by Fox Doucette
Tonight was a night for the hardcore fans to appreciate and the casual fans to learn from. Twelve rounds that nobody would confuse for Arguello-Pryor at 140 left us with a clear top contender in the IBF and a beaten man effectively finished as a top guy. We also got the first disqualification on a live ESPN2 Friday Night Fights card since Breidis Prescott got bitten on the shoulder by frothy-dog opponent Humberto Toledo in 2009. Incidentally, not since Groucho Marx has someone turned a serious affair into a farce so effectively as referee Vic Drakulich did in the first fight, so let’s get him a big bowl of Duck Soup and get on with the reporting.
As Chico said to Harpo in the hat gag scene, “Hey, upstairs, no downstairs!” Someone should have told that to Edison Miranda (34-6, 29 KOs) before his fight with Yordanis Despaigne (9-1, 4 KOs) in the co-feature. After the bell rang to end the second round, Miranda hit Despaigne right on the belt line and Vic Drakulich decided to take a point off for a low blow without giving a warning. If anything, he should have taken a point for an obvious intentional shot after the bell rather than a low shot, since despite what the viewer may have thought seeing Despaigne go down like he’d been hit without a protector on, the shot was borderline at worst. Unfortunately, Drakulich had effectively painted himself into a corner, something that would come back to bite the fans hard later.
Another low blow, this one a legitimate cheap shot, led to another point deducted in the third round. With two strikes against him, Miranda could either abandon working the body or keep fighting the way he needed to fight, but it was his choice to do the latter coupled with a clearly unintentional and accidental low blow foul in the fifth (Despaigne had pulled Miranda’s head way down) that led to the disqualification. Despaigne was way ahead on the scorecards (The Boxing Tribune had the fight 40-34 through four rounds) but the Cuban had hit Miranda flush on the chin with a combination in the fourth and the former title challenger literally laughed it off like he hadn’t been hit at all.
This is the most telling thing about Despaigne; he may look like a darker Klitschko brother but he has no knockout power whatsoever against anyone who wasn’t fished out of the parking lot and called an opponent. Fans were ripped off badly by this stoppage, since as the fight went on it was clear that Miranda had a puncher’s chance to make a real show of this. Vic Drakulich is usually a solid referee, but this was a very poor officiating performance on national television.
The main event answered the question of whether Victor Cayo (26-2, 18 KOs) had come all the way back mentally from his beating at the hands of Marcos Maidana in March of last year. To quote Groucho, “The last man nearly ruined this place, he didn’t know what to do with it. If you think this country’s bad off now, just wait’ll I get through with it.” All the questions about Cayo came to a head over what would have been a wide twelve-round decision but for the fact that Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) decided that rather than go into a prevent defense and cruise to the win (this writer had it 107-101 after 11 rounds), he would finish what he started and remove all doubt.
Referee Kenny Bayless looked set to let the fight conclude, but when Cayo went down, he simply watched passively as Bayless reached the count of ten. There were only 14 seconds left in the fight; it takes a certain lack of heart to submit to a count like that so late in a contest. Victor Cayo looked finished in there by the fight’s end, and it seems to be apparent that he does not have the instinct, heart, or determination necessary to continue to compete at the elite level. Against Maidana and now against Peterson, Cayo has shown he is a B-level fighter at best, getting knocked out in both cases.
Peterson, for his part, becomes the mandatory challenger for Amir Khan’s IBF belt at junior welterweight, and it now falls to Khan to decide whether to face Peterson or vacate the belt by either refusing the fight or moving up (as rumored) to welterweight. News should be forthcoming on this in the next few weeks.
Thanks to the balls-out performance in the co-feature, fans were treated to a four-rounder between…“worm? Swine? No, I’ve got it, upstart!” Badou Jack (7-0, 6 KOs), who took two rounds out of a scheduled four-rounder to deposit grossly overmatched opponent Timothy Hall Jr. (6-12, 4 KOs) on his keister and walk away with the easy KO victory. A crunching body shot meant that the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino should consider rethinking giving Hall a buffet comp as a consolation prize—it was the kind of body punch that even the viewer ends up feeling. Jack looks like a prospect with a lot of potential; he had 115 amateur fights and appeared in the 2008 Olympics for Gambia. His career bears watching.
Next week the FNF caravan is in Santa Ynez, California, for a junior welterweight battle between Tim Coleman (19-1, 5 KOs) and unbeaten fringe contender Vernon Paris (24-0, 14 KOs.) The co-feature will give us Armenian lightweight Art Hovhannesyan (14-0, 8 KOs) taking on Cristobal Cruz (39-12, 23 KOs). That card, from Chumash Casino, airs Friday, August 5th, at 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific. The Boxing Tribune will have a preview that will dance with you ’til the cows come home and a recap that will dance with the cows ’til you come home. Stay tuned.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. He’ll admit, he had to resist the urge to use the “Headstrongs married the Armstrongs” joke from Duck Soup in this column. Fan mail, hate mail, and ideas for future Recap themes can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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