By Nick Bellafatto, RCM Boxing Correspondent- Ringside
Salinas, CA (February 18th, 2014)– Featured in the main event of this Monday night’s Golden Boy Live series coming from the Storm House in Salinas, California and telecast on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes, undefeated featherweight Manuel “Tino” Avila (14-0, 5 KO’s) of Fairfield, California would bewilderingly remain so. This after appearing to have been taken to school by Baja, Mexico opponent Enrique Quevedo (15-7-1, 9 KO’s).
With Quevedo shifting, effectively changing range, and connecting solidly throughout, he would not only keep “Tino” off balance and out of rhythm, but overall prevent Avila from landing anything meaningful. That is until the tenth and final round when the Fairfield fighter put Quevedo on the canvas with a left hook.
Easily beating the count though, that 2-point swing is all one would assume Avila needed as the hometown fighter to get a draw. However, seeing what others did not, the judges would put that theory to rest, recording what amounted to a tainted decision unanimously in favor of Avila at 97-92.
Stated Quevedo, “if anything with the knockdown I should have gotten a draw. I was ahead.” Avila would counter, “I should have punched more. I didn’t stick to the game plan but it still worked out for me.”
In the co-main event for the IBA Continental middleweight title, defending champion and Salinas’s own Paul “El Gallo Negro” Mendez (15-2-2,7 KO’s) would find himself squaring off with challenger Raul Casarez (20-5, 9 KO’s) of Edinburg, Texas.
Mendez got the jab going early on to eventually make way for a right hand that saw Paul in addition to taking rounds 1 and 2 inflict a mouse under the challengers right eye. With a sense of urgency Raul came out fighting in the third frame, only to see Mendez force his him to the ropes where “El Gallo Negro” landed a monster right hand that put the Texan down and out. The time, 43 seconds of round 3.
In a swing bout that received air play as a result of the co-main event’s abrupt ending, undefeated Andy Vences (7-0, 3 KO’s) of San Jose, California would keep his record unblemished, landing an educated left hand throughout that would not only visibly frustrate Watts, California opponent Dominic Coca (8-7, 2 KO’s), but would pave the way for other assorted shots. Having no answers in the face of Vences’s calculating style to include a solid defense, this in conjunction with Coca claiming a wrist injury would cause Dominic’s corner to retire after 3 complete.
Cousin of Oscar himself, known as the “Golden Kid”, Diego De La Hoya (3-0, 3 KO’s) of Mexicali, Mexico would early on get wobbled from a right hand delivered by an unimpressed Sergio Najera (6-13-2, 1 KO) of Tijuana. This only served to wake De La Hoya who upon realizing he was in a fight commenced to putting a plethora of punches together that put Najera down. Beating the count, Sergio would get more of the same so that referee Ed Collantes would intervene to call a halt. The time, 2:14 of the very first round.
In a four-round junior lightweight bout, Fresno, California’s unbeaten Luis Ambrosio (4-0, 3 KO’s) would lock horns with San Diego southpaw Adrian Rodriguez (0-1-1) who, showboating early on, would rile Ambrosio who connected with a jolting right to drop Rodriguez at the close of the first. Undeterred, Rodriguez would easily outwork and outbox a winded Ambrosio in the ensuing three rounds only to get clearly jobbed, losing a split decision by scores of 38–37 twice, while one judge tallied that same score in favor of Rodriguez.
Cruiserweights were next up, with Salinas native Rudy Puga (4-0, 4 KO’s) going at it in a scheduled four-rounder with Charon Spain (0-3-1) of Yakima, Washington. Rudy looking much more polished in comparison to his opponent would land the sharper punches throughout, dropping Spain to the canvass as early as round 2. Enter round 3, where immediately suffering the effects of a left uppercut liver-shot, Spain previous to taking a knee would himself waive the bout off leaving only the referee to confirm the same. The time, 24 seconds of the third as Puga moves to 4 and 0 with as many knockouts.
In the opening bout on the pro card, a four-round junior welterweight match, Long Beach, California’s DaVonte Donaldson (1-4) as the shorter of two combatants was constantly beat to the punch on the inside, as well as at the mercy of his lengthier opponent Chris Batista (2-0) on the outside. The end result, a unanimous 40-36 decision verdict all around for Batista of Madera, California.
Seven-time National Champion and 16 year-old hometown southpaw Ruben Villa (121-5) would take on 17 year-old three-time National Champ Diego Castillo (83-8) of nearby San Jose. A competitive first round would give way to Castillo not adjusting to the southpaw stance in the second frame so that Villa would land several solid left hand counters to force a standing-8-count. Much of the same type of dominance would be exhibited in the third and final round so that Villa would walk away with a unanimous decision verdict by scores of 30-25 all around
In the second of two amateur bouts between Salinas natives, 8-time National Champion Pete Tavares would tangle with Justin Cardona, record not confirmed, a 4-time National Champion. Over the course of 3 action-packed rounds that would see the leather fly every which way, the judges were all in accord that Tavares landed better to give Pete the unanimous decision win. With that Tavares improves to 46 wins and 7 losses.