David Benavidez had to work hard against rugged Francy Ntetu, who hung tough until the ref stepped in, to the dismay of folks enjoying a solid clash, during round seven.
The crowd at Barclays Center hooted hard the call and promoter Lou Dibella was in WTF mode.
The ref Shada Murdaugh saw B land a right, and the loser grab and then halted it. I spoke to him after. He told me he was acting on advice of the ring doc, who told him before the final round that he should halt it after one big shot. “I acted on advice of the Doctor, Mike,” he said.
Benavidez, age 19, from Long Beach, CA, entered at 14-0, while the Canadian Ntetu was 16-0.
In the first, Benavidez started cracking right away. The crowd knew his power was real deal. In the second, Ntetu was backing up quicker. He hooked to the body but couldn't keep B off of him. Then he pressed, late in the round, keeping at the body. Solid two way action to this point.
To the third…B stalked, tall, looming and blasting. He ate a few counters, barely blinked, and we moved into the fifth with B building up a points lead. We saw him rip power, not set up with the jab too, too much. A left hook late in five looked like it smarted, but Ntetu, born in the Congo, hung tough. By six, his left hand hung low, his right eye puffed, but his chin held. The seventh started with trading. B was landing right crosses, but Ntetu hanging in. Then the ref did his thing…