FNF: Hilmer Kenty versus Ernesto Espana

It was a tough choice this week for our Friday Night Fights selection. We knew it had to be a fight that involved Emanuel Steward in some manner, as he’s was intrinsically linked with the sport for the better part of three decades. But how do you pick a fight from a career like his, with all the greats he trained? It turned out to be a bit easy. Hilmer Kenty, far removed from the pantheon of superstars which Emanuel Steward is normally associated with was Steward’s first World Champion. Steward had already been a trainer of some renown through Kronk Gym’s dominant displays on the amateur stage but this would be the start of him gaining national attention as a trainer. Ernesto Espana was considered the heavy puncher here, with a world class chin. Howard Cossell makes the point at the start of the fight that Kenty will have to move around to stay out of Espana’s range. But Manny knew best and instead advised Kenty to go at Espana. As you could probably guess, Steward was correct. 5 months later Tommy Hearns would become Steward’s second world champion. And the rest, as they say, is history.


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