by Matthew Blankenship, JarryPark.com Contributor
Random thoughts on busy weekend in combat sports…
* Friday night’s ShoBox card featured two come-from-behind victories. In the first fight, Carlos De Leon Jr. defeated James McGirt Jr. in the seventh after being saved by the bell at the end of sixth. Meanwhile, the main event featured Edgar Santana escaping with a majority decision over Josesito Lopez after suffering two knockdowns in the eighth. An overall good card worth viewing if you can catch it again.
* YAMMA Pit Fighting made its debut Friday night. That’s about the only positive thing that has been said about the card. The show did seem to prove some points though:
1. This tournament format won’t work in the US. It’s hard to argue anyone is a decisive winner when all they’ve won is one measly round.
2. In case it wasn’t clear before, Butterbean should retire right now. His fight against Pat Smith was one of the most depressing bouts I’ve ever seen.
3. On second thought, Mike Goldberg isn’t that bad of an announcer.
4. The YAMMA Pit produced the exact opposite of what they were hoping for. They should just rename the pit to Jake O’Brien’s Lair O’ Fun.
* Saturday’s HBO boxing card featured two violent displays of punching power. Antonio Margarito battered Kermit Cintron when a final thudding body punch ended their fight in the sixth round. While Miguel Cotto dominated Alfonso Gomez dropping him three times en route to a doctor’s stoppage before the sixth round began. It looks as though Cotto and Margarito will now meet in July in what looks to be a bloody unification war.
* HBO aired another solid Countdown show and I couldn’t be any more pumped for Calzaghe/Hopkins. Definitely worth checking out.
* Over on Showtime, fight fans were treated to an amazing fight between Glen Johnson and Chad Dawson. Dawson won a unanimous decision over Johnson much to the chagrin of those in attendance. Much credit should be given to Johnson for a tremendous showing at the ripe old age of 39. I thought Dawson won but by a smaller margin than on the judges’ scorecards. Elsewhere, Antonio Tarver defeated Clinton Woods via Unanimous Decision. It seems that Tarver and Dawson will meet in a unification bout this fall.
* The Strikeforce on NBC debut show also aired on Sunday Morning. Not sure if this was the case in the rest of the country but my telecast was troubled with terrible audio problems throughout the whole episode. (Ed. Note: The show never aired in New York City. Just a black screen for 30 minutes.) However, despite the audio problem, I thought the show was really good and made Strikeforce look like a big league fight organization. The episode showcased two solid fights: Cung Le vs. Brian Warren and Duane Ludwig vs. Tony Fryklund. Along with the fights, they aired a great package on current Strikeforce middleweight champion, Cung Le. A solid debut indeed.
* Also this weekend, K-1 held their World Grand Prix and provided some great fights. The highlights included:
1. Semmy Schilt being the first man to KO Mark Hunt. For being such a big fighter, Schilt is actually quite graceful and his spinning ack kick was perfect.
2. Badr Hari absolutely crushing Ray Sefo was almost painful to watch.
3. The second round of Noda-Vondracek was a total slugfest and a pleasure to watch. Vondracek’s refusal to go down was remarkable to watch.