‘MERICA! Happy birthday. You didn’t think I’d go out with the Canadian flag like that, did you? My present to you, dear ‘Merica, is to review a couple cards from the weekend.
Friday Night Fights
In the headlining fight on ESPN2, Demetrius Hopkins outboxed and outworked Michael Arnaoutis for a 10-round unanimous decision. The bout between the two former 140-pounders, fighting at welterweight, was a bit more stirring than I expected, given that both men tend to counter more than lead. Early on, it looked like Hopkins would sit back and wait, despite his vows to be more aggressive. Then he turned that around. He was faster, longer and plain better than Arnaoutis, plus his being more active made him not so dull to watch. That said, any notion of an Andre Berto fight — Hopkins said he wants it, ESPN2’s Joe Tessitore said there’s been “some talk” of it — is plain stupid. Berto simply must take a good opponent next, and Hopkins hasn’t proven enough.
On the televised undercard, two prospects left differing impressions. Junior welterweight Francisco Contreras had a reputation for heavy hands, but he couldn’t dent Eric Cruz, although the gritty Cruz hadn’t been dented by the likes of David Rodelo, so maybe that’s not so bad. Contreras tried to get Cruz out of there early, but when he couldn’t, he boxed and moved to a decision, and versatility is a good thing. But Contreras kind of failed to impress. His offense isn’t very tight and his defense isn’t either. It was welterweight Joseph Elegele who did the impressing. He got wobbled in the 1st round by Willie Walton, which raised questions about his chin and his defense (he doesn’t really move his head) but offensively he committed to nice, crisp combinations. He finished off Walton in three, and while the brave Walton wasn’t terribly hurt during the sequence, he’d been taking a pounding when the referee stepped in, so it was an acceptable stoppage. Let’s see the pleasing Elegele again, and against some stepped-up competition.
Top Rank Live
Junior flyweight contender Ulises Solis won a wide decision over Eric Ortiz on Fox Sports Net/Fox Sports en Espanol, although I might not describe it as “easy.” Ortiz came out hard and had some luck early, and Ortiz’ defense made it so Solis never completely figured him out. But he did deck Ortiz in the 9th and 10th with rights. Solis’ next fight could be against Omar Nino Romero, which would be a good one, I bet. Ortiz is now three fights removed from his knockout loss to Brian Viloria, and he should be ready to get back in there with an opponent of Nino’s caliber.
Welterweight prospect Mark Melligen won his own wide-but-not-easy decision over Anges Adjaho by outworking him with 1-2s and body shots, but Melligen doesn’t do it for me. He does so much wrong — reaching with his punches, squaring up, didn’t follow his corner’s instructions to get inside or use his jab more, all kinds of junk. Adjaho, a natural lightweight, busted him up. It’s only a matter of time until somebody knocks him out, and I wouldn’t mind so much that he isn’t great if he was in more exciting fights. This wasn’t a bad scrap, mind you, it just wasn’t all that compelling, either. A fight with Jesus Soto Karass, which is what Top Rank is talking about for him, might be a bit more enjoyable.