Tonight's Go Fight Live broadcast from Hollywood, Fla., went down mostly as expected, at least until the show was over.
In the main event, 45-year-old Oliver McCall beat 37-year-old Fres Oquendo by split decision on scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 113-115. Bad Left Hook scored it 116-112 and 116-113 for Oquendo, but both Brick and myself agreed that it wasn't really a robbery. There were several rounds that really could have gone either way, and Oquendo did himself no favors at too many points for me to either be surprised or upset. Many rounds I tipped to Oquendo could easily have gone to McCall, really. Neither fighter looked all that great, though McCall's toughness is still beyond question. At 45, he just walks through everything -- not that Oquendo gave him much to contend with. Offensively, McCall (55-10, 37 KO) is quite limited these days, relying on an arm punch jab with his left hand and once in a while swinging a big right that generally is so slow it just misses completely or is cut off halfway in. Oquendo (32-7, 21 KO) is also quite well past his best, and probably backed down too much in too many rounds, really. It could have gone his way, but it didn't.
It was also one of those fights where, frankly, the consequences just weren't there. It's not like either man is going to get a major title shot. McCall and Oquendo will both fight another day.
After the fight, the two entourages got into a scuffle, which appeared to start when an Oquendo team member got into some sort of disagreement with somebody and tried to start up a brawl. Oquendo went over to try to break it up, but it went a little while. Security reacted quickly and did a pretty good job getting it over with in a timely manner. Since it wasn't NBC, the cameras rolled. Nobody appeared to be hurt.
Here's a full report for the 5 1/2 hour show.
Welterweights: Brad Solomon UD-10 Anges Adjaho
Solomon 16-0 (7 KO), Adjaho 25-4 (14 KO)
You may remember Adjaho from his 2009 "KO" loss to Antonio DeMarco at lightweight, a fight he was winning until he... well, I don't want to go back into it. He most recently lost in July at 147 to Mark Jason Melligen. Solomon is a legit good prospect at 147, and in a weak weight class could move up pretty quickly starting in 2011. He looked good here. He's got some Roy Jones worship going on, and I'll admit that every time I see a young fighter trying to ape Roy, I just sort of get annoyed. Jones had otherworldly athletic gifts; Solomon does not, and neither does anyone else I can think of who has tried to box like RJJ in the last decade or so. But Solomon is good, and if he stops trying to be someone else, he'll get even better. Generally guys who do the Roy bit either find themselves beaten by someone they probably could have beaten if they'd cut it out, or they get decked at some point and decide to scale it back. Solomon also still has a habit of admiring his own work and not throwing enough combinations. But he had no real problem with Adjaho, so that's good. Scores were 98-92, 99-91 and 97-93.
Solomon Prospect Grade: B-
He's 27 and came out of places like his native Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi, where it's real easy to build a nothing record. For instance, he fought the same club can twice in his first five pro fights. Things like that happen. But the good news is he's not satisfied with that, and in 2009 he stepped up and fought Ray Robinson in New York, winning a clear decision, and has since beaten guys like Damian Frias, Kenny Galarza, and Pablo Vazquez. His last two fights -- in October and November, the latter on November 25 -- came in Panama and Nicaragua. He's staying busy, serious about his career, comes to fight in great shape, and has a real chance at being a genuine player at 147. He could still use a couple more steps on the ladder, but sadly there just aren't many guys at 147 that are legitimately between the level of an Adjaho and a true top guy. The talent tiers in the division are very widely spaced. My biggest knock on Brad Solomon goes back to the Roy thing: he's not as fast as he thinks he is.
