(Michael Farenas, left, Mark Davis, right; credit: Emily Harney, courtesy SMS Promotions)
In a special Wednesday edition of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, the battle-hardened veteran Michael Farenas gave a painful lesson to unproven prospect Mark Davis about the kind of occasion in which experience trumps speed. That Farenas stopped him was not a shock — we’ve seen enough of Farenas by now to know that, marquee win or no marquee win, the Filipino is a dangerous person to spend an evening in the ring with — although notoriously laissez faire referee Steve Smoger stopping it when it should have been counted as a pleasant surprise.
Farenas took it to Davis from moment one, capitalizing in tangible ways on being a southpaw, as opposed to a generalized “not used to where this guy’s punches are coming from,” and his corner told him to stop circling to his right to no avail. Farenas was more powerful, and kept Davis backing up with combinations that offered him no reprieve. Davis demonstrated fighting heart, and in defiance of a low knockout percentage, got Farenas’ attention a couple times with punches that shook him. But by the 6th it was starting to get unsavory. At the end of the round, the ring doctor warned Davis he wouldn’t let it go much longer, prompting a 7th round where Davis used his legs to avoid taking extreme punishment and maybe even winning one. Kudos, kid, for surviving one more. In the 8th, Smoger saw Davis stumble backward from a looping left hand and appropriately waved it off.
We watched Farenas give a scare to Yuriorkis Gamboa not so long ago, plus he fought to a draw once with Takashi Uchiyama. This looks to be his best win. It sets him up for a shot at the winner of the junior lightweight rematch between Rances Barthelemy and Argenis Mendez. He figures to be a worthy challenger, one who also brings action.
On the undercard, Billy Dib returned to both the win column and his old mauling ways, a set of conditions that are probably correlated. He was coming off two losses against Evgeny Gradovich where he seemed to be trying to not annoy everyone, and all that trading didn’t go well. So he moved up to junior lightweight, beat Alberto Garza by unanimous decision via punch-clinch and went back to annoying everyone.