Estrella TV results: Manuel Avila passes the Rene Alvarado test
Meeting his biggest test to date, Manuel “Tino” Avila passed with flying colors in a unanimous decision victory over Rene Alvarado. The featherweight bout was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card held at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California on Friday night.
In a tactical chess match to start, Avila had the early advantage by establishing the more accurate jab in an otherwise slow start to the fight. In the second round, however, the offense of Tino’s offense began to shed some light. He countered Alvarado well, ducking his left and right hands, and landing perfect check hooks with both hands upon returning from his crouch. While those shots didn’t visibly hurt Alvarado, they were more of an annoyance as he couldn’t see them coming and, even though he couldn’t land anything, Alvarado kept his composure.
Always a tough opponent for young prospects, Alvarado, Managua, Nicaragua, was finally able to land some shots in the fourth. One of them caused a small cut round Avila’s right eyelid. Yet Alvarado couldn’t add onto the damage, as that was the only round, in which it seemed to bleed. In the middle rounds, Avila began to take the initiative rather than countering. He double jabbed his way inside and followed up with overhand rights that stopped Alvarado in his tracks.
In the seventh, Avila threw another wrench in Alvarado’s game as he began to use his feet to elude his charging, desperate opponent. Still ducking Alvarado’s right hands, Avila forced the Nicaraguan to chase him around the ring, seemingly adding to his frustration. Alvarado, 23-7 (16), never gave up on his propulsive attack throughout the rest of the fight but Avila had him figured out from the jump.
“I felt that the fight went in different stages in which he would win or I would win,” said Avila, 20-0 (8), after the win. “I know I need to work on my outside game and stick to the game plan. I am excited to get back into the ring and hopefully 2016 will bring more action inside the ring for me.”
Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez stopped Luis Arceo in the sixth round and ended a thrilling fight in gripping fashion. The junior welterweight contest was scheduled for eight rounds.
At the end of round one, Gonzalez’s bloody nose got him off to a bad start but all it did was set a precedent on what he’d do to Arceo in return. Gonzalez, Mexico City, Mexico, got it together in the second round, and did so by disguising his left hand when switching to a southpaw stance.
Arceo, 28-15-4 (19), couldn’t recreate the magic his left jab devised in the opening round and he slowly got beat up as the fight kept along. It was Gonzalez’s left hand that delivered all the punishment and it came in variations. A straight one would often pierce through the guard of Arceo, the hook around it, and those to the body slowly let the air out of him for good measure. While the fight eventually turned into a slugfest in the middle rounds, Arceo took most of the punishment.
In the fifth, the retribution started to show. In that round, Arceo was cut above his left eye and his nose looked broken. The fight proceeded to turn into a bloody mess as Gonzalez’s nose still leaked, adding to the fight’s grueling motive. The shot that sealed Arceo’s fate was a left hook to the chin. He had already eaten a couple of them beforehand and Gonzalez began to tee off willfully. Once it landed, Arceo defied gravity as his belly flop to the ground came in super slow motion. He beat referee Jack Reiss’ 10-count, however, Arceo’s corner wasn’t comfortable how he fell, face flat on the floor, and they elected to stop it.
“I knew I was ahead of (Arceo) the entire fight; however, there were moments in which I felt like he had me,” Gonzalez, 26-3 (22), admitted after the win. “It’s my first fight of the year and I feel some ring rust, so my timing was off at times. Fortunately, I was able to break free in those moments and was able to land the punches that gave me the victory. I am looking forward to this year and hopefully a world title will be in my midst soon.”
In the opening fight of the Estrella TV telecast, “Marvelous” Marquis Taylor upset Oscar Torres after earning a split-decision victory. The welterweight contest was scheduled for six rounds.
In enemy territory, Taylor, Houston, Texas, exuded confidence in the opening round and a shuffle of his feet, midway through it, got jeers from the crowd. Yet, Taylor’s confidence came from his elusive style that kept Torres from landing anything flush. More often than not, Torres overcompensated on his overhand rights and they left him off-balanced for much of the start of the round. When he wasn’t defensive-minded, Taylor was selective with his shots but they landed at a much more accurate rate than his opponent.
The offensive attack from Taylor was also unexpected. Flat-footed for the fight’s entirety, Taylor wasn’t physically active in the ring but when he did throw punches, they came in a flash. His right hands to the body always landed first when compared to Torres’ lunging hooks. Toward the end of the third, Torres had some of his best success but it didn’t come without taking any punishment himself, as he and Taylor traded power shots in the fight’s most action-packed moment. It was apparent from then on that, if Torres could force this one into a slugfest, it would be to his benefit. However, Taylor, 4-1, didn’t let that happen. With good lateral movement and timely holding, Taylor kept Torres hitting his arms and swinging at air for much of the second half of the fight. Although the it wasn’t fan-friendly, it was a competitive bout.
