Friday Night Fights Report - Feb. 20, 2009

The start of tonight's Friday Night Fights card was delayed by the end of Illinois State and Niagara in college hoops, but we've finally made our way to Ft. Lauderdale. Undefeated Breidis Prescott is in the main event, and Yuriorkis Gamboa is also in action.

The planned main event between Richard Gutierrez and Jesus Gonzales has been scrapped as Gonzales could not make weight and informed all involved that he would not be taking the fight.

We get right to action with Keith Gross facing Cuban native Erislandry Lara, who's already been on FNF once in 2009. This will be four rounds.

A one-two from Lara lands right on the button about 30 seconds in and puts Gross on his back. Gross makes it up but is right back down after a left to the body and several more to the head. The ref calls a stop to it as Gross is doubled over on the ground. Lara wins by KO at 1:09 of the first round.

Lara moves to 4-0 as a professional. Replays of the first knockdown show just what a sweet left hand Lara threw.

Brian Kenny is in the studio and leads off by talking about the weigh-in for Miguel Cotto-Michael Jennings and Kelly Pavlik-Marco Antonio Rubio. Cotto says he is past his loss to Antonio Margarito mentally. Pavlik and Rubio have some complimentary things to say about each other.

Kenny throws it to Dan Rafael for some reaction. Dan states that Cotto is still very bothered by Bob Arum's vocal defense of Margarito but is taking the high road for the most part. He also says that a rematch with Shane Mosley would be most appetizing for Cotto, but that Top Rank doesn't seem interested in pursuing it, so Kermit Cintron or Joshua Clottey may end up next on Miguel's dance card.

Rafael also talked recently to Oscar De La Hoya, who told him that he is leaning toward retiring from boxing.The Golden Boy has been taking his loss to Manny Pacquiao pretty hard, staying out of the public eye whenever possible and playing a lot of golf.

Next on the schedule is electrifying junior lightweight Yuriorkis Gamboa going up against veteran Walter Estrada. The 27-year old Gamboa is 13-0 with 11 KOs, and he also appeared on FNF previously in 2009. The Cuban defector has a large following in South Florida and the fans are behind him again tonight.

Estrada has lost his last two fights by KO, which doesn't bode well for him. We're scheduled for eight rounds.

Gamboa wastes no time getting to work and sends Estrada to the mat with a right hand just 25 seconds in. Estrada is not getting up, and the former Olympic gold medalist adds another KO victim to his resume.

A left hook to the body set up Gamboa's right that ended the fight. Gamboa wins by KO at 0:35 of the first round.

We're getting extra studio time thanks to those quick knockouts. Kenny talks Paul Williams-Winky Wright and shows some entertaining clips from the Timothy Bradley-Kendall Holt press conference from Montreal.

Next up is a four-round heavyweight bout between Mike Sheppard and Ramon Garbey, yet another Cuban. Garbey has only 22 pro fights on his record but is 37 years old. He's been inactive for two and a half years, but he has been the distance with James Toney and Fres Oquendo years ago.

Garbey lands a pretty sharp right hand about halfway through the first and spends the rest of the round backing Sheppard into the corner and looking for the kill. He also lands a low shot right before the bell, though replay shows it was on the beltline.

The second round and most of the third go Garbey's way as he looks to set up a big right hand. He finally lands it off a counter shot with a little less than a minute left in the third, but Sheppard gets off the canvas and bravely battles to the end of the round.

The only drama left is seeing if Sheppard can make it the whole four rounds. Another counter right sends Sheppard down again with 30 seconds left, and then a third time right before the final bell.

The judges score it 40-33 three times. Garbey wins by unanimous decision.

Back to Kenny for one final segment. He shows Nate Campbell-Ali Funeka highlights and runs down the Ring Magazine lightweight rankings, which have Prescott in the top 10. Kenny also goes through Sergio Martinez-Kermit Cintron and Alfredo Angulo-Cosme Rivera highlights.

Rafael checks in and says he likes Campbell moving up in weight. He also thinks Funeka has earned another main event appearance.

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