Two of my man-crushes, ESPN’s Brian Kenny and featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa, let me down in the above video, conducted during the Friday Night Fights show. Kenny never fails to ask the most important or challenging question, but he never asked Gamboa about the opponent he was going to face this summer, Celestino Caballero, and Gamboa conveniently left his name out.
The weekend offered some nice surprises, for a schedule with not many meaningful fights. Also, kind of an odd trend: Since Saturday’s cut-shortened featherweight bout between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez, cuts have played a decisive role in three bouts and an influential role in at least one more.
- Vitali Klitschko. I didn’t watch him pummel Albert Sosnowski into submission over 10 rounds via Integrated Sports pay-per-view, so I can’t imagine what took so long. Sosnowski almost got knocked out by Zuri Lawrence, for crissakes, and Lawrence is a heavyweight who has never knocked anyone out. Word is Sosnowski showed some heart, but still. Everyone said that if Klitschko can’t take that guy out in four rounds or so, something’s up. Maybe Vitali IS getting old, and maybe that’s why David Haye recently talked about wanting to fight Vitali rather than Wladimir. Vitali after said he wanted to fight Haye or Nicolay Valuev. One’s an interesting fight that I’m sick of talking about (Haye) and the other’s kind of a strange show between a 6’8″ guy and a 7′ guy (Valuev).
- Friday Night Fights. If this was to be the end of super middleweight Eric Lucas’ career, it was a gritty show he put on before he was ground down by the younger Librado Andrade. It was quite a nice fight. Lucas showed he had something left, but not enough for someone like Andrade, and he was stopped by a cut at the end of eight. The best part was when Andrade lifted up Lucas and carried him around the ring at the end, something that clearly touched Lucas. I love Andrade. I’m pretty sure there’s not a nicer man in the sport.
- Top Rank Live. The headline fight, featuring welterweight Jesus Soto Karass’ return, was ended prematurely when Gabriel Martinez suffered a bad cut from a head butt, so it went to a no contest. As for much-ballyhooed light heavyweight Mike Lee, who made his pro debut — either his opponent Emmit Woods, a middleweight moving up two divisions who had not been stopped in his three losses, was very tough, or Lee has no power. Either way, he dominated Woods for a four-round decision with all-out aggression, and showed a determined body attack and decent defense (although watch out if someone decides to throw an uppercut at him). The best fight featured junior welterweight prospect Ivan Popoca in a real slugfest against Jose Luis Soto Karass. Popoca was outworking his man and throwing shorter punches in some serious exchanges before getting dropped by a right in the 4th, but he went right back to work after getting up and stopped Soto Karass with a combination. Popoca may or may not go very far, but I sure want to see him on TV again.
- Wilfredo Vazquez Jr./Roman Martinez. On a second Integrated Sports pay-per-view show featuring Puerto Ricans, junior featherweight Vazquez won some serious plaudits in stopping Zsolt Bedak in the 10th and junior lightweight Martinez reportedly waged a real war with Gonzalo Munguia before stopping him in the 4th. Round 3 may have been a Round of the Year contender, according to the BoxingScene write-up. It sounds like a card that might have been worth buying, if Vazquez demonstrated yet more star potential and the Martinez fight was such a war.
- Other results. Junior flyweight Carlos Tamara lost his belt in a decision to multi-failed title challenger Luis Lazarte, with a 1st round head butt-induced cut really bothering Tamara, according to friend of the site Willfrank. Lightweight Miguel Acosta took Paulus Moses’ belt with a knockout victory in the 6th. And Souleymane M’baye won a decision over Antonin Decarie to take an interim welterweight strap. The Lazarte win is definitely an upset, while Acosta was the lower-ranked guy, M’baye was the lesser-regarded guy and both Acosta and M’baye had to win on the turf of their opponents. Lastly, on Solo Boxeo, welterweight Sebastian Lujan stopped Jailer Berrio in five. (All results in this bullet point courtesy BS, Boxrec and Fightnews.)