Steve Cunningham failed in his attempt to regain the IBF Cruiserweight Title from Yoan Pablo Hernandez losing by unanimous points decision.
Cunningham also failed to learn from his mistakes in the last fight and underestimated the power of the Cuban champion.
After a bright start, Cunningham was knocked down twice in the fourth round, and it looked very likely that the bout would be stopped. Hernandez caught Cunningham with a hard left for the first knock down, but the American was able to rise on very unsteady legs.
Hernandez moved in on Cunningham with several power shots, and, although Cunningham hit the ground once more, he was just able to rise up and hang on till the end of the round.
As in the first fight, Cunningham was able to regain his senses quickly, and Hernandez was unable to finish the job off.
Although a bloody mess at the beginning of the fifth round, Cunningham showed a great deal of courage and fought back hard for the remainder of the fight. Hernandez still retained his respect for Cunningham and boxed defensively until the final bell.
The final round was the best of the fight: nothing but toe-to-toe action with both fighters believing the scores to be close.
Many ringside felt Hernandez had done enough to win, and the fight was scored widely in favour of the Cuban reading 116-110, 116-110 and 115-111.
Hernandez showed his credentials and should be looking at challenging other top names in the division to prove he is the true champion at the weight. Fights against Guillermo Jones and Antonio Tarver would be good matchups.
As well as winning the IBF Cruiserweight Title, Hernandez was also awarded the vacant Ring Magazine title.
Although Cunningham said he would not retire in the post-fight interviews, he will need to have a long think about where he goes from here. A possible move to heavyweight would not hurt him, and he might find the division more to his liking.
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