ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from Resorts Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey proved that solid matchmaking trumps all in the never-ending quest for a good boxing show.
In the main event, 22-year-old Emanuel Taylor (17-1, 12 KOs) fought through adversity and a fifth round knockdown to stop the more experienced junior welterweight contender, Victor Manuel Cayo (31-4, 22 KOs) in eight entertaining rounds.
It was clear that Taylor had come to bully Cayo and grind down the boxer from the Dominican Republic. After all, the book on Cayo is that he can be beaten to submission by stronger, more aggressive fighters who lay on the pressure.
The strategy seemed to be working, until Cayo began to adjust to the high-guard pressure of Taylor and started boxing well enough to make the bout fairly even through the midway point of the ten-rounder. Cayo was even able to drop Taylor with a well-timed counter punch in the fifth.
But Taylor was back in pursuit by the next round and in the eighth a pair of overhand rights sent Cayo to the canvas for the first time in the bout.
Stunned, but seemingly in decent condition, Cayo would beat the count, only to have referee Benjy Esteves Jr., wave the bout off shortly after action resumed. It was a quick stoppage by most standards, but Cayo was legitimately hurt and, in his career, has never shown an ability to come back from such problems.
By scoring this career-best win, the young Taylor officially moves into the “prospect” category in the already overpopulated junior welterweight division. But it should be noted that, based on what he showed this Friday night, he is far from an elite-level prospect. At 22, though, Taylor has plenty of time to fine-tune his game and skill set.
As for Cayo, the loss, his fourth stoppage defeat, turns him into a full-time gatekeeper at 140. He’s skilled and he boxes well, it’s just that he seems to melt under continued pressure. Ironically, this loss will probably guarantee him several more paydays as a credible, but infinitely vulnerable resume-padder for up and coming prospects.
In the televised opener, slugging heavyweight southpaw, Magomed Abdusalamov (17-0, 17 KOs) saw the fifth round for the first time in his career, but still managed to add Victor Bisbal (21-2, 15 KOs) to his list of KO victims.
Puerto Rico’s Bisbal fought well enough for someone with such a limited resume, but Abdusalamov’s straight left hand, combined with about 20 lbs. worth of pork skins and Milk Dud remnants around his own waist, wore Bisbal down and eventually made him susceptible to the stoppage.
After being stunned a couple of times in the previous round, Bisbal would be sent to the canvas in the fifth with a straight left hand. Despite beating the count, he was ruled unable to continue by referee Randy Neumann.
In the mid-card time-filler, junior middleweight Samuel Rogers (13-0, 7 KOs) had a relatively easy evening against Ivan Ziglar (7-3-1, 4 KOs), taking a six-round unanimous decision by scores of 59-55, 60-54, and 58-56.