Interim WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo 28-0 (21) had a big scare against late sub Matt Korobov 28-2 (14) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old from Houston, Texas needed a late surge to secure the hard-fought points victory over the 35-year-old Russian southpaw, who was having just his second fight in as many years. The fight appeared much closer than the judges’ official scorecards of 116-112, 116-112 and 119-108.
Korobov was called up from the bullpen when original opponent Willie Monroe Jr withdrew after testing positive to a banned substance under VADA anti-doping protocols.
“I used everything that happened tonight as motivation in the 12th round,” said Charlo.
“I haven’t been that far in a fight in a couple of years. It felt good to be in there, get hit and bang with someone. He was an experienced guy who will make me better.”
More than a few pundits felt that Korobov had won. Unsurprisingly, Korobov was one of them.
“I thought that I won the fight,” he said Korobov. “It was definitely a fight that could have gone either way, but I believe the people know that I won.
“I’m the most avoided fighter in boxing and I showed why tonight. I hope this performance will get me another title fight.”
Earlier in the night WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo 31-1 (15) was upset by Tony Harrison 28-2 (21) who claimed a surprise 12-round points victory by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112.
Charlo was the aggressor for much of the bout while Harrison used an educated jab to control the distance and score points in what many saw as a controversial decision.
In other results heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale 20-1 (18) knocked out Carlos Negron 20-2 (16) in the ninth round of a scheduled 10 round bout.
Former IBF lightweight champion and now junior welterweight contender Rances Barthelemy 27-1 (14) bowled over journeyman Robert Frankel 36-20-1 (8) in the third round of a 10-round contest.