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ESPN2’s FNF: Lorenzo falls to Sanchez; Clarkson Hart-Broken

By Luis A. Cortes III

It is not uncommon for the weekend of a major boxing event to feature several smaller shows (especially in “Sin City”). Promotional outfit Top Rank Promotions has always utilized the opportunity of a big fight weekend to capitalize on the exposure from major boxing and sports media in one centralized place. By having more than one fight card, it can expose a large media constituency to several fighters in its stable that may not have gotten the same type of press before, even if these same fighters had fought on similar cards on other dates not in conjunction with a big fight.
So with this well-thought out principle in place, this weekend is no different from other big fight card weekends past. On the eve of the rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, Top Rank put on tonight’s “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights” card from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the strip, one already abuzz for tomorrow night. It was the perfect opportunity for Top Rank to showcase two of its super middleweight prospects.

In the main event, Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez, 28-0 (22), made a huge step up in competition as he faced former middleweight title challenger Giovanni Lorenzo, 33-7 (25). Sanchez started strong, landing lefts and rights to the body, trapping Lorenzo along the ropes and corners. A right hook and straight left hand slightly wobbled Lorenzo to end the opening stanza. Lorenzo came out firing in the second despite being shocked but Sanchez clearly landed the heavier and crisper combinations.
Fans started to get some exciting exchanges in round three as Lorenzo decided to try and trade power shots with the younger Sanchez but the thundering, straight lefts to the body folded Lorenzo. The young southpaw followed up with right hooks upstairs and as Lorenzo tried to move away from Sanchez, he was again trapped along the ropes. Thudding lefts to the body again folded Lorenzo, who took a knee after taking more power shots. Although Lorenzo rose from his knee, he was clearly still hurt and got a reprieve from referee Jay Nady after a low blow from Sanchez.
Fighting off of the ropes throughout round four, Lorenzo was the game veteran, actually getting in some shots on his aggressive opponent but like in round two, the harder shots from Sanchez controlled the round. Round five was more of the same to start but as Lorenzo found himself on the ropes, yet again a straight left to the body landed and Lorenzo’s glove touched the canvas to register a knockdown. Lorenzo again sustained an eight-count and tried to move away from Sanchez, who calmly stalked his foe until he landed some more heavy blows for a second knockdown.  Although the spirited Lorenzo was walking around the ring receiving his eight-count, his corner stopped the fight at 2:47 of the fifth round. It was later reported that Lorenzo was taken to a hospital with possible broken ribs.
Jesse Hart, 13-0 (10), known for being the son of former middleweight power-puncher Eugene “Cyclone” Hart (who is also his trainer) and hails from the boxing crazed city of Philadelphia. Samuel Clarkson, 10-3 (6), came out moving forward and tried to be aggressive but Hart’s piston-like jab controlled the action as he tried using it in order to set up his powerful right hand. As the second round started, Hart continued to circle behind his jab. Clarkson started to fire his left hand from his southpaw stance but his attack was momentarily stopped by a Hart right hand. Clarkson got in a nice right hook, getting Hart’s attention.
Round three was more of the same as Hart continued to fire a jab and circle away from Clarkson, who tried to catch Hart. After three rounds of jabs and hard right hands, Hart came out in round four in full attack mode. As he continued to jab, Hart started firing punches in bunches instead of the one-two that guided him through the first three rounds. Feeling the pressure, Clarkson went down for the first time in the fight after tasting a short, right uppercut. He rose to his feet and tried to move away but again succumbed to the pressure of Hart’s combinations and went down a second time.
Clarkson answered the bell for round five and was content with circling away with hands held high to avoid more punishment. With his face red and bruised, Clarkson continued to take jabs and right hands. He actually tried to land some shots at the end of round seven and tried to carry his newfound resolve into the final round. Ultimately, Clarkson heard the final bell of the fight and seemed content that he did so after a lackluster final round from both fighters. All three official ringside judges scored the bout 80-70 as did
Three days after signing a five-year contract with Top Rank, former amateur standout Gary Salazar, 3-0 (2), may have just been in tougher than he expected against Jair Quintero, 1-2-2. The fight with the least profile attached to it provided the most sustained action over the course of four rounds. Those very rounds featured both young fighters willing to exchange as they circled around the center of the ring.
Salazar used his superior speed and compact combinations to control the first two rounds.  Quintero was more effective in round three and actually landed some good punches behind equally good work. Quintero did enough to win the round on’s scorecard. Round four was clearly won by Salazar, who again used his speed to win the exchanges. At the end of the fourth round, two of the three ringside judges scored the bout at 39-37 while the third judge scored the bout 40-36. Maxboxing scored the fight 39-37.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Luis at
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