Chicago, IL (Friday Night Fighst)
- Breidis Prescott UD-10 Harrison Cuello. Prescott (23-2, 19 KO) won on wide scores, but failed to impress as usual. Official scores were 99-90 (twice) and 98-91, and Cuello (19-13-3, 14 KO) went down once in the ninth round. This was a late substitute main event, which explains why such a relatively weak fight was headlining FNF.
- Patrick Lopez TKO-3 Prenice Brewer. Brewer was unbeaten coming in, but had had a very soft schedule. Lopez (20-2, 12 KO) made short work of Brewer (15-1-1, 6 KO) in the junior welterweight fight.
- Mike Mollo D-8 Gary Gomez. Mollo, a popular third-tier heavyweight from Chicago, drew the undersized, 35-year-old Gomez over eight rounds. One card had Mollo winning 77-75, but the other two were even at 76-76. You may remember Gomez from a 2008 loss to Tomasz Adamek on FNF. He'd lost four in a row coming into the bout.
Hinckley, MN (ShoBox)
- Christopher Martin SD-10 Chris Avalos. The prospect in the fight was Avalos (16-1, 13 KO), a 20-year-old kid out of California who had been impressive to date and was considered a rising bantamweight. Martin (19-0-2, 5 KO) is also a California native, so of course this fight took place in Hinckley, Minnesota, one of the routine stops for ShoBox. Avalos was well behind the far slicker Martin and in the last few rounds gave it just about everything he had, but it was to no avail on two of the cards, thankfully, and the right man won. Judge John Mariano deserves the criticism he'll receive for scoring this fight 98-94 for Avalos. There's no other way to read that other than Avalos was supposed to win so Mariano scored the fight for him. The other cards were 98-92 and 97-93 for Martin. Martin isn't really a bantamweight, probably, and the 24-year-old has in fact never made the 118-pound limit for a weigh-in in his career. He came in at 120 for this bout. But he might be someone to keep an eye on.
- Lateef Kayode TKO-9 Alfredo Escalera Jr. Speaking of guys to watch, power-punching Nigerian cruiserweight prospect Kayode (13-0, 12 KO) went deeper into a fight than he's ever had to before, but the Freddie Roach fighter stayed unbeaten with the best victory of his budding career. The fight was no masterpiece, but Kayode did score a knockdown late in the eighth round, and Escalera looked bad enough that Joe Cortez waved it off between rounds, officially at 0:01 of the ninth.
- Andy Kolle KO-1 Daryl Salmon. Not that Daryl Salmon is some massive scalp, but Andy Kolle (22-2, 16 KO) has been a monster since getting thrashed by Paul Williams in 2008. You might recall that Kolle, now 28, was Williams' opponent as Tall Paul dipped his toes into the middleweight water for the first time. Since then, he's gone 5-0, beating the crap out of some decent gatekeeper types, and winning a dominant 10-round decision over fellow Minnesotan Matt Vanda. If Arthur Abraham were still reigning as a middleweight titleholder, I'd expect his team to be negotiating with Kolle this morning, and I won't be stunned if he winds up in talks to fight Kelly Pavlik in Pavlik's eventual comeback bid.
- Maurice Harris UD-12 Nagy Aguilera. If you were wondering just how incredibly shot Oleg Maskaev might have been when Nagy Aguilera starched him in 1:54, this should really answer it. 34-year-old journeyman Harris (24-14-2, 10 KO) won on scores of 117-111 (twice) and 115-113. This fight was obviously made to put a useless trinket on Aguilera (the USBA title) and that backfired. Aguilera himself was wasted by Sam Peter (TKO-2) in his first fight after the Maskaev bout, and I think this one means we can sort of count him out as someone to really pay much attention to. Forget the Maskaev fight, it meant nothing.
- Matt Vanda TKO-3 Jose Medina. Vanda (43-11, 23 KO) weighed in at a career-high 169 for this fight, and Medina (15-20, 11 KO) came in at 176. It's nothing to hang a hat on, but it gets Vanda back in the win column. He's a weathered 31, but he's still just 31, and he's a durable guy who could still have some years left as a gateekeper between 160 and even 175.
El Paso, TX
- Antonio Escalante KO-3 Edel Ruiz. As you would expect with this fight, Escalante stomped and got rid of Ruiz in short order. This is one of those fights where it's legitimately all risk and no reward besides the paycheck for the fighter, because beating Ruiz (34-23-4, 25 KO) really does nothing at all for Escalante (24-2, 15 KO). But the promoters may well see something here, too. Escalante's style and the fact that he's Mexican will help him, but as much as I enjoy watching him fight, I think he'd have hellacious problems with anyone in the top ten at 126 pounds. He's not a huge puncher, really, and it's a division filled with guys who can bang and would welcome the sort of wide-open war style that Escalante employs often. Hopefully he'll have a more substantial fight before the year is out. I was kind of hoping we'd see Escalante fight Daniel Ponce de Leon this year, but Ponce is matched with Escalante's last victim, Mickey Roman, on 9/18.