Matt Korobov (R) wins a 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Uzcatequi
Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank
By Bill Tibbs
Saturday Night, live on HBO, from the CenturyLink Centre in Omaha, Nebraska Matt Korobov (24-0, 14 KO’s) beat Jose Uzcategui (22-1, 18 KO’s) by 10 round unanimous decision. The strong, relaxed measured skill set was just too much for fellow undefeated middleweight Uzcategui. The fight was a support to the barn burner between Terrance Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa world lightweight title fight in the main event.
Korobov, the world amateur middleweight champion in 2005 and 2007, who turned pro in 2008 after representing Russia at the Olympic games, was looking to deliver and build on the ‘can’t miss prospect’ profile that has long been attached to the former amateur star. Korobov, who is from Orotukan, Russia but resides in St. Petersburg, Florida has done well so far in his 6 year career but is looking for the fight to put him into contender status among the 160 pounders. Korobov battled Uzcategui for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Inter-Continental middleweight title and at times looked very good doing it. He dropped his less experienced foe twice and landed some great body shots in the fight.
At 24-0 as a pro, and a strong amateur pedigree, now is certainly the time for Matt to look at making a move in the division that sees him inching towards a top 10 rating among all the sanctioning bodies, to secure his world title shot. While he doesn’t have the “name” opponent on his resume to secure his place in line for a shot at a world title, a win on a major showcase card like the Gamboa/Crawford title fight on HBO will certainly help build his case that he is someone to keep an eye on in the very near future.
Jose Uzcategui, a Venezuelan who moved to Mexico to advance his career, had exactly the same plans to showcase himself on the card and advance his slot in line for a world title strap. But, it was apparent early on he was in a different league in facing Korobov.
When you have two undefeated fighters, risking their unbeaten ledgers, with both looking to make a move in their division to advance towards a title shot, there was a lot on the line; the stakes were high. A win for either boxer vaults them into world title contention in a talent-rich, exciting division.
The recipe was there for a very intriguing matchup for fight fans and it delivered on the most part. Now with the win, Korobov can look at securing a date with the “name” fighter that will vault him into the world title shot he has been slowly advancing towards.
The price was right on Saturday night. A loss would have been very costly but the win should pay off handsomely in his next fight. For Korobov, it was a step in the right direction but he still may have a little ways to go yet.
As HBO ringside analyst Max Kellerman stated, it was a “good but not great win for Korobov, it wasn’t star making”.
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