by Joe Kulyeshie
July 7, 2006 – Friday Night Fights is live from the City Auditorium in Phoenix, Arizona. Former world champion Joel Casamayor takes on Lamont Pearson in the main event. Stan Verrett is in the studio with special guest Lightweight Champion Diego Corrales. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas are ringside.
Let’s get to it!
Junior Middleweights – Julio Garcia (36-2, 29 KO) vs. Grover Wiley (30-7-1, 14 KO) – 12 rounds
for the IBA Americas Welterweight title
Set-up: 19 year old prospect Julio Garcia has already had 38 pro fights because he began his career in Mexico at the age of 15. He raised the weight limit of this fight twice. Grover Wiley upset Julio Cesar Chavez in Chavez’s farewell bout, but then lost his following fight. Is Garcia’s weight gain due to laziness or a growth spurt?
Garcia is taller and has the thicker body. He looks much larger than Wiley. Garcia lands a right to the head 45 seconds in. A left to the body knocks down Wiley with just under a minute to go. Blood is trickling out his nose. Wiley is knocked down again shortly thereafter. He now has a big gash on the side of his right eye. Supreme domination for Garcia (10-7).
Four punch right-left-right uppercut-left combo knocks down Wiley 10 seconds in. The ref quickly stops the fight.
Garcia KO over Wiley
Garcia was the stronger, faster and sharper fighter. He remained controlled throughout the short distance of the bout. Garcia has a lot of ability and could be something special as he matures.
Junior Middleweights – Chris Govan (2-2-1, 2 KO) vs. Yukence Andino (5-0, 1 KO) – 6 rounds
Set-up: Andino is the prospect. Govan is his selected prey. Won’t be pretty.
Andino scores a flash knockdown 20 seconds in. A right knocks Govan down for the second time. Govan gets up again, but after a flurry of punches by Andino, the ref stops the fight.
Andino TKO over Govan
Andino has quick hands, some power, showed good finishing skills and completely dominated the fight. Another good looking prospect.
In the studio, Stan Verrett reports that Shane Mosley will NOT fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. later this year.
Junior Welterweights – Jeff Farmer (1-1) vs. John Jackson (5-0, 5 KO) – 4 rounds
Set-up: John Jackson is a 3 time National Champion and 7 time golden gloves winner from Detroit. Jeff Farmer took the fight on one day’s notice and is in big trouble.
Farmer throws out his jab to keep Jackson off him. Jackson has the much quicker hands but gets caught with a decent right from Farmer in the last minute. Jackson landed more and crisper punches and wins the round but not by as much as expected (10-9).
Jackson knocks down Farmer with a right hand while Farmer is adjusting his mouthpiece which was knocked askew from a previous right. Blood is flowing from Farmer’s nose. Farmer’s corner throws in the towel as Farmer is taking a beating.
Jackson TKO over Farmer
Farmer was clearly not at the level of Jackson. Jackson was just too quick and too strong. Nevertheless, Farmer was able to slip some awfully clean punches through from time to time. Jackson has a lot of ability but has work to do before stepping up his competition level.
Fight 4 – Main Event
Lightweights – Joel Casamayor (32-3-1, 20 KO) vs. Lamont Pearson (23-3-1, 12 KO) – 10 rounds
Set-up: The under-appreciated superstar Joel Casamayor looks to take care of business as he tries to secure a rematch with Diego Corrales after a few underwhelming efforts. Lamont Pearson is a letter carrier for the post office who is looking to pull off the big upset. Can Casamayor regain his old form or will he overlook Pearson giving him a chance for the upset?
Pearson opens up the fight by staying outside and forcing the counter-puncher Casamayor to be the aggressor and come to him. An uneventful round where Casamayor landed a few early combos then did not do much. Pearson kept jabbing, staying to the outside and occassionally landing from the outside. Round to Pearson (10-9).
