by Fox Doucette
Back in the early 1990s, Urge Overkill had a hit with “Sister Havana”, in which singer Nash Kato encouraged the titular character to “come around to my way of thinkin’.” The judges at ringside for tonight’s Friday Night Fights card at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California got brought around to a way of thinking that led to a flat-out robbery in the co-feature.
Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs) was the beneficiary of said robbery, the second time this year that he has been so gifted. This time the victim was Mike Dallas Jr. (17-2-1, 7 KOs), who gave an effort that almost all who watched it thought was enough for him to win the fight. Herrera jumped out to an early lead, winning the first three rounds on this writer’s card, but Dallas then won six of the last seven (the lone exception being a fifth round that was stopped thirty seconds early by an error on the part of the timekeeper) to grab the 96-94 victory. Teddy Atlas had it 97-93, but the judges at ringside gave it 95-95, 98-92, and 96-94 and gave Herrera the majority decision.
To be fair, Herrera did a lot of work on the inside, but Dallas landed the harder punches, the more effective punches, and from the seventh round onward, the greater volume of punches. The close cards were at least understandable, but judge Fritz Werner needs to answer the question of just what fight he was watching to only give the now twice-beaten fighter only two rounds. In point of fact, this fight was a virtual carbon copy of Herrera’s win over Ruslan Provodnikov in January, another fight where staying busy on the inside led to the judges giving him a decision in a fight that most observers and writers thought he lost.
The main event brought up another Urge Overkill song, namely “Positive Bleeding”. Robert Frankel (28-11-1, 5 KOs) seemed to believe that “I can bleed when I wanna bleed” as it seemed every time John Molina Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) hit him, Frankel’s face reacted as though Freddy Krueger was taking swipes at him. From the very first round, Frankel showed a strong heart—it had to be to pump all that blood out of his face. Finally, however, referee Raul Caiz Jr. and the ringside physician agreed—having a cut over his right eye that looked like the X on an old pirate treasure map marked the right spot to stop the fight at the end of the fifth round.
Molina, for his part, should count himself fortunate, since his poor defensive abilities were on display and getting him in trouble. Frankel found Molina very easily and readily with jabs and power shots alike, even staggering him in the third round with a combination. Going forward, Molina will have to work on his defense, because he will not have many more fights against eleven-loss fighters with Paulie Malignaggi-quality power. If he is to move up, he will be questionably prepared.
The swing fight gives us our last musical selection, namely “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.” Fans were treated to a four-round battle between up-and-coming Armenian Vahe Saruhan (2-0, 1 KO) and Oscar Santana (1-1, 1 KO) in which Saruhan showed a style that was reminiscent in equal measure of Prince Naseem Hamed and Emanuel Augustus.
Showing the elusiveness of the former and the “drunken master” awkward angles of the latter, Saruhan utterly perplexed Santana for four rounds leading to an easy unanimous decision, 40-36 (twice), 39-37, with Teddy Atlas scoring it 39-37 and The Boxing Tribune awarding the shutout 40-36. Saruhan was an excellent amateur and as a pro he provides a TV-friendly action style and a potential to be a contender at junior lightweight if he continues to polish the skills behind his unusual approach in the ring.
Fans got an urge overkill tonight—namely the urge to cheer what was an excellent card. Next week, the ESPN2 traveling medicine show heads to San Antonio, Texas, for a main event between Mark Jason Melligen and Sebastian Lujan, 10 rounds at the junior middleweight level. The co-feature involves prospect Mickey Bey Jr. taking on Alejandro Rodriguez. That card will air on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com at 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific and The Boxing Tribune will bring you full coverage with both a preview and the fight recap.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. He’s watching you and Fidel Castro in the sand, assassin. Fan mail, hate mail, and arguments over Urge Overkill’s place in music history can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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