I’m not going to get carried away, because Thursday’s edition of Fight Night Club wasn’t much important in the scheme of things. But for two out of the three fights, it exceeded my low expectations, both in the entertainment value of the bouts and the matchmaking.
- Junior welterweight Victor Ortiz got a big 10th round knockout over Hector Alatorre via right uppercut in a fight where he could have gotten a knockout in any round where he really wanted to, in the mismatch of the evening. Ortiz boxed patiently and hardly ever got touched, other than when Alatorre caught him a few times backing up, something Marcos Maidana did when he beat Ortiz last year, and once on the inside with an uppercut. I’m not sure what purpose this served, and the broadcasting team wasn’t sure, either, but Ortiz got some pro rounds in prior to his scheduled May showdown with Nate Campbell, who like Ortiz needs a quality win to convince people he’s a legit contender at 140. I guess getting rounds is never a bad thing; I think the main point probably was just to have a name fighter on the marquee, and the crowd was enthusiastic for Ortiz despite him taking some heat from fans for quitting against Maidana last year.
- Featherweight Charles Huerta got a test in the best bout of the night from Guadalupe De Leon in a heated slugfest. I didn’t score it, but it looked pretty close to me; one judge had it a draw, the others a close six-round win for Huerta. I suppose it says something of Huerta that he beat the man who beat the man (Derrick Wilson) who knocked him out a couple fights ago. De Leon’s record looked poor coming in, but I’d forgotten about De Leon upsetting Wilson. But my basic opinion of Huerta is unchanged: fun TV fighter. Nothing more to say.
- Junior lightweight Luis Ramos also got a test, even though he swept all four rounds against Walter Estrada. You can argue Estrada’s southpaw stance and awkward style bothered Ramos, and I thought it did, but Ramos didn’t look his usual self from moment one, throwing wider shots than I’m used to from him. Ramos has looked the most promising of all the Fight Night Club boxers the show has given us again and again and again and again (that’s no exaggeration — Ramos has been at Club Nokia four straight times). Anyway, whatever was up, this fight ended up being more competitive than I expected given Estrada’s string of early knockout losses, so I don’t suppose I can complain about the matchmaking here, either, the way I did before the fight.
- Overall, two good, competitive fights out of three ain’t bad. I’d said on Twitter before the show started that it was “better than no boxing at all,” but it was a touch better than that… Other observations from the show: Doug Fischer really has arrived as a broadcaster. Dude gets it, and mixes in excellent observations and intelligence research very well… I hate it when referees warn boxers for talking during the fight, the way the ref warned Alatorre; can someone explain what business it is of a referee’s to dictate midfight conversation?… Loved the slinking, sliding move Alatorre’s trainer or cutman did under the bottom rope to get into the ring between rounds.