By Jake Donovan
Ulises “Archie” Solis made the first defense of his second tour as a junior flyweight titlist with a 12-round decision win over Jether Oliva of the Philippines in their 12-round bout on Saturday evening at Auditorio Benito Juarez in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Scores were 118-110, 119-109 and 120-108 in a bout that served as the televised main event on TV Azteca, though was scratched at the last minute from the Top Rank Live feed on Fox Deportes airing at the exact same time.
The bout began in typical Solis fashion – an ugly, grappling affair complete with a low blow 30 seconds into the evening. It wasn’t all cringe-worthy, as Solis put in plenty of work to the body and enjoyed success throughout with his left hook.
Oliva’s best moments of the fight came early, particularly in the second round when he was able to disrupt the Mexican’s rhythm and mount an offensive attack of his own.
The good fortunes didn’t last very long. Solis discovered how to play defense all while never moving very far, always remaining in punching range – or clinching range whenever the situation called for it.
Solis controlled the action in the third and fourth, but was given some trouble in a back-and-forth fifth round. It was the last time on the evening that the bout would represent a close and competitive affair, as Solis took over from that point onward.
A brief scare came in the eighth round, when a cut opened up over Solis’ left eye. It proved to be a false alarm, as the cut or blood never proved to be a factor in any way.
Solis dominated the action down the stretch, rarely allowing Oliva to land more than one punch at a time, while wisely picking his shots and hitting his targets.
The effort wasn’t overwhelming, but was enough to extend his streak of seven fights without a loss as he improves to 34-2-3 (21KO).
Oliva, challenging at the title level for the first time, also sees his “0” go in the process as he falls to 17-1-1 (11KO).
While a long way from his days as an ubiquitous title holder in the previous decade, Solis is proving with each fight that he still has plenty left in the gas tank in the aftermath of his shocking 12th round knockout loss at the hands of Brian Viloria two years ago.
The knockdowns have been much fewer and further between – in fact, just one in his past seven fights. What he’s shown instead is the patience to box when all out destruction doesn’t quite get the job done.
Patience was key in his getting robbed in a 12-round draw at the hands of Luis Alberto Lazarte in their low-blow festival last December. The decision was widely regarded as one of the worst of 2010, but it didn’t deter the Mexican from traveling back to the scene of the crime – Lazarte’s hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina – just four months later in search of revenge.
The bold move provided a reward well worth the risk, as Solis came home with the win and his second major championship in an already respectable career.
FUENTES TOPS GARCIA ON TOP RANK NOT-SO LIVE
Moises Fuentes scored one knockdown and overcame another to score a shocking split decision win over Raul Garcia in their strawweight title bout.
Scores were 114-112 Fuentes (twice) and 114-112 Garcia in a bout that served as the televised main event for the Fox Deportes Top Rank Live portion of the show on a confusing night of TV coverage.
The bout was fought at close quarters for much of the evening, but with Garcia in relative control early on. None of the rounds were clear and concise, which made the dramatic momentum shifts in the second half of the bout so crucial.
Fuentes set the wheels in motion for a dramatic ending with a left hook knockdown at the end of the seventh. Unfortunately for the first time challenger, the sequence came as time was running out in the round, leaving no room for a follow-up attack.
Momentum never found its way into the next round, with Garcia resuming control and flooring his countryman midway through the ninth round. How the action played out is anyone’s guess, as the Fox Deportes cameras opted to cut to a commercial despite their being more than a minute left in the round.
It appeared to be just the break that Garcia needed, but it proved to be his last hurrah. A small cut opened up over Garcia’s eye as the bout headed into the championship rounds, with Fuentes picking up steam and the defending champion opting to play defense perhaps a bit too much for the judges’ liking. The action appeared closely contested down the stretch, with the judges split in who truly got the better of the exchanges.
Fuentes racks up by far the biggest win of his young career as he improves to 14-1 (6KO) in what was his first major title fight.
Garcia has far more experience at the championship level, but it didn’t serve him well on this night. The Mexican southpaw falls to 30-2-1 (18KO), snapping a three-fight win streak in the process as his second title reign comes to a shocking end.
Garcia began his second tour as a strawweight titlist by picking up the belt vacated by twin brother Ramon Garcia, who faces Donnie Nietes next month for a crack at a junior flyweight strap.
It was hoped that the brothers would enjoy overlapping championship reigns but that dream once again comes to an end.
While it remains unclear just which bout was the true main event and which was simply offered via tape-delay, the supporting cast was never in doubt as both networks featured the same televised undercard.
Chief among the preliminary action, 20-year old super welterweight prospect Daniel Sandoval racked up his fourth straight stoppage with a second round blitzing of Ricardo Martinez. Sandoval, who hails from Mexico, was relentless in forcing the early stoppage, and retains his perfect knockout-to-win ratio as he runs his record to 21-2 (21KO).
18-year old super bantamweight Alejandro Gonzalez was equally as explosive in his second round knockout of Jose Carlos Lopez. The ending was surprisingly contested by Lopez, who had no right to protest the call after throwing up the earmuffs and absorbing a ton of punishment in a corner, prompting the referee to wisely stop the bout.
Gonzalez improves his record to 9-0-2 (4KO), but even as a teenaged prospect is in desperate need of an upgrade in competition. Lopez is now 0-2, while Gonzalez’ previous four victims were all making their pro debuts at the time of the fight.
Opening up the televised portion of both shows, Carlo Orozco scored a four-round decision over Martin Lopez. Orozco won 38-37 on all three scorecards, but was forced to overcome a third-round knockdown in preserving the narrow victory.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]