Middleweight Fernando Guerrero and welterweight Shawn Porter are two prospects who, up until Friday Night Fights on ESPN2 this week, had largely been willing to trade punches so long as they got theirs. This time out, both showed that they were determined to fight smarter, even if the consequence was that they were a bit less entertaining.
In the main event, Guerrero still rocked the crowd in his hometown of Salisbury, Md., delivering a compelling if not destructive performance in a win against Derrick Findley, who was game if nothing else. The first couple rounds were abnormally cautious for Guerrero, although I thought in his last fight it looked like he was trying to use his brain more than usual instead of relying so much on brawn. As it became clear he could take more risks, he did, sealing momentum in the fight with dominant, versatile offensive showings in the 3rd and 4th round that effectively discouraged Findley and ended his competitiveness.
Meanwhile, Prize Fight Promotions stablemate Porter pulled the same trick against Anges Adjaho. The all-out reckless assaults and strange habits that have marked Porter’s career to date were substituted out in favor of clever movement and improved defense. It didn’t keep Adjaho entirely from teeing off on Porter with counter rights and body shots when he lunged and missed, particularly in the 4th round, but it happened a lot less in this fight than in past ones. Porter got his hands back up after firing more often than not, and he adeptly sidestepped at times to keep the stationary Adjaho from sitting down on shots. And there was less needless bouncing around than is often the case with Porter. Naturally less aggression means less likelihood of knockouts, but whatever power Porter had before moving down to welter seems to have largely evaporated — Adjaho had fought most of his most meaningful fights at lightweight, and Porter never appeared to hurt him. If Porter stops anyone going forward, it will be from accumulation of punches.
The modest swap in ferocity for proficiency served both prospects well; as their chances of becoming contenders go, Guerrero and Porter have never looked better. If they keep up this kind of improvement, they could become threats to top-10 opponents in their divisions by the end of the year, and perhaps sooner.
In other action, super middleweight prospect Dominic Wade showed he was a bit more on the hit-and-get-hit side of the ledger than Guerrero and Porter, but still swept the cards against Grover Young, who was competitive for the first half of the four-round bout. And off TV, junior middleweight prospect Denis Doughlin suffered an upset knockout loss to Doel Carrasquillo.