On FNF, Ray Robinson Looked Good And Carlos Molina Was Just Better (And WTF, Nate Campbell?)

Just caught up to the Friday Night Fights card on ESPN2. First things first: It was where I learned that Nate Campbell didn’t make the lightweight (135 lbs.) limit for his HBO main event bout with Ali Funeka, and after starting at 138, he only was able to get down another half pound. Is there some rule in boxing that if you are really critical of your previous opponent for not making weight, you must come in overweight in your next fight, a la Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo? I thought Campbell had his “pro” on these days, but I guess not. Maybe the incident where Joan Guzman didn’t make weight against Campbell last year shook him out of his focus. It ought to be embarrassing to him, but it also raises questions about his preparation, which is going to make Funeka all the more dangerous.

Back to FNF. “The New” Ray Robinson looked very good, I thought, in stopping fellow unbeaten welterweight (147 lbs.) prospect Darnell Jiles in the 3rd round. Kudos to both men for putting their records on the line at this point in their careers. The 1st round was competitive, but from there Robinson’s reach, accuracy, timing and combinations took over. He hurt Jiles in the 3rd with a long left, then unloaded every bullet in his chamber. Between the 3rd and 4th, Jiles said he couldn’t continue because of a broken hand. (Commentator Teddy Atlas speculated that the corner might be saying it to protect their fighter, but I heard Jiles say it himself.) Jiles may have lost, but it was worth the risk to get on ESPN2 and there’s no reason he can’t bounce back from this. He didn’t look like a bad fighter to me. Robinson has some things to work on still — his hooks were a little wide, he neglected the body, he left himself open to some unneccessary shots — but with only 10 fights and coming off a quality win, he’s in a really nice spot with room yet to improve.

Alexis Camacho was the more heralded welterweight coming into the main event, but Carlos Molina showed that his glossy 17-1 record with 16 knockouts was all sizzle, no steak. Molina had been in against the better competitition, and there was no sizzle to his 14-4-1 record. But that’s why records can be very deceptive, because Molina was leagues better than Camacho. I scored it a shutout. It’s not that Molina is a world beater. He was faster than Camacho, but not fast. He hit harder than Camacho, but not that hard. He was a sharper boxer than Camacho, but not that sharp. Despite lacking a cannon, he pressed the fight all night, and you gotta admire a boxer who does that. Camacho’s punches were wild, wide and slow, and if there’s anything I came away liking about him, it was that he went for the knockout in the 9th and 10th, knowing he needed it. I always applaud fighters who do that, but there’s a reason it doesn’t happen that often, and all the evidence you need is the beating Camacho took for his bravery as he threw caution to the wind. As for Molina, may he get another television gig. He’d be a stern test for a rising prospect, and he’s pretty good TV.

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.