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.
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.