Fun Friday Night Fights

The most I expected out of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights card from Pittsburgh and Showtime’s Shobox card was one decent knockout and a bunch of underwhelming action for the rest of the evening. So I settled in to my old habit of arguing with my latest issue of Ring Magazine… Says to self: Can you believe the editor-in-chief of the “Bible of Boxing” referred to Jose Armando Santa Cruz, whose fighting style is frequently called “awkward,” and who more than one writer has compared to an “octopus,” as “the slick-boxing Santa Cruz?” Wha? Was he being sarcastic? From the context he was contrasting Santa Cruz with Michael Katsidis, a slugger, so I don’t think so…
…When I was snapped out of it by a series of fights that significantly exceeded expectations.

  • The scrap of the night was one of those Friday Night Fights undercard fights, the ones that are usually populated by real amateurish cats who look like they’ve never even been in a 5th grade slap fight, or else some hot-to-middling prospect against a real amateurish cat who looks like he’s never even been in a 5th grade slap fight and who’s only there to get splattered. Ladies and gentleman, Friday night, one Brian Camechis glorified boxing with one Doel Carrasquillo. They were modestly capable, at best. But both welterweights (147 lbs.) fought their hearts out, and had a style match-up that, in conjunction with those hearts, equaled a compelling battle. Camechis, the undefeated semi-local guy who feasted on three 20-loss boxers in his previous five appearances, was all activity, averaging nearly 100 punches a round. Carrasquillo, 11-6-1, just waited and waited to land power shots. He landed quite a sequence in the fifth, putting Camechis on the canvas for a little drama, and from there Camechis rebounded to out-hustle Carrasquillo for the victory. The rest of the details don’t matter. I almost dread these ESPN undercard fights, but watch them sometimes when I simply will take any sweet science I can find. Mostly, I end up regretting it. When a fiercely fought bout breaks out between two pugs, though, I’m almost more delighted than when two better fighters put on even a decent show. Here’s to you, Camechis-Carrasquillo. I hope you got some nice scratch to feed your families out of it, because I certainly got my money’s worth.
  • Then, a 130-pounder who stood 5’2″ at most tore entertainingly through a larger foe who looked like he was smirking at the pint-sized man before him in the first round. That would soon change. Monty Meza-Clay, here’s to you as well. I admit I had some internal scoffing over at my place at this little fella. Style-wise, though, Meza-Clay fights like a combo of Joe Frazier and Juan Diaz, all pressure, head movement and stepping aside at angles, albeit orders of magnitude lesser than that all-time great and current sensation, respectively. His opponent was Eric Aiken, something of an accidental champion from a few years back who won a title belt on a disqualification, lost it quickly thereafter, and since has done little of note. Aiken, at 5’8″, is a good athlete, but he’s more will than way. He put up a fight, but he couldn’t handle the bobbing, weaving, body-punching, flurrying, speed-changing, cunning and deceptively strong Meza-Clay, who around round 7 — I forget, precisely — finally put together a flurry that forced the ref to step in and save Aiken. Meza-Clay’s probably at least a notch below a real title contender at his best, but he’s a popular attraction in the Pittsburgh area and is the kind of boxer whose style will mandate interesting fights any time he steps between the ropes. ESPN, book him again.
  • Over on Showtime, we’ll ignore Mickey Bey’s difficult and lackluster 130-pound bout with Roberto Acevedo, because it spoils the theme I’m working on here. How ’bout that Alfredo Angulo, huh? Angulo blasted out perhaps his most accomplished opponent, a 22-win, 1-loss veteran named Ricardo Cortes, in one round on Shobox. I like power guys, don’t get me wrong, but I’m usually more inclined toward speedy offensive-minded boxer-punchers with sharp defense. Angulo pleases my eyes, however. He’s judicious with his offense, throws crisp, sharp, short power punches and is pretty accurate as he measures up his man with those shots. The results speak for themselves; in 12 wins now, he’s scored 9 KOs. Cortes managed the style well enough for a minute and a half, but after he got caught clean on the chin, he lost all composure and basically gave up after the second knockdown, although he tried to pretend like he beat the count (he didn’t, waiting until about 10.5 to stand up from the knee he took). The junior middleweight (154 lbs.) division is hours-old bathwater in boxing right now, with not very many impressive fighters manning its ranks, but it’s heating up to lukewarm with prospects like James Kirkland, Joel Julio and now Angulo. Angulo offered a fitting finish to a fun night of Friday fights.

Love my Ring Magazine, though. Great issue, otherwise, I found out upon returning to it.

About Tim Starks

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