I went to a card at Harrah's Casino in Chester, PA last Friday, and figured I'd share results and a few thoughts here.
This contest for the Pennsylvania Light Heavy Championship was a great disappointment for me, because Tommy Karpency was a last-two-weeks scratch. Smith has been around long enough to get knocked out by Andre Ward and take a win over (2010's) Jeff Lacy, and his advantage in experience over crowd favorite “Boom Boom” Ferrante showed. Smith didn't need the power he doesn't have, or even much of a right hand at all, to punish Ferrante over ten rounds. The Italian couldn't respond to Smith's pulsing double jab or left hook-overhand combos at any point in the night. Smith allowed himself to get pushed into the ropes throughout, which kept things somewhat exciting for the fans, but when it became evident Ferrante wasn't going to start throwing bombs the outcome was unsurprising.
This six-round cofeature was everything you could want out of a ballroom bout: It was a rematch of an April 2010 draw, so you'd have to assume they're at least decently matched, and there was a good chunk of the crowd there for it, so things got loud. Both guys brought the fight and moved each other around the ring. Fernandez had lost his last two to guys with records of 2-3 and 3-4-2, and he was the inferior fighter: he lost every round on every one of the scorecards and got knocked down twice. Vasquez was stronger and quicker and better, but Fernandez made him work, going to the body with regularity—the loser just had less of everything, except determination. Vasquez earned a first-round knockdown on a quasi-slip, assisted by a glancing jab, but the fifth round putdown was on a clean shot and made it clear Fernandez could only win by knockout. I'd recommend taking 20 minutes out of your day to watch it, but my terrible little camera crapped out before and evidently gofightlive TV expects a slew of demand for video of these fights, charging $10 a bout.
Mercurio probably brought the largest contingent of fans to Harrah's; there might be no clearer signal of the power a big old heavyweight has on the American imagination than that a 32-year-old guy entering his fifth pro fight, in a rematch against a guy he's beat a month ago, already has screenprinted shirts on his friends that are sponsored by a chain (the Philly Pretzel Factory-though he could've worked there, I never asked).
“Merc” is a big guy, all of his listed 6-foot-4, 237 # to my eye; Miranda weighed in within a couple pounds of that, but was a head shorter and resembles no one more than a shirtless Patton Oswalt. Will brought the fight, though, and actually took two rounds on my card before Mercurio realized his advantages and splashed Miranda into the ropes in the last round, whereupon the referee called it off. Mercurio wasn't stinking it up or anything, but he was a bit tentative, so he'll probably be on your TV sooner rather than later.
In other action, Tyrone Crawley Jr. (son of onetime Philly lightweight challenger Tyrone Crawley) moved to 2-0 at 140 with a shutout win over Luis Antonio Lopez (2-11-1, 1). Alex Barbosa, nicknamed the RECENT TEMPLE GRADUATE (how great would it be if they put degrees on fighters' trunks?), went to 3-0 (1) with a 40-36, 39-37, 38-38 win at 126 over Jonathan Ocassio (0-9). I had it a shutout for the winless Ocassio, who maintained a heavier workrate and better body work throughout; a draw was reasonable enough, but a shutout the other way...maybe I don't know anything, but their respective records might have had some suggestive power. And in another light heavy bout, Taneal Goyco (4-3-1, 2) and Brian Bonahue (2-2-1) grappled to a majority draw over four rounds. When the ring announcer said “Hey Fans, I'm thinking rematch!” for the second time, after a tepid initial response, he drew a few bored boos.