by David P. Greisman
SALISBURY, Md. – There is the fight you want to happen. There is the fight your opponent wants to happen. And then there is the fight that actually happens.
Fernando Guerrero wanted to keep his fight with Derrick Findley in the center of the ring. Findley wanted to take the fight to the ropes.
Guerrero got what he wanted more often, and as a result he got the victory, defeating Findley by unanimous decision in the main event of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.”
The scores were 99-91 (twice) and 100-90.
The bout began with Guerrero working at arms’ length against the shorter Findley. From that arms’ length, Guerrero fed forth hooks to Findley’s body, straight southpaw left hands upstairs through Findley’s gloves, and the occasional lead right hook around Findley’s guard to his head.
That is what Findley would have to work through.
On occasion he succeeded, momentarily pinning Guerrero to the ropes and digging hard hooks to Guerrero’s midsection. Guerrero would take those shots, throw a counter between Findley’s punches, and then move back to the center of the ring.
That is the ebb and flow that the action would follow for much of the early part of the fight.
But what separates a fighter such as Guerrero from a fighter such as Findley is Guerrero’s ability to kick the action into a higher gear.
Guerrero doesn’t put much behind his jab, but he uses it both as a rhythm-setter and a decoy. His jab sets up long left hands down the middle, and opponents subsequently expect it to come. Guerrero will switch up his attack, however, leading with right hooks upstairs instead of the jab. He mixes in body shots, too, and, against Findley, that offensive output from Guerrero began to overwhelm.
Findley was nevertheless able to survive Guerrero’s strongest round – the fourth. Because of that, both fighters fell into a pattern for much of the remainder of the fight.
Guerrero began to stick and move more, throwing a shot or two and then changing his location. Findley continued to attack to the body, and he continued to try to force Guerrero against the ropes. Yet with knowledge of what Guerrero could do to him, Findley’s activity level dropped tremendously when both were in the middle of the ring.
The fight assumed a workmanlike pattern, ending with a clear win for Guerrero against an opponent who has only been stopped once before – and even that stoppage (against Andre Dirrell) came at the end of the round, rather than as a result of being hurt between the bells.
Guerrero, a 24-year-old who was fighting in front of thousands from his adopted hometown of Salisbury, Md. is now 21-0 with 16 knockouts. Findley, a 26-year-old out of Gary, Ind., is now 17-5 with 11 knockouts.
In the televised co-feature, Shawn Porter scored a unanimous decision over Anges Adjaho in a 10-round welterweight bout.
The fight was defined less by what the fighters did and more by what the fighter weren’t willing to do. Porter, who is short and squat and who does not have the power to go with his speed, was not able to blitz Adjaho, a taller fighter who spent most of his career two divisions below at lightweight.
Adjaho, meanwhile, was facing a fighter with speed and who was trying to apply pressure. And so Adjaho was merely content to send out the occasional counter shot or, when he did open up, a body shot or two.
In the end, it was Porter’s activity and his being more willing to engage that won him the bout. Two judges scored it 99-91, while the third saw it 97-93.
Porter, 23, of Akron, Ohio, improves to 18-0 (13 knockouts). Adjaho, 31, who fights out of Buffalo, N.Y., falls to 25-5 with 14 knockouts.
The first fight the live crowd saw was a stunner – Denis Douglin, fresh off inking with influential boxing adviser Al Haymon, lost via third-round technical knockout to journeyman spoiler Doel Carrasquillo. The fight was held at junior middleweight.
Douglin, a 22-year-old from Marlboro, N.J., who had entered the night with a record of 12-0 (8 knockouts), looked stellar in the first round, when he dropped Carrasquillo (37 years old, from Lancaster, Pa., 14-17-1 with 12 knockouts) with a left hand to the body.
Douglin strafed Carrasquillo for the remainder of the round with hard hooks to the left and right side of his body. Carrasquillo brought his elbows down to try to block the onslaught, and so Douglin began to throw jabs and southpaw left crosses upstairs in an attempt to bring those elbows back up.
Douglin fought more patiently behind his jab in the second, still going to the body but working and waiting for his openings. He just might have let Carrasquillo back in the fight by doing so.
With his confidence up – a big first round, a clear second round – Douglin swung for the fences with a left hook and whiffed. Carrasquillo countered with a right hook that staggered Douglin, whose legs betrayed him at the most crucial moment.
Carrasquillo wailed away with hooks and uppercuts. Douglin tried to move away, never holding, never doing anything to give himself time to recover, instead staggering around the ring. While Douglin never went down, his final stagger gave the referee reason to step in 1 minute and 45 seconds into the third round.
Douglin falls to 12-1 (8), while Carrasquillo improves to 15-17-1 (13 knockouts).
And in the televised swing bout, Dominic Wade defeated Grover Young by unanimous decision in a four-round super-middleweight bout. All three judges scored the bout 40-36.
Wade, 20, of Largo, Md., is now 11-0 with 8 knockouts. Young, 22, of Tennessee, is now 4-1 with 2 knockouts.
Also on the undercard:
Keane Davis MD4 Mario Fisher (super middleweights or an over-the-limit middleweight bout). This bout pitted two winless guys against each other. Davis, 29, of Philadelphia, improves to 1-1 (zero knockouts). Fisher, of Salisbury, Md., is now 0-4 (zero knockouts). Scorecards were 38-38 and then 38-37 twice for Davis (who got knocked down in the first round).
Joseph Elegele KO2 Keuntray Henson (a 143 pounder against a 151 pounder). The end came off a right uppercut that sent Henson down for the count 43 seconds into the second round. Elegele, 26, of Winter Haven, Fla., improves to 11-0 (9). Henson, 26, of Albuquerque, N.M., falls to 3-3 (zero knockouts).
And in the walkout bout, Alex Guerrero outpointed Rayshawn Myers in a four-round cruiserweight bout. Scores were 40-36 across the board. Guerrero, a 28-year-old who is the older brother to Fernando Guerrero, is now 5-0 with 2 knockouts. Myers, a 38-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, is now 3-6 with 2 knockouts.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. His weekly column, “Fighting Words,” appears every Monday on BoxingScene.com.
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