by Fox Doucette
Philadelphia-based “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy (22-1-1, 11 KOs) survived a first-round knockdown to win an otherwise easy decision over Dannie Williams (21-2, 17 KOs) in the main event of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. In the co-feature, Elvin Ayala (25-2-1, 11 KOs) took care of business against late replacement Eric Mitchell (23-9-1, 11 KOs), who replaced Hector Camacho Jr. on three days’ notice to put in eight uninspired rounds of clutching and grabbing.
Lundy has a deserved reputation of having a lot of speed but not much of a chin, and that defined the first round of the fight with Dannie Williams. Lundy got caught with a counter punch right on his temple in a round he was otherwise winning, turning a 10-9 winning round into a 10-8 loss, putting him in a two-point hole at the beginning of the contest.
It turned out not to matter. For the remaining nine rounds, Lundy was a poor man’s Floyd Mayweather in there. Every time Williams opened up to throw punches, Hank Lundy had a jab ready to snap his head back and interrupt the assault before it ever got started. This was a clear case of a guy who had lots of good, solid pro experience imposing his will on an opponent who had plenty of power when fighting lesser competition but looked utterly baffled and lost when stepping up in class. Twice Dannie Williams has stepped up; twice he has been defeated, first by then-unbeaten Eloy Perez in 2009 and again against Hank Lundy tonight.
In the preview, your columnist said this fight had Fight of the Year potential; in point of fact, Dannie Williams was woefully underequipped to hold up what would have been his end of the bargain in making a Fight of the Year-quality fight. His power was an illusion, his ability to handle a fast, strong fighter suspect, indeed his very class as a potential player in the lightweight division came into definite question tonight. Williams looks like his ceiling is on the fringes of the top ten, more Breidis Prescott than Brandon Rios; unless he proves he can step up and win, we may have seen the last of him as a serious threat this week.
When the scores came down, they were as one would expect; 98-91, 97-92 (twice), that latter score being in agreement with both Teddy Atlas and The Boxing Tribune. Were it not for the 10-8 first round, this would have been even more lopsided; one punch was the sole moment where Williams looked in any way like someone who had a chance to win the contest. This marks Hank Lundy’s fifth time in his career where he has come off the floor to win; what he lacks in ability to take a punch, he more than makes up for in heart, confidence, and determination.
In the co-feature, what could have been a very intriguing matchup turned into an absolute yawner as instead of two guys with all-action styles and suspect chins, we got one guy willing to throw punches and one guy willing to clutch and grab and do whatever it took to survive. Elvin Ayala tried to open up and make this an action fight but lacked the skill and ability to shorten up his punches that would have been necessary in order to keep himself from being tied up.
Meanwhile, Eric Mitchell is 42 years old and clearly showed why he is able to continue fighting at his advanced age. It is not a Bernard Hopkins-like ageless ability to stay in tip-top condition and show a preternatural ability to throw punches like a much younger man. Rather, it is his ability to ugly up a fight and go rounds that makes him viable into his forties.
Fans were flat-out cheated of what could have been an entertaining co-feature. Ayala took the decision easily, with scores of 79-73 (twice), 78-74. Teddy Atlas had it 79-73 and your columnist went so far as to award all eight rounds to the New Haven-based middleweight, making it 80-72 in favor of Elvin Ayala. If we never see Eric Mitchell again, it will be too soon.
Friday Night Fights is off next week, but the Worldwide Leader returns on April 13th with a fallen star trying to restore his place in the lightweight cosmos. Michael Katsidis (28-5, 23 KOs) takes on Albert Mensah (24-3-1, 10 KOs) in the main event while the co-feature gives us fringe welterweight prospect Artemio Reyes (15-1, 12 KOs, with the one loss coming against Mike Dallas Jr. in only Reyes’ second fight as a pro) taking on Alan Sanchez (9-2-1, 3 KOs) in a ten-round bout. Friday Night Fights airs on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com at a special time, 11 PM Eastern/8 PM Pacific. As usual, The Boxing Tribune will have a full preview and recap including any swing fights that make air. Stay tuned—we’re the worldwide leader in covering the Worldwide Leader.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. Fan mail, hate mail, and calls for a Lundy-Katsidis matchup on FNF can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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