January 30, 2015

KO's Ringside Notes & Quotes V — The ESPN Friday Night Fights Edition

Please Stand By
By Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest

If the first Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card on NBC March 7 goes anything like their first ever media conference call went in promotion for it on January 28, you might expect some technical difficulties. The call opened to dead air. When they finally got Adrien Broner on the teleconference, the "Cincinnati Doofus" noticed the problem right away, feigning bored snores and groggily commenting, "Oh my God, the first conference call is kinda shaky, this is funny." What's funny is that Broner has been put in the first PBC bout to be aired on NBC's historic return to free Saturday afternoon TV boxing. Broner's opponent, John Molina, was not as amused: "Boxing is not a debate contest, it's a brutal sport."

The brutality of boxing on display in Denver
Mike Alvarado didn't "quit" in the corner against Brandon Rios during their third fight in Colorado on January 24. No, "Mile High" Mike quit on himself well before he turned two fingers into four, long before the reality of fighting without training hit him in the face like a "Bam Bam" Rios uppercut and blinded him to the reality of his painful fall from grace. Ultimately, the Rios-Alvarado trilogy was still very good but it will never be thought of now in the same vein as Gatti-Ward and that's unfortunate considering the heavy price they both paid in vain trying to get there for the entertainment of blood thirsty fight fans. The saddest thing to see in boxing is wasted talent, followed by wasted potential. Alvarado has now wasted both. Shame on Top Rank promoter Bob Arum for not putting a stop to that farce by cancelling the rubber match outright when he knew (or should have known) damn well how unprepared Alvarado truly was. In unflappable, full-on promotional spin mode a week before the scheduled bout, Arum went as far as to say that he had "nothing but admiration" for Alvarado as a person and as an athlete, even characterizing Alvarado's crimes as victimless. No Uncle Bob, there were plenty of victims. Namely, the six thousand paying fans who showed their pain by booing Alvarado in his own backyard when they should have been booing you and demanding a refund, not a rematch.  
Mancini makes his case
Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini talks to KO Digest's Joel Sebastianelli about the real measure of a champion in the upcoming February edition of "KO Digest Interview" available Sunday Feb 1 — "The true championship distance is 15 rounds. I have a problem with guys who only have to go 12 and got into the International Boxing Hall of Fame before guys who went 15. I lost but against Alexis Arguello and Livingstone Bramble, I was winning after 12 rounds. So the bottom line is if it's only 12 rounds, I'm undefeated! What would they say now if I had beat those legends?" 
Will Money diversify against Manny?
Welterweight contender Keith "One Time" Thurman speaks to the boxing media about the politics of pugilism: "Most ducking that occurs in boxing is political. Whether it be on the promoter, manager, trainer, or the fighter's end. Everybody has a reason to go the route they go. Unlike Mayweather, I like diversity. I want to fight the boxers. I want to fight the punchers. I want to fight the world baby. So come one, come all. I've said a lot about the people who've avoided me but at the end of the day, I'm truly not mad at nobody. We're all in it to have the careers that we want to put food on the table for our families." 

KO Digest Ringside Report (Foxwoods, Connecticut, ESPN Friday Night Fights - Mosley Jr. wins, Falowo beats Lamour in a New England thriller, Lacy gets hammered by Barrera, Luis upsets Dargan

JAN 30 In the Main Events main event, lightweights Karl Dargan and Tony Luis fought ten rounds for the WBC Continental Americas title. Dargan,  Philadelphia, was clearly the crowd favorite while the Canadian out of towner seemed to use that as an extra motivation. Luis stayed in the chest of Dargan for most of the  fight, making "Dynamite" look uncomfortable while lingering on the ropes instead of punching off of them. By the sixth round, Dargan appeared to be a mentally beaten fighter and Luis was surging in his confidence and in his attack. Dargan found it hard to avoid the left hand of Luis who stepped to his right and landed it with regularity.  Luis constantly outworked Dargan, it's as simple as that. The winner added a knockdown in the last round to seal the deal. Official scores: 97-92, 99-90, and 97-92. Dargan, 17-1, 9 KO's, lost the fight and his unbeaten record. Luis wins big to improve to 19-2, 7 KO's.  

