Vicente Escobedo KO's Former Champ Kevin Kelley In 2nd Round - Surely The End For "The Flushing Flash"

by James Slater - The end looks to have come for one of the most colourful and exciting lower-weight fighters of the past 15 or so years. Last night, in Sacramento, 2004 Olympian Vicento Escobedo stopped former WBC and featherweight champion Kevin Kelley inside just two rounds at lightweight. The opening round was competitive enough, and despite his age of 41 "The Flushing Flash" looked in very good physical condition. It was the 27-year-old's speed and power that proved to be his undoing..

A nice right hand counter decked Kelley early in the 2nd round, and though the southpaw veteran beat the count he was soon downed again by a rampaging Escobedo. This time Kelley was saved by the referee and suffered the TKO. The time was one minute and 53-seconds of the round and the winner advanced to 21-1(13). Kelley fell to 60-10-2(39) and surely must head for the retirement door.

Speaking after the win, the 27-year-old told News 10 that his plan all along was to dictate matters.

"I felt great," he said post-fight. "I felt really confident going in there. In the locker room, I was thinking the whole time I want to go in there and dictate the fight, that I am the one in charge."

Escobedo beat another old timer in his last fight, when he out-pointed 38-year-old Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez, the former IBF super-featherweight champion. Against Kelley, who also out-scored Hernandez back in 2006, Escobedo never let his experienced opponent into the fight at all. As talented as he is, the man who has lost just once - on points to Daniel Jimenez back in April of 2006 - must now move up in class, and fight more men his own age.

As for the former WBC 126-pound champ, it's time to write up a tribute on a now finished pro career.

Kelley, who had his pro debut way back in 1988, gave us some truly great fights over the coming two decades. Winning the WBC crown with a classy display against Gregorio Vargas in late 1993, Kelley had already given us a real classic by way of his punch-out battle with Troy Dorsey the previous year.

Wins over the likes of Jesse Benavides and Derrick Gainer followed - the 8th round KO of "Smoke" being a truly stunning comeback win by a one-eyed Kelley - while losses against Alejandro Gonzalez (another fight seeing Kelley suffer an eye hammered shut) and Naseem Hamed also thrilled the fans enormously.

Battling on as a veteran, the still quick-witted "Flushing Flash" had another 21 bouts post-Hamed, winning some, losing others. Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Bobby Pacquiao all stopped him, while Gainer won a revenge fight on points. There were still flashes of Kelley's former talent during the mid-to-late 2000s, as wins over Humberto Soto (MD 12, 2002) and Hernandez (UD 10, 2006) showed.

Last night, though, in losing his second straight fight - the Escobedo loss coming in such emphatic fashion - Kelley must know it's over for him.

A future Hall of Famer? Maybe, maybe not. But whilst at his best, this Queens, New York warrior was a treat to watch.

Article posted on 23.05.2009

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