by Fox Doucette
Say it ain’t so, Hank. Say you didn’t blow your last chance at professional relevance over 16 good cheeseburgers’ worth of weight on the scale. That’s a hell of a way to get to Palookaville, champ.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports tonight that Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12 KOs) weighed in at 139 pounds for his lightweight clash on Friday Night Fights with Petr Petrov (35-4-2, 17 KOs). Petrov weighed in at 133½, easily making the 135-pound lightweight limit.
Most of the time, a fight like this will go on anyway, with the heavier fighter paying blood money in the form of a reduced purse and the inability to win whatever trinket was at stake (no trinket appears to have been on the line here, so this is irrelevant this time). Petrov’s camp, however, decided not to risk putting their guy in against a fighter who was coming in a pound short of a full weight class up, where Lundy fought just a month ago (the loss to Thomas Dulorme was at 140 pounds on December 6.)
Good on Petr Petrov for having the balls to say no to a national television appearance when the opponent was trying to cheat him and the fans out of a clean, honest fight. Ask Donovan George what it’s like facing a guy a full weight class up (and one who hits after the bell besides, as the end of that fight showed.) Hell, ask Jesus Gonzales what it’s like to be a junior middleweight fighting a light heavyweight and having little to say about it because it was his shot at getting exposure on national TV.
Funny, in both cases, I’m talking about Francisco Sierra, a guy about whom I wrote (and Teddy Atlas crowed on the airwaves) that he was a disgrace to the sport for not taking his obligation to come in at the contracted weight seriously.
I won’t say Hank Lundy is a disgrace to the sport—not yet. This is his first offense, and it might just be proof that his body has aged into a heavier frame. No shame in that—the light heavyweight career of Bernard Hopkins attests to the capacity of time to put extra weight on a man even in his best shape—but a fighter and a crowd were cheated out of a great matchup with a great narrative.
Oh well…life goes on, and a replacement fight has been promoted from the off-air darkness into the hot, harsh lights of television. Brandon Adams (14-1, 9 KOs) gets to showcase his status as an up-and-coming prospect at 160 pounds against Lekan Byfield (6-6-2, 1 KO) in a fight that smells so strongly of squash, you’d think it was a Thanksgiving side dish.
That’s not to say this fight doesn’t leave the card with an interesting hook for the home viewer; the 1 on Adams’ record came at the expense of Willie Monroe Jr. in the Boxcino middleweight final, the same tournament that formed the frame story for Monroe fighting in the main event in the first place. If Adams wins convincingly (and he should), and especially if he grabs KO number 10 in SportsCenter highlight fashion, the stage may be set for a Boxcino final rematch later in the year on ESPN’s flagship boxing show.
As always, your intrepid beat writer will have full coverage of the night’s action. Stay tuned—we’re the worldwide leader in covering the Worldwide Leader.
Fox Doucette writes the weekly What If series and covers ESPN Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly opinion column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. Fan mail, hate mail, and gift cards to McDonald’s can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.