FNF - Escalante and Garcia provide exciting wins

By Paul Strauss: Friday Night Fights and ESPN2 put on two crowd pleasing, action packed fights from the Don Haskins Convention Center, El Paso, Texas. The semi main event matched undefeated Danny Garcia, who was stepping up in class to take on the experienced Ashley Theophane. Garcia, as projected, was the harder puncher, but in his eagerness to look good, he allowed Theophane to stay in the fight, and at times even control the action.

Theophane has an awkward but at time effective style. His punches lack real power, and come wide angles. Garcia was able to get inside and counter well, but he did try to early on to end things, and as a result took too many chances. As a result, he got clipped a few times, and scolded when he returned to his corner. He also failed to set things up behind a jab, and stands straight up, which provides a pretty big target.. He continually attempted big counters, both to thehead and body, but his left hook strayed a bit south, which cost him a point deduction, and made scoring of the fight closer than it probably should have been. In fact, the judges were split and scored the figtht 95-94 for Theophane, and 95-94 and 96-94 for six toed Garcia (disclosed in the pre-fight interview), who remains undefeated.

In the main event, Antonio Escalante and Miquel "Mickey" Roman renewed a childhoo grudge from the neighborhood street of Juarez to El Paso. Escalante described Roman and his brothers as the bullies, and he admitted the fight was going to be personal. Roman seemed more content with the reality of the present day professional environment. He felt he would be able to apply continual pressure against his former childhood rival and break him down. Escalante, on the other hand, felt that he was more of a complete fighter and would be able to dictate the course of the fight.

Escalanted prediction proved the more accurrate, but not without difficulty. He is the taller and longer of the two, and he used his size advantages well. He also has a big edge in hand speed, and repeatedly threw more punches. Roman also created problems for himself by looping his shots. That allowed Escalante to get inside with straight shots, but he wasn't always able to do so unscathed. In fact, Roman rocked him on several occasions.

The early rounds were very close. Escalanted had the numbers, but Roman was able to land more effective shots. Roman looked very eager to get it on, and managed to do so with some good left hooks. At this early point in the fight, Escalante looked a bit desperate in trying to avoid punishment. But, both fighters finished the first two rounds strong, and Escalante seemed to regain his focus toward the end of round two.

In the third round, Escalante's punches were longer, sharper and snappier. Roman's punches were shorter and more thudding. By the third round, Escalante seemed more confident and was controlling the action with his movement and combinations. Roman just kept coming.

The pattern was repeated in the fourth round, when Escalante started things with a very good combination, and kept things up with good movement and counter punching. He seemed to be mentally in charge as well.

By the fifth round Roman's face was swelling a bit, but he would not let up on the pressure, and he managed to land some good left hooks again, but Escalante closed with a flurry and a good right uppercut. In the sixth, Escalante seemed to slow a bit, and became more flat-footed.

He also was leaning in a bit, putting himself in harms way. As a result, he got clipped with a good right hand from Roman. It was still a very close round.

In the seventh round, Escalante started punching to the body a bit more, and overall stepped up the action again. Toward the end of the round, he unleashed a several punch combination that went unanswered by Roman. He again fired off a good series of punches that caught Roman on his heels a bit, and as a result caused him to fall backwards and get charged with a knockdown.

In the eighth round, Escalante came out on his bicycle instead of pressing the action He must have been arm worry, because he didn't try to press his advantage front the previous round, which allowed Roman to shake off any cobwebs he might have had as a result of the knockdown. In the ninth, Escalante once again got his wind back, and regained the upper hand. He ripped off some nice multiple punch combinations and again had Roman in trouble. He continued to demonstrate that he was faster and threw straighter punches and more of them, which was confirmed by the post fight punch stats.

All three judges saw things in Escalante's favor. The scoring was as follows: one judge had it 97-92 and two had it 96-93 for a unanimous decision. However, every round was hard fought and close. Even in defeat Roman presented himself well, and will be sought after by promoters to make for exciting future fights.

In studio, Brian Kenny interviewed Andre S.O.G. Ward. Kenny pointed out that Ward has not lost a fight in fourteen years. Andre mentioned that it has always been his goal to not just win a title, but to win a title and successfully defend it for a long time. In other words, he didn't want to be a flash in the pan.

As far as the Super Six Tournament is concerned, Andre Ward believes Andre Dirrell is going to pull an upset win over Arthur Abraham. He also believes Mikkel Kessler is going to rebound from his loss to him (Ward) and will beat Carl Froch. Of course he believes he will be successful in his bout with Allan Green. He understands Green's confidence, and believes that is attitude is only natural and should be true of any fighter, or they should find another profession. All in all, it was a very entertaining night of boxing

Article posted on 27.02.2010

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