Friday Night Fights- Grand Casino Hinckley
Less than a week after Minnesota Middleweight champion Caleb Truax and state boxing legend Matt Vanda carried the show, fight fans were treated to another card of professional boxing that featured a little bit of everything.
"Sir" Ceresso Fort (15-0-1) scored a knockout victory over Andy "Kaos" Kolle (25-4-0)
The main event of the card was dominated by the younger and more active Fort. Kolle a southpaw never seemed to get into rythym following a nine month layoff after breaking his left hand in April against Michael Walker. Fort dropped Kolle in the fourth round but the veteran Kolle was able to hold off Fort to end the round. He wasn't so lucky in the fifth round as Kolle found himself on the canvas again after being peppered by several Fort punches. Referee Mark Nelson stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:20 of the fifth round.
Thoughts: Kolle looked slow and machine like. He typically fights that way, but after seemingly finding his range in the second round, was never fully able to put anything together. I don't know how many punches Kolle actually landed, but there weren't many there. Layoff or ring rust, it wasn't the same Kolle that I saw fight against Caleb Truax in May of 2011.
Fort was the bigger fighter and dictated the action. He was never once in trouble ans cruised to the TKO victory. The bout was originally for the Minnesota junior middleweight championship but both fighters weighed in one pound over, they both agreed to not fight for the state title.
Aaron "Gorilla" Green (9-0-0) won a Unanimous Decision over Maurenzo Smith (11-5-2)
Aaron Green dominated from the opening bell against the smaller Smith. After a fairly even first round (that all judges had going to Green), he began to work powershots to the body of Smith for the better part of the six rounds. Green would force Smith into a corner but after the combinations to the body, Green would let Smith out of the corner. Neither man was ever hurt in the fight although Green landed the more vicious punches.
All three judges scored the fight 60-54.
Thoughts: It was a good step up fight for Green who dominated from bell to bell. It would have been nice to see him finish Smith off, but it didn't hurt him to get the rounds either. Ray Edwards watched the fight from ringside.
RJ Laase (10-1-0) won a Majority Decision over Justin Jones (5-1-0)
In a fight that ended up being the fight of the night, Laase dominated the first two rounds and had "kid lightning" from Florida back on his heels. Jones, came back with strong third and fourth rounds before Laase roared back in rounds five and six. If anything was learned it was Justin Jones can take a punch. Several times during the fight Laase seemed to have Jones on the edge and the pro-T-Rex crowd could sense it.
Judges scored the fight 78-74; 78-74 and 76-76
Thoughts: It was my first time to watch Laase, and I walked away impressed. I thought he ran out of gas after a solid first two rounds that were surgical. Jones is a tough kid. He took a pounding and didn't look too worse for the wear at the end of the fight.
It was definately the fight of the night. Fight of the year candidate along with the main event from last week.
Ray Edwards (2-0) won a TKO over Corey Briggs (0-4)
Pre fight introductions took longer than the actual fight as Briggs brought absolutely nothing to the ring. Edwards landed three body shots and a glancing blow to the head, Briggs took a knee and Edwards took a 41 second tko. The crowd booed, rightfully so as the decision was announced.
Thoughts: If fans thought Edwards entering the ring was a joke to begin with, nothing that happened Friday night changed anyones thinking. Briggs should not be allowed inside a professional boxing ring. While he took a knee, he seemingly was chewing gum. More on this fight later.
Winston Anderson scored a TKO win over Ryan Gronvold in 58 seconds
Travis Fulton scored a Majority Draw over Van Goodman (38-38; 38-38; 39-37)
I was disappointed by Kolle's performance. I expected more and got less. For the first time, Kolle has a full-time job that has an answering machine. If this is the Kolle moving forward, he might want to think about hanging it up. Kolle is at a tough spot now. There aren't too many local fights that make sense for him right now and he'll be looked at as an opponent similar to Vanda later in his career, but will find life rough on the road.
I was happy for Cerresso. His fans travel well and he kept the pressure on the entire fight. Immediately fans talked of a matchup with Caleb Truax. With all due respect for Fort, I don't know if that fight is good for him at this point in his career. Truax is simply at another level.
The Ray Edwards fight was a complete joke. Briggs wanted nothing to do with him and he never threw a punch. At least TJ Gibson made Edwards sweat a little. Edwards fights again on February 9th, then again in Hinckley on March 15.
I thought the crowd was very good. No attendance figures were given, but the Grand Casino ballroom was rocking during the main event.