by Fox Doucette
Styles make fights. End of recap.
OK, so your friendly neighborhood columnist isn’t going to be able to get away with that no matter how much brevity may be the soul of wit in today’s age of Twitter and sound bites and talking points. But the oldest adage in the fight game was on display in Santa Ynez, California tonight, with fighters showing off the fact that if one fighter plays to his opponent’s strength, he’s going to find himself spending a lot of time on the mat either looking for his lunch or staring blankly at the ref when the ref asks “are you OK?” after reaching the eight count.
The latter was on display in the main event. Kendall “Rated R” Holt took a couple of rounds to find his range, but when Julio Diaz insisted on trying to get in and slug with the former WBO champion at junior welterweight, the results were less than stellar for the Mexican fighter. A bad head clash in round one threatened to stop the fight early, but ultimately did not prove a factor as Holt landed a lightning-quick combination of a left hook to the body and one to the head midway through the third round, leaving Diaz dazed and confused and leaving referee Marcos Rosales no choice but to call a halt to the bout at the 2:37 mark. Holt’s speed was truly a sight to behold; Diaz literally never knew what hit him.
In the co-feature, the age-old question of “power or level of competition?” remained unresolved for Jonathan Gonzalez, as he picked up his 13th knockout in 13 pro fights with a seven-round dismantling of a game but severely overmatched Rudy Cisneros, last seen losing in the opening round on the Contender reality series. Cisneros was long on heart, short on skill, and as soon as Gonzalez applied meaningful pressure, the corner was only too happy to oblige the opportunity to stop the fight. One wonders at the competence of a corner that not only cannot watch their fighter take even a bit of punishment (shades of Russ Anber in David Lemieux’s corner a month ago) but cannot even throw a towel convincingly enough to catch the attention of a boxing commissioner without requiring a second attempt. Weak work, guys. Whoever that was throwing the towel, you throw like a girl.
Regular readers of this department know that the use of words like “sideshow” to describe a four-round swing fight is a recurring theme around here. Not this week. Daniel Roman, in his third pro fight, came out swinging against an equally action-oriented Alfredo Madrigal in a fight that packed more main event quality action into four rounds than Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley gave us in twelve last Saturday. Joe and Teddy, calling the fight for ESPN2, stressed that this is what boxing ought to be, and this columnist is more than happy to add an “amen, brother” to the chorus. Roman, fighting on the inside with hooks to the body that brought to mind Micky Ward and Ruslan Provodnikov, bringing the goods like he was fighting for his life, gave the audience $64 worth of entertainment and probably didn’t earn much more than that himself. Madrigal went down in the second round on a vicious body shot, showed the heart of a lion in getting up, and survived to a decision finish that went 40-35 on the cards of all three judges plus The Boxing Tribune in favor of Roman. More fights, from off-air undercard to championships, ought to deliver like this.
Next week, the ESPN caravan rolls into Newark, New Jersey for a card at the Prudential Center featuring Joel Julio and Anges Adjaho, the latter of whom was last seen on FNF losing to Shawn Porter for the NABF strap in February. That fight will air at 9:00 Eastern (6 Pacific) on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. As always, The Boxing Tribune will have a full event recap for you.
Fox Doucette covers FNF for The Boxing Tribune. His ability to throw towels is impressive. Managers of fighters with atrocious losing records can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/MysteryShipRadio.