By Cliff Rold
Bloodlines rarely predict outcomes in sports, particularly boxing. 30-year old Super Middleweight Dyah Davis (21-2, 9 KO) of Coconut Creek, Florida, is quietly edging into contention with a steady, fundamentally sound approach but without the speed and flair his 1976 Gold Medal winning father Howard Davis possessed. On Friday night at Mallory Square in Key West, Florida, it was enough to win his third straight with a unanimous decision over Alfonso Lopez (22-2, 17 KO) of Cut and Shoot, Texas. The fight was dull from bell to bell.
The referee was Teles Assimenios. Both men weighed in below the division limit of 168 lbs., Davis at 167 ¾ and Lopez at 167.
Neither man did much in the first round, posing and feinting more often than punching before mixing in some clinches. The thrills continued in the second, Lopez landing a hard forearm in a clinch along the ropes in the closing seconds to punctuate the stale battle unfolding.
The action picked up a little, very little in rounds three and four, the styles of Davis and Lopez clashing. Each man would occasionally land a stiff shot, but it was merely prelude to the next rugged embrace. Brief spatterings of offense would emerge by rounds seven and eight, short exchanges of shots encouraging the crowd to hope for their money’s worth.
In the eighth, a Lopez right appeared to rock Davis, drawing a clinch and a brief burst of cheers from the crowd. It had been the best shot of the night to then. They struggled to produce similar fireworks in the ninth and Davis came out swinging to start the tenth. Throughout the night, Davis had landed more jabs and rights and appeared to be leading but, in such an ugly affair, scoring can always be hard to gauge.
It turned out on this night not so hard at all. Davis carried the bout at two shutout scores of 100-90 and a third card at 99-91.
Davis continues his rebound from a loss to another fighter progeny in Aaron Pryor Jr. in 2010. Lopez loses for the second time in three fights, defeated earlier this year by decision against former Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik.
The televised undercard opened with a clash of young Jr. Middleweights and what action there was on the night came there.
Two fights removed from a shocking first loss to sub-.500 fighter Doel Carrasquillo, 23-year old Dennis Douglin (13-1, 8 KO), 154 ½, of Marlboro, New Jersey, left someone else with their first feeling of defeat. 21-year old Steve Martinez (11-1, 9 KO), 153 ¾, of the Bronx, New York, acquitted himself well but came up just short in an eight round split decision.
The referee was Frank Santore.
Each man made a case for themselves in the first two rounds, fighting tense and trying to establish their rhythm. The southpaw Douglin dug deep in the early part of the third, backing Martinez to the ropes with a bevy of loaded blows. It didn’t take long for the accuracy of Martinez to resume control. A brief flicker saw the lights go out for a moment at the halfway mark, forcing a pause from both fighters. Douglin would find another strong rally late in the fourth following a short break to replace a lost mouthpiece for Martinez.
Martinez was boxing well for stretches but drama remained as he continued to walk into occasional stiff lefts from Douglin in the fifth. The sixth was close as both swung wide hooks at each other, Douglin adding thudding body shots in combination to try to wear the longer Martine down. Martinez lost his mouthpiece again in the seventh when a Douglin left set it free. As the round wore on, it was the right of Martinez catching the eye and regularly catching Douglin.
The eighth and final round saw each man their moments. Douglin closed strong; Martinez landed the last shot, a flinging right at the bell. The scoring wasn’t certain, reflected at 77-75 Douglin, 77-75 Martinez and a final 77-75 to hand victory to the harder punching Douglin.
The card was televised in the U.S. on ESPN2, the 2012 debut of their “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]