by Fox Doucette
Mike Dallas Jr. (19-2-1, 8 KOs), his career left for dead after two losses on ESPN in 2011, took another giant step toward resuming his climb up the junior welterweight ranks Friday night, knocking out veteran Javier Castro (27-5, 22 KOs) in six rounds of a scheduled 12-rounder from San Jacinto, California in the main event of Friday Night Fights. In the co-feature, Brandon Gonzales (16-0, 10 KOs) won decisively but unimpressively, carrying an eight-round decision over Elie Augustama (6-5, 3 KOs) in a super middleweight contest.
For Mike Dallas Jr., the question was never one of ability but of heart and killer instinct. A fast, slick, outside fighter, Dallas first had his chin tested by Josesito Lopez and then his heart tested by the judges in the Mauricio Herrera robbery. Two fights removed from that latter debacle, Dallas come in, controlled the action, controlled the distance, stood up to a couple of wide shots that landed in the third round, and finally hurt Javier Castro with a body shot in the sixth round. After the body shot, it was off to the races; Castro showed visible sign of having been hurt and Dallas jumped on it like a fat kid on a cheeseburger. A barrage of head shots with a shot to the body very smartly mixed in finally had Castro defenseless; referee Lou Moret called a halt to the carnage at the 2:06 mark.
In the co-feature, we learned a lot of things about Brandon Gonzales, almost none of them good, even as he won the fight easily. Gonzales’ power is more and more looking like a function of his level of opposition in his first ten fights. This is now five of the last six that have gone the distance for Gonzales, coinciding with his inability to stop Darnell Boone in Gonzales’ eleventh pro fight (the same Darnell Boone who would go on to shock Adonis Stevenson on an ESPN undercard only four weeks later.) Granted, Elie Augustama has never been stopped in his five losses, but if Gonzales is to make better fighters respect him, he needs to finish against this kind of C-level opposition.
Eight rounds of one-sided combat that a better fighter would have finished early meant that the judges’ cards were never in doubt. The officials were unanimous, all three judges scoring it 80-72. Your columnist had the same score, and Teddy Atlas gave Gonzales a 10-8 round in the eighth to make his card 80-71. Indeed, the referee appeared to have stopped the fight with 28 seconds left; however, this was merely the referee intervening to prevent Augustama from being thrust through the ropes.
For the first fight, the event staff needs to be called out and sharply criticized; the ropes were not tight, the ring floorboards made it sound like a stampede of horses, and the lighting cast strange shadows across the ring, obstructing the view of the fighters and obscuring the view for the television audience. Only when the sun went down late in the Dallas fight did the situation resolve itself. This fight card should probably have been scheduled in a later time slot to avoid those problems.
There was a swing fight, if indeed the word “fight” ought to be used to describe it; Joshua Conley (3-0, 3 KOs) defeated Donte Stowers (0-1), who was making his pro debut. Stowers was about as much a professional fighter as is your columnist; he went down from a very light cuffing shot in the first round, went down again in the second from a similarly questionable “knockdown”, and referee Lou Moret finally decided he had seen enough of the farce, stopping the fight. Moret flat-out explained to an annoyed Donte Stowers that, basically, he was a scrub and he was embarrassing himself and the sport in there. Conley is only in his third fight, so we can forgive him this particular televised hobo beating, but there’s a reason these guys usually fight off air. To Conley’s credit, at least he got the job done in good order.
Next week, all-action Russian fighter Ruslan Provodnikov (21-1, 14 KOs) brings his TV-friendly talents into the ring against Jose Reynoso (16-3-1, 3 KOs), in a fight that may be as predictable as that scarlet letter of Reynoso’s punching power indicates. The co-feature gives us Christopher Martin (23-2-3, 6 KOs), last seen boring ESPN2 viewers to sleep in his draw against Teon Kennedy in January, taking on Roberto Castaneda (20-1-1, 15 KOs) in an eight-round bout. The Boxing Tribune will have a full preview and recap of the night’s action, including any swing bouts 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. He’s really looking forward to seeing Provodnikov again next week. Fan mail, hate mail, and a fight offer with Donte Stowers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.