(Blake Caparello throws a right at Elvir Muriqi; photo credit: Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment)
Every fight tells a story. Some tell you who a fighter is. Some tell you who he isn’t. Some tell you what you already knew, and some make you question everything you thought you knew. When two largely unknown fighters from other countries meet in a main event on American television, there will always be questions. I’m just not sure we got many answers from our Friday Nights Fights main event Friday on ESPN2.
In a somewhat disappointing 10 round light heavyweight bout, Blake “Il Capo” Caparello of Greenvale, Australia defeated Elvir “The Kosovo Kid” Muriqi of New York by way of … you guessed it, Kosovo, by scores of 98-92 (twice) and 100-90. TQBR also had it 100-90.
Caparello (19-0, 6 KO) controlled the action from the outset with awkward southpaw shots from odd angles that Muriqi (40-6, 24 KO) largely had no answer for. Muriqi’s inactivity (three fights in the last three years) was evident. He continually stalked forward, but threw few punches, and those he threw were ineffective. This is not to suggest that Caparello landed anything substantive. He didn’t. His shots were wide (when they landed) and didn’t seem to give Muriqi any pause.
At this point in most columns, I suggest where each fighter should go next. In this case, I’m not sure. Muriqi may wish to go back to cruiserweight, where he has fought most of his career. Caparello, on the other hand, is a more difficult question. He does not appear to have the talent to deal with anyone at the world level at 175 lbs. The only “name” opponent he has beaten is Allan Green. Yes. THAT Allan Green. He’s 27, so he has some time, but not that much. His style is awkward, but that will only get you so far. At some point you need to be able to hurt your opponent and he has very little pop.
In the co-feature, junior featherweight prospect Luis Rosa (15-0, 7 KO) stayed undefeated by beating up, if not dominating, a very game Jorge Diaz (17-3, 10 KO). The judges scored the bout 78-72, 79-71 and 80-70. I had it scored 79-71. Word came during the 3rd round of the main event that Diaz was being taken to the hospital after he failed post fight examinations by commission doctors. [UPDATE: Diaz was released from the hospital last night according to ESPN’s Nigel Collins.]
The fight was, but for the 1st, 5th, and 6th rounds, completely one sided. Rosa controlled the action by landing cleaner and harder. In the 3rd, Rosa scored a knockdown, when it looked to me like he had shoved down on a clearly hurt Diaz’ neck. In the 4th, he got a cleaner knockdown as Diaz began walking into punches.
After the 7th round, Diaz’ corner would have been wise to stop the fight. There hadn’t been any obvious moments for the referee to step in, but it was clear that Diaz was out of his depth and taking a beating. By the time the scores were read, his face was a swollen mess. It was a sad way to end a day that saw him welcome a son into the world.
Washington, D.C.-area junior welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (20-0, 11 KO) beat Tim Witherspoon, Jr. (10-4-1, 2 KO) by triplicate scores of 78-74 in the opener. Hernandez-Harrison came forward throughout the fight, dictating pace and location, but took many flush shots along the way. He is only 19, so he obviously has a great deal of upside, but learning some head movement would be an excellent first step in his development.
Rabies Watch 2014: Teddy’s infection has not abated. In response to the Minnesota Boxing Commission’s decision to turn the Rances Barthelemy-Argenis Mendez KO into a no contest, Teddy treated us to a diatribe that only he could deliver. The fact that the knockout punches landed after the round ended was seemingly lost on him. Instead, his reasoning was that Barthelemy should get a pass on an OBVIOUS foul because he was “ready to be a champion.” Mendez having to drop a considerable amount of weight during fight week factored into this logic as well. I tried to analyze his thought process, but after a few minutes my head hurt very badly and I decided that discretion was the better part of valor. In summation: He got it completely wrong in this case. The fight was a clear No Contest. Hopefully we’ll see a rematch.