While Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston was stealing the sports headlines last night with a dazzling performance in a 41-13 victory over Pittsburgh on ESPN, FOX Sports 1 and Golden Boy were running their second Monday night boxing show. It did not go so well.
The favorites all won their fights pretty convincingly, and the holiday atmosphere in San Antonio was at a hypothermia pitch for the night's main event, pitting New Yorker Luis Collazo against California's Alan Sanchez in a 10-round welterweight main event. Collazo, the crafty veteran that he is, craftily veteraned his way past a seemingly ill-prepared Sanchez, whose workrate (such as it were) play into the southpaw former titlist's hands all night long, allowing Collazo to fight at a leisurely pace, doing his work in spots as he preferred, and cruising to a win by unanimous decision.
Scores for the fight were 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91. BLH could not be bothered to keep serious track of the round scoring -- even our own Ryan Bivins, insanely dedicated nut that he is, couldn't pay enough attention to do so -- but the 7-3 and 8-2 cards seemed about right. At any rate, there's no doubt that Collazo (34-5, 17 KO) was the night's winner.
Sanchez (12-3-2, 6 KO) had a seven-fight win streak snapped, and at 22, he still has a lot of time to make some serious strides, but he seems a limited fighter. Three losses this early in a career will generally say that about a guy, but given that this has not been a groomed, coddled fighter, that doesn't mean he can't fight. A good recent example of a quality fighter that took some losses would be Gabe Rosado. Once a mettle tester against prospects, Rosado eventually became a decent contender, because he stayed dedicated and kept improving.
There seems to be a new trend with this show and the Main Events series on NBC Sports where fights are hyped as for a "championship" when anyone with half a brain knows this is complete nonsense. On August 19, we were told that Danny Jacobs vs Giovanni Lorenzo was a "middleweight championship" fight. Last night, we were told Collazo-Sanchez was a "welterweight championship" fight, as the WBA international title was at stake.
On the one hand, it's so easy to brush off that it doesn't even matter, but it just sort of sticks in my craw. I don't really mind the idea of some dunderheaded yokel flipping through channels on his TV and stumbling on a WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP graphic and going, "oh, look, this," but the reality is that boxing fans who know what's what are basically the only people watching this show or any show like it, so it seems needlessly insulting to everyone's intelligence.
Castle Chalice (oh boy) and Paulie Malignaggi both praised Collazo as some kind of top fighter at 147 pounds, too, which at this point in his career is pure nonsense. Collazo probably isn't even top 20 anymore. While Chalice was just a shill, one figures Malignaggi is smart enough to know that Collazo could easily be a Barclays Center opponent in the not too distant future, so it behooves him to make Luis sound good, as Paulie did when Dmitriy Salita was out there floating as a potential foe.
On the undercard, it was more of the same. Three-time U.S. Olympian Rau'Shee Warren improved to 7-0 (3 KO) with a totally one-sided shellacking of Omar Gonzalez (6-9, 1 KO), a local club fighter who did some jail time at some point, which was pretty much all Chalice had to say about him. Gonzalez, certainly a tough-minded fighter, was down twice in the first round, once in the fourth, and twice more in the sixth and final round, giving Warren a win on scores of 60-49, 60-49, and 60-51.
Two other local fighters fared better. Raul Martinez (30-3, 18 KO) bounced back from a bad loss in April to the aforementioned Gonzalez to beat Daniel Quevedo (13-14-3, 8 KO) after four rounds, when Quevedo retired due to an arm injury. Martinez, 31, didn't exactly look like he was ready to get back into contention.
Jairo Castaneda improved to 3-0 (1 KO), as the junior welterweight prospect beat up Warren Stewart, who fell to 0-2. Stewart made his pro debut back in 2010.
This show was a step back in every respect from the August 19 debut, when FS1 was a two-day old network. Golden Boy has, quite frankly, screwed up every single secondary boxing series they've ever had. Fight Night Club was arguably the greatest atrocity in modern televised boxing history, even beating out Top Rank's putrid Vs. network show. Their handling of Solo Boxeo Tecate all but killed the series. And their FSN/FOX Deportes run has been forgettable if not entirely useless, though it's hard to blame them with that one, since so many of the local affiliates just don't air the fights, or air them on delay, a useless form of technology these days. I wouldn't put any good fights on that series, either, though it has been to date by far their best series.
But if this series winds up more like last night than the first show, I mean, it sucks, but again: this is not a series for anyone but people who will basically watch any boxing on TV. People keep mentioning this series going against Monday Night Football, like it matters. They aren't trying to battle the NFL, this is just cheap original programming for FS1, and a place for Golden Boy to get some guys a TV fight date. It would be great to have some quality fights come out of this show, but it's probably unlikely.
If there could be some sort of balance struck, where GBP largely focuses on young fighters on their roster (they have plenty of them) and maybe some mid-tier fights that promise good action, that would be great. The next FS1 show on September 30 looks a little better, with Sadam Ali headlining (albeit against a guy he should smoke), and a well-matched bout between Michael Perez and "The Other" Carlos Molina also scheduled for the card. That's a step back in the right direction on paper, at least. The jury is definitely still out, but if the first show was a solid B+ relative to expectations, even considering the low hopes, last night was a true dud. We won't always get the Jacobs-Lorenzo show. Hopefully, we don't always get the Collazo-Sanchez show, either. There's a big gap in between that would be plenty good.