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Split draw tough pill to swallow for George

3/23/2013

CHICAGO -- There's a great line in "The Untouchables" when Malone is schooling Ness in the ways of creative police work, pressing him to up the ante to catch Capone and, if necessary, bring a gun to a knife fight.

"That's the Chicago way," Malone hisses.

Well, middleweight Donovan George brought a howitzer to the UIC Pavilion on Friday night -- his booming right hand -- and wasn't afraid to use it against David Lopez, who fought craftily for 10 rounds but certainly seemed outgunned throughout. George hummed straight and overhand rights upstairs that routinely landed flush and backed up Lopez, who peppered back with counter shots from time to time but with nothing resembling the same effect as George's shots.

Stunningly, the ringside judges didn't see it that way. With scores of 97-94 Lopez, 96-94 George and 95-95, the fight ended in a split draw.

As many would tell you, that's boxing's way.

It was a tough pill to swallow for George (24-3-2, 21 KOs), a local Chicago fighter who had promised to put on a show and made no secret of his intentions, all but ignoring his jab in search of a decisive power shot to put Lopez down early.

"I'm not the kind of guy who's going to sit here and talk bad about the judges," George said. "But I think they made a bad decision."

To his credit, Mexico's Lopez (41-13-1, 23 KOs) showed incredible resilience, eating all of George's best shots. When a flush overhand right to his mug bounced Lopez off the ropes in the middle of the third round, George tried to finish him. The crowd erupted as George swarmed Lopez with combinations and chased him when Lopez got on his bike.

But Lopez rode it out, survived the round and, in the fifth, turned in perhaps his own best round.

The fact that George threw such heavy artillery at Lopez and it didn't faze him seemed to frustrate George. He was less active in the middle rounds and his punches seemed to lose a bit of steam.

Still, he was landing the bigger, cleaner blows of the two men, and appeared to connect on more punches overall in the greater number of rounds. When George hammered home two more right hands with about 20 seconds left in the fight and made a last-ditch effort to finish Lopez rather than settle, there was no sense of anticipation left in the building. It looked for all the world like a clear decision for George. (ESPN.com scored it 98-92.)

"Lopez fought a good fight, and I'm not a crybaby," George said. "This is boxing, and it is what it is. I'm just gonna swallow my pride and go back in the gym."

In the co-main event, former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron and Adrian Granados also fought to a split draw. But in this case, theirs was truly a fight that neither guy deserved to lose. After a fun-to-watch and hard-to-score action battle that gave a solid account of both fighters, the judges scored it 96-94 Granados, 97-93 Cintron, 95-95.

Cintron (33-5-2, 28 KOs) fought sluggish and slow at the outset, allowing Granados (11-2-1, 7 KOs) to duck and counter in the early rounds. But his activity and timing gradually improved, and Granados' face was bloodied by the fourth.

Granados' energy never wavered, though. He kept pressing Cintron and, even when he absorbed punishment, almost always answered back in kind. In the later rounds, Granados was worse for wear but still had a spark that Cintron lacked. Midway through the 10th, Granados was bouncing on his toes and grinning through his mouthpiece. He rushed Cintron, landing several flurries, and tried to wrestle out of a clinch when he seemed to have Cintron in trouble.

Although Granados couldn't land anything definitive before the final bell and likely was disappointed with the draw, the result certainly did more for his career than George's split draw did for his.