Roberto Garcia and James De La Rosa came away deserving home field winners tonight in Pharr, Texas, on a solid edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights.
Garcia (31-3, 21 KO) won a 10-round unanimous decision over Antwone Smith on scores of 98-92, 97-93, and 97-93, all of which seemed fair. It was a fairly entertaining ("watchable") fight, with Smith (21-4-1, 12 KO) doing his usual barking routine, but getting outworked on the inside by Garcia, who timed him very well and was able to land clean shots, particularly with his right hand.
This wasn't a fight to put someone into contention at 154 pounds, and it's surely not the last time we'll see Smith on Friday Night Fights. He's still got value as a test for prospects, but as far as getting into the mix for real, I think that's a thought of the past.
In the co-feature, James De La Rosa topped a game but again overmatched Tyrone Brunson over eight mostly one-sided but perfectly fun rounds. De La Rosa improves to 21-1 (12 KO), while Brunson, who at this point is a glorified club fighter, falls to 21-2-1 (20 KO).
But it's tough to really criticize Brunson too much. When you watch him in action, it's not a lack of desire or want-to that's holding him back. He really tries, but his career was mismanaged grossly. His bogus 19-fight, first round stoppage streak did absolutely nothing for him, and when he has to go on the defensive now, he really looks like he doesn't know what to do.
Offensively, he has legitimate tools. He has sharp punches and real power -- not TKO-1 every fight power, but enough. It's a shame that he may never get a chance to really become who he could have been, but this was definitely better than he fared in 2009 against Carson Jones. If he puts in the work, there's still a chance Brunson can learn and get better. He's 27, but his career has barely truly existed.
As for De La Rosa, he needs to tighten up his game on both sides, but he was the clear winner tonight.