Pay-per-view action also saw the hard-hitting Roiman Villa (26-1, 24 KOs) storm back on the scorecards by dropping the previously unbeaten Rashidi Ellis (24-1, 15 KOs) twice in the 12th and final round to win a thrilling majority decision in their IBF Welterweight Title Eliminator.
One judge scored the fight 113-113, but was overruled by two 114-112 tallies in favor of Villa.
Down on two cards entering the final round, a relentless Villa broke through against a tiring Ellis and landed a bruising left hook that sent Ellis down early in the 12th.
Ellis worked valiantly to stay on his feet and see the final bell, but suffered a second knockdown with 30 seconds left in the fight.
“He was a tough fighter,” said Villa. “He moved a lot. He does hit hard. The first couple rounds I was a little tight but then I got loose.
“I was on top of him from the first round. I know that fighters such as him who are quick sooner or later will get a little tired and that’s what I took advantage of.”
After Ellis won the first five rounds on all three cards, Villa began to gain momentum through the middle frames and swept the final four, including the fight-changing 12th.
While Ellis out-jabbed Villa by a staggering 164 to 13 margin, the power punch disparity was just 103 to 101 in favor of Ellis. In round nine through 12, Villa held a 58 to 24 lead in power punches landed.
The bout was contested at close quarters throughout, with Villa pressing the action while Ellis was content to sit back and fire counters. Included in those counters were a consistent effort to target Villa’s body, as he held a 53 to 10 edge in body shots.
“My corner told me to knock him down in the 12th round,” said Villa. “I couldn’t do it on the first try but I kept going. I thought he just fell on the last knockdown so I wasn’t sure if it was a knockdown. But if they want the rematch we’ll give them the rematch.”
Following the judges’ ruling, Ellis stated his belief that he had won the fight and his desire for an immediate rematch.
“I want the rematch right away,” said Ellis. “I thought I was dictating the fight. I don’t know what happened. I totally disagree with the decision. I was winning most of the rounds. Yeah, he had the knockdown but other than that I was winning most of the rounds.”
Preceding the pay-per-view, SHOWTIME PPV COUNTDOWN streamed live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and was topped by sensational prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs) scoring a fourth-round knockout of Omar Rosales (9-2-1, 5 KOs).
Mielnicki’s onslaught came late in round three, as a series of power punches sent Rosales into the ropes late in the frame. Early in round four, Mielnicki’s attack forced Rosales’ corner to throw in the towel, with referee David Braslow waving off the fight 26 seconds into the round.