Mariana “Barbie” Juarez (39-7-3, 16 KOs) retained her WBC international belt with a dubious ten round unanimous decision over current WBO flyweight champ “Mighty” Melissa McMorrow (9-4-3, 1 KO) last Saturday night at the Gimnasio Miguel Hidalgo de la Angelopolis in Puebla, Mexico.
The rhythm of the fight was established in the opening stanza. McMorrow, the shorter boxer by five inches, applied the pressure. She bobbed and weaved and fired punches.
Juarez, who was cheered wildly during the pre-fight introductions, used her jab to control distance, but McMorrow’s aggressive style forced her to exchange. She looked frustrated in the second stanza by the constant activity of McMorrow, who landed blows to the head and body.
Juarez worked her jab more effectively in round three. McMorrow, from San Francisco, CA., jumped inside and fired a combination, but Juarez countered with a solid left hook. The fighters traded sharp blows in round four. For the first time in the fight, it was Juarez who was throwing more punches, but two McMorrow overhand rights were enough to win the round.
In round five, McMorrow, 32, kept up her pressing attack. Her work on the inside bothered Juarez, who complained to referee Rocky Burke. McMorrow also showed defensive acumen by dodging most of Juarez’s jabs.
Juarez, 34, railed in round six. A few of her sweeping shots landed. McMorrow, though, kept moving forward. A long right stung Juarez.
The fight was close heading into the home stretch. Juarez found her target with an uppercut. McMorrow countered back with body punches. Her shots weren’t hurting Juarez, but her volume was. Juarez caught McMorrow with a clubbing left in round eight. McMorrow battled back by landing two left hooks.
Juarez struck back with a strong jab. A combination bounced off the face of McMorrow.
Round nine was all McMorrow. She backed “Barbie” into the ropes and fired punches. A number of them landed. Juarez missed with most of her counter shots.
McMorrow brought the heat in round 10.
Juarez landed a two-punch combination, but “Mighty” McMorrow was relentless. She jabbed her way inside and clipped Juarez with scoring blows.
All three judges scored the fight 96-94 for Juarez.
Doghouseboxing saw McMorrow the winner by the same 96-94 score.