By: William Holmes
Is Michael Katsidis truly an elite fighter? Is he still an elite fighter? Friday night’s fight should’ve answered that question for most fight fans.
According to this writer, the short answer is…..
ESPN delivered a later than usual Friday Night Fight card for their viewing audience last night. NASCAR delayed the start of the fights, but it was well worth the wait. The venue appeared to be packed at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas.
The first bout of the night was a welterweight clash between Artemio Reyes (15-1)and Alan Sanchez (9-2-1). They fought previously, and Sanchez gave Reyes his first career loss by decision with scores of 59-55, 58-56, and 58-56.
Reyes could have pulled out of this fight, as his father had passed away the week before, and perhaps he should have, because the rematch went much worse for him.
Sanchez blasted Reyes in the first round with a right uppercut and followed it by pummeling Reyes from corner to corner with more combinations before Reyes fell to his knees. The referee had no choice but to stop the fight, as Reyes was clearly hurt badly.
Alan Sanchez improved his record to 10-2-1 with a 1st round TKO at 2:08.
The quick action in the first matchup forced ESPN to broadcast a fight that normally wouldn’t be shown. It was a four-round affair and featured another rematch, this time between Cameron Krael and Tyler Lawson. Their first match ended in draw, and the second match was a majority decision win for Cameron Krael, improving his record to . . . 1-1-2.
Krael must be the luckiest boxer on the face of this earth to have his first victory broadcast on ESPN. Highly unlikely that he will have another fight broadcast on national TV anytime soon.
The main event of the night was between the Ghanaian Albert Mensah (19-3-1) and Australian Michael Katsidis (28-5) in the junior welterweight division. Katsidis has fought most of his career in the lightweight division, and it was apparent immediately that he was the much smaller man in the ring.
However, Katsidis was also a 6:1 favorite.
Even the bookies can be wrong. This was an exciting affair that featured a lot of back and forth action. Katsidis began the fight by staying in tight and trying to trap Mensah in the corner. Mensah displayed excellent defensive ability and was able to avoid most of the punches of Katsidis. Katsidis likely won the first two rounds, but Mensah began to turn it around in round three. He began to land more accurate and harder counter punches, mixed in with a few solid uppercuts.
Round six and seven were better for Katsidis, as he was successful in trapping Mensah and landing several combinations, but they weren’t exactly hard punches. Katsidis might have won round eight with a late flurry, but his eyes were starting to noticeably swell.
Rounds nine and ten were all Mensah. Katsidis was unable to apply his pressure effectively, and had his mouthpiece fall out of his mouth during round nine. Mensah continued to land short uppercuts and two-punch combinations seemingly at will. It was a close fight going into round nine, but by the end of the tenth, Mensah left little doubt as to who won (though one judge saw the fight as a draw).
The official scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 98-92 for Albert Mensah.