Argentina's top boxer had his hands full last night as Marcos Rene Maidana emerged victorious from a fierce firefight with American veteran DeMarcus Corley at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires.
The former WBO champ gave Maidana trouble in the opening frame with his faster-handed southpaw stance and by the second was trading bombs with the Interim WBA light welter titlist.
Corley, at 36 ten years Maidana's senior, was rocked several times as the bout went into the middle frames but still was giving the Argentine icon fits with snapping left hand leads and hard right hooks.
But as the rounds wore on Corley was increasingly on the receiving end of Maidana's big punches and had to climb off the canvas at one point.
Maidana could not finish the job however and by the championship rounds the local hero was a spent force. Corley surged forth and belted Maidana around, hurting the champion but could not close the show.
That allowed Maidana to regroup for the final session and both fighters threw defense out the window to slug it out with whatever energy they had left.
By the time it was all over Maidana had swept the cards via margins of 117-110, 116-110 and 115-112.
Maidana improves to 29-1 (27) after absorbing a schooling from the most experienced operator at 140 pounds. Corley, 37-14-1 (22), delivered his best effort in many moons and just may have qualified for one more full title shot.