(Credit: Rich J. Hundley III, Showtime)
There were at least three entertaining fights on television Friday night, and hear tell, four.
- Welterweight prospect Mike Jones showed me more than ever on ShoBox, although unfortunately his 5th round stoppage win came via a terrible call by referee Randy Neumann. Irving Garcia — who’d badly hurt and twice floored another welterweight prospect, Luis Carlos Abregu — was giving Jones a little business, catching him with some hard blows and leaving him with a welt under his right eye. Jones hadn’t previously had an opportunity to show off his beard, and he showed he had one. Offensively, he was dynamic. He put his punches together with a crisp fury, especially his uppercut, which hurt Garcia in the 4th. A combo in the 5th had Garcia hurt again, but Jones went low — very low — and despite being in perfect position, Neumann apparently didn’t catch the nuts-punch. Garcia went down, protested Neumann’s count by pointing to the low blow, and for some reason Garcia then allowed himself to be counted out. Jones was probably gonna do in Garcia anyway, and it was a performance that was both fun to watch and confirmed some of the hype of him as a young fighter to watch.
- On the Showtime undercard, another welterweight prospect lost. Antwone Smith got knocked down by Lanardo Tyner in the 9th then refused to continue in a fight he was losing on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Tyner had a good game plan — he’d keep Smith preoccupied on defense with pitty-pat punches as Smith came forward, then land hard one in between. He swelled up Smith’s right eye horribly, to the point that Smith was so bothered by it he didn’t even want his corner to work on it between rounds. Smith was even on my card going into the 9th, winning a few rounds because he was landing the harder shots and winning another with movement and counterpunching. But he said he had a virus beforehand and maybe that compounded his woes. Anyway, good for Tyner for finally catching a big fish, too bad for Smith but I wouldn’t count him out completely, and thanks to both men for a good scrap.
- John Molina might be the worst defensive fighter in the history of mankind, and maybe earlier; he might be the worst defensive fighter since the fishapods. But he has two things that help him overcome that — he won’t stop coming, and he can really punch. On ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, Molina was getting beaten easily by fellow lightweight Hank Lundy, who was using movement to dodge then potshot the piss out of his no-head-movin’ foe. But in the 8th, Molina caught Lundy with a big counter right as Lundy got sloppy and knocked him down. Lundy never quite recovered in full, and in the 11th, Lundy stupidly grabbed the rope with one arm — showboating? — and got punched a bunch as he did so. Before long Molina had Lundy in trouble again, and when he dropped his arms along the ropes, the referee moved in to stop the fight. I thought it was a good stoppage. And Molina is one helluva likable fighter.
- On TeleFutura, junior middleweight Erislandy Lara scored a 1st round KO as a late sub in the Solo Boxeo main event over William Correa in a bout that was said to be unusually exciting for a Lara fight.