By Francisco Salazar
Life teaches people lessons and to overcome mistakes. Boxing is no different and Dusty Hernandez-Harrison may have learned his on Friday night.
Harrison won a one-sided six round unanimous decision over Michael Balasi at the Pala Casino in Pala, CA. The bout opened the “Friday Night Fights” telecast on ESPN2.
The win improved Harrison’s record to 21-0, with 11 KOs, while Balasi drops to 10-4, 7 KOs.
The victory could be looked at as half-glass, half-empty. It was a victory that saw Harrison drop Balasi twice during the fight en route to a decision win.
On the flip side, Balasi dropped Harrison with a left cross to the head in the second round. Harrison was able to get up from the knockdown, made the necessary adjustments, and dominated the action in the second half of the fight.
While the knockdown may lead some in boxing to question his chin or skills, Harrison acknowledge the knockdown forced him to stay discipline throughout the whole fight.
“It was a great learning experience for me,” Harrison told Boxingscene.com after the fight. “I did get a little lazy in there. The knockdown got me to stick to the game plan from the beginning. I learned a lot fighting a southpaw like Balasi.”
Friday’s bout was the second time Harrison fought on national television. Prior to the Balasi bout, Harrison won an eight round unanimous decision over Tim Witherspoon Jr. on January 31st.
With more exposure on television may come praise or criticism. What some may forget or not point is that he is still 19 years of age. He has not peaked yet as a pro and his body still needs to fill out.
Harrison understands where media and fans come from while assessing his skills. It may be all the more reason to stay in the gym and to keep improving as a fighter.
He did demonstrate his psychological fortitude by bouncing back from being knocked down and fighting a smarter and tactical fight against Balasi.
“The two TV fights I’ve had were two different styles,” said Harrison, who resides in Washington, DC’s Southeast section. “Witherspoon was a pressure fighter, while I was at my best boxing from the outside. I’ve learned a lot in those two fights.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing