Junior welterweight, masters in nutrition holder and possible future physician Chris Algieri (at left) earned a wide points decision over Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights card from the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, N.Y. Algieri (19-0 8 KOs) got the nod by scores of 98-92 and 97-93 twice. I also scored it 98-92, preferring the hometown fighter’s busy jab and cleaner landed punches.
Taylor (17-2 12 KOs), of Edgewood Arsenal, Md., did well in spots but couldn’t seem to keep up the pressure necessary to take control of the fight. Taylor had been inactive for 11 months and it showed, as he came out rusty and a little gun shy. His best moments of the fight came in the 10th. Prior to that round, his corner told him that he needed a knockout and he stormed out looking for one. Taylor has good fundamentals but often seems hesitant, and it cost him in this fight. He is only 23, so he has plenty of time to improve.
Algieri now has another televised win, which will please his boisterous fan base. Even during dull portions of the fight, they cheered loudly for their fighter. Despite getting a wide win, Algieri has some issues that need to be addressed. He has no head movement and drops whichever hand he isn’t punching with. He also has a tendency to get too far out over his front foot, leaving him off balance. A good counterpuncher will make him pay dearly for that, if he ever faces one. Most noticeable to me was his footwork, though; he seems light on his feet and very coordinated until it’s time to punch, at which point he takes his time setting his feet. None of these are completely damning, but at 29 he might be too old to correct them.
The co-feature threatened to put everyone watching to sleep, including the normally “energetic” Teddy Atlas. The eight round welterweight fight was just sloppy, there is really no other way to put it. Jeremy “Hollywood” Bryan got the decision over Issouf Kinda by scores of 78-74 and 77-75 twice. I also had it 78-74. Both fighters were coming off losses, but it was Bryan (17-3, 7 KOs) who was presumed to be in peril, having been stopped in three of his previous six fights. Kinda (16-2, 6 KOs) was to blame for much of the ugliness. His offense consisted almost entirely of pawing a jab and then falling (damn near jumping) into clinches. His repeated lunges probably caused him more damage than Bryan’s punches, as he frequently went face first into the top of Bryan’s head.
In the opener, Wendy Toussaint (4-0, 0 KO) eked out a majority decision over Anthony Gangemi (4-2, 3 KOs) by scores of 38-38 and 39-37 twice. I also had it a draw, but if the decision had gone to Gangemi, I wouldn’t have complained. The bout, contested one pound over the welterweight limit, was close and featured some solid exchanges as well as a great deal of fouling by both men.
The highlight of the broadcast for me was the feature on retired featherweight Paulie Ayala’s “Punching out Parkinson’s” program. The classes, run out of Ayala’s Texas boxing gym, are designed to help people suffering from Parkinson’s build muscular strength and endurance as well as hone their coordination and balance.
Despite the Ambien-esque quality of the co-feature, we got a rabies sighting. During the live, in ring, edition of “Fight Plan” Teddy got himself worked up and began to do that barking thing he does where you aren’t sure if even he understands what he’s saying. There were also a few moments during the main event that got him fired up, but overall he was reserved. You know, by his standards.
(Algieri photo via Star Boxing)