Former world title challenger Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas 22-1-1 (18) has called for a rematch with undefeated WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 36-0 (27) following his eighth-round knockout win over Mikael Zewski 34-2 (23) at the ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old Lithuanian who fights out of Oxnard, California recovered from a slow start to drop Canadian Zewski, 31, with a combination just before the bell to end the seventh round.
Never one to let an opponent off the hook, Kavaliauskas swarmed Zewski at the start of the eighth, landing a right hand around the guard of his less experienced opponent and following up with a flurry of blows that put him down again.
Referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight at the 0:07 mark.
Judges Tim Cheatham and Patricia Morse Jarman both had Zewski leading 67-65 at the time of the stoppage, while judge Steve Weisfeld had Kavaliauskas ahead by the same score.
“I was controlling the fight. I was never in danger. I was never hurt,” Kavaliauskas said.
“I wanted to knock him out faster, but it happened this way. You can never count on the knockout. I was working. I was putting pressure on him. I saw him slowing down round by round. I saw him getting weaker and weaker. I was just blocking his punches and not feeling his power.
“I don’t think Crawford has any other choices at welterweight. I can ask his team, with all due respect, to give me a rematch because these guys have no opponents yet.”
Kavaliauskas’ jab seemed to be the difference in the fight. According to CompuBox, he outlanded Zewski in five of the seven completed rounds and outthrew him with the left stick 254 to 180 with a connect rate of 29% compared to 21%.
In the main support bout former world title contender Joet Gonzalez 24-1 (14) got back in the win column with a clear-cut 10-round unanimous decision win over Miguel Marriaga 29-4 (25).
The 26-year-old Californian was coming off a one-sided loss to Shakur Stevenson for the vacant WBO featherweight title last October.
Colombian Marriaga, 33, had only ever lost to world champions Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oscar Valdez and Nicholas Walter in the past.
Marriaga was competitive early, but Gonzalez was in full control by the middle rounds and dominated the fight in the back half of the fight.
Judge Lisa Giampa had the fight 97-93, while judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld both had it 99-91.
A cut below Gonzalez’s right eye didn’t in the ninth didn’t dissuade him from finishing the fight strong.
“It was what I expected. He was a tough guy,” said Gonzalez after the fight. “He’s been in there with three world champions.
“He tried to make a last run for it, so I expected the best Marriaga because he knows his time was cut short. I expected the best Marriaga, and he put up a good fight.”
Gonzalez believes the victory should put him back in line for another world title shot.
“This puts me back in the position I want to be. I wanted to be back in with tough guys,” he said.
“I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my team at Golden Boy that I didn’t want no tune-up fights. I wanted to show people that I could compete with the top guys and be in with heavy hitters and boxers and compete for another title real soon.
“I want another world title shot. I think I’ve earned it.”