Tomorrow night, ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” will air the 2014 Boxcino tournament’s lightweight and middleweight finals. After 16 boxers competed across four cities for three months of two single elimination rounds, only four stand. In the 135-pound bracket Petr Petrov (34-4-2, 16 KOs) takes on Fernando Carcamo (17-5, 13 KOs) and at 160-pounds Willie Monroe Jr. (17-1, 6 KOs) battles Brandon Adams (14-0, 9 KOs).
Based on his record, Carcoma is the most surprising finalist of the four. Usually a 23-year-old with five defeats wouldn’t be given an opportunity on such a stage. But that’s what makes the tournament format so intriguing. Once the brackets are set, the matchmaking politics are finished and anything could happen. The Mexican Carcoma stopped an undefeated Samuel Neequaye in round two of their quarterfinal bout, then scored a majority decision victory over Miguel Gonzalez in the semis.
Nearly 40 professional bouts made Petrov the most experienced lightweight coming in to the tourney. In 2011 the 31-year-old Russian was knocked out by Marcos Maidana in Argentina. But he’s since won five of his last six fights, including tournament wins over Fedor Papazov and Chris Rudd.
This should be the more entertaining of the two finals. Petrov is a high volume puncher who tries to break his opponents down, while Carcamo—who at 5’11 is a tall lightweight— tries to keep his foes at the end of his power shots. This is a 10-round bout and Carcamo has never went the distance in a 10-rounder before, while Petrov has fought for 12-rounds numerous times and has only been stopped once. The young Carcamo’s stamina will be tested as Petrov attempts to get inside and unleash a similar body attack he did against Papazov. The key for Carcamo will be to control the pace by using his reach and staying on the outside.
The bouts will take place at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, giving the native New Yorker Willie Monroe Jr. a hometown advantage in the middleweight final. He’s had arguably the toughest draw of the tournament thus far, having defeated veteran Donatas Bondorovas and the unbeaten Vitaliy Kopylenko in the first two rounds.
The L.A. resident Adams comes in with little pressure or expectations—being the youngest and least experienced in his bracket—he’ll cross the country to try and add to his unbeaten streak. In the quarters the 24-year-old sent Daniel Edouard into retirement via fourth round stoppage. He then out-slugged Raymond Gatica to take a split decision victory.
Monroe Jr. is fast, slick and attacks in spurts, while Adams throws power punches down the middle, doesn’t waste much and fights with a stubborn determination. This is a southpaw versus an orthodox so we could see some head butts and grappling as the two fight for position. Adams should try and use his youth and strength to make this an ugly affair. When it comes to Monroe Jr., If it isn’t broke why fix it? Look for him to box, box and box some more.