WASHINGTON, D.C. — I'm here at the Armory, where I usually come to watch the ladies roller derby each other, but now will be seeing men knock each other down. The undercard is not very much to speak of, but it started off well enough. We'll see if that holds. Come back for regular updates leading up to the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights main event — they'll go in chronological order until then…
A six-round featherweight bout kicked things off in sizzling fashion (ring announcer Henry Jones said it was a four round bout, then said it had been "upgraded," but by my reading on BoxRec it had always been a six rounder, and the bout sheet said that's what it was too). I thought the underdog, 2-9 DeWayne Wisdom deserved the decision, but the judges saw it wide for Raul Lopez instead — 59-55 twice, 58-56 once. Wisdom had what looked like two knockdowns to me in the 1st round, but the ref didn't count them as such, and Lopez walked back to his corner with a welt under his left eye. The 2nd started well for Lopez, as he swarmed Wisdom with body shots and sent him to a knee, then controlled the rest of the round, but Wisdom sent Lopez down hard with a left hook at the end of the round — it could've been even, but I tilted it to Lopez. The ref called a time out at the beginning of the 3rd for some reason, but I still had him taking that round as well as the 4th and 5th, although they were close. Lopez closed very strong, at least, taking the 6th against a faded Wisdom.
Gavonte Davis made his pro debut a short one — he dropped Desi Williams twice with left hands and on the second one, he was very slow to rise. The featherweight had a long amateur career, apparently, so there's that to judge him by, but this wasn't enough for me to evaluate him much.
Heavyweight Danny Kelly scored an explosive knockout over very heavy heavyweight (309 pounds) Schyuler Marshall. Kelly was very sharp, at least by comparison to the lumbering Marshall, who was, to put it kindly, a little soft around the midsection and breast area. A big, big right hand dropped Marshall flat on his ass, then the rest of him went down too. He tried to get up, but stumbled. The crowd loved it. The crowd is still filling out, but it's been pretty loud.
There was a controversial stoppage of Venroy July that got the crowd booing, though. The lawyer/wrestling champ/aspiring promoter/everything lost at the very end of the 3rd round, after being dropped hard by Elvin Sanchez on a left-right combo. July looked woozy enough that it was a tough call whether to let him continue. July had controlled the 1st, having Sanchez on shaky legs and dropped Sanchez with an arcing right in the 2nd, but he was wobbly most of the 3rd after a Sanchez combo — and another one ended matters.
On the first televised bout of the evening, junior featherwight Roman Morales got himself a sweet delayed reaction left hook liver shot knockout. The bout against Jesus Pollo Hernandez started slowly enough, with Morales in control and the crowd listless, but in each round leading up to the 4th Hernandez was landing with increasing accuracy and power. Two bad for him, he can't punch, with two knockouts to his credit. Morales rose to the challenge, opting to trade with Hernandez, where his superior power showed the value of not having marshmallow fluff in your fists. He dropped Morales with a 1-2, then came back in the 5th and landed the aforementioned body shot. A shaky performance in some ways for Morales, but you can't argue with the excellent final results. Maybe it's time to put this cat in against a contender?