Half Of A Comeback

By Tom Donelson
Updated: July 24, 2008

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Jeff Lacy’s fight against Epifanio Mendoza was supposed to be his big comeback fight to silence the critics. Instead, Lacy survived a tough fight that he could have easily lost and left more questions than answers about his future.

The first round was vintage Lacy, with swarming style that had Mendoza on the defensive. He jumped on Mendoza, who was previously stopped by Chad Dawson in his previous fight.

Lacy nailed Mendoza with his patented left hook along with a solid right and Mendoza looked like he was ready to find the exit. This continued for the first two minutes of the second round before a Mendoza right caught Lacy on the side of the face and sent Lacy reeling backward.

From there a fight broke out. Lacy went on survivial mode for 30 seconds before recovering enough to launch his own counter attack.

The next three rounds saw Lacy take control of the fight as he got inside of the taller Mendoza but there were signs of Lacy’s vulnerability that would nearly derail the Floridian comeback later in the fight.

While Lacy was winning on points, he kept getting nailed by Mendoza right hand upper cut on the inside. In the opening minutes of the sixth round, Mendoza nailed Lacy with a solid right that sent his mouthpiece flying.

From the sixth round through the ninth, Mendoza’s right proved to be decisive punch as he consistently nailed Lacy with right uppercuts on the inside or right crosses from the outside. Once in a while, Mendoza delivered his own left hook against the famous “Left Hook” Lacy.

Lacy simply survived those rounds and came close of being stopped at least twice. In the final round, it was do or die for Lacy as he outhustled Mendoza in the final stanza to salvage a decision.

While one judge had it 97-93 in Lacy’s favor, the other two had it 95-95 draw and a close 96-94 decision with the final round being the decisive round.

Lacy survived this fight but showed weakness that need to be corrected or his career as an elite fighter will be short lived. He’s a technically sound fighter who doesn’t often use his full arsenal.

He rarely jabs his way inside and that leaves him vulnerable to counters. As ESPN’s Ted Atlas noticed, he often threw one punch at a time and rarely doubled up on his fearsome left hook.

Lacy didn’t look like the fearsome “Left Hook” Lacy of two years ago and appears to taking steps backwards. He looked exposed as a fighter on the downside of his career and in a division that has gotten tougher over the past three years; this is not good news for Lacy chances to regain the title.

Lacy made only half of a comeback.