Look no further for Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s heir apparent.
Knockout CP Freshmart (13-0, 6 KOs) did his best to emulate the former pound-for-pound kingpin early Wednesday morning with the worst case of illegal holding in Strawweight championship history, defeating Byron Rojas (17-3-3, 8 KOs) by unanimous decision in front of a partisan crowd in Thailand to unify a pair of the WBA belts.
Both men ranked near the top, if not at the very top, of the shallow 105-pound division. Freshmart last beat wunderkind Carlos Buitrago (for the second time) in February, nearly shutting out the Nicaraguan over 12 rounds. Rojas, also hailing from Nicaragua, was just as impressive a month later, outworking the No. 1 straw in the world Hekkie Budler for a points win of his own.
This fight started off just as promising. Scraps at this weight usually are. Freshmart had different plans though.
Rojas charged out of the gate in Round 1. He dug into his opponent’s midsection with venom. Freshmart answered back in the second stanza—despite a cut left eye from a clash of heads. This included a surprising amount of body work from him. Surely more than he typically throws.
But then he decided to stop fighting. The Thai wrapped up Rojas for nearly every second of the fight.
Referee Mark Nelson, of Minnesota, didn’t bother to say a thing about it for the remainder of the 12-round contest. Nelson must have enjoyed the task of prying Freshmart off of Rojas because he was putting in more work than the two boxers. Especially in Round 6 where hardly a single punch was landed, the action hindered by constant hugging.
It was the same story for the final half of the fight. Rojas would try his damnest to flurry punches into his foe before being wrapped up and barreled into the ropes.
In the spare moments of separation, the Thai only managed to land innocuous-looking up jabs. He was eager to tangle his man back up like an exhausted, desperate lover.
Rojas was visibly frustrated. As viewers from home and around Twitter were.
But Nelson was content to keep the charade up.
Each of the three judges turned in scores of 115-113. but there were no true winners in this bout.
Boxing faithful celebrated the prospect of this fight. For once, they were treated to a proper fight between two men at the highest tier of their division. As always, they were let down.
Freshmart was the culprit this time, disgracing the sport that’s given him so much.