Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
A fight anticipated to be solid, competitive and filed with notable action was spoiled by relentless clinching as Dyah Davis and Alfonso Lopez produced a dire stylistic match-up in the first main event of ESPN Friday Night Fights’ new season. Davis won a one-sided unanimous decision over Lopez at the Mallory Square in Key West, Florida on Friday, January 6 and the sole interesting moment occurred in the seventh round, when an uppercut was landed.
Official verdict: 100-90, 100-90, 99-91 a unanimous decision to Davis.
While the undercard featured a mother-son story with trainer Saphya coaching son Denis Douglin to success over Steve Martinez, the main event fight showcased a feather-son plot-line that focused on Dyah Davis’ gold bloodline. Dyah is the son of Howard Davis Jr, who won the ultimate amateur prize at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.
This, on top of obtaining gold at the World Amateur Championships in Cuba two years before, however, both father and son hope that Dyah can do something that Howard never did – win the ultimate professional prize; a world championship.
That journey could not come in a more exciting time as the division Dyah competes in – super middleweight – is one of the deepest in boxing. Looking to spoil his journey through 168lbs was Alfonso Lopez who has tasted defeat just once, versus Kelly Pavlik last summer in a fight that made the latter look poor.
At the beginning of the contest it was obvious that Davis was the ring general, a startling achievement considering his complete lack of any amateur fighting pedigree. The first round, though, displayed little precision as neither man landed many blows – with not one of them notable.
Davis became more aggressive with the jab in the third round, however, as was shown in the preceding stanzas, any action became near instantly spoiled by both prizefighters’ propensity to spoil.
Such was the inclination to hug, that those that came to see a fight in Florida may feel rightfully disappointed and, even up to the fifth round, there were points where the referee would implore the two combatants to box by pleading: “come on guys!”
As the bout headed into it’s second half, whoever maintained control of the ring, took a step back from close-range and boxed, would easily take the decision.
In what could have been an ironic cheer or one out of pure rejoice, the crowd erupted midway through the seventh round as a right handed uppercut was landed, by Davis, landing cleanly on Lopez who followed with a left. In the next round, it was Lopez who got his revenge by powering a right hand into Davis’ skull.
In the final round, there was too little singular punching. For Davis, he was able to counter effectively, but he would admire his work rather than capitalise on it. If he was more active in letting his fists go, then he would have been able to put in a performance that was more convincing of the win. With the victory, however, he moved to 21-2-1, 9ko while Lopez dropped to 22-2-0, 17ko.
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The speed of Denis Douglin (14-1-0, 8ko) was favoured over the aggressive fighting style of erstwhile undefeated Steve Martinez (11-1-0, 9ko) in a battle of two East Coast prospects. Douglin prevailed by way of tight, split decision in cool conditions at Mallory Square, Key West in Florida on Friday, January 6 on the season opener of Friday Night Fights on ESPN.
Official verdict: 77-75, 77-75, 75-77 split decision to Douglin.
With Momma’s Boy written on the seat of his red trunks with white trim, Douglin – a speedy boxer of diminutive height – is unique in the fact that, unlike other fistic families it is not his father who helps train him, but his mother, Saphya, herself an amateur boxer.
A promising product of the New Jersey scene, Douglin suffered a setback last year when Doel Carrasquillo stopped him in three rounds. It was his only loss to date and, in the scenic outdoor grounds of the Mallory Square in Key West, Florida, had a chance to show that the Carrasquillo defeat was a one off as he opened ESPN’s popular Friday Night Fights franchise along with undefeated prizefighter Steven Martinez, a knockout artist who has never boxed longer than six rounds.
In the first couple rounds the action was fast and instigated by both men. Douglin looked to get off on his measuring jab, a tool he used to subtly aggravate the same spot on Martinez’s brow while simultaneously wanting to load up on power punches should the opportunity present itself.
Douglin kept his mitts high and this provided a natural cushion for the hooking shots that Martinez attempted to land. When Martinez closed the gap and initiated inside combat, Douglin – twice – turned his man and stepped back.
Operating behind his southpaw measuring stick, Douglin’s follow up punch – the left cross – returned good success in both the third and fourth rounds. Indeed, it was the portside posturing that Martinez had difficulties negating. In an effort to establish some authority on the fight, Martinez began throwing more and more punches but, as a result, his chin was getting clipped repeatedly and he became an easier target.
In the sixth, Douglin’s turning tactic was again used, but, this time, in order to prevent a pummeling while in the blue corner as he punched and turned his way out of danger. Like he had done in the round prior, Martinez’s punch-happy tactic saw him take the ten score as he far out-landed the less active Douglin.
The Momma’s Boy began the final round with a three-punch head-bound combination and was the one pressing the action as Martinez – rarely for him – took retreating steps. Hearing the banging sounds that signified ten seconds left on the ring clock further inspired Douglin to finish the fight in the ascendancy as he upped the tempo, rallied and bagged the final round and, what could have ultimately been, the contest as Douglin received a close, split decision nod.
Douglin, who progressed to 14-1-0, 8ko with victory, said post-fight: “Steven is a hell of a fighter and the fight was definitely closer than I thought it would be but we went hard and got it.”