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Sean McComb ‘robbed’ of famous win in New York

Sean McComb appeared to be robbed of one of the great wins in modern-day boxing in New York on Saturday night.

The Belfast southpaw made a mockery of the odds as he outboxed 1-10 favourite Arnold Barboza jr at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, and at first glance appeared to do so with ease and in style.

The Pete Taylor-trained 31-year-old seemed to take his big opportunity with both gloved hands but was the victim of a horrible 92-98, 96-94, 97-93 scorecard.

It looked as it would be as McComb predicted a ‘Rocky Balboa’ moment although not achieved in Rocky style.

McComb had too much by way of skill, movement, and ring generalship for a fighter being linked to huge names throughout fight week.

The Public Nuisance proved a puglistic nuisance frustrating the previously undefeated fighter to the point he made him look ordinary, although two of the three judges didn’t see it that way and felt he hadn’t won the fight.

The crowd in the venue, the commentators, and many respected ringside disagreed – particularly with the 97-93 in Barboza’s favour – but it’s not their opinions that matter.

McComb certainly didn’t look overawed by the occasion in the first and started the better of the two. He was busy across the opening three minutes and it was clear Barboza was struggling to figure him out. The Holy Trinty graduates movement, fast hand varied attacks also bemused the Amercian and won the Irish fighter the round.

The second was more competitive as the California native closed the space and worked the body. It was an approach that made McComb work at a higher pace but work he did, letting combinations go before moving off.

The work rate, fast hands and angles continued into round three with marks appearing under the World #9’s eyes. There was little by way of power from the Belfast man and the home corner was banking on him slowing down but he was winning rounds.

The Public Nuisance looked well in control through four, with Barboza void of ideas and disheartened, particularly when McComb showed an inside game on the occasions when the American did manage to momentarily pin him down.

The southpaw hit the halfway mark looking more than comfortable, finding the perfect distance to pick off the Californian. It was relaxed, controlled, and confident as the Belfast fighter’s class shone through. Granted he wasn’t always the aggressor nor did he ever really have Barboza hurt but he appeared to be winning the majority of the rounds.

What was meant to be a showcase fight for the Golden Boy fighter was fast becoming a shocker and, by the end of the sixth, it looked like Barboza was entering ‘need a knockout’ territory.

Barboza stood off a little in the seventh inviting McComb to come to him it led to him landing some solid shots in what was probably the red-corner fighter’s best stanza.

Although hopes of a Barboza revival were dead by the end of the eighth, as McComb seemingly frustrated the fight out of the pre-bout favourite, controlling the pace and peppering from a distance that suited him.

Going into the ninth Pete Taylor called for ‘The Public Nuisance’ to keep moving so as to not afford Barboza a chance to get back into the fight. He did as instructed – but going by the cards we learnt of later, they were rounds he should have been chasing, not managing.

The general consensus at the final bell was McComb had won – many in Ireland claimed clearly, the neutral had it a bit closer, but very few had it the way of the judges.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years