There are fights to be reported, but first things first...
Welcome back to the air, Nick Charles. The ShoBox play by play man came back to the show after being diagnosed with cancer six months ago. He looked damned good considering he's been going toe to toe with a most insidious foe.
"Hi everybody, I'm Nick Charles and I have never been more thrilled to be part of the show," he said in an opening statement. "So it's back doing something I love, ringside with my broadcast partner and my best friend in the world, Steve Farhood."
The throat-lump-inducing moments out of the way, Charles, got right down to the ostensible business at hand, two fights featuring prospects.
At the Tingley Coliseum from Albuquerque, New Mexico, bantamweight Chris Avalos headlined, against lefty Jose Nieves. Avalos was billed as a two fisted thumper with a thirst for stoppages, and the scouting report held to form. He stopped the Puerto Rican Nieves in the fourth round, at 2:20, and quite likely made it a bit tougher for him to book fights moving forward: the kid can hurl.
A right sent Nieves down in round two. He went down again right after, but it was deemed a push. Avalos doesn't just wing everything; like a vet he changes speeds, pretty neat trick for a 20-year-old. Nieves mostly looked to survive and not eat something nasty. In the fourth, Avalos scored a knockdown off some snarly right uppercuts. A minute remained, would he make it? A right high on the head put him to the floor again, and Nieves made it up by 10, probably, but his body language told the ref that no more of this was needed. No mas for Nieves.
Avalos (118 pounds; from California) went to 15-0, while Nieves (118) dropped to 17-2-3.
In the TV opener, New Mexico's Archie Ray Marquez (9-0) met Kansas' Derrick Campos (20-7) in a junior lightweight scrap. The bout went the distance, and the nod went to Marquez, 79-72, 80-71, 77-74, who looked solid, but didn't vault to the top of anyone's must see prospects list.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?