A Night Of Several Emotions In The Ring

By Tom Donelson
Updated: January 19, 2009

Boxing Gloves IOWA CITY — Friday night was about redemption for some fighters, a beginning for others and finally a chance for prospects to find out how they matched up with one another.

James McGirt, Jr. once remarked that his father made it look so easy. The son of former champion and trainer Buddy McGirt, James has yet to reach his father’s plateau.

In a 2008 that saw both his first lost and first big victory over a former contender followed by a draw that cost him a big money fight on HBO.

His bout against Angel Hernandez was his first step toward a move back into possible contention for a title. Hernandez once fought for the light middleweight championship against Winky Wright but that was five years ago.

For McGirt, he had size, age and skill advantages but one thing that he lacked was knowledge of the ring. He needed to use his height to keep Hernandez on the outside but from the very beginning of the fight — he stayed in side with the smaller Hernandez.

Here was the interesting part, McGirt out punch Hernandez on the inside. He consistently beat Hernandez to the punch and despite his skinner frame and height; he showed the ability to throw sharp short punch against Hernandez.

McGirt proved that he could fight in a phone booth but while his punches were more accurate and telling; he did not impress the judges.

The judges view this fight as being fought on Hernandez terms and while McGirt held the statistical advantages, there were too many close rounds and the judges gave most of them to Hernandez.

McGirt won the fight in the ring and Hernandez walked away with a decision. He did not fight his fight and the judges penalized him for that. What the judges did not do was to reward McGirt for winning Hernandez’s fight.

Eromosele Albert fought with one goal, get back into junior Middleweight division contention and his opponent was the well traveled veteran Germaine Sanders.

The fight was the same from the first minute to the last minute. Albert chased and Sanders ran. Once in a while Sanders would stand and fight but for the most part, this was a fight of survival and Sanders survived and lost the decision.

In the end, Albert won his fight.

Gary Russell, an Olympian, made his debut against the game Antonio Reyes in a two plus rounds of tough pounding.

Russell did most of the pounding but Reyes stood his ground. In the second round, Reyes right crashed straight ahead against Russell in one of the various volleys of punches; so Reyes did score but his punches did not have the same power as his Olympian opponent.

Russell ended the second round with a combination that started with a solid left and ended with a right hook from his southpaw position that nearly ended the fight.

Reyes took an eight count but headed back to his corner on wobbly legs. He came out for the third round but within 30 seconds, Russell unleaded the last lethal combinations that ended the fight.

Russell began his quest for a featherweight championship.

Marvin Quintero came from Mexico with one thing in mind; to show an American audience, he was championship caliber.

From the very beginning Quintero and Nick Casals involved themselves in a brawl but Quintero had the quicker hands and more power in his punches.

Casals was simply outgunned and after three rounds, he could no longer take the punishment and did not answer the bell for fourth round.

In the climactic battle on the SHOBOX coverage was the battle of undefeated prospects. Orlando Cruz, a former Puerto Rica Olympian star, faced off against Leonilo Miranda, the undefeated Mexican upcoming star.

For four rounds, Miranda and Cruz fought on even terms. As the fifth round came to a conclusion, Miranda attacked but Cruz nailed Miranda with the perfect shot, the ultimate knockout.

This knockout was one of those that SHOBOX will be showing for a long time, it was that perfect. Miranda came into the fight with 23 knockouts in 24 fights but it was Cruz who provided the final fireworks.

What did we learn from this particular Friday night? We learned that McGirt still has to grow up as a fighter and use his strength.

He also showed that he could fight inside but it didn’t help him with the judges. Meanwhile, we learned that Russell has the skills to be a champion and both Cruz and Quintero are solid prospects whereas Miranda is still a enigma waiting to see if he has the skills to be contender in his own right or that we have already seen the best of him.