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Friday Night Fights

By Zach Arnold | August 25, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

Results and review of the ESPN2 telecast can be viewed in full-post view.

8/25/2006 ESPN2 Friday Night Fight show results (from Arco Arena in Sacramento, California)

  1. Otis Griffin defeated Nelson Zepeda by judges’ unanimous decision after 6 rounds
  2. Alfonso Gomez defeated Carson Jones by referee stoppage (KO/TKO) near the end of round 8
  3. Sergio Mora defeated Eric Regan by judges’ unanimous decision after 10 rounds

Show Review

The Griffin/Zepeda encounter was an interesting fight that featured one bizarre highlight that produced enjoyable commentary from the always excitable Joe Tessitore. In the third round (if my memory serves me right), Griffin knocked Zepeda down and the referee started giving Zepeda a mandatory 8-count. Suddenly, a guy in a dark suit jacket appears in the ring and starts examining Griffin, the man who just knocked Zepeda down. Both Tessitore & Atlas on TV commentary thought that this was a doctor, and when the referee saw this man in the ring he immediately yelled at him to get out of the ring. The TV crew started asking why in the world would a doctor jump into the ring to examine a guy who knocked down his opponent. Atlas concluded initially that it had to be a very inexperienced ring doctor. During the commercial break, Atlas and Tessitore were told that the guy who jumped into the ring was an inspector from the California State Athletic Commission (which goes under a new name now). The question that has to be asked is: Was this inspector even watching the fight in front of him taking place in the ring? Outside of this strange incident, Griffin had a relatively easy and good performance against Zepeda.

The best fight of the night, in my opinion, was the Alfonso Gomez vs. Carson Jones fight. Gomez was heavily pushed as being a contestant on season one of The Contender, and I immediately started thinking about the parallels between the TV commentators pushing The Contender contestants and how the UFC TV guys push the credibility of the TUF contestants. Jones was talking a lot of smack before the fight, essentially calling Gomez a joke. This was a great fight for action, especially since Jones wasn’t doing a very good job of defending Gomez’s punching attacks. I wouldn’t say that Jones implemented a “no guard” strategy (there’s your Japanese English term of the day), but he certainly absorbed a ton of punishment. Jones continued fighting real hard despite losing almost every round. There was a cheap shot that happened at the end of round two, which wasn’t good. Gomez drew a big applause from the small, but hardcore and excitable Sacramento audience (a lot of Hispanic fans in attendance). The finish for the fight was a controversial referee stoppage towards the end of round 8, when Gomez connected with about three or four solid punches and the referee jumped in immediately. I could understand the referee’s intentions of trying to stop the fight before Jones’ absorbed even more punishment, but Jones clearly looked like he could still defend himself and finish the round. The fans were heavily booing the finish and cheering Gomez.

There was a hilarious segment during the Gomez/Jones fight on the TV side where Teddy Atlas was channeling the spirit of Dusty Rhodes (only pro-wrestling fans will understand this analogy). Atlas started saying that Gomez attacking Jones was like a lion hunting after a gazelle. A minute later, Atlas warned that the lion needed to be careful about the gazelle’s horns puncturing him and fighting back. It was beautiful to listen to in its awkwardness.

The main event fight between Sergio Mora and Eric Regan was both exciting and frustrating to watch on several levels. For starters, Mora was really unloading some cheap shots during the clinches with Regan. Two of the more egregious cheap shots happened at the end of round one and during round seven. Mora, despite being a heavy fan favorite, really was “heeling it up” and irritating the hell out of Regan. Understandably, Regan got irritated with Mora’s actions and started doing a few cheap shots of his own — which prompted the referee to warn him a few times, but Mora was only warned once. Mora was showboating in several spots during the fight, including during one round where he started dragging his right foot on the mat and motioning a “drawing the line in the sand” gesture to Regan. Tessitore kept pushing the fact that Mora was “very TV friendly” as a fighter and that he might have a fight with Jermaine Taylor or Ike Quartey in the future. Regan, for his part, never used his height or reach advantage at all in the fight with Mora. Regan lost most of the rounds in the 10-round fight. Ironically, the TV crew talked about how Mora originally signed for a 12-round fight with Regan but then asked for the fight to be reduced to 10 rounds. If this fight had continued for 12 rounds, Mora would have likely in my opinion finished off Regan. Despite an entertaining performance from Mora, he was irritating and dirty during several spots in the fight and it was frustrating to watch.

Overall, a very good showing of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2. During the fights, they went back to the ESPN2 studios in Bristol, Connecticut and had Robert Flores introduce a two-part video package series on Mills Lane. The video sequence went through Lane’s career in boxing and his stroke, which really impacted his life. They showed footage of the Ukranian laboratory that Lane was taken to for stem cell therapy.

Hyped on TV for the 9/1 show: Courtney Burton vs. Emanuel Augustus in a long-awaited re-match.

Topics: All Topics, Boxing, Media, Zach Arnold | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

One Response to “Friday Night Fights”

  1. Chuck says:

    I watched Friday Night fights. Yeah, it was frustrating that Regan didn’t really use his reach advantage. Watching tall, lanky fighters with long arms is weird to watch, because many of them DON’T use their height and arm reach advantage, and many of them don’t string together great combinations. Maybe it’s because those type of fighters have a lot of arm to throw, so their punches aren’t quite as fast. I don’t know.

    Any way, good to see, Zach, that you covered last night’s fighjts like BOXING matches. Not like pro wrestling matches. BRAVO!!! But I still hope that Griffin/Zepeda match wasn’t too much of a squash match with a total lack of good match psychology! Because I thought Zepeda sold those punches like a champ!


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