There was a long wait for the tally of the judges’ scorecards and, for that alone, there was tension in the air as everyone waited. Once the final score of the split decision was read in his favor, Taylor belly flopped onto the ring, emotional while in the thrill of victory while Torres, 8-1 (4), stood there distraught as he lost for the first time in his young career.
“Honestly, this is one of my biggest wins,” said Taylor post-fight. “I am so thankful and only God could’ve made this happen. After my loss in Vegas, I was willing to take any fight they offered me, knowing that even meant going into enemy territory. Torres was a tough fighter and we fought tooth-and-nail. I hope that, with this win, I will have more opportunities to come to LA and show the West Coast what I have to offer and give them a performance to remember – even my little dances in the ring.”
Featherweight prospect Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio continues to impress with another knockout victory and his victim, this time around, Javier Rodriguez, couldn’t even last a round. The fight was scheduled to go six rounds.
The heels of Valerio, Los Angeles, California, never touched the canvas, as he bounced around the ring on his toes, popping out his long jab, and waiting for the right moment to unleash his power shots. Once he started to let his hooks go, it was only a matter of time. A left hook to the body startled Rodriguez, 3-2 (2), and he almost lost his mouthpiece in that instant. A few seconds later, with Rodriguez in a corner, Valerio landed a perfect left hook to the head and Rodriguez’s body slowly crumbled to the floor with his back scraping the ropes on the way down. His mouthpiece also inevitably found its way out and Rodriguez took the count with referee Jack Reiss sounding it off on a bended knee.
“I am glad I was able to get in the ring and do what I came here to do: Secure another victory,” Valerio 6-0 (4), said afterward. “I am a hungry fighter who has high energy that translates well in the ring. My goal is to become world champion and I am on my way.”
In perhaps his toughest fight to date, Pablo “The Shark” Rubio Jr. squeaked by Juan Carlos Benavides with a split decision victory in a four-round junior featherweight scrap. The 40-36 and 39-37 scores for Rubio overruled the lone 39-37 score for Benavides.
Rubio, a 19-year-old Los Angeles product, had his nose bloodied in the opening round from an uppercut and it was obvious the opponent put in front of him came to win. Benavides, 5-8-1 (2), kept his head down and his hands busy and the pressing action caught Rubio off-guard and on his back foot early on. In the third round, there was a moment that wasn’t Rubio’s greatest but it revealed his character. A right hook from Benavides sent Rubio’s mouthpiece flying but Rubio disregarded it and kept fighting. In fact, he fought much better after that moment as it seemingly woke him up. Rubio began to use his long reach more effectively, via the right jab, and his combinations became more compact when compared to the wild fight he was in over the first two rounds. With his nose continually bleeding into the final round, Rubio looked his best. However, a draw would not have been a surprise for this fight’s final result.
“Benavides was a tough guy but I always train hard for these kind of fights,” said Rubio, 5-0 (3), after the close win. “I need to step in and make sure I use my distance and be braver to land them.” Accompanied by NBA star, and Los Angeles Laker, Metta World Peace (once know as Ron Artest) in his ring walk, Rubio continued, “I am excited to be partners with Metta World Peace and we are looking forward to growing together in the business of boxing.”
With a perfect right uppercut, Joshua Franco stopped Jorge Perez midway through the second of a scheduled six-round bantamweight contest.
Franco, San Antonio, Texas, was sharp out of the gate and his left and right hands, that proceeded from the jab, found their mark consistently in the opening round. An accumulation of a left/right combination snapped Perez’s head back as he was against the ropes and a final left hand sent him to the floor for the first knockdown. Perez, 2-2 (1), barely lasted the opening round and Franco came back seemingly knowing he had his opponent beaten mentally. The right uppercut not only folded Perez’s body to the floor but it also bloodied his nose. Referee Lou Moret didn’t even bother with a count and waved the fight off, considering both factors.
“I think I’ve been able to retain my undefeated status because I’ve been sparring with amazing world champions,” said Perez, 5-0 (3), after the fight. “I feel that the opportunity to receive a lot of their attention and skill has opened me up to be an even better fighter and I’m looking forward to be built up even more.”
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, the professional debut of Tenochtitlan Nava came in a winning effort after he received a unanimous decision (40-36 twice, 39-37) over Antonio Martinez in a four-round junior lightweight bout.
As they were still filing in, a majority of the fans watching ringside were all cheering for the local product out of the Westside Boxing Club in Los Angeles and, judging by how he fought, Nava didn’t want to disappoint. Nava, 1-0, came forward with a bevy of punches that simply overwhelmed his opponent. Martinez, 3-7 (3), couldn’t thwart the attack but did get in some shots to the body while on the inside against the raw opponent. One in particular silenced the crowd in the third round but, shortly after, Martinez’s nose was bloodied by a Nava flurry of left hooks and overhand rights. Nava ended his first fight with perhaps his best round in the fourth, thanks to his infighting, and it sealed a convincing win.