Jack beats Groves in title fight
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Badou Jack put George Groves down in the first round Saturday night on his way to winning a 12-round split decision to retain his super middleweight title.
Jack and Groves put on a spirited fight that was still in doubt when it went to the judges’ scorecards. One judge favored Jack 116-111, and another had it 115-112 in favor of the champion, while the third judge favored Groves 114-113.
The fight was on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Andre Berto bout.
Jack, a Swede who lives in Las Vegas, dropped Groves with a pair of right hands in the first round, but Groves got up quickly to finish the round. Groves took the fight to Jack in the middle rounds, and the two were trading punches all the way to the bell in the final round.
“I should have gotten the knockout but I didn’t,” Jack said.
Jack was making the first defense of the WBC 168-pound title he won in April from Anthony Dirrell. He was favored by the ringside punching stats that showed him landing 210 of 506 punches to 154 of 721 for Groves.
Groves was coming off a two-fight winning streak after dropping two fights in his native England to Carl Froch.
“I thought I won the fight decisively,” Groves said. “Losing a world title fight is the worst feeling in the world.”
In another fight, Orlando Salido attacked Roman Martinez from the opening bell, and the two battled to a draw in their junior lightweight title fight.
Salido, who lost a decision to Martinez in April, threw far more punches than Martinez and was the aggressor in the bout. But Martinez landed some hard blows, and was sharp when he had punching room on the outside.
One judge favored Martinez 115-113, while another had Salido winning 115-113. The third judge had it 114-114.