bout was declared a majority draw. Judge Al Lefkowitz gave Kennedy full credit for his marshmallow punches and scored the bout 93-97 in favor of Kennedy.

Many felt Kennedy got out to the quicker start and kept the pressure on by throwing punches in bunches when the two were in close quarters. Martin’s style was more patient and he tended to wait for an opening and then quickly shoot in and out with his own barrage of punches. The judges dilemma? Were they going to give Kennedy the round based on his punching volume or were they going to give Martin credit for throwing the more telling blows?

As reported, the judges only agreed on the third and fifth rounds going to Kennedy. Outside of that, the scoring was what you’d call, “a mixed bag.”

In the sixth round, Martin did very well and began to mark up Kennedy’s face. The close fight could have been blown wide open at that point but the referee, Jay Nady, ruled that Martin’s grazing left hook that knocked Kennedy off his feet was merely a slip.

Catching Teon Kennedy of Philadelphia, PA. with a left hook is Chris Martin of San Diego, CA. during their super bantamweight bout on Friday, January 13, 2012 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As is the case, the 10th round had even more action as the two men went toe to toe right up until the bell. When that final bell sounded, both men raised their hands believing they had won.

Fortunately, neither fighter gets hurt by this draw. Martin’s record now goes to (23-1-3), while Kennedy’s goes to (17-1-2).

Midway through the first round, Esteban Almarez (R) hit the canvas courtesy of a Yordenis Urgas' (L) right hand.

In the co-featured bout on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, welterweight Yordenis Ugas (11-0) of Miami by way of Santiago, Cuba remained unbeaten in a one sided decision win over Esteban Almarez. Midway through the first round, Almarez hit the canvas courtesy of a Urgas right hand and was out slugged the rest of the way. The judges’ scores were 79-72, 79-72 and 80-71 in favor of Ugas.

Almarez (10-5) has now lost four of his last five fights.

Jessie Magdalena (R) unloads a straight jab at his opponent, Shawn Nichol (L).

Super bantamweight prospect Jesse Magdaleno (8-0, 5 KOs) had no problem defeating an overmatched Shawn Nichol (5-8) en route to a six round unanimous decision. According to all three judges, Magdaleno won every round.

How much credit should we bestow on Magdaleno for the win? Not all that much, considering this was Nichol’s sixth loss in a row.

Anthony Lenk (R) lands a right cross on the chin of his opponent, Boyd Henley (L).

Anthony Lenk of Las Vegas got himself a first round stoppage over the previously unbeaten Wendel Henley in a scheduled six round lightweight match. As the final seconds of the first round ticked off the clock, Lenk (13-1, 7 KOs) landed a straight left to Henley’s face. As Henley (8-1-1) stumbled backward in an attempt to regain his bearings, Lenk pounced on his dazed foe and tore into Henley until referee Joe Cortez called a halt to the bout at the 2:53 mark. Henley, who is from Kansas City, Missouri, was scheduled to fight for the vacant USA Mid American light welterweight title on March 10, 2012.

Directly after the Martin/Kennedy majority draw, featherweights Gil Garcia (5-2-1) and Gabino Saenz (6-0-1) fought to a draw. It was another crowd pleasing bout that had the patrons cheering. Judges ultimately ruled the bout 58-56 for each fighter with the third judge scoring the bout 57-57.

Angel Flores is seen shadow boxing inside his Las Vegas boxing gym.

Biggest upset of the night: Super lightweight Rohan Wilson (6-5-1) upended Angel Flores (10-5) of Las Vegas. Wilson, who had lost three of his last four and was knocked out by John Trigg (18-36-5) in late August, was able to knock Flores off his feet in each of the first three rounds. The judges scored the bout 38-37, 38-37 and 39-36 all for Wilson.

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