A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Friday Night Fights Say Goodbye
For the past seventeen year, ESPN Friday Night Fights have been a fixture but this past Saturday, Friday Night Fights says goodbye as ESPN decide to become part of the Premier Boxing Championship Series. Of Friday Night Fights, announcer Joe Tessitore noted, “Friday Night Fights may have been the last bastion of classic, old-school style, authentic, weekly sports TV broadcasts. It had no agendas. It had no league to answer to, no box to fit into. It wasn’t burdened with promotion and sales. For the most part, we did whatever we wanted to, which really meant whatever the fans deserved. In the end, that’s what we are on this crew – deeply passionate, caring fight fans. In an increasingly hyper-sensitive America with gotcha social-media, this broadcast stretched across three decades as a respite from the new norm. For those who stayed with it week after week, and enjoyed raw truths, that meant a lot. Teddy had a lot to do with defining that legacy but also many producers and coordinating producers had the guts and guidance to support it.”
Friday Night Fights featured young fighters on the way up, fighters not quite elite but still good enough to pursue their dreams and fighters at the end of their career. While there were occasion that Friday Night Fights featured championship bouts, its expertise laid in featuring those fighters who kept the sport alive. While ESPN will move on to the new level with championship bouts and fighters are close to the title, the disadvantage is that shows featuring up and coming fighters or place for those fighters who are not quite the elites but who still dream of fighting for a title will be missing one vehicle. Right now the only show that features up and coming fighters is SHOBOX, the new generation.
As for the last show, it features knock outs and a surprise. The surprise would be John Thompson IV upsetting Brandon Adams. Adams was the favorite to win the junior Middleweight Boxcino championship and he started the first round by jabbing and moving inside Thompson.
At the beginning, Adams looked the better fighter and nailed Thompson with a big right. As he pursued his prey, he ran right into a Thompson’s three punch count that staggered Adams and then Thompson landed a left hook that sent Adams down. Adams staggered back up and was on rubbery legs. Thompson jumped on Adams and nailed him with combinations along the rope. Punches landed flush on Adams’ face and one of those punches snapped Adams head back; referee stopped the fight as Thompson finished the fight. Thompson was a last second replacement entering the tournament but he ended up winning the tournament.
As for the heavyweight finals, Andrey Fedosov faced Iowan native Donovan Dennis who was hoping to repeat John Thompson IV miracle as he hoping for the big upset. The first two rounds saw Dennis using his boxing skills to put distance between the Russian and himself. By the third round, Fedosov close the gap and floored Dennis with a looping right hand. From that point, Fedosov invaded Dennis’ space and landed big shots. Two big rights in the sixth round by Fedosov stunned Dennis and in the seventh round, a flurry of Fedosov’s punches forced Dennis to take a knee.
Fedosov ended the bout in the first thirty seconds of the eighth round as another flurry punches forced the referee to stop the fight.
Friday Night Fights ended with a bang as Fedosov stopped Dennis and Thompson fight showed that boxing is the theatre of the unexpected but then Friday Night Fights had their share of the unexpected for seventeen years.