The Friday Night “Mismatch”

By Ted Sares on May 11, 2013
The Friday Night “Mismatch”
Atlas earlier had warned about this and once again, Teddy was right on the money.

Arguably, there is nothing more thrilling than an upset. For some, it means shocking disappointment; for others, it is sudden and pleasant surprise. Kirkland Laing shocked Roberto Duran but himself was later shocked by Buck “Tombstone” Smith. Lloyd Honeyghan did it to Donald Curry. Buster Douglas’ KO of Mike Tyson perhaps was the greatest upset in boxing history. George Foreman‘s KO of Michael Moorer in 1994 was one for the ages, but then Moorer turned the tables on Vassiliy Jirov ten years later. Limited and chinny Louis Monaco stopped Kevin McBride in 1997, but McBride himself stopped Tyson eight years later. Here is a lesser known fight but one that captures the essence of what an upset involves.

Aaron “Awesome” Williams vs. Jose Luis “La Pantera” Herrera

This one was fought at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island on May 23, 2008, and was supposed to showcase the talents of Clevelander Aaron “Awesome” Williams who was coming off a sensational knockout of Andre Purlette (40-2 coming in). Many had called Williams one of the top prospects in boxing, though the quality of his opposition had not been anything special.

Before the fight, ESPN2 analyst Teddy Atlas commented on the distinct possibility of Williams ending matters early, and the fact that this matchup might even be a mismatch, based on Herrera having lost three of his last four by TKO. However, those losses had come against the then undefeated Tavoris Cloud, the capable Lafarrell Bunting, and the legendary Jorge Fernando Castro (129-11-3). Teddy expressed moderate surprise that the R.I. Commission had allowed it to take place. He pointed out that Jose Luis had gained considerable weight for this fight thus making Williams the naturally bigger man. The Columbian also had taken the fight on short notice. All the cards seemed stacked against him.

What Atlas forgot to add (or maybe didn’t know) was that Colombian Jose Luis Herrera had stopped the great Castro back in 2006 in a monster upset. He had also iced George Blades in his last duke. Like many Colombian fighters, “Pantera” is a KO-or-be-KO’d type with one-punch knockout power. Reflecting this, his record was 15-4 with all his wins and losses coming by way of knockout.  “Awesome” Aaron was 17-0-1. Between them, they participated in 17 first round blowouts. This was definitely one where you needed to stay in your seat and keep your eye on the screen.

After a fast start in round one, it looked as if Teddy Atlas would be spot on as Williams assaulted Herrera with a barrage of shots that backed him into a corner and dropped him like a sack. Inexpliciablyy, however, the overly officious doctor at ringside then took what seemed like an inordinate amount of time to examine the Columbian thus giving him enough time to recover.

Williams fought with explosive spurts going into the fifth and completely controlled the action. Then, as he made one of his patented defensive moves to his right, he was caught with a smashing right and then still another that wobbled him and slammed him into the ropes. Atlas earlier had warned about this and once again, Teddy was on the money. Williams was given an eight-count. He was badly hurt and mugged to a corner where he went to the canvas without being punched seemingly to get himself together, but the delayed and damaging impact of La Pantera’s blows were deceptive. When “Awesome” got up, he was ready to do the “Chicken Dance.” At this point, 6’4” Referee Charlie Dwyer directed him to the doctor who examined him very carefully. When Williams called the much shorter doctor “Ref,” the fight was rightly halted. Herrera was poised to do significant damage to the defenseless and now future non-prospect.

To Teddy Atlas’ credit, he said at the end of the telecast that “apparently the Rhode Island Commission knew what it was doing when it matched these two boxers.

As for road warrior Pantera, he then lost his next seven bouts in seven different locations validating the degree this upset. He last fought in March 2011. Williams also last fought in March 2011 and is now 21-3-1.

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Aaron Williams vs Jose Luis Herrera

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  1. Ted 05:08am, 05/12/2013

    This ref was one of the best.

  2. Tex Hassler 08:29pm, 05/11/2013

    It is great that the referee stopped the fight before even more serious damage was done. We still have some great referees and that is a much harder job than it looks, if it is done properly.

  3. Ted 11:14am, 05/11/2013

    I should note that the Referee Charlie Dwyer in one of my closest friends. He fought Kenny Norton 4 times in the amateurs

    He has a great boxing mind.

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