By Fox Doucette
In a year filled with upsets, unlikely decisions, and prospects losing their gaudy records, tonight’s Friday Night Fights card on ESPN2 stood out precisely because it was about as ordinary, pedestrian, and by-the-book as it is possible for a televised fight card to be. The guys who were supposed to win won, the scorecards on the fights that went the distance were exactly what you’d expect scoring the fights at home, and everybody went home with the boxing equivalent of an order of French fries without the cheeseburger, full but ultimately unsatisfied. There wasn’t much meat here: perhaps the boxing gods were observing Good Friday and abstaining.
In the main event, Breidis Prescott (24-2, 19 KO) handled his business against the game but overmatched Bayan Jargal (15-2-3, 10 KO) of Mongolia. Since his stunning first-round knockout of Amir Khan in September of 2008, what should have been the launchpad to greatness in the lightweight division instead turned to Prescott losing two decisions in a row and having to fight his way back into relevance, aided and abetted by ESPN giving him a platform on Friday nights.
Prescott came out, as he so often does, looking for the knockout in the first three rounds, where 17 of his 19 KO victories have come. Jargal, under constant siege, showed an impressive chin and strong defensive ability in surviving those rounds. The strategy was reminiscent of Marco Antonio Rubio’s appearance on FNF two weeks ago, and by the time the bell sounded for the fourth round, one could be forgiven for thinking that we may have been in store for a replay of that fight between Rubio and David Lemieux.
It was not, however, to be. Prescott has gone the distance before, as this would ultimately be his seventh time in his career hearing the bell at the end of the tenth round (including his 12-round decision loss to Kevin Mitchell in 2009.) The Colombian reverted to a boxing style, carrying the action on the outside, making Jargal eat a steady diet of sweeping right hands and sharp, snapping jabs, and even winning the fifth round 10-8 on the cards of both Teddy Atlas on-air and Steve Weisfeld at ringside despite the lack of a knockdown. The rest of the fight saw Jargal making a game but ultimately futile effort to come back as, with the exception of a brief flurry early in the eighth round, he was unable to find the taller, stronger Prescott with any sort of effect. The final official scores were 99-91, 99-90, and 100-90, while Teddy Atlas had it 98-91 and The Boxing Tribune had it 100-90, all for Breidis Prescott.
Meanwhile, on the undercard, Demetrius Andrade, called out by the Tribune yesterday, fought yet another soft opponent and knocked out Omar Bell as Bell quit on his knees following a glancing left to the body in the second round. It was the first fight for the 2008 Olympian with a new trainer and new management team, and to his credit, Andrade did exactly what he had to do; he knocked out an inferior opponent in the early rounds. The fight tonight could possibly be seen as a sort of second pro debut for Andrade, as he essentially begins his career from square one, albeit with a 13-0 (9KO) record to work with.
And finally, in the sideshow attraction, Kevin Rooney Jr. (1-0, 0 KO), son of Mike Tyson’s former trainer and publicist for the fight promoter, got to play the lion to the now 0-3 David Navarro’s Christian, winning an easy four-round decision and putting Navarro on the mat twice, once in the first round and once in the second. The skill level was exactly what you’d expect from two guys who had a combined 13 amateur fights, but it filled a few minutes after the early stoppage in the co-feature.
With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, tonight’s FNF was relegated to tape delay, the ESPN2 broadcast coming at 10:30 Eastern while the fights themselves were live on ESPN3.com at 8. Next week, anyone wishing to watch the fights will be restricted to their computer, as the main networks will be airing basketball playoffs and the NFL Draft in prime-time. The fight between Allen Conyers and Carlos Molina will be exclusively on ESPN3.com at 8:00 PM Eastern time.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. Nobody has ever accused him of leaving them ultimately unsatisfied. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/MysteryShipRadio.