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Manuel “Tino” Avila Shuts Down Rene Alvarado in L.A.



Manuel Avila swins oin Rene Alvarado e315a

By David A. Avila

LOS ANGELES-Facing an experienced contender Manuel “Tino” Avila needed a few rounds to figure out Nicaragua’s Rene Alvarado before cruising to a unanimous decision against the dangerous fighter on Friday.

The featherweight from Fairfield, California showed why many consider Avila (20-0, 8 Kos) ready for contender status before a loud crowd at Belasco Theater. Alvarado (23-7, 16 Kos) seemed to lose patience each mounting round.

Avila was venturing into veteran territory in facing Alvarado. The hard-hitting hard-bitten Nicaraguan had lost twice to Golden Boy Promotion fighters and was looking to turn things around against the tall youngster from Northern California.

It was not to be.

During the first four rounds Alvarado was able to land more than a few power shots as Avila fired double and triple jabs. But by the fifth round, Avila seemed to figure out the Nicaraguan’s style and put on a defensive display interspersed with pot shots that kept things in his favor.

“I felt that the fight went in different stages in which he would win or I would win,” said Avila after his win. “I know I need to work on my inside game, and stick to the game plan. I’m excited to get back in the gym and hopefully 2016 will bring more action inside the ring for me.”

There were no knockdowns but plenty of misses as Avila scooted one side or the other while jabbing and countering with stifling short rights. Alvarado seemed visibly frustrated.

“I felt that this decision was fair,” said Rene Alvarado. “We are obviously in his house, but I felt that throughout the fight it was a very close match.”

The scores were 100-90 and 97-93 twice for Avila.

Other bouts

In a strange fight between Mexican super lightweights Gilberto Gonzalez finally figured out Luis “Vampiro” Arceo and hammered him with three consecutive left crosses that sent him sprawling to the floor for a knockout at 1:41 of the sixth round. The weird fact was neither boxer fired body punches for the entire fight. It was like there was an agreement to not throw body shots, especially weird for Mexican fighters.

“It’s my first fight of the year and I feel some ring rust,” Gonzalez said.

Long tall Marquis “Marvelous” Taylor (4-1) of Houston came to L.A. and handed Oscar Torres (8-1, 4 Kos) his first loss as a pro. The welterweight bout had lots of holding but in between Taylor caught Torres more times than he was caught and won a close split decision win. Taylor was ecstatic when he heard the decision and dropped to the floor face first. It was a fair decision.

“Honestly, this was one of my biggest wins. I am so thankful and only God could have made this happen,” said Taylor. “Torres was a tough fighter and we fought to the nail. I hope that with this win I will have more opportunities to come to L.A. and show the West Coast what I have to offer.”

Torres was gracious in defeat and congratulated Taylor for his win.

Edgar Valerio (6-0, 4 Kos) stalked Jorge Rodriguez (3-2) of Monterrey, Mexico casually with his long left arm used as a sensor and delivered punishing lefts and rights to the body. After cornering Rodriguez a short left hook by Valerio snapped the shorter fighter’s jaw and down he went for the count of 10 by referee Jack Reiss at 1:30 of the first round. Valerio looks monstrous in the featherweight division. Compton’s Valerio also resembles the late lightweight world champion Mando Ramos.

“I’m a hungry fighter who has high energy that translates well into the ring,” Valerio said. “My goal is to become a world champion.”

Pablo Rubio (5-0, 3 Kos) survived a rough encounter with Juan Carlos Benavides (5-8-1)  in a super bantamweight bout that saw the judges score it a split decision win for the Whittier prizefighter. Benavides bloodied Rubio’s nose in the first round, then bloodied his eye in the second. Not until the third round did Rubio figure out what to do and attacked the body. It easily could have been scored a draw.

“Benavides was a tough guy but I always train hard for these kind of fights,” Rubio said adding that he is partners with NBA star Metta World Peace. “I need to step in and make sure to use my distance and be braver to land them.”

San Antonio’s Joshua Franco (5-0, 3 Kos) showed off his uppercuts in devastating fashion as he blew by Riverside’s Jorge Perez (2-2) in two rounds. In the opening frame a right uppercut wobbled Perez, and then Franco connected with a left hook to floor him in the first round. Perez rallied but in the second round Franco delivered another sneaky right uppercut that sent Perez to the floor again. Referee Lou Moret did not bother to count and ended the fight at 1:24 of the second round.

“I’ve been able to retain my undefeated status because I’ve been sparring with amazing world champions,” said Franco who trains in Riverside with Robert Garcia.

Tenochitlan Nava (1-0) out-worked Durango, Mexico’s Antonio Martinez (3-7) but slowed down in the last two rounds to make it close. One judge saw it 39-37 and two others 40-36 for Nava in a super featherweight bout.



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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.



ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar



Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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