by Fox Doucette
Boxing is an entertainment business first and foremost. Indeed, it brings to mind a quote from Machiavelli in The Prince: “Therefore a wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him.” The political implications of this are beyond the scope of this column, but the effects for the sport were on display in Tampa tonight on ESPN2.
Yudel Jhonson (11-0, 7 KO) needs to heed Machiavelli’s advice. A fighter should always seek means by which the audience wants to see him, and the TV networks will always be faithful to him. A foul-filled, action-free main event between Jhonson and Colombia’s Jose Miguel Torres (21-5, 19 KO) featured ten rounds of Jhonson throwing punches intermittently while jogging laps around the ring, Torres standing like a statue and throwing his best punches off the break, and audience members sleeping through the fight. Torres had a point taken off in the seventh, ostensibly for an intentional low blow. Jhonson lost a point in the tenth for hitting behind the head in the clinch.
The final scores were 96-92 (twice), 97-91, a unanimous decision for the Cuban. However, one wonders just what fight the judges were watching or whether they too had been lulled to sleep, since this writer and Teddy Atlas both saw the fight 99-89 and in truth, it is impossible to see just how Torres won any round in that fight. This was a Pyrrhic victory for Yudel Jhonson, as it seems unlikely that he will be considered a main-event quality TV draw unless he shows a willingness to do something other than stand on the outside and potshot for ten rounds.
In the co-feature, Tyrese Hendrix (20-3-1, 9 KO) showed that he is truly a journeyman masquerading as a prospect, as he now has three losses fighting outside of the weak commission states in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Along with losses to Hank Lundy and Ty Barnett comes tonight’s eight-round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Walter Estrada (39-14-1, 25 KO). Estrada, an opponent-level fighter, took this fight on short notice after Prentice Brewer backed out due to an injury, and this is probably for the best from Hendrix’s point of view. Brewer could have done real damage to the defense-impaired, low-skilled Georgia native.
As it stood, we got scored of 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75 at ringside and 77-75 on ESPN2’s card. The Boxing Tribune had this fight a draw at 76-76, but this was mainly due to Estrada throwing a lot of arm punches that diminished the impact of his attempts to carry the fight. In truth, Hendrix would have been able to count himself exceptionally fortunate had he even had one card to make the fight that close. This was an easy win for Estrada against a guy who can effectively resign himself to being a stepping stone from here on out; Tyrese Hendrix’s dreams of championship fights are pretty well dead.
Due to the two fights going the distance tonight there were no swing fights on which to report; we simply got the dull, plodding decisions in the featured bouts. Next week we get a fight from New York on Hall of Fame weekend between Kenny Galarza and Irving Garcia. There will be an intriguing co-feature, as DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, 1-5 in his last six fights, tries to show that he’s something other than washed up against 11-0 prospect Thomas Dulorme. That card will air next Friday, June 10, on ESPN2 at 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific. The Boxing Tribune will be back, reliable as a metronome, to cover that broadcast.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. He’s thinking of applying Machiavelli’s advice to his girlfriend. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/MysteryShipRadio.