Despite taking a bout against former world champion "Cool" Vince Phillips on a little more than a week's notice, welterweight Jesse Feliciano worked, worked, and worked his way to an entertaining 10-round majority decision win at The Roxy in Boston on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.
Two judges scored the fight 97-93 for Feliciano; the third had it a draw at 96-all.
Almost immediately, the two fighters met in the center of the ring and started throwing punches while standing shoulder to shoulder, each throwing more than 100 punches in the opening round. They didn't let up in the second and third, though Phillips looked to be taking a slight edge by the end of round three as he got into range with his big right hand.
But Feliciano was undeterred and kept aggressively pursuing Phillips while trying to make the 42-year-old former junior welterweight champ feel his age. "Cool" Vince lived up to his nickname, however, drilling his 23-year-old foe with a number of heavy shots in the fifth and adding some ripping body shots to his attack in the sixth.
Late in the eighth, Feliciano got a measure of revenge when he hurt Phillips briefly with a few right hands of his own. But the veteran weathered the storm and got out of the round.
Amazingly, by the ninth round, both fighters still hadn't taken their foot off the gas, and Phillips and Feliciano gave the fans their money's worth with their frenetic pace.
Feliciano jarred Phillips at the beginning of the 10th and was finishing strong, but Phillips stayed in the pocket, and just when he was finally starting to show signs of fatigue, his potent right cross stunned Feliciano. The two spent the final seconds going toe to toe, though, just as they had for much of the previous nine rounds.
With the victory, Feliciano improves to 14-5-2 with 8 KOs; Phillips falls to 48-10-1 with 34 KOs.
In the co-feature, Derrick Whitley evened his record to 24-24-3 (11 KOs) with a fairly uneventful eight-round decision over Teddy Muller (17-6-2, 7 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout. The judges had it 80-72 and 79-72 twice for Whitley, who scored a questionable knockdown of Muller in Round 6 on the way to the victory.