When last we saw Rances Barthelemy on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights, he was keeping his perfect record via a judges' decision with which few agreed. This time out, he landed a nearly perfect shot with a right uppercut to the solar plexus of Fahsai Sakkreerin in the 2nd round; no judges necessary after that.
Barthelemy has been in the lower tier of Cuban imports making their way to America in the last few years, but this will go some ways toward improving his stock. Some ways: Sakkreerin had beaten no one of consequence, with his lone bout against recognizable opposition a split decision loss to Martin Honorio two years ago. And Sakkreerin was getting inside on Barthelemy and landing pretty well in the 1st. Quick body shot knockouts can't help but be impressive, though.
The win lines Barthelemy up for a junior lightweight title shot against Argenis Mendez, who has established himself as a particularly dangerous 130-pounder of late. Hard to favor Barthelemy in that one, although his trainer, John David Jackson, could make a difference because he's been working with the Cuban since shortly before the disputed win over Arash Usmanee. Jackson took credit for Barthelemy's body punching in this one, and has been working with some successful fighters of late, like light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev and junior welterweight Khabib Allakhverdiev.
Jackson couldn't make a difference for middleweight Donovan George, alas. I only saw highlights, but Minnesota journeyman/gatekeeper Caleb Truax put him on the ground and out for a good long while with a big right hand, and by all accounts dominated an empty-looking George. Maybe George isn't a middleweight like he thinks -- he's been at 168 -- or maybe all the years of hard punishment thanks to terrible defense have begun to add up. Whatever the case, it's always good to see the stepping stone steal one.