Rubio defeats Kodzoev, Escalante and Hernandez go to war!

27.01.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Though disappointed in the main event, where Marco Rubio made Aslanbek Kodzoev submit after 7, the undercard of Antonio Escalante and Jose Andres Hernandez made up for it. This is quite honestly another fight of the year candidate along with Mormeck vs. Bell. Whereas that fight had a lot of technical fireworks and skill this was more of a big punch, I hurt you, then you hurt me, type of brawl..

Which was the best round? Honestly, at first, I thought it was the fourth, then I watched the 7th, then the 8th, then the 9th, I just don’t know. Each round had Fourth of July fireworks, and both guys hurt but attempting to get in just one more shot to put the other guy down for good. Both showed a ton of heart and great recuperative powers.

Escalante tasted the canvas in the early rounds, and it seemed Hernandez would get the mental age do to the nature of the knockdown. Nothing doing! The kid came back in the next round and continued a vicious attack to Hernandez’s ribcage and body. Were it a cartoon or a horror flick, those punches would be grounds for making holes in Jose Andres chest. It is my humble opinion that the body shots wore down Hernandez to the point where Escalante’s stamina would win him the day in the end and that is what happened. However not without some controversy and mistakes made on the referee’s part, though, thankfully they did not cost the rightful winner the fight.

The first mistake the ref made was deducting a point from Escalante for two hurricane power shots to the upper abdomen and lower chest of Hernandez. A third punch missed but the fact that the first one just barely grazed Hernandez upper trunks on the way to their intended target, made the ref buy into the fact that Hernandez was hit low. It’s not a crime as he was behind Escalante and a bit out of position, I had a better view, and the replay confirmed my doubts about an illegal blow. Rather then give Escalante a chance to finish the obviously tired and hurt opponent, who requested time to catch his breath, which he got of course since it was deemed an illegal blow, the referee also took a point at the last moment do to the fact that Hernandez looked to be in bad shape. Again, this is another instance where replay or a review has to be made of the call by the referee to determine if it was correct. Even if the punch touched the waist of the trunks, since Hernandez had his trunks high, that should not have been called that way.

The second mistake the referee made was after Escalante scored a vicious knockdown of his own in the later rounds, which again where courtesy of his early round work to the body. Hernandez got up and was obviously shaken, and possibly stirred, which is why when he fell onto another Escalante punch he stumbled forward and fell over. To me, when a fighter is hurt and gets hit again and falls into another guy and falls over, that is a knockdown. Again, it is not fair to simply fall, either from exhaustion or on purpose, to buy yourself time, which is similar to what Spinks did against Mayorga. Now I am not implying that Hernandez did this maliciously but still that point was rightfully Escalante’s in my opinion and he should have gotten it. The importance is that towards the end of the round Hernandez again came back with a vicious shot, which hurt Escalante so badly, that he grabbed on to his opponent, like he was hugging his long lost brother. Problem is, there were no tears in his eyes, but rather a dazed and confused look, coupled with extreme pain coming from the effect of the punch. The referee needed the Jaws of Life to pry the two apart, but after he did Escalante although obviously Judah legged, found the courage to throw, even if the punches were not landing, to try and buy time. Since the round was almost over by that point Escalante survived, however, had that been a knockdown scored on him the round could be even officially, but remember one knockdown call more should have gone his way.

One or two rounds later, Escalante again found his stride and sent a tiring Hernandez to the canvas for another official knockdown. What is interesting is in this round when Hernandez fell over, or tripped again, I don’t think it was a knockdown but rather accidental. So I am glad that there were two somewhat identical instances in this fight that could be used for reference in regards to understanding what I mean. If you watch the replay note that the second official knockdown and the way Hernandez trips, and the way he trips after the first official one. Getting back on point though, Hernandez was still able to fight back well and land some good shots, but they were not enough and he was too tired to capitalize on them anyway. Escalante, for his part, kept his guard up, had enough stamina and kept stalking his man down who was worse off then himself.

The final round was a bit deflated seeing as they were both tired and nursing both battle wounds from previous rounds, and reminiscing about the war they put on. Both guys had great respect for each other cause they knew they did a good job, and even though the tenth was a bit disappointing relative to the other great action rounds we saw, the two guys still managed to not walk around jabbing and clinching. They hugged towards the end to a great ovation, and excited Spanish language commentary that I didn’t understand, but appreciated for its emotional value. Think Mexican soccer commentary and the Hispanic guy, screaming, “GOAL!” With a long emphasis on the “O.”

Escalante won by the close scores of 94-93, 95,92, and 94-92 which seemed reasonable as I didn’t score the fight except that he should have had 2 points tacked on based on the referee calls. So the victory was a bit more dominant in that sense.

On a final note, I hope HBO was watching that fight and kicking themselves for canceling Boxeo De Oro. I know they said they would step up the boxing shows but perhaps with Boxeo we would see more of these guys then we would on regular HBO show. It's obvious Oscar De La Hoya, with that dubious smile of his, is a great friggin promoter. I like most each and every fight he puts on as the action is worth the price of admission, if I paid one, and since its actually free heightens in value. It's probably a simple formula, get two Latino guys, stick gloves on them, and put them in a ring and you have potential fights of the year every one out of two times. Sometimes the simplest formulas prove to be the most successful ones. Congratulations to both Escalante and to Hernandez, who even in defeat showed his potential, and of course to the promoter who has again failed to disappoint.

Article posted on 28.01.2006

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