Boswell 32-1 (25 KO), Beck 29-7 (20 KO)
Beck, 34, is long removed from a time when he was a contender or a prospect or much more than a journeyman who gets stopped every time out. This finishes up his 2010 at 0-4, all losses coming by TKO. Previously he had lost to Manuel Charr (TKO-10), Tony Thompson (TKO-4) and Alex Leapai (TKO-6). But he's still fighting, and he seems to understand his role these days, so there's that. Boswell is 41 and there are still some folks trying to talk about him as some kind of potential real contender. That ship has long since sailed. If he'd been able to get the fight years ago, he'd have had some kind of shot. He's got the physical tools at 6'3" with an 81" reach, above average speed, but his career has been wasted. Hell, even this out of shape version of Beck might stand as his best win to date. But I guess the idea of Bos fighting a Klitschko is no worse than Albert Sosnowski, Shannon Briggs, Dereck Chisora or Kevin Johnson, is it?
Heavyweights: Luis Ortiz TKO-8 Francisco Alvarez
Ortiz 5-0 (4 KO), Alvarez 12-2 (10 KO)
Alvarez hadn't fought for two years, and in 2008 he was making his way down from cruiserweight to light heavyweight, and had even won one of the WBO's ten thousand regional/territorial/racial trinkets (WBO Latino light heavyweight title). Alvarez turns 34 next month so calling him a serious opponent for Ortiz would be a stretch. Ortiz is a legit heavyweight prospect, a 31-year-old, 6'4" Cuban with long arms, and he's got wins over Kendrick Releford and Zack Page. Ortiz fights cocky and keeps his trunks exceptionally high, but he's got skills and already looks like a real boxer, which is more than you can say for most heavyweight prospects these days. He's not Odlanier Solis in terms of talent, but he also doesn't weight 270 pounds.
Anyway, Ortiz won the fight in what has become unfortunately typical fashion for a lot of Cuban prospects. He didn't show a whole lot that's ever going to excite anyone, but if he stays focused he'll wind up fighting for a title at some point if that's what he wants.
Ortiz Prospect Grade: B-
He's good. He's tall, he's got good reach, he's left-handed, he has base skills. But is he ever going to be an elite fighter? It's doubtful, really. I'm harsh on prospects, but the reality is that very few of them become truly top-tier fighters. A B- grade means his upside could be a career similar to Tony Thompson's or something like that, and that's where I think he possibly tops out. He also might just disappear at some point without ever doing anything.
Heavyweights: Magomed Abdusalamov TKO-2 Jerry Butler
Abdusalamov 9-0 (9 KO), Butler 8-9-1 (8 KO)
Jerry Butler is a big ol' fella. Big ol' fat guy. There is no other way to put it. Here, look. I'm not just being mean:
Butler did get out of the first round, which is something Abdusalamov had never faced before. But then Magomed started landing good, clean, hard shots, and busted Butler's nose with about 25 seconds left in ther ound. The referee had to step in and stop it as Butler covered up in the corner and had stopped fighting back. Not a bad fight at the moment for Abdusalamov.
Abdusalamov Prospect Grade: C
Still hard to tell anything about Abdusalamov, because Butler is not exactly tough to overcome, but he did show some patience and once he saw what Butler had in the first round, he zoned in and put him away in the second with a lot of good, clean blows. He's about 6'3" and a southpaw, but he's 29 years old, too. He'll have to start stepping it up in 2011 and 2012 before his physical prime passes his by, but I guess he's already the greatest heavyweight boxer ever from Azerbaijan.
Featherweights: Yoandris Salinas SD-4 Danny Aquino
Salinas 4-0 (1 KO), Aquino 5-1 (1 KO)
Salinas, 25, is another Cuban. Lots of 'em on this show. Salinas has some skills, but he got outworked in the first couple of rounds by Aquino, a 20-year-old Mexican based in North Carolina. Aquino did some very nice body work early on, and his activity was a lot of fun to watch. Salinas landed sharper, heavier shots in the third and fourth rounds, and started setting things up better offensively. Neither of these guys are "gotta see 'em" prospects, but both had their moments where they did very nice work. Neither had much power.
