Bengal Bouts: 165-pounds — 170-pounds: Matassa outduels Cosse for 165-pound title
By: BRIAN BURKE
Junior Clay "The Mouth of the South" Cosse kept coming at senior Chris "Stay Outta My Business" Matassa and at times it appeared he might overwhelm his opponent in the 165-pound title bouts. The senior was constantly able to supply an answer to Cosse's assaults, however, as Matassa came away with the split decision victory.
Every time that Cosse landed a series of punches that seemed to stun his foe, however, Matassa answered with combinations of his own. The lankier Matassa, who had taken a strategy of waiting for fighters to come to him in earlier bouts, fought Cosse's type of fight, standing inside and trading blows.
Cosse seemed to control the beginning portion of both the first and second rounds, getting Matassa against the ropes and landing hooks. Matassa was able to punch his way out of it each time and finished the rounds strong.
It went back and forth into the third round where Matassa returned to his previous style and countered Cosse when he looked to brawl. Matassa landed enough jabs in the third and avoided getting tangled in the ropes to earn the title.
In a battle of two New Mexico natives, seniors Ryan "The Rhino" Hernandez and Domingo "Lunes" Maynes took about five seconds to circle the ring at the start of round one.
Then the brawl was on.
The bout for the 170-pound title was full of shoving, tangled fighters, headlocks and a warning for just about anything for which a referee can warn a fighter. As was expected, the two fighters stood toe to toe, furiously swinging away, holding each other, sometimes simultaneously.
At one point in the first round, Hernandez was warned for hitting Maynes in the back of the head when Maynes was circling around. At another point, Maynes was late in obeying a break command and was also warned for a low blow.
In the second round, Hernandez moved around some and was able to counter Maynes, but the contest eventually digressed back to one fighter trying to out-punch the other. Hernandez was the taller of the two fighters, and that seemed to give him in advantage in close fighting.
In the end, Hernandez out brawled Maynes in a close fight and won by split decision.
"I knew it was going to be a lot of brawling, definitely wasn't prepared for all the grappling," Hernandez said. "My corner gave me a lot of good advice to throw that straight right and I think throughout that whole thing we may have grappled a lot, but my straight right, I managed to get that off enough. Obviously the judges agreed. [The win] kind of vindicated a lot of my efforts. I had done so much, and to get knocked out so early last year, to come back, it's great."
All Sports Stories for Monday, March 4, 2002