By: William Holmes
The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. It has become customary for ESPN to showcase some of the best prospects in the sport of boxing before major pay per view events, and tonight was no different. Undefeated Super Middleweights Gilberto Ramirez and Jesse Hart were featured on tonight’s broadcast, and both are considered by many to be future world champions.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
The opening bout of the night was between German Valdez (3-4-1) and Danny Valdivia (3-0) in the super welterweight division. Valdivia easily out boxed Valdez and should have been awarded a knockdown in the third round. Valdez, to his credit, took a beating and survived all four rounds, but all three judges scored it 40-36 in favor of Valdivia.
The second bout of the night was between Alejandro Rodriguez (18-13) and Lydell Rhodes (19-0) in the lightweight division. Lydell Rhodes had Zab and Joel Judah in his corner and he was expected by many to run through Rodriguez.
However, Rodriguez gave Rhodes a much tougher fight than expected. Rhodes is a slick boxer, and he was able to avoid most of the shots from Rodriguez, but Rodriguez did have a solid sixth and fourth round. A lot of Rhodes punches were short and lacked power, and he escaped with a close decision victory. The scores were 57-57, 58-56, and 58-56.
The first televised bout of the night was between Samuel Clarkson (10-2) and Jesse Hart (12-0) in the super middleweight division. Jesse Hart is tall, long, and powerful. He’s also the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, so he has boxing in his blood. He’s the type of fighter that television executives should be salivating over.
Jesse Hart starting out the first round by working his jab, which was accurate early on. He ended the first round with a thudding right hand and Clarkson was not able to offer much of an offensive attack. In the second round Hart fought from the outside. He landed two thudding body shots and straight right hands near the end of the round.
By the third round and fourth rounds it was obvious that Hart was in complete control, and Clarkson’s face was starting to show signs of the damage he was taking. Hart nearly ended the fight in the fifth round with two knockdowns, but Clarkson was somehow able to stay on his feet and survive.
By the last three rounds the only question was will Hart be able to stop Clarkson. He was going for the knockout, but Clarkson was able to take some of Hart’s best punches.
All three judges scored it 80-70 for Jesse Hart.
The main event of the night was between Gilberto Ramirez (27-0) and Giovanni Lorenzo (33-6) in the super middleweight division.
Ramirez is an undefeated Mexican boxer that has slowly been building up some hype. He’s a tall southpaw, and his punches were extremely accurate tonight.
He had Lorenzo backing up from the first round on. He nearly landed every punch he threw, and his right jab was extremely effective. He staggered Lorenzo at the end of the first round.
Ramirez continued to beat Lorenzo up in the second and third round. Both fighters exchanged shots in the third, but Ramirez had no issues taking some of Lorenzo’s best shots. Ramirez was willing to take a punch to land three punches and knocked Lorenzo down with a body shot on the third. Lorenzo was lucky to survive the third round.
Ramirez continued to mix up his combinations in the fourth and fifth rounds. He scored another knockdown in the fifth from a body shot and continued his assault when Lorenzo got to his feet. Lorenzo’s corner finally wisely decided to throw in the towel.
Gilberto Ramirez wins by TKO at 2:47 of the fifth round.