Brad Solomon might not have wowed anyone tonight, but he won a clear decision over Demetrius Hopkins in the main event of Friday Night Fights, improving his record to 17-0 (7 KO) and keeping his status as one of the better prospects in the welterweight division. Scores were 99-91 (twice) and 97-93 for Solomon. Bad Left Hook scored it 99-91 for Solomon.
Hopkins (30-2-1, 11 KO) was his usual self, which is to say he fought without much passion and didn't give his opponent any real reason for concern. That probably affected Solomon's overall performance; usually, he's a lot flashier than he was tonight, but this was a workmanlike effort from the Heavyweight Factory product. Not many serious punches were landed by either fighter, but if anyone could be called the aggressor in the fight, it was definitely Solomon, and he owned a ring that Hopkins barely looked like he wanted to be inside.
Since we've been talking prospects this week a little bit, and Solomon comes up but I've said I'm not a big fan of his, I'll say this performance did nothing to change that. Hopkins is a one-speed fighter and that speed is like a lazy river at a water park. Solomon wasn't asked by his opponent to do much more than the basics to easily win the fight, and in that regard you can't fault him. He didn't make anything harder than it had to be. But that could also be a sign that when he does start facing guys who are really coming to win, and have the talent to do so, he could find himself in Teddy Atlas' Deep Waters, which I've just decided is the name of the water park with D-Hop's lazy river.
There are good fights out there for him at 147, fights that would make sense in a black-and-white way for both sides. Mike Jones and Brad Solomon would be a terrific matchup right now, I think. I don't think it'd be a great fight, but they're both ready for that sort of genuine step up, so why not against one another? The UK's Kell Brook would be a stretch, probably, but Brook-Solomon sounds good, too. Of the three, I think Brook is by far the best of the lot, but you never know until you really find out what untested fighters have.
As for further veteran stepping stone types, Solomon could face Jesus Soto Karass, who is limited but always gives his best and will test the resolve of opponents if they didn't come ready to scrap. Said Ouali, Luis Carlos Abregu, Alfonso Gomez -- there are a lot of solid options like that if the promoters could get together and make it happen. A lot depends on what Solomon really wants to do next.
In the co-feature, Yan Barthelemy won a 10-round decision over unknown Dominican Francis Ruiz, a short-notice replacement for Chris Avalos, who was to be the featured side of the undercard fight. Barthelemy (12-2, 4 KO) knocked down Ruiz (9-4, 4 KO) in the third round, but after that erred on the side of caution. Ruiz was game and the fight was very watchable, but you can see why Barthelemy, a former Olympic gold medalist, hasn't cut it as a pro to date. He just lacks the "it" factor and plays it very safe. Avalos-Barthelemy would have been a very good test of Avalos' development, but it was not to be.