MORONGO CASINO, CALIF. – A touted main event fizzled quickly because of an accidental headbutt, but two local flyweights put on a high voltage display at the Morongo Casino on Friday night.
Perris’s Anthony “Baby Assassin” Villareal and Hemet’s Jerry Pavich (1-2-1) gave the 800 plus fans an electrifying example of flyweight speed and endurance in a four-round bout that pit two fighters who knew each other very well from their amateur careers.
“We never fought each other, but I’ve seen him fight a lot,” Villareal (4-1) said.
Both brought several carloads of fans to the Palm Springs area casino. Pavich, who lives in Victorville, had plenty of support from the high desert region that is quickly growing into a boxing area. About 50 fans arrived to cheer him on.
The opponent, Villareal, lives in Perris, a small growing city near March Air Force Base that is also growing into a burgeoning boxing area. The 112-pounder is promoted by Two Feathers and trains out of the War Zone Boxing Club in Riverside.
It was a match that never took place in the amateur ranks but finally took place Friday.
The first round was fought at a brisk pace with each fighter landing and no clear winner until Villareal fired a three-punch combo at the bell.
A big left hook stunned Pavich in the opening of the second round and a few seconds later a right uppercut snapped his head back. Pavich shook it off and quickly regrouped and scored with right hands. But Villareal kept the combos firing.
Pavich opened the third round using a solid jab that found its mark repeatedly. Jabs followed by counterpunches allowed the desert fighter to gain an advantage. It looked like Pavich might turn the fight around.
Villareal opened quickly in the fourth and final round with a sizzling one-two combination. Then he proceeded to attack the body as Pavich looked for the head. More often than not, Villareal landed to the body with lefts and rights. Pavich had his moments too with some head shots, but not enough to offset the quick punches coming from Villareal.
Overall, Villareal used his quickness and jabs to outscore the willing Pavich in a fight that was fought at rapid pace. But Pavich kept each round close with well placed right hands. It just wasn’t enough.
“I think my combinations won the fight,” Villareal said. “I was slipping and countering.”
The judges scored it 40-36 and 39-37 twice for Villareal.
Dimitrique Edwards (9-2-1, 6 KOs) stopped Rodolfo Lewis (2-4) 40 seconds into the second round of a cruiserweight bout scheduled for six rounds. A big right hand by Edwards landed on Lewis’s head and made him turn his back. Referee Ray Corona immediately stopped the fight. “He didn’t want to fight any more,” Corona said.
Zaudiel Zepeda (10-1, 9 KOs) chased Charles Blake (8-6-1) for three rounds and caught him with a couple of big rights to the head in a middleweight fight. Blake wobbled slightly and Zepeda cornered him on the ropes and rained punches on him. Referee David Mendoza ended the fight at 1:54 of the third round.
Riverside’s Michael Franco (4-0, 3 KOs) came out boxing against Jose Lazaro (1-8) in a bantamweight bout. But when Lazaro chose to slug, Franco landed a big right hand followed by a crushing left hook. Lazaro went down with a thud at 1:48 of the first round. Referee Corona didn’t even count as Lazaro was barely conscious for five minutes.
Mexico City’s Manuel Garcia (3-2-1) used an educated left hook to outscore Marina Del Rey’s Alex Arriza (3-4-3) in a four-round junior welterweight bout. Garcia looked like he’s fought a lot more than six pro bouts and seemed much more experienced in the ring than Arriza with his 10 pro fights. Arriza was the stronger of the two and tried to manhandle his opponent in the first round. It worked, but Garcia changed tactics in the second and found that his left hook could not miss, especially when he dipped to his right before throwing it. Arriza could not find an antidote for that maneuver but tried to overwhelm his opponent with more punches. Eventually he tired and Garcia kept landing those left hooks in spots.
All three judges scored it for Garcia 40-36 and 39-37 twice.
The main event featured Samuel Lopez (17-3-1) against Edel Ruiz (28-14-4) in a bantamweight showdown which was redemption for the Ruiz clan. Edel’s brother Heriberto lost to Lopez last year in Las Vegas. But it just wasn’t going to happen this night. Both fighters collided headfirst in the second round causing a gash on Ruiz’s face. The ringside physician called the fight off at 1:11 of the second round. It was ruled a technical draw because it did not go more than four rounds.
In the swing bout, Saul Ochoa of Phoenix and Marvin Carrera of Wilmington, California engaged in a rugged junior lightweight bout scheduled for six. It never looked like it would make it that far as soon as each unloaded in the first.
Carrera (5-1-1) entered the fight undefeated and seemed the quicker of the two. But Ochoa (5-1-1) proved the stronger puncher and the overall stronger fighter. He was coming off a big upset win two weeks ago when he knocked out Southern California’s highly touted Aaron Garcia in three rounds. It took him five rounds this time as he continued to land some heavy-handed right hands. A solid shot to the jaw forced referee Corona to immediately step in and halt the action. The crowd booed Carrera who had been absorbing hard shots all five rounds. The final blow snapped his head back. The fight was stopped at 2:31 of the fifth.