In the main event, Danny Garcia seemed to have easily outpointed Jose Benavidez in his return from an eighteen-month layoff before a decision that was surprisingly close on the scorecards.
My score was 119-109 for Garcia, which seemed to be close to how most watchers saw the fight but the actual judges scored Garcia a much closer winner at 117-111, 116-112, and a downright nutty 114-114.
Garcia looked sharp and even though he never hurt Benavidez, he outboxed him and was far too skilled for the much slower fighter, who was relegated to the occasional counter right hand for his only success against Garcia.
How much of Garcia's outing was due to his layoff to recharge his batteries or was it that the once-promising Benavidez simply has been unable to recover his ability from a gunshot wound that damaged his leg, won't be known until his next outing, which could be against former WBC junior middleweight champion Tony Harrison, who was mentioned during the fight, or against former welterweight champion Keith Thurman, who handed Garcia his first defeat via split decision in 2017 and was mentioned by Garcia at the post-fight press conference as his next fight.
The co-feature was expected to be an action fight and it lived up to those thoughts as Turkey's Ali Eren Demirezen handed Adam Kownacki his third defeat in a row and hopefully will make Kownacki consider retirement.
Demirezen controlled the second half of the fight, wearing down Kownacki as he cut him over the left eye.
Demirezen will likely slide into a title eliminator soon and could win should he be paired with someone that will stand and trade with him but anyone with movement will give the former Olympian major issues.
The best and most controversial fight of the evening was the opener when junior welterweight contender Gary Antuanne Russell was receiving all that he wanted from former IBF junior lightweight and lightweight champion Rances Barthelemy before a very questionable sixth-round stoppage by referee Shada Murdaugh.
Barthelemy isn't known for his thrilling contests or for engaging in toe to toe action but the Cuban did both in this one as he stung Russell in both the first and fourth rounds and led on my card after five rounds 48-47.
Russell was leading on all three official cards though and crunched Barthelemy with a leaping left hook in the sixth to send him to the canvas.
Barthelemy immediately rose and didn't stagger around like a hurt fighter yet referee Murdaugh called off the fight, robbing Russell of a possible convincing win, Barthelemy a chance to ride out the storm, and viewers of a surprisingly entertaining battle.
A rematch would seem to be in order, and even though Russell may have been solving Barthelemy's style, I'm not sure I'd be interested if I handled Russell.
I might figure that my fighter showed heart, ring smarts, and learned some things against a good opponent and move on to bigger things but PBC isn't loaded in the junior welterweight division, although the promotion will have the recently vacated WBA title in their stable with the paper championship being filled next month and the winner of Batyr Akhmedov-Alberto Puello (Akhmedov is a solid favorite in my opinion) could be in the future for Russell.
TRS: 137 Pts (4)
Ramon Malpica: 115 Pts (2)
Vince Samano:111 Pts (2)