It was the 2013 season debut of ESPN's Friday Night Fights, and the Main Event pitted the ultra tough Arash Usmanee against the talented 26 year old Cuban Phenom, Rances Barthelemy. But at the end of the night, the scores resembled some of the stinkers we saw in 2012. In Miami, FL, at the Magic City Casino, Rances Barthelemy, (17-0 11 KO, Miami, FL) won a 12 round unanimous decision by scores of 115-113, and 116-112 (twice) in a fight that most observers saw the other way. Barthelemy started out red hot, his jab snapping and causing Usmanee to stumble around the ring before taunting him by sticking out his tongue.
Usmanee, (20-0 10 KO, Montreal, Quebec), came out in the second throwing his own crisp jab. He had to put extra effort into his shots, due to the angle he was throwing at his much taller opponent's head. Barthelemy's defense was airtight, and it looked like we were going to have a one sided beat down on our hands. Usmanee's face was already reddened, and Barthelemy was landing massive shots, in particular, a huge left hand that shook Usmanee to his core. But then, something happened.
Barthelemy abandoned his most important weapon: His range finding jab. He became overly confident bordering on cocky, and proceeded to stand and trade with Usmanee, (the veteran of 155 amateur fights). Usmanee began stringing hard shots together, focusing on the long target that was the torso of the younger fighter. He rolled off combinations of five and six punches, and although he was hitting mainly arms and gloves of Barthelemy's still impressive defense, he was beginning to wear down the Cuban. Barthelemy kept his distance the next few rounds, and Usmanee never, EVER, stopped punching. There was a clash of heads in round four, which cut Usmanee and obviously bothered him more than Barthelemy, and even after a huge left hook added to the flavor, Usmanee never stopped punching and threw some devastating shots in a tremendous volley at round's end.
As the fight wore on, Barthelemy never got back to that jab that was so impressive early in the fight. Usmanee continued applying pressure, and his shots were being thrown extremely hard, and were getting to his opponent. By the eighth round, Usmanee was dominating, never slowing his pace, and taking every hard shot that Barthelemy had to offer. The men fought the last third of the match in close quarters, with Usmanee dictating the pace and throwing hundreds of shots, while Barthelemy just walked in and tried to work the body while throwing looping, wild shots upstairs. There was a lot of taunting between the two men, and toward the end of round nine, Barthelemy hurt Usmanee with a huge right hand. The tenth saw another clash of heads which seemed to energize Barthelemy, as Usmanee ended the round by running around in an exaggerated fashion.
Both men were talking trash in the 11th, but Usmanee was STILL throwing five punch combinations as Barthelemy looked exhausted. The 12th was another huge round for Usmanee, as he dominated the action and landed 3 successive right hands and almost floored Barthelemy.
Then the scores were read.
115-113, and 116-112 (twice) for Barthelemy in a fight that he clearly lost. Usmanee kept his cool, and is hoping to land a rematch.
Boxing 101 scored the fight 116-112 for Usmanee.
On the Undercard, 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian Jonathan Gonzalez (16-0-1 13 KO) outworked Derek Ennis (23-4-1 13 KO) over ten rounds to win a unanimous decision by scores of 95-95, 98-92, and 97-93. Also on the televised portion of the card, undefeated Cuban Hairon Socarras , (6-0-1 4 KO) knocked out previously undefeated Joshua Bowles (6-1 1 KO) in the third round of a scheduled four round bout.
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