by Fox Doucette
Sometimes boxing is like bad sex—24 minutes of boredom followed by 15 seconds of pure, complete joy. Denis Grachev (12-0-1, 8 KOs) got his joy in the form of an eighth-round stoppage of world top ten ranked light heavyweight Ismayl Sillakh (17-1, 14 KOs). The co-feature was more like a quickie in a broom closet, with Javier Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs) giving a two minute wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am beatdown to Yuandale “Money Shot” Evans (16-1, 12 KOs).
For eight rounds in the main event, Ismayl Sillakh fought in a way faintly reminiscent of two of his Ukrainian countrymen further up the scale. Putting Grachev at the end of his jab and some straight right hands, Sillakh looked like Klitschko Lite, lacking only the power required to do to Grachev what Wlad and Vitali do to heavyweights. Grachev hit the floor in the third round, but popped back up like a rubber duck dunked in a bathtub.
Teddy Atlas hammered on the point throughout the fight that Sillakh pulls straight back with his left hand down and that somewhere down the road, a better fighter than Denis Grachev would be able to catch Sillakh and hurt him. Indeed, the “better fighter” angle was on display as Grachev caught Sillakh cleanly once in the sixth round and once in the seventh with punches that seemed to do little more than have the same effect on the Ukrainian as a BB gun has on a bear.
Unfortunately for Ismayl Sillakh, after twice getting shot with BB shots, Denis Grachev pulled out the anti-tank gun for his third shot and caught Sillakh on the chin with such force that it was simply academic how many more punches it would take in order to close the show. After several shots, Sillakh was down, referee Rocky Burke waved his arms, and a night that was looking like a count-by-nines-and-tens easy decision win turned into Ismayl Sillakh’s first loss as a professional. It is hard to imagine anyone in attendance or watching anywhere who gave Grachev even one round on the cards; at the time of the stoppage The Boxing Tribune’s unofficial card was 70-62 including a 10-8 round for that flash knockdown in the third.
The co-feature was not nearly so Waiting for Godot. Rather than pound away at the endurance of the fans, Javier Fortuna got in, went full tilt, finished the job, and got out in 122 seconds. Yuandale Evans flat-out got caught with a punch midway through the first round and his eyes rolled back in his head as he was left lying on the floor. Inexplicably, the referee counted, and as if by pure instinct alone, Evans rose to beat the count. However, he was out on his feet and when Fortuna went back for second helpings, Evans was out and there was nothing left to do but to turn out the lights and have a cigarette. Game over, nice knowin’ you, no promise to call in the morning.
With the first fight ending in a quickie, it was time to let the swingers play, and for four rounds Randy Fuentes (2-0-1, 0 KOs) and John Montes (1-2, 1 KO) got to perform in front of an audience willing to be entertained. A poor refereeing job left some ambiguity as to whether Montes suffered a knockdown in the first round. On the one hand, when a fighter gets punched in the face, staggers backward, and falls down, that is by definition a knockdown. But if a fighter falls in the ring, and the referee and timekeeper do not count, did he hit the ground?
After four rounds in which Montes never looked in control, we had our answer. Two judges called it a knockdown and scored it 40-35 and 39-36 for Fuentes. The third judge went according to the referee’s word rather than his own eyes (perhaps he was too busy ogling the ring card girls to watch the fight) and scored it 40-36. At any rate, Randy Fuentes had his second pro win. Your columnist had it 39-36 as well, giving Montes credit for landing a flush shot on the chin of Fuentes in the third round that briefly staggered the unbeaten fighter, but Teddy Atlas had it a shutout, making the point that a couple of clean shots did not overcome the strong body of work that Fuentes put up in the remainder of that round. Either way, an entertaining scrap led to the right man winning by a range of scores commensurate with the action in the ring. In Texas. Maybe the Mayans are on to something about 2012.
Next week, May 5th at 10 PM Eastern/7 PM Pacific, we get Saturday Night Fights as it were, although marketing being what it is, they’re calling it a “Friday Night Fights Special Edition” (and how.) Demetrius Andrade (16-0, 11 KOs) takes on Rudy Cisneros (12-3, 11 KOs), who was last seen losing a very ugly knockout on the co-feature of the Holt-Diaz card on FNF last May. The fight is, on paper, a complete, ugly, utter mismatch on the same level as the other scrubs, tomato cans, and nobodies that Demetrius Andrade has fought in his career, but perhaps ESPN’s Cotto-Margarito appetizer will have some surprises in store. The Boxing Tribune will have a full preview and recap of that fight. 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 some bacon to go with the egg on my face for predicting an easy win for Sillakh can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mmm, bacon.
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