SAN DIEGO, December 11, 2014 – Fight fans got a few lumps of coal along with the gifts in their boxing stockings Thursday on a special edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula, California.
If you were watching, console yourself with these thoughts: it was far better than overeating at a Christmas party or spending too much money Christmas shopping.
You also have the satisfaction of being part of a well-deserved tribute to the late promoter Dan Goossen, who lost his fight against cancer earlier this year.
Among the fights worth watching, Austin Trout (28-2, 15 KOs) picked up his first stoppage in three years when the corner of Luis Grajeda (17-4-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico stopped the fight after the seventh round.
Trout worked to the body in a smart way, although he pushed the envelope toward the low blow borderline several times. You could see the light bulb come on over his head midway through the seventh round as he realized how well it was working for him. Working to the body makes your head shots more effective, and it seemed Trout might even have a chance at his first knockout in seven years against Grajeda.
It was the kind of win Trout needed.
In the opening televised bout, fans got their money’s worth from a junior welterweight fight between 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha and Carlos Vila. The pair traded a good variety of punches all night. Gausha launched a one-two-three combo that ended the fight just short of a decision at 2:36 of the eighth round. Gausha remains undefeated at 13-0 with eight knockouts; Vila drops to 7-2. Moral of the story: don’t let it go to judges if you can help it.
Johnathon Banks (29-3-1, 19 KOs) proved his future is as a trainer after an unfortunate performance against 46 year old former world champion Antonio Tarver (31-6, 21 KOs) a former world champion who is now 46 years old. His last notable win came against Roy Jones in 2005. Banks seemed to be in terrific shape, but either had too much ring rust or couldn’t let his hands go against Tarver. Tarver found the target on Banks surprisingly well, and dropped Banks in the seventh round. Banks beat the count, but was in no real shape to continue, and after taking a few more shots, referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout at 2:25 of the seventh. Banks should now concentrate on crafting great champions and carrying on his mentor Emanuel Steward’s legacy at the Kronk Gym.
Oscar Escandon (24-1, 16 KOs) of Colombia wanted to make a good impression in his American debut and first television appearance against Canadian Tyson Cave (24-3, 8 KOs) of Canada. Instead, fans endured a frustrating, messy fight. Escandon could not get his bearings against the taller, slippery Cave. He was looking for one big punch, which wasn’t going to happen. He failed to cut off the ring, and failed to start working the body if he couldn’t find the head. Meanwhile, Cave was quick and far busier throughout the fight, though he lacked the power to hurt Escandon.
Escandon won a narrow split decision on the scorecards, with judges Raul Caiz Jr. (117-111) and Tony Krebs (115-113) scoring it for Escandon, and Max DeLuca scoring it 115-113 for Cave. Escandon is now the interim WBA world super bantamweight title holder. ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas spoke for many people who thought Cave had won, setting him off on an epic rant. Atlas was still going strong hours later. Escandon needs to review the video and learn from this ragged outing.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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