Manuel Avila has a short term goal on his mind.
“Everybody from down here wants to put Northern California back on the map,” Avila said. “We want to be like Southern California.”
Avila (17-0, 7 Kos) takes a big step toward the big time when he faces Cuban-born Yoandris Salinas (21-1-2, 14 Kos) on Saturday Aug. 8, at Fantasy Springs Casino. They battle for the vacant interim NABF super bantamweight title. HBO Latino will televise the Golden Boy Promotions card.
Northern California for over a decade boasted some of the best prizefighters in the world with the likes of Nonito Donaire, Robert Guerrero and Andre Ward. All three are still elite fighters but it’s been a while since others have followed their trail.
“Everybody wants to have that fair chance. Maybe help out others. They’re kind of working on that but it’s still a lot of work to go,” Avila said of a current crop of Northern Californians looking to crack the top.
Avila, 23, didn’t have the lengthy amateur record that others have. But he has physical tools abnormal for a 122-pound super bantamweight. He’s over 5’7” with speed, footwork, and power when needed.
“I’m more of a boxer-puncher. I try to out box you and stop on a dime and unload. If it comes down to it, if I have to slug it out with you I will,” explains Avila.
Salinas, 29, fought once for the world title and ended in a draw against current WBA super bantamweight titlist Scott Quigg in London. After Quigg fought Salinas to a draw he knocked out four of five challengers. It tells you how good Salinas can fight.
Avila has not looked at tape nor does he plan any reconnaissance. Instead he likes to fly by instinct and force others to plan for him. Usually, most opponents cannot meet him eye to him.
“Actually in all my fights they adjusted to me,” said Avila. “I keep the pace and I never fight their fight.”
Others fight notes – Shane
Both Shane Mosley’s father and son attended the Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight world championship defense last weekend in Las Vegas. Both are primed to fight on August 29 at the Inglewood Forum in Inglewood. Mosley meets former foe Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga in a rematch just miles away from their first clash in 2008. A war of words on Twitter between the former world champions led to the proposed fight. Looks like the Mosleys will be going head to head against the Premier Boxing Champions fight card at Staples Center five miles away. More on the Mosley card next week. Stay Tuned.