Friday Night Fights at the UIC Pavillion, Chicago, IL went as expected. Action opened with a close decision win for Chicago’s and Notre Dame’s own Mike Lee 13-0-0 (KO 7). In the process of winning Lee received a bruised face and bloodied nose against Paul Consalves 7-3-0 (KO 4). Two judges thought Lee was the aggressor, but the third judge didn’t feel Lee did enough, so he scored it a draw. The bottom line is Lee has another win and moves on. The 32 yr. old Gonsalves made a good enough showing, so another fight might come his way.
In the co-featured middleweight bout, Caleb “Golden” Truax 24-1-0 (14 KO) captured an impressive, pretty much one–sided UD over Derek “Pooh” Ennis 24-4-1 (13 KO 13). Ennis is small for a middleweight, only 5′ 8″ with a 69″ reach. Truax, 6′ 0″ with a 73″ reach, made good use of his size advantage and banged Ennis from a distance. One judge thought Caleb lost only one round. The two other judges generously gave Ennis three rounds out of ten.
Caleb wanted to do two things Friday night on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. Most importantly, he wanted to win. Second, he wanted to look impressive doing it, so he could erase memories of his boring draw again Ossie Duran in his last bout in January of this year at the Target Center, Mpls., MN. In the pre-fight interview, Caleb promised he was going to start fast, putting the Pooh (bear) in a hole. Caleb’s reasoning was Ennis would then be forced into trying to dig himself out; thereby, exposing himself to Caleb’s counters. Sounds good.
When the opening bell sounded, reality set in and Caleb’s plan seemed to go out the window. He didn’t establish his jab, and when in the clinches, he and Ennis both seemed content with not doing much. Lackluster first round going to Caleb for doing a little bit more. The second round was better for Caleb. He started jabbing and double jabbing, following with a straight right, and adding an uppercut for good measure.
In the third round, Caleb continued with the same attack. The problem? He wasn’t throwing his jab one-two combinations enough. Both he and Ennis were clinching too much without much of an effort to fight inside, and it wasn’t referee Gerald Scott’s fault. He stood off, encouraging them to fight their way out. When it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen, he would step in and break them.
In the fourth round Caleb landed several good rights. Ennis appeared hurt, so Caleb closed in and mixed up his shots between head and body. Then inexplicably he backed out and let up? It appeared Caleb either was arm weary, or afraid he would get gassed and allow Ennis back into the fight. For someone who wanted to impress, he seemed to be making a mistake.
The next few rounds were the similar. Caleb would land some big shots, but just wouldn’t follow up. When he threw his jab, it usually landed. He just didn’t throw it enough. Two often he would throw just a two punch combination. Later, when he added the left hook, it landed. There were several opportunities in the middle rounds when it appeared Caleb had Ennis in trouble, but just didn’t close the show.
In the late rounds, Truax backed off a bit, which let Ennis get back into things a bit and gain some confidence. In the ninth round, Truax got a cut over the right eye. Referee Scott made a point of telling the judges, the cut was due to a punch. Ennis had to be thinking, “If I can open the cut up more, maybe I can get a TKO.” Luckily for Truax, that didn’t happen, and he got his win. Teddy Atlas, said Caleb did what he had to do, and his unofficial scorecard read 98-92 for Caleb. Official scoring went 97-93 (twice) and one 99-90.
Hence, Caleb won rounds and the fight, but did he take advantage of the many opportunities presented by Ennis? There will be a question in the minds of those making matches, and ranking fighters. The question is “Did Caleb’s win warrant the needed attention to move him up the ladder for a big fight?” There will be those who feel a top level fighter would have stopped Ennis, and they will think that is what Caleb should have done. When Caleb watches the video of the fight, he might agree.
The main event matched welterweights Roberto Garcia 36-3-0 (23 KO) and Breidiss Prescott 27-6-0 (20 KO). The tall 5′ 11″ Breidiss used 72″ reach to potshot from a distance. Garcia kept up a steady pressure. His defense helped minimize Breidis’ shots, but he was having trouble landing his own. When Breidiss finished throwing a combination, he would fall into a clinch. All too often, Garcia would wrap his arm around the neck of Breidis and push him down. Breidis offered very little resistance, hoping to keep the energy usually expended trying to fight against such a tactic. It also caught the attention of referee Celestino Ruiz, who warned Ruiz several times. Violations weren’t all one-sided. Ruiz also warned Breidiss about throwing low blows.
This fight was a little bit like the Erislandy Lara vs Saul Canelo Alvarez fight; although, much less talented. The strategy was the same. In Friday night’s fight, Breidis would be Lara. He moved continuously, albeit not as much. Garcia kept trying to cut off the ring, and land body punctures when he could. Breidis seemed to be landing the cleaning shots, but Garcia’s were harder.
Breidis landed a clean, straight one two with the right landing flush on Garcia’s jaw. Down he went, more shocked than hurt. He tried to convince the referee that Breidis stepped on his foot. The ref wasn’t buying it, and the replay showed it was a clean knockdown. That meant a 10-8 round. The same question as in the Lara vs Alvarez fight arose. Should the aggressor get more credit for his aggression, even though the other guy is landing more, cleaner shots? We all know what happened in the Lara vs Canelo fight. Were Friday night’s judges watching that fight.
Apparently so, because they awarded Garcia with a UD, despite the knockdown. It was close, Patrick Morley scored it 96-92; Mike Fitzgerald had Garcia squeaking out a score of 95-94: Mauro Di Flore had it 96-93. So, Garcia keeps his win streak going, now it’s eight in a row. Unfortunately for Breidis, he’s lost four out of his last eight fights. As a welterweight, and despite his height, he just doesn’t seem to have the pop in his punches needed to be effective. He caught Garcia square, and Garcia went down, but he didn’t seem to be hurt at all. He was more embarrassed than any thing. He definitely was the stronger fighter Friday night.