Aside from one undercard fight, this week’s edition of ESPN's “Friday Night Fights” was a pure display of dirty fighting, inexperience, and sheer stupidity by a number of fighters, as well as an official or two.
The night at least opened in good fashion as the exciting up-and-coming junior welterweight star, Lamont Peterson, improved his perfect record to 16-0 (7 KO's) with a dazzling unanimous decision over a tough and worthy Jose Leo Moreno 12-2 (10 KO's). The ten round bout for the vacant WBC USA jr. welterweight title featuring nearly 2,000 punches was a great show and indeed a superb performance for Peterson, as the judges scored the bout 99-91, and 100-90 twice.
So after a great opening, a lot a weird… stuff (for the sake of censorship), began occurring.
The main event of the evening was built-up to be a super one as the favorite Delvin Rodriguez 18-1-1 (10 KO's) stepped into the ring against a rugged unknown in Alexis Divison 16-3 (12 KO's) who took the bout on just ten days notice. Maybe it was lack of preparation, but whatever it was, Divison sure stunk up the place en route to a fourth round DQ for “dirty fighting” as referee Bill Clancy would say.
The scheduled ten round bout opened up in smooth form with Rodriguez beginning to land his jab, but Division came right back strong with a nice series of hooks. Rodriguez then began to counter, landing more frequently. The two then engaged in a few even exchanges in the last minute of the round. First round, even… not to mention, normal.
Round two started with an even exchange between the fighters, leading into a string of nice uppercuts by Divison. The charades then began as Clancy stepped in to warn Divison for repeatedly holding behind the head. The action resumed, with Rodriguez now slipping and countering. The bout was again brought to a pause as Divison delivered a blatant blow so low that I had to take a slow walk around my living room, just to regain composure. Rodriguez took about thirty seconds to get himself together and the fight resumed. The prior events seemed to wake up Rodriguez a bit, as he came on strong at the end, landing some blistering combinations to finish the round.
Round three began with Rodriguez landing a number of punches pretty much at will, setting everything thing up behind his sharp, crisp jab. The more Rodriguez landed, the more wide and wild Divison became. The action was then stopped… again. Clancy now had to warn Divison for throwing a series of elbows. Division apologized and the fight resumed… again. Rodriguez continued to slip and counter, landing some sweet combinations including a saga of effective uppercuts.
Toward the end of the third the round, it became apparent that somebody neglected to inform us that the Ringling Brothers were in town… seeing as the circus act continued to go on. Yes, indeed the action was halted… again, this time for another clear-cut low blow by Divison.
At this point in the fight, I began questioning exactly who it was that taught Divison how to fight.
In the beginning of the next round, I surely got my answer. The first action of the fourth round was Clancy stopping the action… again. This time he finally took of a point from Divison for holding behind the head… again. The next punch of the fight, yet another blatant low blow, proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Alexis Divison must have acquired the ring wisdom of both Mike Tyson (after Buster Douglas) and Andrew Golata (after Riddick Bowe)… which is none. Bill Clancy then disqualified Divison just 28 seconds into the fourth round.
Since this pathetic excuse for a fight did not take up enough airtime, a heavyweight bout was thrown in at the end of the broadcast featuring undefeated prospect Alonzo Butler 21-0-1 (16 KO's) and tomato can Terry Porter 15-18-3 (9 KO's). Needless to say, Butler was dominating the entire fight. Early into the third round Butler staggered Porter with a vicious right hand. However, as he chased after Porter, swinging and missing by a mile, he knocked Porter through the ropes and onto a press table with, well, his butt.
While this was just another entertaining event in last night’s circus , somehow referee Randy Phillips ruled the “butting” a knockout.
As Butler celebrated, the rest of us around the world, including announcers Teddy Atlas, Brian Kinney, and special guest star Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, sat there all pondering the same thing “hmm, well, uh, Randy… exactly what fight were you watching?”
Hopefully next week’s show will be an improvement. It definitely couldn't get any worse.