Top-ranked Ghanaian Lightweight Emmanuel Tagoe started quickly in his DAZN debut, and held on down the stretch to decision veteran Mason Menard
HOLLYWOOD, FL (November 27, 2020) — Lightweights Emmanuel Tagoe and Mason Menard went off with some interesting implications.
One-loss Tagoe entered the fight relatively unknown, but highly rated by 3 of the 4 major sanctioning bodies. The Ghanaian climbed into the ropes as the WBO’s No. 3 Lightweight. Based on promotional and platform circumstances, Tagoe had the chance to set up a potential date with WBC champion Devin Haney.
Menard, a former opponent of Haney and unified champion Teofimo Lopez, served as a way to connect some obvious dots. He was savagely stopped by a single punch from Lopez in August 2018. Obviously, Menard came into the fight to win and possibly set up a meaningful fight for himself.
At the same time, an eye-catching performance by Tagoe would catapult the Ghanaian into the division’s spotlight.
Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) looked legit through the first several rounds. He quickly deployed his entire arsenal, laced Menard with his long left jab and peppered him with a variety of well-placed power punches. The 31-year old worked from the outside and operated well in space. By the mid rounds Menard’s left eye showed signs of damage.
In light of the scintillating Lopez knockout, major questions revolved around Menard’s chin and whether he lost pieces of himself at Madison Square Garden. The 32-year old Louisianan competed early on, and fell behind in the scoring when he failed to close the distance and mix it up with the Ghanaian. He took a number of clean shots from Tagoe over the first half of the fight.
Mason (36-5, 25 KOs) battled through his damaged left eye and remained live. Tagoe hurt Menard in Round 8 – which was officially a four-minute frame. Menard managed to make it through without losing a point for being dropped, or the fight being halted.
Tagoe never committed to going for the decisive conclusion, and opted to basically coast through the 10th round. He almost gave himself too much credit, as the judges scored the fight a majority split decision with cards of 95-95, 98-92, and 96-94.
Notwithstanding the promising first 6-9 minutes by Tagoe, the contender’s stock likely only moves up incrementally with the victory. Fortunately for him, the needs of certain fighters could easily outweigh the requirement of a perfect dance partner, and force a call to Tagoe’s number first-thing in the New Year.
All photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom