Abregu, Kauffman Mix Good And Bad In Wins For Both Prospects

It wasn’t anything easy, the win welterweight (147 lbs.) prospect Luis Carlos Abregu notched over David Estrada, who showed once again that he is one bad mofo, thereby giving Abregu a chance that he is made of fairly stern stuff himself. And on the ShoBox undercard, heavyweight prospect Travis Kauffman had difficulty in spots with a grossly overweight Malachy Farrell, but scored a 3rd round knockout over his most accomplished opponent.

I can’t say either prospect left a resounding impression, with each showing good and bad. Let’s go in chronological order, briefly.

Travis Kauffman — transparently nicknamed “The Great White Hope — apparently has fought at absurd weights (did they say 310 lbs.?) but came in at a career low 220 or so. That’s promising. And, on first glance, he’s reasonably well-coordinated and technically adept on offense. How fast and powerful he is, it is hard to say, because Farrell was slow, slow, slow, and his weight of 281 pounds raises questions about how well-conditioned he was to take punches. For as slow as he was, Farrell connected a little too often on Kauffman, who showed he might have a decent chin, too. That said, Kauffman won all three rounds, decked Farrell once and showed excellent finishing ability when he smartly picked his punches for an assault that forced the referee to call a halt to the bout.

File Kauffman under “unfinished product” more than “sure thing,” but he put on an entertaining effort and I want to see him again.

Abregu was really impressing me early on, showing good hand speed, controlling distance well and hurting Estrada at times. Some of that, even then, I realized had something to do with Estrada, a lifelong pressure fighter/brawler, trying to outbox Abregu. Maybe his team was aspiring to do one of those turnarounds where they extend the careers of their fighters by teaching them a little boxing, but it wasn’t working. Abregu was tagging him with beautiful right uppercuts and body shots, and despite holding his hands so low, wasn’t getting hit in return. Then, around the 5th, after Estrada opened a bad cut on Abregu, Estrada began to attack with gusto, saying, essentially, “To hell with it.” And it worked. I thought Abregu clearly won the 7th as Estrada, maybe a little worse for the war for all his ring wars, slowed down. But I gave Estrada the 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th overall, and even though Abregu kept his legs moving, he was looking worn down and hurt. Replays showed that Abregu’s glove touched the canvas in the 10th, and to me it looked like the reason was a punch, but no knockdown was scored. If it had been, I would have had the fight a draw. One judge had Estrada winning by one round, while the other two ridiculously gave Abregu eight rounds.

In the end, my health concerns about Estrada were clearly premature, or at least overstated, and he deserves to land another meaningful fight off this effort. I have real affection for the guy, and I hope all his brawling doesn’t catch up to him one day. Abregu has some work to do, especially on keeping his hands up, but he flashed some skill and passed a test that may make him better in the long run. Same deal as for Kauffman: not a finished product, but I’d like to see him again.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.