On Friday Night Fights, Lights Out Literally, Not Figuratively (Unfortunately)

NEWARK – The actual “Friday Night Fights” bouts televised on ESPN2 didn’t provide anything of note from the Amerihealth Pavilion at the Prudential Center in Newark, save for a 20 minute stoppage due to the lights going out.

But a welterweight swing bout concluding the abysmal telecast was a highly entertaining scrap, one in which local ticket-seller Vinnie “The Lion” O’Brien (2-1, 2 KOs) was upset by Rafael Montalvo (1-1, 1 KO), stopped in the 4th and final round by the Puerto Rico native.

O’Brien, 24, of nearby East Hanover, NJ came out to throngs of fans, looking to run his record to 3-0. The 1st saw lots of give and take, as Montalvo buzzed O’Brien with a combination, only to have O’Brien come back and hurt him with shots of his own.

In the 2nd, O’Brien was getting pushed around the ring as Montalvo landed punches at will. Again, O’Brien staved off the pressure, dropping Montalvo with a left hook. Montalvo beat referee Earl Morton’s count and continued to apply pressure, dropping O’Brien hard in the final seconds of the stanza to take the round.

With O’Brien’s right eye now a sea of red — as every time he threw a right he wouldn’t bring it back, allowing Montalvo to land lefts at will — Montalvo had his way in round 3, landing more and more lefts.

In the 4th and final round, Montalvo pushed for the knockout – and got it – as O’Brien, barely able to keep himself up from the accumulation of punishment, fell down on his own volition and Earl Morton correctly stepped in and called a halt.

Time of the stoppage was 2:09.

For Montalvo, it was his first career win, bringing his record to .500. For O’Brien, it was a large step back, as although he’s by no means a special fighter, he is a great ticket seller in the area.

  • In the ESPN2 co-feature, undefeated 2008 US Olympian Sadam Ali (13-0, 7 KOs) cruised to a unanimous decision victory over John Revish (10-4-2, 8 KOs) in an eight round welterweight bout. Ali displayed his athleticism and boxing ability, boxing circles around Revish, popping his jab and moving laterally. Ali dropped Revish in the 2nd round, but didn’t follow up. In the opening moments of the 5th round, the lights went out in the arena, creating a roughly 25 minute break in the action. When the lights went back on, Ali went back to boxing the brakes off Revish. Revish did hurt Ali in round 8, the only round he won on any card, but couldn’t put him down. Scores were 79-72 thrice. 
  • The main event was originally a interesting welterweight FNF matchup, Joel Julio versus Antwone Smith. But after Smith pulled out with an elbow injury and other replacements pulled out, we ended up with Julio facing off against Anges Adjaho, coming off four consecutive losses, a bout no one was looking forward to. And the action did nothing to change anyone’s mind, a tedious affair from the onset. Julio (37-4, 22 KOs) won pretty much every round but never landed anything of consequence, as both fighters went through the motions. Adjaho (25-6, 14 KOs) never pressed the action, as he was content to lean on the ropes and eat punches while covering up, and thus received his fifth straight loss. Julio, though, did nothing to impress, a once-promising prospect whom seems destined to never return to HBO. Scores were 99-91 three times in the dreadful affair.

Mike Coppinger is a regular contributor to Ring Magazine in addition to freelancing for USA TODAY. He is a member of the BWAA, the Ring Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Write to him at mikecoppinger@gmail.com . Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger.

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.