Irma Garcia duplicated her upset performance earlier this year with another decision win over Janeth Perez in their bantamweight title fight Saturday evening at Unidad Deportiva El Chamizal in Zamora, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico.
The final outcome was less decisive than their original, with Garcia escaping with a split decision this time around. Scores were 96-94 (twice) for Garcia and 97-93 for Perez in their Fox Deportes-televised headliner.
The rematch didn't veer too far from their first encounter three months ago. Garcia played the role of slick boxer, while Perez was constantly on the hunt all evening long.
Perez closed the gap in the second half of the contest, particularly in the later rounds. Garcia began to run out of ring space, and her lack of aggression or power disallowed the reigning titlist to keep her opponent at bay. The southpaw hit the deck in the ninth and tenth rounds, though she was pushed to the canvas on both occasions.
The final round shove down nearly ended the fight. Garcia was slow to get up, favoring her ankle as she struggled to move around. Time was called on two separate occasions, extending the normally two-minute round by nearly three minutes as Garcia was given every opportunity to shake off the injury and fight.
Once action finally resumed, Perez picked up where she left off prior to the injury time out - fighting like a woman looking to close the show. The clock hit all zeroes before that could happen, though the 23-year old felt like a second-term titlist at fight's end.
The only thing Garcia was interested in at fight's end was tending to her injured left ankle. The unbeaten bantamweight sat on the canvas while removing all footwear from her left foot, allowing the wound to breathe as she stood herself upright long enough to salute the crowd on hand to support the defending titlist.
The final scores reflected their second consecutive close fight, but the win was applauded by both fighters at night's end.
Garcia improves to 11-0-1 (5KO) with the win, which marked the first defense of the bantamweight belt she annexed from her opponent three months ago. Perez, who was unbeaten prior to her first fight with Garcia, has now lost two straight as he falls to 17-2-2 (4KO)
Irma Garcia puts her bantamweight belt and unbeaten record on the line against Janeth Perez in a rematch to their thriller earlier this year. The two once again collide on Fox Deportes, fighting in the televised main event live from Unidad Deportiva El Chamizal in Zamora, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico.
The precocious Garcia (10-0-1, 4KO) pulled off the upset in their title fight this past January, outboxing Perez (17-1-2, 4KO) over ten rounds to hand her countrywoman her first official loss.
Ricardo Alvarez continues to bounce back strong on the heels of rough patch in 2012. The 31-year old has now won two in a row, the latest a 2nd round knockout of Carlos Valdez.
One of seven fighting brothers, Alvarez came out purposeful in the opening round, never giving Valdez a chance to believe he belonged in the same ring. The beginning of the end came midway through the second, when Alvarez connected with a left uppercut and right hand for the first of two knockdowns in the bout.
The second knockdown was the product of attrition, as Alvarez simply beat the fight out of a slumping Valdez. The ten count was reached at 2:49 of round two.
Alvarez - whose more famous younger brother is unbeaten super welterweight titlist Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez - improves to 20-2-3 (12KO). The win preserves plans for a stateside debut, as he is tentatively scheduled to appear on a July 20 card in New York City.
Jesus Silvestre picked up his fourth straight win with a sixth round stoppage over Luis Carlos Leon in their televised co-feature.
Silvestre - who has become a fixture on the series - was in control every step of the way, breaking down Leon round after round. The referee sensed the fight wasn't changing directions, as he was quick to pull the trigger after Silvestre scored with a digging body shot late in the sixth round. Leon (15-7-1, 11KO) offered a mild protest, but to no avail.
The official time was 2:05 of round six.
Silvestre improves to 27-3 (20KO), as he awaits a shot at a major strawweight title.
Bruno Sandoval opened the Fox Deportes telecast with a vicious one-punch first round knockout of Isaac Mendez.
It was never a question of if the fight would end in knockout but at what point Sandoval would chop down his opponent. That moment came midway through the opening round, when an overhand right sent Mendez crashing to the canvas. Not another punch was thrown in the fight, as the referee disallowed Mendez (16-10, 14KO) to continue.
The official time was 1:33 of round one.
Sandoval continues to cruise along, advancing to 13-0 (12KO). The Mexican puncher has scored knockouts in three rounds or less in nine of his 13 pro fights to date, including four in the very first round.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox