Saturday night the CBS Sports Network aired an edition of “KO Night” boxing, broadcast from the WinnaVegas Casino & Resort in Sloan, Iowa. The main event, was a USBA featherweight title contest between Daniel Franco and Jose Haro. On paper Franco had all the physical advantages, he was five years younger, possessed a four inch height and reach advantage, eleven of his sixteen wins coming by stoppage compared to seven out of thirteen for Haro. When the bell rang, all those advantages vanished almost instantly as often happens in boxing.
It would be the constant right hand of Haro, that despite his best efforts Franco had no answers for. In the sixth a flush shot shook the legs of Franco and he never fully recovered. He spent the seventh trying to hold Haro off and go down from a right to his temple in round eight. He would beat the count and fall face first on the canvas after a last assault from Haro, ending the affair officially at the rounds 2:43 second mark. With his victory, Jose Haro improved to 14-1-1 (8) and is now the new USBA featherweight champion, Daniel Franco after his second career loss drops to 16-2-3 (11).
As official results were announced, Franco who appeared stable suddenly laid down and was taken away by medical staff. Since he has underwent emergency surgery to stop multiple bleeds on his brain, as of this moment he is in an induced coma. In March Franco suffered his first loss, a third round KO at the hands of Christopher Martin. While Franco did fight in May, scoring a first round stoppage over the 0-2 Francisco Agustin Suarez, it was nothing more than a confidence building fight, no improvements were made nor adjustments in his style. When I break down both Haro and Martin, I question the promoters decision to sign this fight.
The two fighters Haro and Martin, are similar in every aspect from age to physical size and fighting styles. They are both 30yrs old, stand much shorter than Franco, Haro 5’5″ and Martin 5’7″, each possessed a shorter reach, Martin 68″ and Haro 66″. The only thing that separates them, is punching power and their ability to absorb punishment. In his career Christopher Martin has been stopped twice and gone down multiple times including in his bout against Franco. As a professional Haro has never been down, his lone loss came by decision at the hands of Toka Kahn Clary who hits harder than Franco, giving no indication he would be dispatched like an 0-2 Francisco Agustin Suarez.
With a 24% KO ratio almost half that of Haro, Martin was able to halt Franco in three rounds. In his seven career stoppage wins prior to Saturday, Haro scored all seven in four rounds or less. Unless I missed something, there were no variables, the loss Franco suffered against Christopher Martin was not an off night, it was a style all wrong for him and one was not prepared to deal with again so soon. Even more bothersome, is Franco has excelled where Martin has flaws. Why would a matchmaker or promoter, with any common sense place their fighter in against a opponent, almost mirrored to one he just failed at having more than 9 seconds of success against less than sixty days ago? How could anyone, other than the fighter have realistically believed the outcome would have been different?
This is a hurt sport, every step between the ropes is a risk. When a fighter has reached the upper tier, there are no challenges to decline under any circumstances. The time before is when you properly groom a fighter, use poor performances more importantly losses to adjust mistakes and ready them for long prosperous career. That doesn’t mean side stepping tough challenges, placing them in knowing they aren’t ready is recklessness,.Over the last two years, no less than six, prospects have suffered serious injury and even death inside the ring, for these same reasons. It’s unacceptable and as these incidents increase, we will see an increase of state commissions implement insurance requirements similar to that of NYSAC, mandating $1,000,000 per fighter per event. When it does happen, promoters will complain about operating cost and claim they are unable to operate, it will always be about the promoter never the fighter, the people who place trust in their judgment.and end up a forgotten article after being foolishly matched.
While I hope Daniel Franco recovers, he will never fight again and chances are he will never fully be the person he was prior to this loss. That sounds harsh but it is honest truth and I blame the promoters who should have done their job properly.