<
>

FNF putting the replay button to good use

1/16/2008 - Boxing

I'm going to come clean and admit something. It may reveal me as easy to please or easy to mock.

Here goes: You know that little button on your DVR or Tivo remote control that brings the video back about eight seconds? Well it's my favorite thing in my house that doesn't carry the last name "Tessitore." Although after this weekend, if I could adopt it, I probably would.

If you aren't familiar with my best little buddy, let me explain.

So you're watching the replays of Edison Miranda's knockout of David Banks (if you haven't seen the knockout at this point, we need to end our relationship). Anyway, you can't get enough of it. You love the impact, the sound and the fact that Banks' body was suspended and balanced over the ropes like a wet sock on a clothesline. You just love that singular moment of the punch landing and the KO victim sprawled out. You want to see it again and again.

You "ooooh" and "aaaah" each time in disbelief. Eight second button! You press it again, and again and again. Each time it instantly brings you back to the moment before the punch and plays out until you press it again and again and again.

Is there rehab for this? I'm addicted.

Miranda is very good for the sales of Tivo remotes as well as boxing. He is that breed of fighter who is the very reason fans are in seats. The knockout puncher has always been the fight game's heart and soul. It's what separates boxing from every other sport. To know in an instant one man's fist can end the other man's night is thrilling.

It's much better than a last-second field goal or foul shot, a walk-off homer, or even an MMA submission hold. It doesn't require you to have any understanding of game strategy. It just requires you to have a pulse.

This week on "Friday Night Fights" we may have another one of those magical moments. Randall Bailey, the featured fighter in our main event, is more than capable of delivering it.

This week's card has been juggled and changed many times over due to injuries, contract issues and more slamming-the-phone-down moments than you can imagine. Our ESPN programmer, Doug Loughery, should get a lifetime supply of Head On (apply directly to the forehead) after dealing with all the chaos. The end result is Bailey has ended up in the main event against Anthony Mora. Bailey has a knack for applying a lot of pain to most opponents' foreheads.

The 33-year-old Bailey is a former titleholder who always has been capable of doing one thing: knocking an opponent out. He has 32 KOs in 35 career wins.

Last year he lost a very controversial decision against Herman Ngoudjo. That's the same Ngoudjo who many feel deserved a close win over Jose Luis Castillo and more recently deserved a title by topping Paulie Malignaggi. Both decisions went against him.

"I knew Ngoudjo wasn't going to give me a rematch," Bailey said. "I felt I won the fight, and a lot of people thought I won that fight easy."

Bailey won the first 21 fights of his career by knockout. Just like Miranda did. Power never goes away.

Mora (15-1, 10 KOs) discovered the results of power in his last fight. On the morning of March 3, 2006, the Denver-based fighter was still unbeaten. By the end of the night, he was TKOd by Rustam Nugaev. He hasn't fought since.

"I'm jumping right back in the ocean with a bigger shark. I'm going to give Randall Bailey a run for his money now," Mora said.

Maybe Mora will stun us all and bounce back from the layoff and the TKO. Or maybe his head will be bouncing off the canvas and my index finger will be bouncing off that Tivo button once again. Tune in Friday night to find out.

Joe Tessitore is the blow-by-blow announcer for ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."