By Francisco Salazar
It was a tough and unfortunate break for Marvin Quintero. One could make the case that he was winning his bout against contender Rustam Nugaev, but an unfortunate and freak injury forced him to quit on his stool.
Quintero was forced to quit on his stool after the fourth round of a scheduled 10 round bout on Friday night at the Pala Casino in Pala, CA.
The bout headlined a "Friday Night Fights" telecast and was promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.
Quintero looked in shape and sharp early on despite having not fought since October of 2012, when he lost a 12 round split decision to Miguel Vazquez. He did not weigh in until the morning of the fight, reportedly due to visa problems. Quintero lives in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Nugaev had won five bouts in a row entering his bout prior to stepping inside the ring against Quintero. His success has awarded him a world ranking in the lightweight division.
Quintero was the more effective fighter in the opening round, throwing more and landing to the head and body. Nugaev stepped on the gas in the second round. His persistence paid off as he was able to walk Quintero down and land his trademark hooks to the body.
As the bout progressed, Quintero was able to work well from the outside. But Nugaev began to cut off the ring, trapping Quintero in a corner or against the ropes where he continued to land to the head and body.
Right before the bell sounded to end the fourth round, Quintero landed a left hook to the Nugaev's forehead. After landing the punch, Quintero turned away and winced in pain. After the bell sounded to end the round, Quintero sat on his stool and told his corner he was not able to continue, citing a possible broken hand.
The Russian-born Nugaev, who resides in the Los Angeles area, improves to 27-6-1, 17 KOs. Quintero falls to 25-5, 21 KOs.
Lightweight Alejandro Luna (17-0, 13 KOs) knocked out Sergio Rivera in the first round. A left hook to the head dropped Rivera (18-15-2, 11 KOs) flat onto his back. Referee Ray Corona counted Rivera out at 1:29.
Welterweight Francisco Santana knocked out Jorge Pimentel in the third round. Santana (19-3-1, 9 KOs) was in control of the action in the first two rounds. Midway through the third round, Santana dropped Pimentel (27-22, 20 KOs) with a left hook to the head. Moments before the bell sounded to end the round, Santana dropped Pimentel with a left hook to the body. Pimentel struggled to get up and was counted out by referee Ray Corona at 3:00.
In the walkout bout of the evening, Aaron Garcia (14-3-2, 4 KOs) won a hard-fought four round unanimous decision over Thomas Herrera (3-10-1, 1 KO). Both fighters had their moments, but it was Garcia who landed the more-telling blows. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Garcia.
Bantamweight Roman Morales dropped Khabir Suleymanov five times en route to a one-sided weight round unanimous decision.
Morales dropped Suleymanov twice in the second round, the first courtesy of a straight right hand to the head and moments later, a combination to the head.
The wild-swinging Suleymanov came on in the third and fourth round, pressing the action more and landing more with right crosses and left hooks to the head.
Morales swung momentum in his favor in the fifth round, dropping Suleymanov with a barrage of punches. Suleymanov complained that he had slipped on the canvas.
Suleymanov continued to press the action while Morales countered with hooks and crosses. In the eighth round, Morales dropped Suleymanov twice to punctate the victory. To his credit, Suleymanov kept getting up and fought until the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Morales, 79-68, 79-68, and 80-67. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 79-68 in favor of Morales, who goes to 18-0, 9 KOs. Suleymanov drops to 16-4, 6 KOs.
Welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison won a six round unanimous decision over Michael Balasi.
After an even first round, both exchanged combinations in the center of the ring in the second round. A three-punch combination to the head dropped Balasi to the canvas. Balasi was not hurt and pressed the action for the remainder of the round. His persistence paid off as he dropped Harrison with a lead left cross to the head.
It was all Harrison in the second half of the fight as he kept the shorter Balasi on the outside. Harrison scored repeatedly with straight right hands to the head of Balasi. In the fifth round, a barrage of punches dropped Balasi to the canvas.
To his credit, Balasi kept fighting, but was not able to mount a serious offense in the last couple of rounds. Balasi tried feinting to get Harrison to open up. Harrison would do so, but he would beat Balasi to the punch every time.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Harrison, 59-54, 59-54, and 60-53. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 59-54 in favor of Harrison, who improves to 21-0, 11 KOs. Balasi, who hails from Honolulu, HI, falls to 10-4, 7 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing