Recapping all of the boxing news and results from the weekend
The weekend got off to a big start on Friday, with multiple televised cards competing for the fight fan’s attention. On ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, John Molina upset Hank Lundy, coming from behind to win in rousing fashion by 11th-round TKO. Lundy began the fight by doing what many had predicted—outspeeding and outmaneuvering the stiff-moving Molina. The Philly-bred prospect moved purposefully and lashed out with sudden and quick punches, sometimes in bunches to confound Molina.
The flashy speed in which he threw punches was reminiscent of Meldrick Taylor, just without the seamless and constant combinations. As the fight moved into the middle rounds, however, Molina began to zero in. He was able to plant his feet and dig away, having more success in the 6th and 7th rounds, as Lundy appeared to tire.
Lundy’s effectiveness appeared to be waning. The lead lefts from the southpaw stance and quick jab were coming with less regularity. Nevertheless, he appeared to be doing okay. In the 8th, after hot-dogging, Molina crashed a right home on the unprepared Lundy—sending him down in a heap. It was a bit embarrassing and another in a trend of fighters learning the hard way not to taunt with impunity.
Lundy got his feet under him a bit and rode out the storm, even managing to have a better 9th round. He showed heart in taking a lot of good shots from the hard-slugging Molina. In the 10th round, Molina was really honing in. He hit Lundy with a left hook that seemed to shake him. Lundy inexplicably grabbed the top rope with his right hand, allowing Molina to drive home a few more damaging left hooks.
It was truly bizarre. I don’t know if Lundy was on some super-macho head-trip or what, but the hooks seemed to do some damage. Moments later, Molina got Lundy against the ropes and began unloading. After Lundy sagged, the referee stopped the fight, giving the TKO win to Molina in a big win.
First of all, it was not a quick stoppage. Once a fighter shows a visible sign of being out, the referee has every right to stop the contest. He needn’t wait for actual unconsciousness to set in. Lundy, for a brief moment, went out. The referee was sharp enough to catch it. It was a perfectly timed stoppage.
Lundy’s camp, rather than worrying about the timing of the referee’s intervention, should turn their attention to the inadequacies shown by their young charge. The deficits Lundy displayed in professionalism and overall concentration are not acceptable at this point in his career. He basically sabotaged himself. With a big lead, he lost concentration and allowed Molina to get back into the fight by scoring punches he was evading easily in the earlier rounds. As Molina began to establish any foothold, Lundy fell apart mentally. He hot-dogged his way into a hard knockdown, held onto the rope and invited Molina to pound him, which he did, and then laid on the ropes and let Molina bash away to a TKO win. So I’m not exactly sure what he’s doing sitting in the corner after the fight with a puss on, acting like he had been wronged.
Molina showed a lot of grit and ability. It takes a while for him to get cooking, but the moxie he showed was first-class. He hung in there after falling far behind and stayed resolute like a real pro. When he started to dig in, he was able to inflict a lot of damage of his previously undefeated foe. Early on, he looked raw and almost outclassed. To turn that around the way he did, despite Lundy’s self-undermining actions, will give his career and reputation a much-deserved boost.
On the Undercard…
Lowell’s Joe McCreedy dropped an 8-round nod to Vladine Biosse in a good fight. Watching McCreedy battle doggedly with the more-talented Biosse makes one wonder what they put in the water in Lowell. McCreedy is trained by another Lowell toughie—Dick Eklund, the uncle of Micky Ward.
We learned on the telecast that “The Fighter,” a movie about the life of Micky Ward will come out in December. Looking forward to that. Donnie Wahlberg as Micky Ward? Not so bad, I guess, once you get past the whole New Kids on the Block thing. But how are they going to ugly-up Christian Bale enough to play Dick Eklund? Bale has Hollywood good looks, and Eklund, well, doesn’t.
