ESPN's Friday Night Fights was hosted by Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights made its return to Atlantic City on Friday evening, landing at Resorts Casino. Five bouts highlighted the card, and following is a recap of the undercard action.
Ismael Garcia (4-0, 1 KO) vs. Kenneth Moody (2-4-2, 1 KO)
In what was his first performance in over and a year and a half, Garcia made it a short comeback showing. After landing the first solid shot of the bout with a crisp right hand in the opening minute, he followed up with some sharp jabs that left Moody backpedaling and pawing at his eye. As soon as Garcia caught wind of the damage, he immediately dismounted an onslaught of punches. He rocked Moody with a steady flurry that further hurt the Virginia Beach native, and referee Sparkle Lee finally jumped in and stopped the fight at the 1:09 mark of the opening round.
Josh Mercado (6-1, 2 KOs) vs. Kerry Sloane (2-5-1)
These two junior welterweights put an entertaining four-round scrap, with constant engagement being the norm throughout. The hometown crowd was strong in support of Cape May, New Jersey, native Mercado, who looked to feed off the energy they created. In the opening frame, Sloane was tossing wildly with his lead left hand but actually was finding the mark on follow-up rights as a result. Mercado ate a series of hard right hands, but he was quickly shaking them off to let his opponent know he was not hurt. In the second round, both competitors were warmed up and ready to deal. A non-stop exchange started around the midway point, and neither fighter backed off the pedal until the bell sounded. The final two frames were of that same frantic pace, although Mercado possessed the better fitness. However, Sloane continued to dig deep and was more than happy to keep the battle at the same tempo. As he eventually slowed down, though, Mercado became more comfortable in the pocket and was able to avoid his advances at a much better ratio. In the last minute of the final round, he landed a flurry that put his opposition on the ropes. As he saw Sloane hanging on the cusp of defeat, Mercado began to look at referee Sparkle Lee as if he was asking her why she had yet to stop the bout, but the final bell would sound before he was able to finish off the job. When the ringside judges were called upon, Mercado emerged victorious with a 39-37 tally along with a pair of 39-36s.