Mexican warrior Jesus Soto-Karass climbed back up the ladder of the welterweight division on Saturday, with an upset victory over tough Turk Selcuk Aydin at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs) delivered perhaps the highlight performance of his career to claim a majority decision verdict with scores of 97-93 (twice) and one judge scoring the bout a rather dubious 95-95. The scorecards did not reflect his dominance however, as he bullied Aydin constantly for the full ten rounds, out-jabbing his opponent and landing hurtful and effective body punches that discouraged the former world-title challenger.
The impressive win keeps Soto-Karass relevant and in line for more significant fights this year. Coming into the bout, the veteran was 2-5 with one no contest in his last eight appearances including stoppage defeats to Gabriel Rosado and Marcos Maidana, and was viewed of something of a gatekeeper having lost on each occasion he had faced top-level opposition.
Aydin (23-2, 17 KOs) was looking to get back to winning ways after his points loss to Robert Guerrero last time out and Karass was the ideal stepping stone to get back into the world title picture. The 29-year-old was fighting for the first time under new trainer Adam Booth, with the Brit expected to add another dimension to the heavy-handed slugger.
As it happened though, an overall more reserved Aydin entered the ring and surprisingly took the back foot in this war of attrition. The defensive style appeared to hinder the Turk as Karass took the fight as the aggressor. Once on the back-foot, Aydin struggled to fend off the naturally bigger man and was dominated from the third round onwards.
The bout was fought at a catchweight of 148lbs but on the night Karass had reportedly re-hydrated to 162. He has campaigned at light middleweight before, but his size along with his imposing style make him a handful for many of the top fighters at welterweight, where he’ll likely remain a solid opponent rather than a title contender, and will struggle to shake off the gatekeeper tag.