MAKING his debut on American soil, Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo struggled to put away tough Mexican rival Rigoberto Hermosillo but earned a close split decision win in their 10-round featherweight clash at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles yesterday (Saturday in the US).
Judges Rudy Baragan and Zachary Young scored it 100-90 and 96-94, respectively, in favor of Magsayo while judge Lou Moret had it 96-94 in favor of Hermosillo in the televised fight headlining the boxing card of Premier Boxing Champions of veteran promoter Al Haymon.
The 25-year-old Tagbilaran, Bohol pride remained undefeated in 21 fights, spiked by 14 knockouts, while his Mexican foe absorbed his third loss against 11 wins and one draw.
One of the promising prospects of the defunct Cebu-based ALA Promotions, Magsayo, now under the banner of MP Promotions of Manny Pacquiao, connected with the more telling hits against the swarming Hermosillo, who proved to be a durable customer.
The Filipino flashed his vaunted hand speed in the fast-paced opening round where both fighters came out eager to slug it out, with the Mexican landing lefts behind flicking right jabs.
Hermosillo suffered a cut on his right eyebrow entering round two but landed a punch or two despite the injury with telling effects against Magsayo, who had noted American trainer Freddie Roach in his corner.
Magsayo connected consistently in rounds three and four although the Mexican remained more active with his often wayward punches.
Working on the body, Magsayo staggered Hermosillo in the fifth round, slowing the latter down.
Both fighters seemed to tire in the next three rounds until the Filipino, on the urging of Roach, picked up the pace in the ninth, landing a flurry of punches that had the Mexican in retreat for the first time.