I’m pretty sure there are one or two other pro boxers who amassed a 17-1 mark within the last several years who are worse than Alexis Camacho, but none of them had the unfortunate disservice of being exposed, violently, on ESPN’s Friday Night fights, which unfolded at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan’s theater district.
If you were sizing up the feature bout, which pitted Camacho against journeyman Carlos Molina, purely on record, you would have steered yourself wrong.
After two rounds in NYC, all could see that we could toss records out the window, that Molina’s hands and feet were faster, and that Camacho’s game had some glaring holes in it. After ten rounds, the judges said all that, in so many words, awarding Molina a unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 100-90). They, and the viewers, saw what Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr had seen when he eked out a draw against Molina in 2005, before beating him in 2006…that the Illinois resident Molina may not have great pop, but he has the basics down pat, and his desire is top shelf.
Camacho (age 27; born in Mexico, lives in Texas) had a lone loss, to Terrence Cauthen, going in, while the Mexican-born Molina (age 25; 148 pounds) was 14-4-1 entering. All of his losses and draws came against unbeaten boxers.
Molina knew that his foe had been down several times as a pro, so he knew that Camacho was hittable. Camacho did indeed eat some hooks in the first and second. Camacho also drops his hands at inopportune moments. Speaking of his hands, they aren’t that fast. Think I’m being too negative? I was simply surprised that this was our 17-1 guy, I guess. Molina banged to the body, too, and was more active with his feet. Through four, I had him up 3-1, as did analyst Teddy Atlas. Some blood trickled down from Camacho’s nose in the seventh, and his hands were even slower than before. In the ninth, his right eye was swollen noticeably, and Molina kept on banging away, as his stamina was in solid supply. Camacho swung for the fences in the tenth, to no avail. Molina went 198-512, and Camacho 173-863 after ten.
Philadelphian Ray Robinson (142 pounds; age 23; 9-0 coming in) met New York’s Darnell Jiles Jr. (142 pounds; age 20; 8-0-1 entering) in a scheduled eight. The two lefties were both warmed up, ready to go in the first. They looked comparable early. RR has a nice jab, and he’ll double and triple it. He stayed on the outside, and kept a smart distance. A left hurt Jiles, and RR poured it on in the last third of the third round. RR tried to close it out, but Jiles stayed standing. He went to his corner, and told his trainer Charles Murray, the ex fighter, and the physician that his head hurt, and he chose not to continue.
Brian Kenny was joined by Bert Sugar in the studio. Sugar weighed in on the Margarito hand wrap flap, and pointed out that this type of thing has been going on since they started using gloves. Jack Dempsey was accused of having plaster in his gloves and successfully sued Sports Illustrated when they printed that allegation, Sugar said. Bottom line, this is part and parcel of boxing, just as cheating in baseball, thru chemical means, has been the norm for a good twenty years.
The show delved into the Margarito hand wrap flap, and showed video of Bob Arum defending his man, and saying he was found guilty and suspended because he’s Mexican. “I know that for a fact,” said Arum, who didn’t share the basis for this assertion. Arum said he wouldn’t be bringing fights to California unless the decision was reversed. The promoter maintains that Margarito had no clue what his trainer was doing. Atlas dismissed this argument, and was quite comfortable saying that any fighter would know that something funky had been slipped into his gloves, or smeared on his wraps.
My take: Margarito apologists and Arum will have a tough, tough time defending their guy if that material found smeared on the wraps, which has been described as a plaster-type substance, is indeed found to be plaster. That finding is expected within a month.
New York Athletic Commissioner Melvina Lathan was on, and she said she would “probably have been a little bit more stringent” on Margarito and Capetillo had the infraction occurred in her jurisdiction. Atlas heard that and I think he wanted to give her a smooch in appreciation.