After getting the opportunity to jump into the main event of the Friday Night Fights show at Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Washington, when a broken hand caused Javier Molina to pull out of his fight with Kendall Holt, light heavyweights Thomas Williams, Jr. and Cornelius “Da Beast” White did not disappoint. In all, the fight last just 2 minutes and 50 seconds and featured three knockdowns.
Williams, 16-0 (11), came out relaxed and caught White, 21-3 (16), with a straight left that only partially landed, but combined with his balance dropped White anyway. Sensing he could hurt his opponent at will, Williams went on the attack and walked straight into a left hook from White that deposited him neatly on the canvas. The crowd had the brawl that they wanted and roared their approval. Williams responded well to the first knockdown he’d suffered as a pro, getting right back into White’s face. With less than a minute to go, Williams clipped White with a right hook above the ear that dropped him hard. White beat the count, but on legs made of overcooked linguine. Williams jumped all over his foe, forcing the referee to step in and call the fight off with just 10 seconds remaining in the round.
Williams has interesting options after his performance, but his trainer and manager may want to step him up slowly. He can clearly punch, but his footwork looked sloppy and he gets hit very easily. For White, it’s more complicated. He has now been knocked out three times, including his last two fights. He also only has two wins over fighters with anything resembling a winning record. It may be time to pursue other employment.
In a bout that can only be described as unfulfilling, featherweight Rico Ramos, 23-3 (12), won a clear decision over Jonathan “Li’l Thunder” Arellano, 14-3-2(3) by score of 98-88 and 98-89 twice, I had it 98-90. The fight featured long stretches of inactivity by both fighters. This tentativeness was particularly odd in Ramos’ case as he dropped Arellano twice in the 4th and again in the 5th, but failed to follow up. Each of the knockdowns was on left hook, which is Ramos money punch.
For a fighter who looks to counter primarily, Ramos gets hit far too cleanly. At several points in the fight he was shaken by left hooks from Arellano, who came on in the middle rounds but couldn’t keep up the success. Ramos is now 3-3 in his last 6 fights, including getting pancaked by Guillermo Rigondeax at 122 lbs. He appears to have hit his ceiling. He will be able to beat the Arellanos of the world, but is going to fail when he tries to move up.
Fans were treated to an entertaining walk-out bout as featherweights Juan Funez and Marcel Gallardo engaged in a high tempo 4 rounder. All three judges saw it 38-37 for Funez, much to the disappointment of the crowd, most of whom seemed to think Gallardo should have gotten the nod. I had it 38-37 for Gallardo, giving him rounds 1 and 2 based on the knockdown he scored in the first and his aggression in the second.
Throughout the walkout bout, ESPN2’s Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas got stuck on the fact that Funez was the house fighter. When he was announced the victor, they guffawed and acted like they knew it would happen all along. The fight was close, the scores were not as terrible as they seemed to believe. Over the last couple of years, that has been something of a habit with that team. One, or both of them decides on a narrative and they stick with it until the end. The same thing happened during Ramos-Arellano, as Teddy’s rabies kicked in and he spent much of his time ranting about Ramos’ disposition. I’ve never seen anyone work so hard to call a fighter a pussy, without calling him a pussy.
One of the bright spots of the broadcast was ESPN2’s Todd Grisham’s excellent euolgy of Jose Sulaiman. It was a neutral and accurate take on a man that many people, other than the Chavez family obviously, truly loathed.