Turned over to Showtime enough during commercials to notice Antwone Smith and Lanardo Tyner having a good fight. Smith looked to be doing well in the early rounds before it all went downhill. Despite being a 10-1 favorite, he could not put much distance between himself and Tyner. By the ninth round, Smith’s eye was grotesquely swollen and Tyner ruined him to the body to score a 9th-round TKO. Tyner, 34, had shown to be a tough, if not overly accomplished fighter in his losses to Mike Arnaoutis, Lamont Peterson, and Saul Alvarez. This win over a well-thought-of and streaking contender like Smith should give Tyner some wind in his sails.
Mike Jones continued his march up the ranks as the big and spidery puncher disposed of Irving Garcia in the 5th round. In the first round, it looked like an orthodox version of Paul Williams vs. Carlos Quintana 1, as the smaller and underpowered Garcia landed some good punches to take the round.
Garcia had his moments in the first few rounds, but it was all Jones in the 5th. He was pounding Garcia in the corner, seemingly not far away from a TKO win, when a low blow crumpled Garcia on the ground. Referee Randy Neuman began counting over him. Garcia motioned that he had been put down by a low blow and it seemed that Neuman responded that he knew that. But he just kept on counting until he got to ten. It was a little strange to say the least. Garcia should have risen and then pleaded his case perhaps, but Neuman shouldn’t have counted him out either. Luckily for Neuman, his foul-up didn’t affect the result, as Williams was well on his way to a stoppage regardless. Another impressive win for the exciting welterweight prospect/contender.
On to Saturday…
On Showtime, Nonito Donaire opened the evening with an 8th-round TKO over game Hernan Marquez. Boxing from the southpaw stance for the first 4 or so rounds, Donaire had mixed results with his little experiment. Commentator Al Bernstein correctly observed that the southpaw stance cost Donaire some height and caused him to lean in more.
In the 5th, he went back to orthodox and began to have better success, hurting Marquez over the next few rounds. I must say, after seeing Marquez get handily outboxed by Richie Mepranum in his last fight and considering his coddled boxing upbringing, he surprised me with his pluck and skills. The southpaw 21-year old should go back to flyweight and build up a little bit and he’ll be fine.
As for Donaire, it’s time to face someone compelling. The Vic Darchinyan KO was in 2007. It’s been a long time now. Maybe things happen too fast in present time to gain perspective, but what if a fighter had a breakthrough title-winning victory in 1977, wouldn’t you have expected him to have made another move by 1980? His move to bantamweight is a good sign, as the division is absolutely stacked with talent.
A Young Superstar Takes Another Step…
I think we need to collectively get our heads around the fact that Juan Manuel Lopez is a true force—on his way to becoming a huge attraction. His 2nd-round shootout win over talented Bernabe Concepcion was breathtaking. He opened the fight by pummeling Concepcion, threatening to score a stoppage in the very first round. He put Concepcion down and had him in big trouble. At the end of the 1st, a big Concepcion hook put Lopez down as he moved in for the kill. Great stuff.
The second opened with Lopez strafing Concepcion with shots. After 2 more knockdowns, the referee waved it off. Concepcion is a legitimate featherweight contender, who was simply bowled over by the hard-hitting Lopez. The Mtgawa slip-up now far behind him, Lopez looks to have kicked his game to the next level since moving up to featherweight. His next fight is slated to be against Rafael Marquez.
Let’s hope to hear that there’s been some headway in the Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations here soon.
It will be interesting to see how Zab Judah looks next week on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, as he faces Jose Santa Cruz. On Showtime on the same night, middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero steps up against former contender Ishe Smith. A nice undercard feature matches undefeated welterweights Lanard Lane and Mike Dallas, Jr. I’ve never seen Lane, but Dallas, Jr. is a good-looking speedster who has found some power recently.
On Saturday, Timothy Bradley defends against Juan Carlos Abregu, with Alfredo Angulo facing Joachim Alcine on HBO. Bradley should win, but he better not be looking ahead against the undefeated and dangerous Abregu.
On Fox Sports Net, Bantamweight Champion of the World, Fernando Montiel, defends against Rafael Concepcion after a late pullout by Eric Morel.
And Johnny Tapia is fighting? Did I just step into a time machine? The 43-year old Tapia faces old nemesis Frankie Archuleta in New Mexico on Saturday. Hope everything goes well for him.