Keep your eye out, New York area fight fans. When fights take place in the Aviator athletic complex in Brooklyn, invariably, they are rock solid. In the main event of ESPN’s Wednesday Night Fights at the Aviator, Ali Oubaali and Chris Fernandez earned every penny of their pay, but it was Oubaali who broke down his foe with a severe body attack, and forced a stoppage due to a cut in the eighth round.
Both men showed heart aplenty, and Oubaali made a case for himself to sneak into some sanctioning bodies’ top 15 with his potent body attack and work rate.
The 32-year-old Utah resident Fernandez (15-4-1 coming in) weighed 140 pounds, while the 30-year-old Oubaali (21-3) of Brooklyn weighed 137 pounds.
In the first round, Ali, who was born in France and came in with a six fight win streak, had to defend Fernandez’ attack. But Ali went to the body in answer. He was on the beltline a few times. The crowd immediately saw both men were investing heavily in their fire. Fernandez showed a snappy jab, while Ali’s body work impressed greatly. In the second, Ali kept on landing the left hooks to the body. Neither man showed a great concentration on defense. Ali got clipped with right uppers and right crosses. In the third round, comedian Jackie Mason joined Joe Tessitore and Nate Campbell on commentary. “They don’t even know you’re supposed to duck a punch,” Mason said. Agreed. Campbell called it a poor man’s Corrales/Castillo. “I think they believe you say slip you mean the thing that goes under somebody’s dress,” said Campbell, matching Mason in the quip department.
In round four, Ali laced Fernandez with a 15 punch combo, but couldn’t drop his foe. Fernandez certainly showed he did the requisite ab work in training, taking all those body hits. His liquid output may tend towards the pink for the next few days. The ref deserves credit for letting Ali work so close to the belt. Ali buzzed Fernandez with a right at the end of the round over a lazy jab, and Fernandez landed a solid right cross at the bell. Damned fine fight.
In the fifth, the ref warned Ali for landing on the belt. Campbell, a body snatcher, said he shouldn’t get penalized. “Spoken like a true body puncher,” Tessitore said.
Ali, in the sixth, trapped Fernandez on the ropes. That body work was paying a fat dividend now. Twice, Fernandez took a body shot, and backed up, as if pondering how much more of this he wanted. And he repeatedly chose more. In the seventh, he ate some head shots and came roaring back. He did some body work of his own, too. In the eighth, the doctor looked at a cut over Fernandez’ left eye, and the fight continued. Oubaali, with his crazy cardio, kept blasting. The cut worsened, as the flesh on the left eyelid flapped and dripped blood. The ref, Steve Willis, stepped in and stopped it at 1:39 of the eighth, by TKO, as Fernandez was taking punishment on the ropes. Ali went 315-766, against 191-517 for Fernandez.
The 37-year-old Travis Simms (21-0-1 entering, 169 pounds) of Connecticut met Carl Daniels (50-13-1) of Missouri, who weighed 173 in the TV opener. Daniels had lost 9 of his last 10.
In the first, the two lefties sized each other up. Both set the table with the jab, with Simms being the busier of the two. Simms fired up more power punches in the second. Daniels launched a couple meaningful shots to this point, but he has his role as steppingstone carved out rather explicitly, so he knows his role. In the fourth round, Daniels hit the deck and took a count. It was a clipping left and he protested.
Daniels hit home with a sneaky left in the sixth, and the round was tight. In the sixth and final round, the fighters hugged some, with Daniels initiating. He ate some uppercuts, and looked to be in bad shape caught on the ropes halfway through the round. Simms really worked for the stoppage, but couldn’t nail it down. The judges spoke, and called it for Simms, 60-53, unanimously.
Albert Sosnowski (43-1 coming in, 223 pounds), age 29, took on 38-year-old Zuri Lawrence (23-14-4, 241 pounds). The two fighters threw some bombs in the first and it looked like someone would go before the distance. Zuri banged with left hooks. Sos has some solid basics down but drops his hands in the danger zone too much. His mouth hung open some in the fourth; would he be able to find a second wind? He ate a straight right, and it struck me that he’s carrying some XL muscles up top that are tough to lug around. Both men had the presence of mind to move their heads most of the time and combined with the fact that neither has fast hands, meant that plenty of bombs missed. Sos’s right eye was abraded in the seventh, and his left was puffed, and both men looked winded, but were still winging. Zuri hurt Sos in the eighth with a lead right, and left hook follow, and he must have smelled his first career KO! But Sos got his legs, and Zuri was too beat to capitalize. Both men raised their hands after, expecting the decision. The judges scored it 80-72, 80-72, 80-72, Lawrence. Zuri outhit his foe, 152-130. Those scores were a bit wider than ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and Campbell, subbing for Teddy Atlas, expected.