By Chris Cella
In the opening bout of the Friday Night Fights, Chris “Hurricane” Howard (16-2, 7 KO) pulled off the upset against undefeated light welterweight prospect Issouf “Volcano” Kinda (16-1, 6 KO) by way of technical split decision.
The bout was originally scheduled for 10-rounds, but following the sixth round ringside physician Tony Alessi called the fight due to Howard being unable to see out of his left eye, an injury suffered when the two fighters’ heads clashed during an accidental head butt in the first round.
At the time of the stoppage Kinda celebrated as he thought he had won the fight by way of TKO, but it was quickly announced that the fight would go to the scorecards.
Upon hearing the judge’s decision, Howard rejoiced and celebrated the win while Kinda stared blankly in disbelief.
While the fight got off to a slow start with Howard being more active and landing more through the first two rounds, Kinda found his groove in the third round and seemingly dominated the next four rounds, and presumably should’ve won a unanimous decision.
But as we have seen so much in boxing as of late, the judges appeared to be watching two different fights as their scoring was on opposite ends of the spectrum. This loss derails any hopes of Kinda working his way up the ranks and towards a possible contention fight later in the year. The stoppage clearly was detrimental to Kinda because each round following the second he got more into a rhythm and was able to land his shots, and if he continued at the pace he was fighting at, probably would’ve won a unanimous 10-round decision.
Chris Howard fought hard, and did his best to stay in the fight, and although it looked as he lost the last four rounds of the fight, emerged tonight with the ‘W’.
In the main event of the night, Delvin Rodriguez made his 16th appearance on ESPN as he battled journeyman Freddy “El Riel” Hernandez. The theme of the night was “head butts” and this fight was no different from the first two.
Leading up to the stoppage in the eighth round, Rodriguez and Hernandez were going to war round after round. Despite his slow start early on, Rodriguez began to pick up the pace and fight in spurts. Hernandez stayed consistent with the pressure through the fight, landing his right hand which seemed to keep Rodriguez honest each time he gained momentum.
Throughout the fight both fighters’ heads clashed time and time again, although through replay fans showed that the cut which led to the stoppage of the fight was caused by a right hand of Rodriguez, so in essence he should’ve won via TKO.
But unfortunately the cut was ruled an accidental head butt, and so it again went to the judges’ scorecards, where Rodriguez won the majority decision. Following the decision, through use of instant replay, the majority decision was overturned and Rodriguez was rightfully given the TKO win.
Hernandez showed he continues to be a gamed opponent, but unable to pull out the victories. For Rodriguez, he will have to watch the films of this fight and figure out a way to get out of the gate quicker.