by Fox Doucette
Tony Harrison (21-0, 18 KOs) moved one step closer to graduating from the Deontay Wilder School of Early-Career Opponents as he knocked out Pablo Munguia (20-7, 11 KOs) in three rounds in a farce of a main event on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. In the co-feature, we learned what happens when a guy who can’t punch runs into a guy who isn’t fazed by his attempts at counter punching when Danny Aquino (17-2, 10 KOs) “upset” Ryan Kielczewski (22-1, 7 KOs) by a “what fight was the third judge watching?” split decision. The show’s opener featured another guy who can’t punch, but he proved a much better ring general and got the wide unanimous decision win—in the process, Tevin Farmer (19-4-1, 4 KOs) claimed as his victim Angel Luna (10-1-1, 6 KOs).
We begin with the main event, about which as little as possible should be said for the benefit of all involved. This was, as that lead sentence at the top of this article implies, a total mismatch, a joke of a fight where Harrison, in the post-fight interview, claimed “there were no boos from the fans.” Not in attendance, maybe, but everywhere else in the viewing audience, the general reaction was “what the hell was that?” It looked like the Mountain fighting Tyrion Lannister in a Game of Thrones deleted scene. The height difference was listed in the media guide as six inches (6’1 for Harrison, 5’7 for Munguia, for a pair of junior middleweights), but realistically it was closer to eight or even nine inches—no way is Munguia a millimeter taller than 5’5.
The fight was over before it started, as a game but overmatched Munguia got, to use your columnist’s headline word from the preview, “clobbered”. The only silver lining here was referee Arthur Mercante Jr. actually showing competence and compassion in the course of stopping the fight. Mercante will forever have the blood of Bee Scottland on his hands, and your columnist will mention this every time it comes up. How Arthur Mercante Jr. wasn’t banned for life after being an accessory to a public execution is a question that needs to be answered—he has no business, NONE, ever refereeing a professional boxing match again. Hell, he almost got Yuri Foreman permanently crippled in the Miguel Cotto fight, lacking the professional judgment to stop a fight where a stationary target was on a completely destroyed leg. OK…enough about Mercante, and enough about this insult to the intelligence of the viewing audience ESPN2 dared call a main event.
The co-feature wasn’t much nicer. Ryan Kielczewski couldn’t knock out your columnist’s dead grandmother, much less a professional boxer sharing ring space with him. He landed a couple of clean counter shots, and that was probably his biggest mistake. When Danny Aquino got hit right on the potato (to steal a line from Teddy Atlas), he didn’t just shrug it off. He walked right through it as though the punch had passed right through him like a bad ghost special effect in a cheap B-movie.
It’s one thing not to be able to seriously hurt someone in there. Kielczewski can’t even make a guy with a decent chin respect him or show even the slightest semblance of healthy fear that a counter puncher needs in order to establish himself defensively—look at Floyd Mayweather, with his 26 knockouts, no small few of which came on devastating highlight punches off the counter, for an example of how a bit of offense fuels defense.
Aquino landed nearly 40 percent of his punches against a guy whose temperament as a fighter is to fight defensively. That’s not fighting defensively. That’s blocking your opponent’s shots with your face. Go back to the Massachusetts club circuit, Ryan. You may have been boxing since you were six, but all that means is that you’re a smart fighter who knows what he should be doing in there. Shame you don’t have the gifts physically to use that ring IQ.
Your columnist, plus two of the official judges, had this 78-74 for Aquino. Judge Tom Carusone had it 78-74 for Kielczewski. Are you kidding me? Either Tom Carusone is drunk, he’s incompetent, or he had a face full of ring-card-girl boobs from getting a lap dance when he should have been watching the fight. Then again, maybe Teddy Atlas had a bit of the ol’ John Barleycorn in him too, because he gave the fight 77-76 for Kielczewski.
Don’t be fooled by the scores. This was a one-sided fight where the two judges who scored it the right way absolutely nailed it.
Finally, in the opening bout, we learned something about Tevin Farmer. Specifically, he can’t punch either, but he’s a much, much more skilled boxer. He was either a homeless man’s Floyd Mayweather or else he’s a guy who, as soon as he steps in against a strong puncher who actually knows how to press the fight behind his jab, is going to get viciously knocked out. Angel Luna simply wasn’t that guy tonight. He had neither the talent nor the ring smarts to make this fight any more challenging for Tevin Farmer than was strictly necessary for the guy with the superior skills to have an easy night.
A mismatch in the ring turned into a mismatch on the cards; your columnist, Teddy Atlas, and two of the judges had it 80-72; the third judge (Dick Flaherty) had it 79-73, all for Farmer. It was something of a Pyrrhic showcase win, though—Farmer’s lack of power is going to be a major impediment to his career when he finds that he doesn’t have the ability to force his opponents to respect the potential that he can bring if his opponent makes a mistake. Look for his career to hit the skids when he steps up.
Friday Night Fights is off next week, but returns for a Thursday edition as an appetizer for Mayweather-Pacquiao. Ishe Smith (26-7, 12 KOs) takes on Cecil McCalla (20-1, 7 KOs) in his first fight after losing to Erislandy Lara in a world title bout in December. The Boxing Tribune will have full coverage of the fight, including preview and recap. Stay tuned—we’re the worldwide leader in covering the Worldwide Leader.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune and writes the What If alt-history series for this publication as well. He really doesn’t like having to throw shade at ESPN—it’s not good for business—but integrity is Priority One. Fan mail, hate mail, and discourses on the 98th Rule of Acquisition can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.