"The Souljah" beats Lamour on ESPN
In the televised co-main event scheduled for eight rounds for the New England middleweight championship, local favorites Thomas Falowo and defending champion Russell Lamour both got loud introductory ovations from a packed house divided evenly across state lines. Lamour is the top dog in Maine, representing Portland and the "207" with pride. Falowo, 13-3, 8 KO's, fights out of Rhode Island and has made a name for himself as a rapidly improving fighter under Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment and Sports banner. In the first round, a straight right hand from Falowo buckled the knees of Lamour and these two were off to the races, fiercely trading on the inside whenever Falowo wasn't in hot pursuit of a retreating Lamour. Chants of "Russell, Russell" were quickly silenced in the fourth when Falowo pounded him into his own corner while trainer Bobby Russo looked on with a concerned look on his face. As an entertaining scrap developed, Falowo was the busier fighter and he fought like he wanted it a little more, perpetually pushing the fight forward.

Lamour found the body of Falowo in the sixth and "The Souljah" did well to hide his agony. The seventh and the eighth were like the first six, fun to watch but almost too close too call. Official scores in favor the winner and new New England middleweight champion were 78-74, 77-75, and 77-75. This was a really good fight and the decision was well earned. Lamour takes his first loss and is now 11-1, 5 KO's. We caught up with Falowo after the bout and the winner was very satisfied with his performance, telling KO, "It was fun, a really great feeling to see it all come together. I was trying not to get overanxious in there after I hurt him in the first. I definitely felt it to the body in the sixth but I got my second wind after that. Lamour is tough and he can box but the pressure was too much for him."   

On the undercard: 

Florida's Jeff Lacy was felled by a massive right hand in the first round from Sullivan Barrera in a light heavyweight "crossroads" bout. Somehow, he got up. Lacy, a former super middleweight champion, should not be in the ring, a victim of too many career concussions. Barrera, trained by Abel Sanchez, was bigger, younger, and he wasted no time showing "Left Hook" who the boss was in this one. The ring doctor took a close look at Lacy before the third but he let the mismatch continue. Barrera lost a point for a low blow in the fourth round but that just made him mad and he finished the fight in the corner with a series of unanswered blows. The winner improved his record to 15-0, 10 KO's while Lacy goes to 27-6, 18 KO's. 

Sugar Shane's baby boy gets the win
Middleweight Shane Mosley Jr came to the ring with boxing royalty in his corner in form of his father Sugar Shane and Floyd Mayweather Sr. Opponent Rafael Machado brought a tough guy attitude and his experiences as a cage fighter. Mosley Jr, Pomona, CA., has his famous father's eyes but he appears to lack the sublime skills that made him so great. A straight right sent Machado's mouthpiece flying in the second and two knockdowns in the third ended matters at 2:40. The first knockdown was scored off a sweet left hook, the second from a right uppercut to the body. Mosley is now 3-1, 3 KO's.

Local light heavyweight southpaw Charles Foster, New Haven, CT., traded power punches and hard counters in close with Larry "The Blessed One" Pryor, Washington, DC, for six full rounds and neither guy ever gave an inch. Clinches were rare but ripping shots to the head and body were not. Foster was the more creative fighter overall and he goes to 7-0, 3 KO's while Pryor makes his way to .500 at 9-9, 5 KO's with a respectable, professional effort. 

Official scores: 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55. KO had it a little closer.

KO Digest at the Fox Theater
Philadelphia cruiserweight Khalib "Bigfoot" Whitmore, 6-1, 5 KO's, was having his way with Carlos Reyes in the fist round before Reyes suddenly lowered the boom with two knockdowns in the second round that had Whitmore out on his feet. The referee stopped the fight at 2:04. Reyes, Kuarny, Arizona, improves to 7-5-1, 5 KO's. This was the opening bout of the card and it was quite an upset. Brother Nazeem Richardson was in the corner of Whitmore and he can't be very happy with what he saw from Bigfoot.     

Heavyweight Keith "Machine Gun" Tapia, 210, trapped hapless Jesse Oltmanns in a corner and wailed away until referee Mike Ortega jumped in to put a stop to the massacre at 2:09 of the first round. Tapia hails from Puerto Rico and improves to 13-0, 8 KO's. Oltmanns, Bartonsville, PA., falls to 10-5, 7 KO's. Tapia has a pep in his step and he might be one to keep an eye on. 

Ringside Report Photos by Jeffrey Freeman