If it’s the weekend of a Floyd Mayweather bout, then the mostly mediocre stable of fighters he promotes is fighting somewhere beforehand, and on Thursday, it was on ESPN2.
In the main event, serial boring guy Ishe Smith had himself a nice performance, although his opposition had something to do with it. The junior middleweight met with unproven Cecil McCalla, who was coming off a loss, even. McCalla tried to do the shoulder roll defense, but most people suck at it, and McCalla was no exception. Perhaps Smith wasn’t worried about McCalla, or perhaps he was annoyed at McCalla imitating his boss Mayweather’s most famous ring tactic, but he actually came out hard in the 2nd round and, gasp, wobbled McCalla with a right hand. He was in control for almost every other round (the 1st was borderline), throwing combinations that were alternately sloppy and sharp with full commitment. McCalla, when tagged, fought back hard, not that it was enough to make up for anything else. The final decision read 97-93, 97-93 and 98-92 for Smith.
This did nothing for Smith’s esteem; perhaps it gave people hope that he could be more offensive-minded. That about it.
On the undercard, another Mayweather Promotions fighter, Ashley Theophane, continued to climb back from a couple losses after being ascendant for a while, although he probably didn’t deserve the decision win. Theophane, fighting in an over-the-limit bout with Mahonri Montes, offered jabs and occasional body shots in exchange for Montes’ stalking pressure. It was, to be fair, a difficult fight to score. Theophane was up on my card by one round going into the 10th, although most of the momentum was with Montes late. That Montes scored a counter right hand knockdown probably should’ve gotten Montes at least a draw. Instead, two judges scored it 96-93 for Theophane, the other the same score for Montes. Seven rounds for Theophane out of 10 seems too many, by any measure. As the “house” fighter, Theophane almost surely got the benefit of the doubt.