February continued boxing's lull moving into this year. While there were quite a few fights, there weren't any truly big name fights, and to find the best fights of the month, you need to dig pretty deep. That said, those who were willing to watch boxing for the sake of watching boxing were rewarded, as there were at least two classic wars this month, although neither involved a big name fighter, and one even started off as somewhat of a throwaway bout to fill air time after there were a number of early knockouts on the card.
Glen Johnson TKO6 Yusaf Mack - Glen Johnson came in to prove that age is nothing but a number, and did just that while averaging 85 punches a round in defeating the younger, top-10 ranked Mack. Mack kept up early, landing as many power punches as Johnson in the early rounds, but Mack's stamina and chin caught up with him yet again, as Johnson was able to score the knockout.
Edwin Valero RTD9 Antonio DeMarco - While many expected this to be a competitive fight, it quickly turned into a romp by Valero. Valero charged forward behind numerous strong punches, as usual, while the longer DeMarco just couldn't find any answers. In the end, DeMarco quit on his stool in the most prominent fight of the month.
Lucas Matthysse TKO4 Vivian Harris - Bad stoppages have been a theme this month, and this is the fight that started it off. After a feeling out round, the two men started to unload on each other in the second. Matthysse dropped Harris in the third, although he made it out of the round. The fourth was a pretty even slugfest again, until Matthysse snapped Harris's head back with a single shot, where the ref inexplicably stopped the fight. For those who haven't seen this one, the full fight is on Youtube, here, here and here.
Antonio Escalante UD10 Miguel Roman - Growing up in Juarez, Escalante and Roman had a grudge against each other, and the two were happy to carry it into the ring as young adults. For 10 rounds, neither fighter took a backwards step in the first fight of the weekend featuring 'Mexicans fighting like Mexicans'. In the end, the more versatile and talented Escalante was able to win the fight, but not before Roman really made his presence known. If you haven't seen this fight, the full fight is available on Youtube starting here, here, here, here and here.
Daniel Estrada TKO10 Angel Alirio Rivero - On paper, this one looked like a walkover. Estrada, a youth champ, is a boxer-puncher with only one loss; Rivero, on the other hand, had lost seven, six of those by knockout. The same pattern kept happening over and over - Estrada would show the difference in class and take part of a round, but as soon as he hurt Rivero, Rivero would start wildly swinging haymakers, usually landing a few and hurting Estrada as well. As such, there was tons of back and forth action, Rivero scored a knockdown while spending half the fight on wobbly legs, and the fight was pretty much even going into the 10th, when the referee disgracefully stopped the fight while RIvero was in the middle of throwing a punch. Unfortunately, just the controversial stoppage is up on Youtube, which is a damn shame, since it's overshadowing the fact that this was such a tremendous fight.
Others for consideration: Bernabe Concepcion UD10 Mario Santiago, Lenard Lane UD8 Martin Tucker, Eric Morel SD12 Gerry Penalosa, Gabriel Rosado SD10 Saul Roman, Luis Carlos Abregu UD10 Richard Gutierrez.