By David Robinett at ringside
In the waning days of the 20th Century, when Bill Clinton was the President of the United States for a few more months and flip phones were all the rage, a 25-year old heavyweight named Dominick Guinn made his professional debut in Las Vegas on a card featuring Andrew Golota. Two decades later, after a career spanning 50 fights, including facing the likes of Michael Grant, Audley Harrison, and James Toney, 44-year old heavyweight Dominick Guinn (37-12-1, 26 KOs) faced off against undefeated New Zealander Junior Fa (17-0, 10 KOs) in a walkout bout late Friday evening in a half-empty ballroom in the California desert.
Those looking for an angle in this matchup could note that, despite 12 losses, Guinn had never previously been stopped and ask whether Fa could become the first to do it. Also of interest was whether the 29-year old Fa could be the next significant heavyweight prospect from New Zealand, like David Tua or Joseph Parker. After ten occasionally interesting rounds, the answer to both of these questions was no.
The fight itself could be divided into three parts. In rounds one through three, neither man fought with urgency, both mostly jabbing, though Guinn occasionally jumped forward with a slow-developing hook that Fa either slipped or harmlessly absorbed.
In round four though, the remaining spectators half-watching the fight suddenly jumped at the sight of Fa crashing down onto the canvas after a rangy left hand by Guinn. It took a few seconds to register but suddenly everybody realized that, after Fa pulled himself off the canvas, he was hurt and in danger of being knocked out, and Guinn suddenly went back in time to at least the 34-year old version of himself as he tried to land one more big punch to secure his biggest win in at least ten years. Guinn managed to land a few wild blows, but nothing cleanly on the chin, and Fa was able to stumble and hold his way out of the round.
The third part of the fight covered the remaining six rounds, where., having punched himself out looking for the knockout, Guinn’s offense was a non-factor, while Fa realized he needed to kick into a higher gear to avoid his first loss. Fa dominated the remaining rounds, almost exclusively relying on a left jab, right hand combination that was enough to win rounds but not nearly enough to hurt the granite-chinned Guinn. It did not seem as though Fa had anything else in his arsenal, which probably does not bode well for his eventual all-New Zealand showdown with Joseph Parker a couple of years from now. The final scores reflected the one-sided nature of the fight despite the surprising knockdown, with Fa winning 97-92, 98-91, and 98-91.
In the first of two walkout bouts at Pechanga Resort Casino, super lightweight Ruben Rodriguez (7-0, 2 KOs) from nearby Indio, California, withstood a spirited challenge from unheralded Vicente Morales (2-3-2, 1 KO) to earn a unanimous six-round shutout decision, 60-54 on all three cards.