By Fox Doucette
Dyah Davis (21-2-1, 9 KOs) continued his climb up the super middleweight ranks with a low-action 10-round unanimous decision over Alfonso Lopez (22-2, 17 KOs) on the ESPN Friday Night Fights season premiere. In the co-feature, Denis “Mama’s Boy” Douglin (14-1, 8 KOs) kept his hopes as a prospect alive in a very close split decision win over Steve Martinez (11-1, 9 KOs), who must now go back to the drawing board as he takes his first loss as a professional.
A lesser boxing writer could take his recap of Joel Julio vs. Anges Adjaho from last year, use a find-and-replace in Word, and spit out the recap of Davis-Lopez. Davis stayed in the middle of the ring while Lopez danced around like a horse on a merry-go-round, and on those occasions when either fighter got too close to the other, there was enough clutching and grabbing to bring to mind a young romantic couple on a stay-at-home movie date. “Make love, not war” is great for politics and romance, but in boxing it makes for a snooze-fest; even Teddy Atlas was practically imploring the audience to stay tuned, if only so the mental image of a plate of mozzarella sticks and an ice cold beer could sear themselves into the minds of the viewers with the ads on the corner posts (for TGI Friday’s and Corona).
Indeed, much like Adjaho last year, the main entertainment value of the fight was in seeing the losing fighter’s reaction when he heard the scores (100-90 twice, 99-91) announced for his opponent. Memo to Alfonso Lopez: If you want to raise your hand after a fight is over, try punching your opponent first. The Boxing Tribune had this one 98-92 while Teddy Atlas had it 97-93, but by the time Lopez did finally start moving his hands in the ninth round, one could be forgiven for thinking the judges were content to mail in the scores.
The co-feature was quite a different animal entirely. Boxing Tribune readers should be well familiar with Denis Douglin; we have followed his career since his surprising knockout loss at the hands of Doel Carrasquillo (14-17-1 at the time of their fight). Douglin made a case on national television that he is quite fully recovered from that loss, looking tenacious and landing the shorter, crisper punches against his taller opponent. Steve Martinez threw and landed more punches according to the CompuBox statistics, and in this writer’s estimation won the fight 77-75, but when the scores came down it was Douglin who won the split decision by 77-75 (twice), 75-77. Many of the rounds were close and very difficult to score; indeed, it came down to whether judges rewarded Martinez for his work rate and frequent ability to control the pace and distance or whether they rewarded Douglin for landing the crisper, harder punches. In the rock-paper-scissors world of quantity vs. quality, it was quality that carried the day in Mallory Square, the outdoor jewel of the Conch Republic, Key West, Florida.
Replacing Brian Kenny in the studio and handling ESPN’s social media on the night was Bernardo Osuna, and he acquitted himself very well in that role, even beginning the broadcast with a pledge to bring the same integrity, knowledge, and passion for the sport of the now MLB Network employee Kenny, who held the studio anchor’s chair for 13 years until the end of last season. It remains to be seen whether Osuna will bring the same quality of reporting to what was one of boxing’s best news and commentary sources in the mainstream media.
Next week, Teon Kennedy (17-1-1, 7 KOs) takes on Chris Martin (23-1-2, 6 KOs) in a junior featherweight main event, while Cuban welterweight Yordenis Ugas (10-0, 5 KOs) looks to make a name for himself on national television against journeyman Esteban Almaraz (10-4, 4 KOs) in the co-feature. The Boxing Tribune will have full coverage of the night’s action, including a full preview on Tuesday and a recap shortly after the conclusion of the night’s televised action. Stay tuned.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. His dedication to professionalism and his craft was the only reason he stayed awake through that dull main event. Fan mail, hate mail, and loaded potato skins can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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