By: William Holmes
This week’s ESPN Friday Night Fights was broadcast last night from Albany, NY, in the times Union Center in front of a packed house. The main event was between two undefeated fighters in the junior welterweight division, Raymond Serrano and Karim Mayfield.
The first match of the night was between Anthony Jones (1-0-1) and Kevin Rooney Jr. (4-1) in the middleweight division.
Rooney has worked as a publicist for the promoter of tonight’s event, Star Boxing, and he also had a supportive and vocal contingent in the crowd rooting for him. Unfortunately for Rooney, Jones was a southpaw and a last minute replacement, meaning Rooney had little time to prepare for him.
Jones came out very aggressive against Rooney, and landed several straight left hands in the first round. A sweeping right hook bounced off of Rooney’s glove and caused him to lose his balance. Despite Teddy Atlas’ proclamations that it was not a clean knockdown, it appeared to be a knockdown from this writer’s vantage point and the referee ruled it such.
Jones knocked down Rooney again in the second round with a straight left down, but this time there was no doubt about the knockdown. Rooney fought better in the third round and fourth rounds, but clearly needed a knockout to win, which he was unable to do. Anthony Jones improved his record to 2-0-1 and the official scores were 39-35, 38-36, and 38-36.
The next bout of the night was between Nick Brinson (9-1-1) and Jason Escalera (13-0) in the middleweight division.
Escalera was the taller fighter of the two, and started the fight stalking Brinson around the ring. Brinson was more active with his jab and combinations in the first round, and Escalera slipped late in the round, which caused his gloves to touch the canvas. Escalera appeared to have trouble finding his rhythm early on in this fight, but both fighters often exchanged combinations that kept the crowd entertained. Escalera would throw gigantic, looping, wide punches while Brinson countered with shorter and straighter punches.
Escalera badly hurt Brinson in the seventh round of the eight round fight, but he was unable to follow it up and land a punch to finish Brinson. The final scores were 76-75 for Brinson, 76-75 for Escalera, and 76-76 for a draw.
The main event was between Karim Mayfield (15-0-1) and Raymond Serrano (18-0) for the NABO Junior Welterweight Belt.
Serrano appeared to be the taller fighter of the two, and they both fought out of the orthodox stance. They both came out aggressive in the first round and exchanged hard combinations. Serrano appeared to be the more relaxed of the two and landed the harder shots, but Mayfield was able to land some hard counter right hands. Mayfield nearly knocked Serrano down early in the second round, but the ropes were able to bounce Serrano back to his feet without him falling to the ground.
Mayfield really began to showcase his power and threw several hard wide right hands that kept Serrano on his toes and moving backwards. Mayfield landed a vicious straight right hand on Serrano in the third round and knocked Serrano down. When Serrano got back up, Mayfield moved in for the kill and landed several hard combinations that forced Serrano to try and hold on, but instead Serrano slipped to the ground twice. Serrano somehow managed to survive the third round.
Serrano fought much better in the fourth round until the very last second, and got floored with a right hook to the chin as the bell rung. Serrano slowly got up to his feet and wobbled back to his corner after the referee counted to eight. There was mass confusion in the corner of Serrano: nobody got him a stool to sit down on and nobody poured water or ice on him to try and revive their fighter. Serrano’s corner could be seen arguing with each other in the corner instead of focusing on checking with their fighter.
Mayfield immediately attacked Serrano at the start of the fifth round; the referee gave Serrano the chance to fight back, but he was unable to do so.
The fight was waived off at 0:47 of the fifth round and Mayfield had the TKO victory.