Super featherweight contender Jaime Arboleda 16-1 (13) survived a late-round knockdown to sneak home with a split decision victory over former world title challenger Jayson Veléz 29-6-1 (21) at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Saturday night.
The 12-round slugfest saw more than 1,800-plus punches thrown—including more than 500 landed—with Veléz picking up the action in the championship rounds of the WBA 130-pound eliminator.
Late in the final round Veléz sent Arboleda to the deck for the lone knockdown of the bout.
Judges Bernard Bruni and Eric Marlinski both scored the bout 114-113 for Arboleda while judge Glenn Feldman awarded the bout to Veléz by a score of 115-112.
The 25-year-old Arboleda from Curundu, Panama, was fighting in the US for the third time in his career. He had never been past nine rounds and won his sixth consecutive bout.
“Jayson Veléz is a great fighter and has a great style,” said Arboleda. “He was trying to use that to break me down tonight. Veléz has faced a lot of good fighters and I believe I belong with those fighters.
“I had him hurt badly a few times, but I just got a little bit ahead of myself and didn’t finish.
“It was a clean shot on the knockdown but it happened because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to (do) stylistically and with my footwork. I was a bit tired, but I wasn’t too hurt. I went right back to fighting.”
The 31-year-old Veléz of Juncos, Puerto Rico, said he is determined to come back.
“It was a close fight, but I think I won the fight and it could have gone either way,” Veléz said.
“I think I knocked him down twice but they didn’t count one of them. It’s OK. I showed that I’m a warrior like always. I have six losses now but I’ve never been knocked down.
“I’m still here, and I believe I’ll be world champion someday.”
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