On ESPN2's Friday Night Fights from Salisbury, Maryland, local boy Fernando Guerrero packed the house with roaring admirers who made his fight with Philadelphia's Gabriel Rosado one to remember.
Guerrero went down in the third round on a counter right hand that caught him off balance, but rebounded to dominate the latter half of the eight-round fight, winning on unanimous decision scores of 76-75 and 77-74 (twice). It was a good test for the 22-year old Guerrero, who got some real resistance out of Rosado but was able to control enough of the fight to clearly win it. He busted up Rosado's face for much of the fight, leaving him with a swollen right eye and blood coming from his mouth.
Guerrero (13-0, 11 KO) should probably fight a few more times with this level of opposition before he takes on someone serious. He still has some bad habits to correct. Having seen Fernando fight four or five times now, this was the first time he met someone that seemed to know what to do with a southpaw. Guerrero was never in any real trouble against Rosado, but a bigger puncher with faster hands is going to capitalize on the little mistakes he still makes. His natural athletic ability is fierce, and he seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Even with the crowd roaring its approval for everything he did, he never fought out of control. That showed maturity for a guy his age in front of the hometown fans, who all expect more of him than anyone else does, and plenty of folks (myself included) expect good stuff out of his career.
Rosado (10-3, 6 KO) just didn't have the physical abilities to beat Guerrero. It was that simple. He's a quality opponent, and not a bad fighter, but he's not a natural. Most guys who aren't naturals don't make it to the big time. You get a few cases like a Bernard Hopkins or someone like that, but then again what Bernard has ever lacked in physical ability he's more than made up for with an insane ability to mentally absorb the fight game and think five steps ahead of his foes. Rosado put up a good fight and came to win. You can't ask for more than that.
In the Friday Night Fights main event, light heavyweight contender Chris Henry and former super middleweight near-flameout Yusaf Mack put on a display of sloppy brawling in what was an interesting but disappointing matchup that didn't mesh well. In the end, Mack won enough rounds with largely uncontested right hand bomb assaults to eke out a split decision, with scores of 116-112 and 115-112 (Mack) and 115-113 (Henry).
I had Mack winning the fight 114-113 on the strength of a 10-8 round without a knockdown in the sixth, when Henry chose to simply absord right hand shot after right hand shot, plus a final round where he came out throwing, then held on when he needed to, and finished up with a few more shots.
Henry (23-2, 17 KO) just didn't look like the same guy that fought Adrian Diaconu with a lot of energy last April in Romania. Mack did not fight particularly well at all. Like usual, his gas tank hit the E and he looked like he could've been knocked flat at any moment past the sixth, when he all but punched himself out in the process of trying to drill Henry.
Henry's natural size advantage, with a bigger frame than Mack, was obvious. Mack did sting him a few times, but for the most party Henry was able to walk through the shots. What cost Henry the fight was an inability to do any effective damage to Mack, who has been knocked out twice. Henry spent too much of the fight leaning on Mack and trying to wear him out that way, and not enough time actually fighting. It is what it is, and Chris Henry is back to the drawing board. It's a career rejuvenation of sorts for Yusaf Mack.
On Shobox, Andre Ward shut out Henry "Sugar Poo" Buchanan in what amounted to an obvious physical mismatch that lacked any drama whatsoever. Buchanan's claim is that even in street fights when being hit with baseball bats, he's never gone down. Ward didn't put him down, either, and Buchanan appeared very proud of this fact. But Buchanan also spent much of the fight staying the hell away from Ward, who had more power, more speed, looked a weight class bigger than Buchanan, and outclassed him every moment of the fight.
Ward won 120-108 on all three cards. I had the same score.
The knockout of the night (kind of a default since there was only one knockout) came in the Shobox opener, which I luckily caught by flipping over just after the ESPN2 scores were announced. John John Molina (no relation, apparently) drilled Joshua Allotey with a wicked body shot, and Allotey didn't get up for several minutes. He got an ovation when he did reach his feet, but man he was out. Great knockout -- Vic and Jorge will be hard-pressed to top that one.
On another card in Maywood, Calif., always-exciting welter Jesus Soto Karass beat Carson Jones via 10-round unanimous decision. Karass is now 23-3-3 (16).