Last year’s Boxcino tournaments on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights did all right, and the reviews for the first of two 2015 editions weren’t so bad, either. The heavyweights were up this weekend in the second 2015 installment, and… no.
It’s not that they didn’t deliver some good things. The first two fights were close, requiring a draw-breaker 7th round, although opinions varied on whether either of them were close. The third fight delivered a quick knockout. The fourth, some emotion.
Mostly, the action was ungainly, and unlike some previous Boxcino tournaments, there was no sign that the winner of this one could even maybe establish himself as a potential contender.
A blubbery Jason Estrada stepped in as a late replacement and the journeyman did all right for himself, by my eyes, under the circumstances. He landed the cleaner blows, at times, and the more fleet of foot Lenroy Thomas peppered him in between. That said, it’s not like Estrada was hammering Thomas. One of his best blows was a head butt that put Thomas on the defensive for too long. Estrada didn’t have much torque on anything he threw, and by the time of the draw-breaker round, he didn’t have much energy left at all, so whatever you think of whether Estrada deserved the win or loss through six, he didn’t do anything to take it in the 7th.
In the second bout, a much tinier Ed Fountain appeared to outwork and outmaneuver a taller, slower Razvan Cojanu over six on this writer’s scorecard, only for a majority draw to be read at the end of six. Again, whatever you thought of the six rounds previous, the 7th round saw one fighter exhausted, with Cojanu’s leaning on Fountain throughout the fight wearing down the smaller man in the extra round.
Next up was Andrey Fedosov, who took out Nate Heaven in one. He caught him with a left hook to the temple that turned him limp, and while Heaven got up and tried to slug, he wasn’t really ready to continue. After the second knockdown, the referee halted matters, and a disgusted Heaven rolled out of the ring and took a stroll around it.
As a finale, somehow, we got one of Heaven’s knockout victims, Donovan Dennis, against a “How is this guy fighting on a television, even FNF?” Steve Vukosa. As it happened, Vukosa, a bus driver, had a sentimental story, and his apology and “lived a dream” comments to ESPN’s Teddy Atlas was the best TV of the night, which is both a compliment to the sincere emotion and a damnation of the action in the ring. In the 3rd round, Vukosa got dropped and spent most of the rest of the fight dangerously turning his back on Dennis. Eventually, the ref stopped it, mercifully.
If the earliest rounds of a good Boxcino tournament weed out the dreadful from the would-be contenders, we got all of the bad with none of the good Friday. The rest of this branch of the tournament might be hard to watch.