by Fox Doucette
Sometimes the question to ask before a fight card is not who will win but rather “will the guys featured knock out the no-hopers in front of them or will it go the distance?” From Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT, Main Events brings us what is for them a fairly typical night of squash matches that have very little hope of being competitive, showcases for the house fighters and nothing more. Karl Dargan (17-0, 9 KOs) takes on Tony Luis (18-2, 7 KOs) in the main event, while the co-feature brings us eight rounds between Russell Lamour (11-0, 5 KOs) and Thomas Falowo (12-3, 8 KOs) for your viewing pleasure.
The co-feature is a classic matchup not in the Ali-Frazier sense but in the “we’ve seen this all before and it’s the same old story” sense. The recent career of Thomas Falowo has pointed to a guy who’s been groomed on a weak club circuit (in this case the New England Indian casinos not far from Falowo’s home of Providence, RI) and who, given a chance to make himself an actual name, came up short. The only fight of Falowo’s career outside of Rhode Island or Connecticut was his last fight, where he took a trip to Vegas only to be knocked out in seven rounds by untested and unproven Ronald Gavril. That’s not a good sign.
Playing the role of a similar caliber of fighter is Russell Lamour, from Portland, Maine, who is getting a typical soft touch with a shiny record common to guys in their 12th pro fight who are being well groomed without being thrown in the deep end. Lamour’s eleven fights to date have been in New England. Five have been against guys with zero wins (the worst of whom took his fifth loss at Lamour’s hands), the other six have been against guys who have been decent but by no means good.
We’ve all seen this before. In the rock-paper-scissors world of boxing promotion, you’ve got the guy who’s in there to get rounds and win on TV against the guy who thinks he’s Sugar Ray Leonard but in fact is only a few fights away from joining the Darnell Boone/Emanuel Augustus Gatekeeper Society. Unless there’s either one hell of an upset in the sense of a talented fighter getting beat, or else unless it turns out that Russell Lamour just can’t fight, expect Thomas Falowo to be formally packed onto the train to Palookaville, his destiny as a New England club-fighting gatekeeper assured. If Falowo wins? Well, that says more about the guy in front of him than about the man himself, but it may get him another TV gig if he looks good in the effort.
As for the main event itself, go ahead and just read that entire last bit again, inserting Karl Dargan’s name where Lamour is concerned and Tony Luis in the role of Falowo.
For his part, Dargan has fought an increasing-quality slate of exactly those same sorts of club fighters against whom any decent guy should be able to build a record, knocking out the paper chins and going the distance against any guy who could reasonably be said to be able to take a punch. This is a Main Events fighter, after all, and if there’s one art Kathy Duva and friends have perfected, it’s the art of making a house fighter look good before throwing him in against guys who can punch.
Tony Luis, despite ESPN’s best efforts to talk him up in the promotional material on the last broadcast two weeks ago—a nice bit of misdirection in the sense that the fans might be led to believe it’s Luis on whom this story is centered—is the patsy here, and nothing in his recent body of work suggests he poses any threat at all to Karl Dargan. Luis, like the man in front of him, has knocked out the paper chins and been unable to crack the sturdy ones.
That said, there is one bit of potential for intrigue here; Dargan was on the floor in his last fight, against Angino Perez, a guy with a fascinating record (18-5, including a win over a guy with a 2-65 record in his last fight), a big punch (16 KOs in his 18 pro wins), and a tendency to lose to anyone who is not Glass Joe. Was it a case of Dargan underestimating a guy who could punch and getting a valuable lesson that will serve him well down the road? Dargan did come back to knock Perez out in the fifth, after all. Or was it a case of Dargan being all sizzle and no steak? We’ll find out Friday night.
Bottom line, unless something wildly off the wall happens, this week’s fights are practically preordained, as we get what, on paper, looks like a candidate for weakest fight card of the year on ESPN2. This is bottom of the barrel stuff right here, something that one hopes is just a case of ESPN saving money in the budget in order to afford a great card down the road.
Friday Night Fights airs on ESPN2 at 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific from the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT. The Boxing Tribune will have full coverage of the night’s action, including any swing fights that make air, following the conclusion of the broadcast. Keep it here—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 snow shovels for the people of Connecticut can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.