Saturday, April 25, 2009

Antonio Escalante = Can't-Miss TV

Michael Nelson gives his thoughts on last night's FNF show.

KO artist Antonio Escalante is quickly becoming can't-miss TV.

His violent clash with Jose Andres Hernandez in January 2006 was one of the best fights of the last decade. His TKO loss to Mauricio Pastrana in 2007, in which he punched himself out trying to finish Pastrana in the early rounds and got knocked cold late by a vicious right hand, was also a memorable fight. In 2008, he finished David Martinez and once promising prospect Mike Oliver within the third round in consecutive bouts.

He continued his third round knockout streak Friday night against Gary Stark Jr., a brash 29 year old from New York.

Perhaps a little too brash. Stark Jr. can be seen here on Youtube saying "I haven't seen his tapes, I don't know his name, I don't give a shit" in response to a question about who he was going to be fighting. You can be sure he knows his name now, as he got real familiar with the power of Escalante's left hook.

If Antonio keeps starching guys early, the rest of the boxing world will soon know his name as well.

On the undercard, American heavyweight Deontay Wilder, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, knocked out Joseph Rabotte in the first round. Rabotte had already been KO'd five times out of his eight fights, so we learned next to nothing about the potential Wilder may have on the professional level. He's tall and he has a quick right hand though, so I'm interested in what he'd do against a live body.

154 pounder Daniel Jacobs followed Wilder's knockout with a KO of his own against Jose Varela. It was in Jacobs' best interest to finish things early as he was penciled in to replace James Kirkland on the undercard of Pacquiao-Hatton next weekend if he looked impressive. He did just that, placing a laser right hand to the tip of Varela's jaw in the 2nd round, separating him from his senses.

Now 15-0 with 14 knockouts, Jacobs is a prospect to watch.

Speaking of padded records, Koji Sato is 14-0 with 13 knockouts, but I don't give him much of a chance against Felix Sturm today in Germany. He's slow and doesn't have much in the way of defense. While it's possible he can catch Sturm with something big, I wouldn't bet money on it. Sturm has improved quite a bit since his 2007 draw with Randy Griffin.

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