Some decent action on ESPN2′s Friday Night Fights last night, plus some intrigue in a couple overseas bouts, with footage of one.
- In the Friday Night Fights opener, lightweight prospect Jorge Teron avenged his only loss to veteran Aldo Valtierra by a closer than warranted 10-round decision. One judge had it 96-94; I had Teron winning every round, and the only one I thought was very arguable was the 8th. Teron started slowly in the first bout and it cost him on the scorecards, but he never let up from start to finish this go-round. He outworked Valtierra and was more accurate. I am unconvinced of Teron’s power, speed and defense. But he’s only 23, he showed growth and guts in reversing his only defeat, and whether he “makes it” or not, he’s not a bad fighter to put on television because he’s an offensive-minded boxer who’s willing to exchange punches if that’s what it takes.
- Kevin Johnson ought to crack the heavyweight top-10 after scoring a 6th round technical knockout over fellow undefeated American heavyweight prospect Devin Vargas in the FNF main event. He was much more focused on offense than he has been in past performances, all while showing the knack for defense and precision punching that illustrate that he’s a real talent even when he’s less than enthralling to behold. Vargas loses his “0,” and Johnson ought to graduate from “prospect” to “contender.” I don’t see Johnson beating a Klitschko, but really, I don’t see anyone except maybe David Haye beating a Klitschko. I say put Johnson in against another top-10 level guy. Johnson floored Vargas in the 3rd with some well-chosen left hooks and straight rights, dropped him again in the 5th and Vargas’ corner wisely threw in the towel in the 6th when he got in trouble again, as the corner warned him it would do. It was unclear if it was Johnson being more offensive-minded or Vargas’ chin being untested led to the knockout, but you’ll see that sometimes when a fighter who’s untested takes a leap in competition and finds out the power level is different up there. Vargas, despite taking the loss hard, fought with spirit, and while he was clearly bothered by an ear injury, he refused to quit at the end of the 5th and ought to be commended for stepping up big time in class on short notice and winning a couple rounds. I don’t think he hurt himself much if at all; while he’s not in Johnson’s league yet, and may never get there, he exceeded my expectations based on the footage I’d viewed in advance, so his stock, such as it is, goes up with me.
- Remember how I said if there were any clips to post from fights not televised in the United States this weekend, that one of them would involve British heavyweight slugger Martin Rogan? Yeah, well, observe below. Rogan was losing a fight going into the 8th round with a rapidly and badly closing eye. But then he started rocking his opponent, Sam Sexton, and you can make the case that the referee should have stopped the fight in Rogan’s favor, even though Rogan failed to exploit opportunities to force the ref to save the staggering Sexton. I thought the fight should have been allowed to continue, but for some reason, a little bit after Rogan began socking Saxton good, the referee had the doctor look at the eye and Rogan clearly couldn’t see out of it. This is a borderline call, but my main complaint is about the moment the referee chose to have the doctor examine Rogan. His eye didn’t seem to be much worse in the 8th than the 7th, although apparently the doctor examined his eye at the end of the 7th and let it continue, and it didn’t seem to be endangering him at the moment of the examination, which after all is the point of having the doctor examine the eye; actually, it was Sexton who was in the most trouble. Furthermore, Rogan shouldn’t have been warned for hitting Sexton behind his head because it was Sexton who was turning his back on Rogan. So I’m not crazy about the stoppage, but again, it’s a borderline call. I do think it’s the kind of ending that demands a rematch, so hopefully Sexton will give Rogan another chance. This Rogan guy is having some kind of eventful career, ain’t he?
- It seems to me I’ll have to try and track down another clip later, though, and that’s Ricardo Torres dramatic-sounding last round knockout win in a move up to welterweight. Here’s the summary from Fightnews.com: “On Friday night former WBO junior welterweight champion Ricardo Torres (33-2, 29 KOs) defeated Raul Pinzon (16-3, 15 KOs) by way of 10th round TKO at the Hotel Prado Mar in Puerto, Colombia. Torres cornerman advised him prior to the start of the tenth and final round that he needed a knockout to win the fight with Torres himself being knocked down in rounds one, four and seven. Torres delivered as he went on to drop a very fatigued Pinzon three times in the final round in route to the TKO victory. Torres was trailing on the three official scorecards by 5, 4 and 3 points. The official time of the stoppage was 2:09 seconds of the 10th round.” This probably ought to raise a question or two about Torres’ chances at welterweight, considering Pinzon’s record against even borderline opposition, but Torres knows well the risk of taking on unheralded Colombian sluggers with gaudy knockout records, what with Torres once having been one himself.