Friday Night Fights Report - Jan. 16, 2009

Friday Night Fights makes its annual trip to Key West, where it's warm enough for outdoor boxing. The theme of tonight is bouncing back from tough losses in 2008, with both Eromosele Albert and James McGirt Jr. in action trying to regain some career momentum.

Welterweights Marcus Willis and Omar Brown kick things off with a four-rounder. Both men are very inexperienced pros and both took the fight on less than two weeks notice.

Brown goes down early in the second round thanks to a left hook but doesn't look hurt and is back in swinging. Willis seems to have every physical advantage but could still get caught with something.

Dan Rafael of ESPN is the studio guest tonight. His one wish for 2009 is that Floyd Mayweather comes back to boxing and takes on Manny Pacquiao.

Teddy Atlas gives every round to Willis, and all three official judges agree. Willis improves to 2-0-1.

Brian Kenny and Rafael show some press conference footage from the Miguel Cotto/Kelly Pavlik doubleheader. Cotto says he knows nothing about Michael Jennings, and Rafael adds that he's not very good and is a joke as a mandatory challenger.

He has kinder words for Marco Antonio Rubio, who he calls a hard, aggressive puncher who earned his shot at Pavlik. Kelly says he still has a lot of proving to do, and he knows his opponent will be dangerous because he's hungry.

They move on to Marco Antonio Barrera, who recently signed a deal to host a regular show on ESPN Deportes. He's also stepping in against Amir Khan in March, and both commentators find that to be a stunning yet fascinating fight.

We're set now for James McGirt Jr. and Angel Hernandez. McGirt is the son of Buddy McGirt and sports a 19-1-1 record, though he was 1-1-1 in 2008. He has a five-inch height advantage and will be looking to stay on the outside.

Hernandez actually fights a smart fight in the early rounds, bulling his way inside. McGirt is probably out-landing but he has his hands full.

The action heats up in the fifth round with both men eating some big shots. McGirt attempts to use his mobility a little more as Hernandez finds some increased success in close. A little blood is coming from McGirt's nose.

Glen Johnson joins the announcers to talk a little bit about sparring with McGirt. He thinks James needs to settle his feet and use his boxing skills instead of spending so much time at close range and against the ropes.

In the seventh round, a cut opens over the left eye of Hernandez. He's definitely not going away though, continuing to throw punches at a fairly brisk pace. Atlas has McGirt up by just one point with three rounds to go.

Hernandez laughs a bit at the end of the ninth and this one may be up for grabs. Both men fight to the final bell, and it's in the hands of the judges.

The scores are 95-95 and 96-94 twice for Hernandez. The McGirts can't believe it as the veteran pulls off the upset.

Back in the studio, Rafael has news on Roy Jones Jr. coming back to fight in March against Omar Sheika. He also says there's nothing new on the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight, but he feels like they will work out the money issues and it will happen.

A little time is spent analyzing the Andre Berto-Luis Collazo fight. Atlas thinks Berto can outwork Collazo, though he is definitely the toughest test for Berto thus far.

Moving on to Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley, Atlas thinks Shane's chances depend on which Margarito shows up. Teddy doesn't think Mosley will get knocked out but may get outworked. Rafael talks a bit about how the fight is priced very smartly and even in the weak economy is likely to draw about 18,000 fans.

No comments: