Something unusual occurred in the season premier of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. It occurred in the main event at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. It was almost musical. The end came with a thud. Watch the replay, and see if you can keep time with the two punches and bells that ended round two of the fight. First, watch undefeated Rances Barthelemy;s land a hard right to the head of 130 pound champ Argenis Mendez.
Then he ends things with a left hook land as the bell clangs a second time. The fight is over. Oops! Referee Pete Podgorski was out of position and failed to separate the fighters at the end of the round. Can you say appeal? The winner of course didn’t know what announcer Bernardo Osuna was talking about when Osuna asked in the post-fight interview about the infractions? Naturally, Rances was excited with his big win and capturing of the IBF super featherweight world title.
Teddy Atlas seemed to excuse the winner of fault, explaining it wasn’t the fighter’s job to worry about the bell, only to focus on landing his shots. Hmmm. Teddy said referee Podgorski’s failed to position himself properly so he couldn’t separate the fighters at the bell. Teddy seemed to imply there is no responsibility on the part of a fighter to stop fighting at the sound of the bell. As they say in the UK , “Bollocks!” Can you say appeal? Iron Mike Tyson can (but in a higher voice). Who knows what the result will be? The kayo might stand, or NC with rematch, or maybe even a DQ? Protect yourself at all times will be thrown out there as well. Good bet the kayo will stand. What do you think?
The semi main event was the main attraction for Minnesota fans. They braved the frigid cold to come out and support their hometown middleweight Caleb “Golden” Truax. There were several other Minnesota fighters on the undercard as well, but no question it was supposed to be Caleb’s night. Expectations were high. Caleb was expected to prove he was a legit contender, someone worthy of a shot at one of the world title belts. Unfortunately, the fight was something of a yawner. Neither Caleb, or the short notice substitute fighter Ossie Duran seemed to want a win enough to take any chances. Truax was expected to be the aggressor and put the pressure on the veteran Duran, maybe even stop the guy who had been stopped only once in his 42 fight career. Duran was no stranger to Truax, as fellow Minnesotan Matt “Predator” Vanda scored a UD over him, and Duran was stopped in the third round of his last fight in June of last year. Should be no problem, right?
Truax missed his chance of maybe breaking into the big time. The best he could do was get a draw, and many of his own fans probably thought that was a gift. His punch count was higher than Duran’s, but his landing percentage was a dismal 17%. Worse yet, the 17% that landed lacked any steam. He might have mixed in a decent body shot or two, but for the most part he seemed to lack any kind of game plan. He used a pity-pat jab, and failed to take advantage of Duran’s shell game defense. On more than one occasion Caleb threw as many as five or six punches (light), most of which landed on Duran’s gloves, without any response. With most fighters that would trigger the urge to throw more. What the hell, maybe one will get through? But, Caleb didn’t do that. Instead he would back out, and that’s when Duran would throw a few. Duran threw fewer jabs, but at least his were hard jabs. One or more bloodied Caleb’s nose.
When Duran was getting kayo’d last year, Caleb was scoring a big kayo win over Donovan George. He followed that with another kayo win over fellow Minnesotan Cerresso Fort. But this night he failed to blast hard shots into the gloves of Duran, like he did against George. The first hard shot would blast into Donovan’s gloves, followed quickly with a second shot with the same hand. The second shot went behind the glove. Several times that was even necessary, because Donovan was expecting a shot from the other side, and would lower his left glove. The second right would explode on George’s chin. As a result, Caleb put Donovan down and out. Unfortunately, tonight’s performance might erase much of that good showing. What will stick in the minds of the tv moguls is tonight’s lackluster fight. It’s doubtful Caleb’s people will be getting a call for another television date anytime soon. The hard fact is Caleb will probably have to venture out into someone else’s backyard to prove he deserves another Golden opportunity on the big stage. Best of luck.