The headline bout on Friday Night Fights featured Patrick Lopez and Juaquin Gallardo in a junior welterweight square-off that unfolded at Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA. Presumably, there were a good number of newbie’s in attendance at the unlikely venue, and some of them with the more expensive seats close to ringside found out something any fightwriter learns after covering a card or two: don’t wear white, or any good clothes to the bout, unless you don’t mind your attire being painted with specks of blood from the fighters.
Less of Lopez’ blood seeped out and got sprayed around ringsiders, and as is usually the case when predicting outcomes based on mililiters of blood lost, he had his hand raised after ten rounds of banging. Lopez, who put together a 191-121 edge in punches landed, was rewarded with scores of 97-93, 98-92, 98-92, a unanimous decision victory.
The Californian Gallardo (18-7-1, 5 KOs), age 31, weighed in at 143 pounds, while the Venezuelan-born Lopez (13-1, 10 KOs), age 31, weighed 139.
Early on, the lefty Lopez showed he’d be the more aggressive boxer; no wonder, as we heard that Gallardo is quite prone to cuts, and thus would likely have a tendency to be defensive. This match was made just a week ago, and neither man looked truly sharp right out of the gate. Lopez smartly started to tag the body in the second, attempting to stop the movement of Gallardo.
Lopez, who represented his homeland in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, led with the left to the body in the third; it looked like he was really setting up Gallardo for something, at some juncture. Gallardo’s head movement was quick, understandable for someone saddled with a face full of scar tissue.
A cut opened on Gallardo’s nose after a head clash in the fifth. He picked up his pace, realizing that his time to shine might get cut short. Lopez caught Gallardo flush a few times in the sixth, and a cut opened over Gallardo’s left eye. The foot movement had ceased by this time on the part of Gallardo, and he didn’t substitute slipping and ducking instead, to any great extent.
Lopez suffered a slice himself in the seventh, and the blood coming from his left eye distracted him some. Gallardo had spillage coming from his scalp as well, so he was coated completely. Gallardo caught Lopez coming in with some rights, and I bet Lopez’ corner wished their man would offer a stiff jab to keep busting up his foe’s face. Also, I think they wanted him to keep his hands up.
To start the ninth, Lopez remembered to keep his feet moving. His left moved too, and snapped Gallardo’s head back; a stoppage seemed in his reach. The crowd gave a collective roar in appreciation. In the tenth, Lopez danced and potshotted Gallardo. I heard some jacka-- yell “boring” and an usher should have yanked that ninny out his seat, brought him to the ring, rubbed his face in some of the blood these two men left on the canvas and then heaved him out of the building. Was the contest artful, a clinic in the finer points of the sweet science? No. But was it boring? In no way, shape or form. The bell sounded to end the bloodfest, and the cut men sighed in relief, as they knew they could do some work that wouldn’t get screwed up by fist missiles.
In the TV opener, Troy Wilson (9-7-1) met James De La Rosa (17-0) in a welter/junior middle scrap. De La Rosa said pre-fight that he was aware that WNF and FNF has been a breeding ground for upsets this year. Wilson took the bout on five days notice, and he looked tentative in the first. DLR snapped the jab, and looked to both lead and counter. At just 20, he has lots to like, though he does tend to get off balance when he loads up too much. Wilson showed a sparring partner mindset quite often through the middle of the fight. He never snapped out of that, and thus, we went to the cards, after DLR launched some power rights to try and end things so the judges would be rendered useless. DLR did not fall prey to the ESPN favorite jinx, and enjoyed scores of 80-72x3 in taking the UD8. DLR boasted a 201 to 63 edge in punches landed.
Dwight Qawi sat in the studio and chatted with host Brian Kenny. The light heavy legend said Matthew Saad Muhammad was probably the toughest foe he ever fought. Viewers saw Qawi’s top 5 bouts. At No. 5, he chewed up Leon Spinks in 1986, at No. 4 he tangled with George Foreman in 1988 and gave the hulk a scare before getting tired, at No. 3 he battled Evander Holyfield in 1986 (in which Qawi shows a severely slick possum move, feigning grogginess so he could lure Holy in with his guard down), at No. 2 he faced off in a rematch with Saad in 1982 and at No. 1, we saw the first battle with Saad. We also saw a bonus clip from the Qawi (then going by the name Dwight Braxton) beef with James Scott at Rahway. Qawi (41-11-1) told us that Scott owed him some money so he was happy to lay a whupping on him. Qawi had spent time incarcerated with Scott, which is where the debt came from. The Hall of Famer Qawi counsels those with alcohol and drug problems today, and seems content and serene today.
Teddy Atlas offered an Olbermannesque special comment, with the topic being Floyd Mayweather. Atlas, with Father’s Day in mind, said he thinks that Floyd didn’t want to see his dad in Oscar’s corner, and that he was maybe just tired of fighting, as he started boxing at age 7. Joe Tessitore angled the commentary toward the theory that Floyd simply didn’t want his dad to make a massive payday on his coattails. Since Floyd Senior has regularly announced, over the last several years, that he thinks Junior has been sullied by having too much money, I believe this guess is as good as any as we ponder the reason or reasons why Money said No Mas to the sport.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?