Round starts with a clash of heads causing a cut in the top of the forehead of Casamayor. The cut should not be a problem as it is out of the way. Pearson lands two nice clean rights in the last minute of the round. Another uneventful round with Pearson going into a defensive shell and not punching for periods of time. Still, Pearson managed to land the two best punches of the round. Very tough round to score, as Casamayor was in control for most of the round but not particularly effective. Still, we give it to Casamayor for his activity (19-19).
Pearson is in a defensive shell for long periods of time, but again lands the best punches of the round in the final minute with two rights. Another tough round to score. In the interest of fairness we split the difference and give this close round to Pearson (29-28). Teddy Atlas has it scored the same way, though he flip-flopped the scoring of the second and third rounds.
Pearson lands a right with one minute to go. Much more action this round as the fighters trade punches during several exchanges. Another close round. Casamayor is more aggressive and slips through more punches and takes the round (38-38). Teddy gives the round to Pearson, 39-37.
Not as much activity as the previous round. Pearson continues to go into defensive shells trying to force Casamayor to be the aggressor. However, Pearson is unable to land any clean shots this time. Round to Casamayor (39-38). Teddy also scores the round for Casamayor.
Casamayor opens the round with a flurry ending with a straight left. Another Casamayor combo connects one minute in. Pearson lands a clean left hook with 1:40 to go. A straight right by Pearson snaps back Casamayor’s head with 25 seconds to go. Once again, we have Casamayor being forced to be the aggressor, but Pearson is able to sneak in the cleaner punches. I wish I was there to get a better feel for how the punches are landing… round to Pearson (57-57). Teddy also scores the round for Pearson and has him leading the fight, 58-56. A super close, interesting fight with Pearson forcing Casamayor to come forward and attack. Which Casamayor does more effectively than Juan Urango did last week. Yet, Pearson occassionally goes on the offensive and lands some clean punches. The problem is when Pearson goes into a defensive shell he completely covers up and does literally nothing offensively.
Casamayor seems to hurt Pearson at the halfway point of the round. Not sure with what. Casamayor lands a straight left counter with 30 to go. Casamayor’s “professional” tactics seemed to get to Pearson this round–Some elbows, holding behind the head, some uppercuts while holding behing the head. The first one-sided round of the fight goes to Casamayor (67-66). Teddy has the round to Casamayor, but the fight to Pearson, 67-66.
Pearson is extremely defensive for the first minute plus of the round. Pearson lands a left hook with 1:20 to go. A flurry at the end of the round opens up a cut over Pearson’s right eye. Casamayor is starting to take over the fight as Pearson is too inactive for too long. Round to Casamayor (77-75).
Pearson is on the run from the beginning of the round. After 45 seconds of running he slips on some water in his corner and goes down. While the ref checks out Pearson after the slip, he asks the doctor to look at the cut over Pearson’s right eye. Pearson doesn’t give the right answers and appears to be bothered by the cut. Referee stops the fight.
Casamayor TKO over Pearson
Pearson’s strategy made for a really interesting and entertaining fight. Pearson forced Casamayor to come out of his comfort zone and be the aggressor for much of the fight where Casamayor was clearly not at his best. Yet Pearson was able to turn offensive at times and land some clean punches. I would have liked to have seen the judge’s scorecards. Pearson was clearly bothered by the cut over his eye and seemed to run out of gas after the 6th round.
To end the show, we have the REAL main event as Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor talk to each other to end the show. Corrales says he would have knocked out Pearson within two rounds and that Casamayor has to do better if he wants to fight him. Casamayor says they had a rematch clause and that Corrales is scared to fight him. Corrales says that they are liars, there was no rematch clause and that Casamayor has to win a title before he will give him a rematch. The interpretor and Corrales get into a heated argument before they go to Teddy Atlas who says that Casamayor was probably not at his best because he wasn’t fighting for a world title. An intense exchange cementing why there should be a rematch.
Back in the studio, Stan Verrett asks Corrales who he wants to fight if not Casamayor. Corrales doesn’t seem to want to fight anyone…