JONAS Sultan knew he had to do everything in his power to knock the lights out of Carlos Carballo.
Not only can the dangerous Puerto Rican knockout artist can change the course of their 10-round bantamweight fight with a single punch, Sultan also felt he can’t leave his fate in the hands of the judges.
Caraballo, 25, just signed a multi-year contract with Top Rank Promotions and is being groomed for stardom by one of sports’ top promotional outfits.
Top Rank promoted the Sultan-Caraballo fight as the main undercard of the Jose Zepeda versus Josue Vargas super-lightweight match at the Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Kahit napabagsak ko siya, kasi Top Rank fighter siya, baka mamaya ibigay sa kanya yung desisyon,” said the 29-year-old Sultan. “Kaya hindi pa rin ako nag-kumpiyansa.”
Sultan took the fight to Caraballo for majority of the bout, and put him down four times to win by unanimous decision in a possible Fight of the Year candidate.
The Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte native won by scores of 94-93 in the cards of the three judges, meaning he beat Carballo by just a single round despite sending the Puerto Rican down four times.
Sultan scored a knockdown each in the second and third round, respectively, although Caraballo evened things up by also knocking down the Filipino late in the third in what the latter insisted was no more than a slip.
The Puerto Rican then turned up the heat in the fourth by pummeling Sultan with a barrage of punches that put the Filipino on the retreat.
Heading into the sixth round, two of the judges had the fight even at 47-47, while the other one saw Caraballo ahead, 48-46.
A third knockdown in the sixth allowed Sultan to regain the upperhand, but the judges saw the next two rounds in favor of Caraballo.
A solid left and a right uppercut put the Puerto Rican down for a fourth time as Sultan put some distance between him and Caraballo, with two judges having the Filipino ahead by two rounds, although the third one had the fight even at 84.
Caraballo went on to win the final round in two of the scorecards and the other one for Sultan, explaining the close scores at the end of the fight.
Sultan is now 18-5 (11 KOs) and put made himself a major contender in the 118-pound division in any of the four major boxing bodies. Nonito Donaire Jr reigns supreme in the WBC and Johnriel Casimero in the WBO.
Caraballo meanwhile, suffered his career loss after winning his first 14 fights via knockout.