Wednesday Night Fights, broadcast from The Hilton Hotel in Ontario, California, was a show filled with one oddity after another. The live telecast began by not beginning; it was held up an hour because no ringside physician had been called to supervise the bouts. Small oversight, huh?
While a nation of boxing fans waited for a doctor to arrive, ESPN2 treated viewers to a rebroadcast of fight-of-the-year candidate Kermit Cintron vs. David Estrada. (Get a hold of a copy if you haven’t seen it.) I’d already seen the fight twice but didn’t mind watching again.
After the bout, WNF went straight to the live main event. I can’t ever recall seeing a main event on ESPN2 in which I’d never heard of the combatants—that doesn’t make me Mickey Duff.
Brazilian welterweight Antonio Mesquita came in with a record of 32-0 (26). That’s a pretty gaudy record for a complete unknown. If you haven’t heard of him either, it’s because he’s fought even bigger unknowns for the past 10 years. In fact, on five separate occasions he beat up a poor fellow named Jose Claudio Da Silva. He’s currently 5-44 (1). When Mesquita was done with him, he took on another guy three times with a curious last name, Luis Fernando Caetano de Silva. He goes 15-13-1 (5). They last hooked up in February.
But, as Mesquita’s KO percentage suggests, he had to have a decent punch.
The opponent, Santos Pakau—27-2-1 (10) going in—took the fight on eight days notice. I knew just as little about him, too. The helpful Joe Tessitore furnished us with tidbits. Pakau was a Kiwi (Auckland) now living in Spokane, Washington, and in his last fight in May Randall Bailey flattened him in the first.
Mesquita demonstrated his strength and power in the first. But he also revealed himself to be technically unrefined. Every punch was wide and telegraphed. Pakau boxed well but had no pop. As recently as June 2003, he weighed 129.75—and it seems he couldn’t punch even at that weight.
Pakau fought intelligently in the second, jabbing and using the entire ring. As long as Mesquita chose to throw one loaded-up punch at a time, the Kiwi could win on points.
Check that. A few seconds into the third, Mesquita connected with a straight right to Pakau’s jaw. The shot was so hard it would look no more harmful had he delivered it with a shovel. Pakau somehow rose at four. Mesquita attacked wildly and ineffectively for the next minute.
When the fighters got tangled up in a corner and Mesquita was roughhousing, the ref yelled “Stop.” The Brazilian kept punching, though, and knocked Pakau to the canvas with a short chopping right. He rose quickly but looked battered. The ref warned Mesquita to obey him. The brawler ignored him and taunted his opponent by pointing to his own chin, à la Ricardo Mayorga. With ten seconds left in the round, Mesquita caught him again. A left uppercut set up a couple wicked rights. Pakau may have lacked the firepower to get his man’s respect, but his moniker, “The Maori Warrior,” still applies. He went back to his corner and collected himself. This could’ve been a 10-7 round, in despite there being just one knockdown.
During the fourth, Teddy Atlas likened Mesquita to Victor Galindez and even George Foreman: single-minded bangers who look to “club you with a big shot.” Still, Pakau managed to survive the round.
Having no jab and basically disregarding the body, Mesquita did do one thing well (other than punch like a mule kick). He effortlessly switched back and forth from orthodox to southpaw. In the fifth he sized up Pakau as a lefty, then went back to orthodox. Midway though the round he launched a hideous overhand right to the forehead. Pakau didn’t fall but backed up wearing a vacant expression. Mesquita threw the same punch again, landing just as clean in the same spot. This time Pakau went down.
A minute into the sixth, a Mesquita three-punch combination (one of the rare times he put them together), closed the show in brutal fashion. Referee Jack Reiss rushed between the two and halted the bout without bothering to count.
But as Reiss rushed in, he caught the inside of Mesquita’s left leg, giving him a charley horse. The victor writhed on his back in agony. Meantime, Pakau was back on his feet.
How many times will you see that? The fighter laid out on the canvas was the winner by KO.
Heavweight Malcolm Tann got a TKO in 3 over Derek Berry; heavyweight Willie Chapman was awarded a six-round SD over David Johnson; Straweight Sarah Goodson beat Sandra Ortiz (UD 8).