They planned to stand toe-to-toe. That Monty Meza-Clay and Emmanuel Lucero also saw eye-to-eye made for an entertaining main event at Rivers Rumble 3.
Similar in stature and style, the diminutive super featerweights put on a show for eight rounds before Rankin’s Meza-Clay scored a majority decision Saturday night at Rivers Casino amphitheatre on the North Shore.
“This is the first time I fought a guy similar to my style and size,” said Lucero, 33, of Mexico City. “I think it makes better fights and gives people what they paid for.”
Where judge Phil Rogers scored it even at 76-76, the cards of judges Dana DiPaolo (78-74) and George Kachulis (77-75) favored Meza-Clay, who improved to 33-3.
It was the sixth consecutive loss for Lucero (26-12-1), whose resumé includes a loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2003.
Lucero took control in the second round and had Meza-Clay on the ropes in the third, landing repeated right hooks. Meza-Clay started working the body in the fourth and appeared to gain momentum but couldn’t stop Lucero.
“I had him hurt, then he started slipping all my punches,” Meza-Clay said. “That’s what came to mind, that he’s a mirror image with his slipping and dipping, bobbing-and-weaving game.”
Meza-Clay was at his best in the fifth, landing a pair of left hooks to the head. In the seventh, Meza-Clay drew blood, using a right hook to open a gash near Lucero’s left temple.
“I like fights like that,” Meza-Clay said. “I could have shined. Styles make fights, but I should’ve been able to knock him out.”
On the undercard, Monessen welterweight Sammy Vasquez Jr. (4-0) used a sharp right jab and wicked left cross to score a unanimous four-round decision over Anthony Willis (1-1-1) of Battle Creek, Mich. Also, Lennox Allen of New York City scored a TKO of Chicago’s Michael Walker in a super middleweight bout.
Light heavyweight Jaque Lutz (5-0-1) survived a third-round knockdown by Steve Tyner (3-5-2) of Albany, N.Y., for a four-round draw. Super lightweights Billy Hutchinson of Sheraden and Curtis Morton of Myrtle Beach, S.C., fought to a four-round draw.
In a battle of West Virginia heavyweights, Clarksburg’s Dan Martz scored a TKO of Charleston’s Jon Hill at 2:37 of the third round. In an amateur heavyweight bout, A.J. Materna of Canton, Ohio, scored a first-round knockout of Monaca’s Josh Himes.
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7812.