Salinas Prospect Grade: C+
There are a lot of things he needs to work on still, but he's young for a Cuban defector and might be able to adjust a little better than a lot of them do. He had moments where he showed some nice technical ability, though he didn't look comfortable fighting close.
Aquino Prospect Grade: C+
Aquino had less skill, but is younger and fought well inside for someone his age with just a few pro fights. I like this style of fighter a lot, so I'll be watching out for him in a few years.
Heavyweights: Erik Leander UD-4 Larry Slayton
Leander 9-1 (6 KO), Slayton 1-3-1 (0 KO)
Leander is a huge guy, very muscular body, very wide shoulders. He's 31 and looked pretty decent early on, moving very well for such a big fighter, though with absolutely no hand speed whatsoever. Slayton and Leander had fought about the same amount of rounds coming in. Slayton started to land some decent counter punches in the latter two rounds, while Leander ran out of gas but kept fighting his ass off. Slayton went down on what appeared to be a slip in the second round, which made the scores 40-35 across the board.
Leander Prospect Grade: D+
He's got the size and the guts, but stamina is an issue for him as you'd expect of a guy who took up boxing very late in life and has almost no experience still. He's another guy who has age working against him, too. But he was fun to watch fight, and the commentators noted that he's made massive improvement since the very early stages of his career, but that he still lets his fighting spirit get the better of him sometimes. Even if he improves rapidly in most stages, hand speed will always be a problem for him.
Junior Middleweights: Inocente Fiz TKO-6 Anthony Woods
Fiz 5-0 (3 KO), Woods 7-15 (3 KO)
Fiz is another Cuban, a 30-year-old guy who, to say the least, is not among the cream of the current Cuban crop. He spent most of this fight chasing Woods around, because Woods came to be frustrating and make Fiz work harder than he wanted to, which he did. Woods stayed away from Fiz, but didn't fight scared, just like he wanted to stay out of trouble. Fiz did start landing really well in combination in the fifth round and hurting Woods. At that point, he looked 500% better than he had in the first four rounds, and that was a result of his sporadic but effective body work piling up and slowing Woods down. The fight was called off at the very start of the sixth round.
Fiz Prospect Grade: C
He might be better than that, but hard to tell. Once he settled down and stopped letting his frustrations get the better of him, he did some very good work. But he's not young and certainly isn't any sort of phenom.
Heavyweights: Yasnay Consuegra KO-2 Watson Pierre
Consuegra 4-0 (2 KO), Pierre 1-1 (1 KO)
Consuegra is a 26-year-old Cuban based in Miami, Pierre a 32-year-old from Sunrise, Florida. The knock on Pierre, according to the GFL commentary, is that he doesn't care for training. It showed. Pierre is nothing to concern yourself with; he was all over the place with his balance, had no grasp on the basics at all, and just sort of ran at Consuegra while hoping to land something that would've been beyond "lucky."
Consuegra looked to be in pretty decent shape and had some skills. He didn't have to show much, and didn't look to have much speed.
Consuegra Prospect Grade: C
If he can continue to improve, he might make some noise in four years or so, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Pierre Prospect Grade: F
You can write him off. No appreciable skill whatsoever. Maybe that sounds harsh, but I'm trying to be an analyst here, not a friend to everyone.
One Final Note
Bad Left Hook would like to send our best wishes to Col. Bob Sheridan, who these days calls tons of major fights internationally and always does the Integrated Sports PPV broadcasts in the United States. Mr. Sheridan fell ill this week and was put into an induced coma, but a later report at Fightnews.com from his broadcast partner Benny Ricardo indicated that the Colonel is doing better:
"The Colonel came out of his almost comatose state. He had an irregular heartbeat and water in his lungs and pneumonia. The doctors say he will make a complete recovery...look for him to be blasting his voice again soon. I miss the heck out of my partner on the air."
Here's hoping we hear the enthusiastic, bombastic Col. Bob back on the air in 2011.