Before we get into the FNF main event, let's start with the current fight rumors, because there are some big ones.
Here are the current fight rumors out there, presented in high definition bullet points:
* The current floating date for Mayweather/Hatton is November 11 in Vegas. It probably won't end up that way.
* Top Rank and Golden Boy have settled, which is huge news in itself, but it opens the door for Pacquiao/Barrera II on October 6 in Vancouver, which is the biggest news. I much prefer Pacquiao/Soto, but there's still time for that, and we could probably get that one early in 2008. Barrera cannot handle Pacquiao at this stage of their careers. For the life of me, I don't understand why anyone needs to see this fight again. It wasn't close four years ago. It will be a ferocious blowout, the same as Pacquiao/Morales III.
* The Oleg Maskaev/Samuel Peter heavyweight title fight has been moved from September 29 to October 6, thanks to Don King cutting a deal with Madison Square Garden. I doubt the atmosphere will approach that of Cotto/Judah, but MSG is MSG, and that'll never change.
* Tito Trinidad's comeback is all but signed, sealed and delivered, and he'll be fighting in either December or January at Madison Square Garden. Don King has used the names of Mayweather, Mosley, Jermain Taylor, Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright, but the most realistic is Jones if Jones can defeat Anthony Hanshaw. Tito's camp says it'd be easiest for him to make weight at around 170, so that should throw Mayweather and Mosley out of the discussion immediately. King noted, "(Trinidad's) ultimate goal is to whip Oscar's ass."
* The Taylor/Pavlik fight is very close to being 100% official for September 29 on HBO.
* Ricardo Torres v. Kendall Holt has been taken off of the August 4 Morales/Diaz PPV and rescheduled for Colombia on September 1. That likely doesn't much help the financial careers of either fighter. Top Rank wasted no time in getting a replacement fight for the card, with Ulises Solis v. Rodel Mayol for Solis' junior flyweight strap. Mayol's only loss was a thriller against Eagle Kyowa.
* Showtime is going to market and distribute the September 8 pay-per-view fight between Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas, billed as the final fight of Vargas' stalled career. Don King and Main Events are the promoters.
* Joel Julio will take on Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage on the July 11 edition of Wednesday Night Fights. Julio is still trying to get all the way back from his lopsided loss to Carlos Quintana last year. Two days after that, Allan Green will face Darrell Woods, who beat Samuel Miller in a Fight of the Year candidate. Woods is replacing Miller for the fight, with Miller injured.
* Steve Forbes -- who was utterly robbed by the judges against Demetrius Hopkins in March -- will be on the undercard of the September 15 HBO PPV card headlined by Juan Manuel Marquez's first title defense against Jorge Barrios. Forbes will take on Francisco Bojado.
* With the Maskaev/Peter fight moved, Showtime is hoping to fill the now-open September 29 date with a light heavyweight title fight between Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver. If Showtime thinks they can get Tarver into the ring with Dawson, they might be nuts.
* Since Hatton is quite busy, Paulie Malignaggi's next fight now looks as though it will be against fellow New Yorker Dmitriy Salita. Put that at the Hammerstein Ballroom or Boardwalk Hall, and you've probably got a drawing card. Put it in Uncasville, and no one will show up.
Tonight's Friday Night Fights main event didn't quite live up to the action hype, but it was an intriguing fight with four major momentum shifts, and a battle that ended in the KO punch of the decade.
"Ding-a-Ling Man" Darnell Wilson never quite looked himself, losing the first two rounds before scoring a flash knockdown in the third to even up the cards. Wilson continued using pressure to get into the head of the taller, powerful Emmanuel Nwodo, but Nwodo eventually figured him out and took the fight back again.
I had Nwodo taking the first two rounds, then Wilson with a 10-8 round in the third and 10-9 wins in the fourth and fifth. The sixth through the ninth all went to Nwodo, who again took a two-point lead on my card. Then, in the tenth, Wilson caught him with another short left hook inside, and we had a fight at 94-94.
The 11th round is where all hell broke loose, though. Nwodo took a sharp right, and then went on the run. Wilson chased him around every square inch of the ring, catching him with shot after shot, and it was a wonder that the referee did not step in and stop this fight. In fact, he should have. In some cases, referees stop fights too fast (Calzaghe/Manfredo springs right to mind). But this is one of those times where the referee needed to be the third man in the ring, and visible about it. This fight needed to be stopped.
Instead, we wound up with Nwodo taking the biggest left hook I have ever seen flush on the chin, his knees totally buckling, and him winding up going straight down onto his groin. It's a wonder he didn't tear something on the drop.
As a fan, I am compelled to make clear that the fight should have been stopped before we could ever see that punch. But also as a fan, I'd be lying if I didn't say it was exhilirating. It was 100% clean, straight on the button, and it was nasty. Emmanuel Nwodo is fine, thankfully, and walked under his own power back to his dressing room, and congratulated Wilson after the fight with a smile on his face.
Overseas, Wladimir Sidorenko predictably knocked out Jerome Arnould to retain the WBA bantamweight title.