By Jake Donovan
A second half surge was enough to propel Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. to his first win in nearly a year, outpointing previously unbeaten Guillermo Avila in their 12-round main event Friday evening in Kissimmee, Florida.
Scores were 116-112 across the board for Vazquez Jr, who fought for the first time since suffering at upset loss at the hands of Yasutaka Ishimoto earlier this year in Macao. The former 122 lb. titlist lost three of his last five contests entering Friday evening.
Friday's affair began with a strong indication of why Vazquez Jr. has struggled as of late. The Puerto Rican puncher looked disjointed for much of the first half of the contest, as Avila constantly beat him to the punch. The bout was a major step up for the visiting Mexican prospect, who was clearly up to the challenge and seemingly on the verge of a major upset.
Vazquez Jr. turned the tide in the back six rounds, turning up the aggression and no longer waiting for openings. Avila failed to properly adjust, though he managed a strong 12th and final round, save for a brief tangle that left him on the canvas. The sequence came as Vazquez Jr. was throwing a punch, but never cleanly landed and correctly ruled as a slip.
The non-knockdown didn't matter in the final scores, nor did Avila's performance in the final three rounds. All three judges were wide in their scores, not surprisingly considering Vazquez Jr. is a longtime venue favorite.
Nevertheless, the former titlist picks up his first win in nearly a year, improving to 23-3-1 (19KO).
Avila (11-1, 8KO) suffers his first pro defeat, which coincides with his first career fight outside of his native Mexico.
On the televised undercard, Israel Vazquez (9-0-2, 6KO) - younger brother to Wilfredo Jr. - won a six-round unanimous decision over veteran Felipe Rivas (16-12-1, 8KO). Scores were 60-54 (twice) and a more realistic 58-56.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox