This time I successfully set my DVR for Friday Night Fights, unlike last week. I went out to see "Alice in Wonderland," and given my appreciation for Tim Burton and the source material, I had high hopes. I hated it hated it hated it. It was so by-the-numbers for recent sci-fi/fantasy movies I practically walked out: Here's the epic battle scene! Here's the catchphrase uttered at the climax! Here's the stirring score as the heroine rides a creature as part of the big quest! Here are the doubts about whether the heroine is "the one!" Here's the flying creature that makes the exact screeching noise as all the other monsters and here's the big mean creature that roars in the heroine's face! (I guess it's good that there was a strong heroine, and that the movie was quite lovely to behold in spots, but that's no saving grace.)
But you don't come here for movie reviews. To the ESPN2 action, which was marked by a pretty good if one-sided brawl in the main event and a look at a couple talented youngsters:
- Is lightweight Martin Honorio turning into (gasp) a boxer? This is now the second fight in a row where he's showed off good movement, counterpunching and other hallmarks of a "cutie." He's probably more a "boxer-brawler," though, especially with a punch output that doubled that of his opponent, undefeated but unproven Wilton Hilario. Undefeated no more: Honorio scored two knockdowns in the 6th and notched a hard-fought but easy-to-score decision, 120-106 on one scorecard and 119-107 on the other two. Hilario's boxing was pretty hopeless -- no jab, squared himself up repeatedly -- but boy did he show some toughness. I thought around the 2nd round, "Hilario's getting knocked out." That he survived the 6th round, and any number of vicious assaults along the ropes when Honorio staggered him, was gutty stuff. That he was able to lump up Honorio's face can only be attributed to that toughness. If he can learn more than "move forward and brawl," that toughness could be a real asset. As for Honorio, it's getting to the point that maybe he'll be lined up for a shot at some alphabet title belt soon. He's obviously rebuilt himself from the Robert Guerrero loss, with two straight wins over unbeaten youngsters, the other an upset of prospect John Molina, Jr. I don't know how much I like his chances against top-10 lightweights, what with his wide punches and his tendency to lose the last 30 seconds of tons of rounds, but I don't doubt that he's earned consideration to fight them.
- I'm not sure I buy that junior featherweight prospect Rico Ramos "danced squares" around Guillermo Rigondeaux in sparring, as his manager/trainer claimed, but I was high on Ramos from the ;moment I saw him and I still think there's something there. He got rid of Cecilio Santos in the 4th with a nice left hook to the body that he set up with a couple shots to the head, usually a sign of a well-schooled fighter. He did about what he should have to Santos. Some prospects got rid of Santos sooner, but Ramos has merely good, not excellent, power; his strengths are his speed and boxing ability. My major concern here was that Santos landed three doozies where I thought, "Man, if Ramos gets hit by someone who can punch, he'll be done." They seemed like punches that landed because of lapses in concentration, but he'll need to pay better attention against someone who has more power as Santos. Still, with two prospects putting on poor performances on FNF recently, junior middleweight Shawn Porter and junior welterweight Danny Garcia (albeit against tough opponents and in ultimately successful, learning fights) it was good to see Ramos buck the trend by dispensing with his opponent the way he was expected to.
- Tall, quick junior welterweight prospect Mike Dallas, Jr. scored a rare knockout in his 13-fight career, just the third on his record. His opponent, Fabian Luque, had nine KO losses on his record, including to light-hitting Dmitriy Salita, so that helped. Dallas has speed and size, and he was sitting down on his punches in a way that made it surprising to me that this was only the third KO of his career. Salita got rid of Luque in five, but Dallas dispensed with Luque in the 1st off a right uppercut followed by Dallas turning his man, a nice pro move. Neither the opponent nor the quick 1st round result gave us enough to learn much about Dallas, but I saw talent.
- Teddy Atlastown: 1. For the first time ever, I think, ESPN2's Atlas predicted Manny Pacquiao would win a fight, against welterweight opponent Josh Clottey next weekend. 2. I don't mind Atlas' corny metaphors so much, because it's a bit of (likely unintentional) comedy I've come to expect sometimes they're instructive, but the "his punches are an airplane/they need a place to land/his opponent's body is the runway" was not in any way instructive. 3. This is Atlas as well as partner Joe Tessitore, but I don't think they ever acknowledged that Honorio was coming off a major win, an upset of pretty good prospect Molina. They just kept mentioning the Guerrero loss. Maybe that's the more telling of the two fights, but the "story" of Honorio is not only "the guy who lost to Guerrero." I didn't get the impression they were even aware of the Molina win.