We’ve all become accustomed to getting a little queasy when we hear the ring announcer say “split decision” after we watch a fight in which it seems fairly clear that a unanimous verdict was called for. So when viewers heard “split decision” after Miguel Vazquez gave a minor schooling to Breidis Prescott on Friday Night Fights, fair to say the butterflys started doing the Ali Shuffle in many a gut.
Not to worry though, as Duane Ford and Jerry Roth outnumbered Dave Moretti, and awarded the win to the underdog Vazquez after a ten rounder at Planet Hollywood.
The Three Wise Men Of Vegas, who opined on many a megamatch as a trio for many a moon, got it right, when all is said an done, in the eyes of TSS. Ford saw it 95-94, Vazquez; Moretti had it 97-92, Prescott, and Roth 96-93, Vazquez. Teddy Atlas, the ESPN analyst, saw it 98-92, Vazquez.
Hey, we can handle a case of the queasies, as long as we don’t have to actually use the barf bag. End of the day, let’s concentrate on the positive, that the ascendent Prescott, ranked as high as No. 4, by the WBO, didn’t get a gift wrapped nod.
Prescott (21-1; age 26; born in Colombia; lives in Florida) weighed 137 pounds, while Vazquez (managed by Antonio Margarito; 25-3; age 22; from Mexico) was 136. Fans know Prescott as the guy who rocked Amir Khan’s world on Sept. 6, 2008, as he kayoed Khan in the first round. Vazquez’ losses have come against unbeatens Saul Alvarez and Tim Bradley and now that he is not fighting at lightweight-plus, instead of 147 and 140, he may be a darkhorse type to slither into the rankings, and do some damage.
In the first, the long limbed Prescott wanted to land something hard, fast. He did, sort of, scoring a knockdown off a moonshine martini-stiff jab with 55 seconds to go. But Vazquez didn’t come to fold; Teddy Atlas had it even after three. Vazquez moved his head and torso well, keeps his man off with a smart jab, and stays composed at all times. Didn’t he get the message he wasn’t supposed to win? Apparently not, as he kept fighting his smart style, and he puffed up Prescott’s left eye midway through. Would the judge’s follow the unwritten script, and reward the more renowned Prescott based on his higher profile?
The stats said Vazquez did well; he was 160-462, while Prescott lagged at 98-477.
Erislandy Lara (7-0) downed Darnell Boone (16-12-2) in a junior middleweight scrap. The Cuban defector is a left-hander, who pops a snappy jab. His foe dropped Andre Ward in 2005, on the way to a decision loss. Lara can crack from the outside, or bang on the inside.
Lara wanted to finish it in the sixth. Boone was in trouble, on the ropes, and holding on. But he weathered the hailstorm and we went to the cards. The scores were 59-55, 60-54, 60-54, for Lara.
In the TV opener, Guillermo Rigondeaux (2-0) took out Robert Guillen (4-3-3) in a super bantamweight scrap. The Cuban, a two time Olympic gold medalist, is a sharp shooting lefty. He’s a mistake hitter, a counterpuncher, and he tried to smack the stache off the loser with his left. His jab is frequently subpar, but he makes up for it with his power. We saw it in the first, in a counter left hook to Guillen’s body, thrown as Guillen hurled a too-long right. The end came at 2:57 of the first.
After four, Yudel Johnson took a 40-36 times three win over Justin Paulo. The Cuban middleweight is 2-0, while the loser dropped to 1-1.
Atlas paid his respects to Arturo Gatti after the Lara bout. The fighter epitomized the word “fighter,” Teddy said. “Arturo Gatti always found a way to overcome,” the analyst/trainer said. Joe Tessitore mentioned that Gatti’s dad came from the same hometown as Joe's mom, Caserta, Italy, and the death thus touched him that much more.
Dan Rafael sat in the studio with Brian Kenny. Rafael told viewers that Arturo Gatti was his favorite fighter, and was much responsible for his choosing to pursue fight-writing as a career. And did you know that Dan named his cat “Thunder” after Arturo? “He may be one of the two or three action fighters of all time,” Rafael said.
SPEEDBAG We heard Micky Ward talking about his friendship with Gatti. Ward told us that he and Gatti became pals after their first scrap.
---Sergio Mora visited Tess and Atlas. He said he’s still waiting to fight Kelly Pavlik. He called Pavlik’s staph infection “bogus,” but then backtracked when Atlas asked him how he determined it was “bogus.” He said gym-mate Vazquez would get the upset win over Prescott. “I hate sparring him!” Mora said.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV