Jared Anderson defeats Ryad Merhy by unanimous decision

Jared Anderson defeated Ryad Merhy on Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas, via unanimous decision in a 10-round heavyweight bout that produced boos from bell to bell for its lack of action.

Two judges scored a shutout for Anderson 100-90, while a third judge found one round for Merhy at 99-91.

Merhy's 144 thrown punches are the third fewest in a 10-round bout in the 39-year history of CompuBox. Anderson, America's top heavyweight champion hopeful, more than quadrupled that output with 662 punches thrown.

However, Anderson (17-0, 16 KOs) still landed just 49 power shots compared to Merhy's 18.

"It was an ugly night of boxing," Anderson, 24, told ESPN's Bernardo Osuna during his postfight interview. " ... I wanted to give fans a better show, but what can you do when they don't want to show up to fight just like you."

Anderson mostly pawed with his jab over the first half, but was much more aggressive over the final five rounds as he tried to open Merhy's guard. From the start, it was clear that this was a physical mismatch. Anderson entered the ring a -1100 favorite, per ESPN BET.

At 6-foot-4, 250.9 pounds, Anderson towered over Merhy, an undersized heavyweight at 5-foot-9, 235.6 pounds. In fact, this was just his fourth fight in the glamor division following a lengthy cruiserweight run.

And as Anderson attempted to set up his power shots with the jab, Merhy didn't respond, over and over again. The boos came sporadically then vociferously.

Merhy (32-3, 26 KOs) wasn't moved to open up until the final round, when he pushed his meager output to a fight-high 29 punches thrown. Six landed.

"I gotta make some changes," said Anderson, ESPN's No. 8 heavyweight. "I made some mistakes, I got hit with a few punches ... he didn't even come to fight so I shouldn't have got hit at all."

Anderson was fighting for the first time since his February arrest in Huron Township, Michigan, when police said he led them on a six-plus-mile car chase with speeds exceeding 130 mph.

Anderson was charged with a third-degree felony of fleeing a police officer. His next court date is scheduled for Monday.

In December 2023, Anderson pleaded no contest to improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle while an OVI charge was dropped in connection with a November 2023 arrest in Ohio. Anderson was fined $200 and handed a 180-day suspended sentence contingent on him not committing a similar offense within one year.

Anderson, who fights out of Houston, is expected to return later this summer in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. His previous outing was a fifth-round TKO victory over Andriy Rudenko in August 2023.

Merhy made his U.S. debut on the heels of a career-best victory, a split-decision upset over Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka in December in Paris.

A 31-year-old from Brussels, Merhy's two previous defeats came against Kevin Lerena (May 2023 via decision) and Arsen Goulamirian (TKO 11 in 2018).