I think it's safe to say that nothing in the main events of Friday Night Fights or Solo Boxeo Tecate went as planned this evening. Let's talk some Friday boxing results.
Friday Night Fights
Erislandy Lara D-10 Carlos Molina, Yudel Jhonson TKO-7 Richard Gutierrez
Boy, was this not a good showing for Erislandy Lara. I'll get to Molina and the credit he deserves in a moment, but let's talk about Lara first. The Cuban junior middleweight loses his unblemished pro record, and he's lucky it wasn't a loss instead of a draw. Scores were 95-95 twice, with the third judge seeing it 97-93 for Molina. Bad Left Hook had it 96-94 for Molina, with other scores in our live thread being 98-92, 97-93, 96-94, all for Molina.
Lara (15-0-1, 10 KO) looked tentative all night, almost aloof, and just didn't seem ready to deal with an actual challenge this evening. Molina (17-4-2, 5 KO) was not here to get steamrolled by Lara, he was in the ring tonight to win. Lara also deserves to have his conditioning questioned, as he looked tired far too early, and some of that might have something to do with the fact that it's been almost a year since he fought anyone of substance. He was busy in 2010, and he started nicely beating Grady Brewer and Danny Perez, but the next four fights he took were junk. No offense to those opponents, but Lara was well beyond them, which is why he knocked them all out in the first round.
I questioned the other day in our fight preview if there was really a point to those four fights. What good did it do a 27-year-old contender to take four straight gimme fights and never see a second round? Apparently, it did no good whatsoever, and may have hurt him overall. Lara was chewed out all night in his corner by trainer Ronnie Shields, and with good reason. He didn't look good at all. He looked not only not like a contender, but not even really like a good prospect if you still consider him to be a prospect.
As for Molina, it was a great performance. He hadn't fought in two years as he was sitting out a contract with his former promoter, and he took the fight by the throat in the early rounds. Lara had no time to establish himself because Molina wasn't there to feel him out. He was there to fight.
Molina's 27 years old and while his W-L record isn't pretty, he can fight. He was on a great little run before he went inactive, and had he come into this fight with a more recent bout, I really think he would have clearly won this fight. (Then again, he might not have gotten the fight in the first place.) He gassed late but even tired was outworking Lara for the most part. The blemishes on his record were all early in his career, in 2004-07. His first draw came against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., then he lost a rematch. He also has a loss to Mike Alvarado. But he's matured and is someone to watch again at 154 pounds. He might find it tough to get another good fight next considering the fact that he put in an exposing-type performance on a very talented and very hyped guy without having fought in two years. I don't see a lot of people rushing to fight this guy, so hopefully he can force the issue.
In the co-feature, Yudel Jhonson (10-0, 7 KO) stopped Richard Gutierrez (25-7-1, 16 KO) in the seventh round. It was a terribly early hook by referee Russell Mora, but Jhonson was in full control of the fight the whole way through and was shutting Gutierrez out, so it's not the worst thing ever.
Between the two Cuban junior middleweights tonight, Jhonson looked like the far better fighter. I mean, not even close. Jhonson was graceful and smooth, put his punches together nicely, controlled distance very well, and dominated the always-game Gutierrez. Molina is a better fighter than Gutierrez, but even handicapping for that (taking some away from Jhonson, giving some to Lara), it was a blowout. Jhonson looked way better than Lara.
As for where Lara sits right now, I'm almost positive he's dropping from my top 10 in the Bad Left Hook rankings, which will as always go up early Monday (late Sunday night for many of you). I'm not sure who comes in yet, or if he might cling to a spot, but he did not look like the 7th best junior middleweight in the world, that's for sure.
Solo Boxeo Tecate
Alejandro Perez KO-1 Antonio Escalante
Escalante just isn't gonna make it, folks. I thought he would have more trouble than most would expect in this fight, because for one thing I think he's just not that great, but mostly that comes from his absolutely terrible defense. He's one of the worst defensive fighters out there. When Daniel Ponce de Leon looks like a surgeon against you, there are problems.
But this was terrible. Escalante was destroyed by a right hand at 2:57 of the first round and just couldn't make it back. He's been stopped early in two straight fights now, and he was also knocked silly by Mauricio Pastrana back in 2007. He doesn't have a good chin. That's not me trying to kick a man when he's down, that's just what it is. When you combine a subpar chin with defense as bad as his is, these things are going to happen. Don't get me wrong here. It was a huge right hand that would have put a lot of guys down, but a lot of guys wouldn't be that open for such a massive punch, either.
Escalante is now 24-4 (15 KO) with three stoppage losses. Perez improves to 15-2-1 (10 KO) in his first fight since November 2009. I don't know if Perez bears watching because he was only out there for 87 seconds, but I can say that outside of the fact that he makes good TV fights with his style, Escalante is out of the race as a possible contender for the time being. Ponce de Leon was one thing; this is another.