From Hialeah Park Casino in Hialeah, FL, ESPN2 broadcasts another night full of top-notch boxing.
The first bout of the evening was Robert Alfonso (4-0) of Miami, FL v. Raymundo Lopez (4-11) of Holland, MI. As the boxers were introduced, Alfonso appeared chiseled and lean. Conversely, Lopez looked significantly less conditioned, entering the ring with a thick layer of blubber encasing his frame. Like Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley in the famous Saturday Night Live “Chippendales” skit, it was comically clear which one of these competitors was in better physical shape.
Sometimes looks can be deceiving. However, this was not one of those times. Alfonso dominated the short-lived bout, stopping his opponent in the third round.
Next, Antonio Tarver Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) of Miami, FL faced Bruce Lutchmedial (pro debut) of Ft. Lauderdale in a middleweight bout.
Tarver Jr., whose father famously knocked out Roy Jones Jr. in 2004, certainly won the “biggest shoes to fill award” of the evening. He also won his second professional bout by third round TKO over the over-matched Lutchmedial.
Following the Tarver Jr. bout, American light heavyweights Michael Seals and Carlos Reyes faced off in a six-round competition.
Going into the fifth round, Seals appeared to have the edge on the scorecards. During that round, Reyes saw an opening and asserted a brutal attack on Seals. However, Seals kept his bearings and countered with a right straight that put Reyes down. Reyes stood up to survive the ten count, but stumbled to his corner as the bell marked the end of the round.
In the sixth round, Reyes did more than hang on. He chased and stalked his opponent, winning the round in the eyes of this ringside reporter. But it was too little too late. Seals won a unanimous decision, extending his undefeated record to 19-0.
In the first televised bout of the evening, fan favorite Ahmed Elbiali (9-0, 9 KOs) faced off against Michael Stafford (13-2, 3 KOs).
The bout began with fistic fireworks. Stafford showed little respect for Elbiali’s power, punching early and often to the Egyptian’s body. Elbiali returned the aggression mid-round, and in the second round the Egyptian hurt the British fighter but came short of a knockdown or a standing eight count.
The remainder of the bout was riddled with slips, fouls, and ambiguous would-be knockdowns.
Late in the fourth round the brave but exhausted Englishman was swinging quite wildly, but seemed unable to hurt the undefeated Elbiali.
In the end, Stafford became the first fighter to go the distance w the Egyptian. He also became the tenth consecutive fighter to lose to the knockout artist.
In the evening’s second televised match, Cuban Rances Barthelemy (21-0, 12 KOs) faced Dominican Angino Perez (18-6, 16 KOs) in a ten-round Super Lightweight bout.
Barthelemy came out aggressively, scoring two knockdowns in the first round to set up a 10-7 beginning.
Next, a series of unanswered punches early in the second round was more than referee Frank Santore Jr. would stand to watch. He stopped the fight, giving Bartholemy a TKO 15 seconds into round two.
The evening’s main event presented proven veteran (but recently-defeated) Colombian Breidis Prescott (27-6, 20 KOs) facing off against undefeated but unproven Ghanaian Fredrick Lawson (23-0, 20 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout.
Lawson entered the ring in military attire that resembled either an African war general or a 1990’s Michael Jackson.
Both Prescott and Lawson fought hard for all ten rounds of the scheduled ten-round welterweight bout. Although Prescott demonstrated good ring generalship and boxed well, it was not enough to sway the majority of the evenings’ judges. Lawson won the bout by split decision.
“The decisions were fair,” said ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas after the broadcast. “Lawson, I thought, won the bout. And the others were blowouts.”
ESPN Friday Night Fights returns Friday, April 3, 2015 from Corona, California when lightweight Russian Petr Petrov faces off against Mexican Gamaliel Diaz.
Bill Barner is a former certified “USA Boxing” Judge, Referee, and Trainer. He is a former sparring partner for several amateur and professional fighters and currently practices criminal and immigration law in South Florida for BarnerRossen PA. He has appeared in The Ring Magazine, Bleacher Report, VOICE Magazine, Youngstown Vindicator, USABF, and is a regular contributor to East Side Boxing. Barner also provides ring announcing services for boxing and other ring sport. He can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @BarnerBill.