By Michael Capmbell
Alamodome in San Antonio, TX - Featherweight Evgeny Gradovich (13-0, 7 KOs) over Frankie Leal (17-6-3, 10 KOs) by TKO at 2:15 of the 10th round.
Gradovich hails from the Ural Mountains and is introduced as “The Mexican Russian” fights out of Robert Garcia’s Oxnard, CA gym. Leal is coming off of upset of Top Rank prospect Robert Marroquin. The Russian is earning his nickname with an aggressive come forward style atypical of most European fighters. Garcia barks out “jab-jab” as Gradovich obliges to set up combinations and body shots to follow. In the 3rd round referee Rafael Ramos deducts a point from Leal for a blow well under the belt and then again catches Gradovich with a low blow as the bell rings to end the round.
As the two are making good action in the 4th, Leal again goes low and Ramos pauses the bout to emphasize another warning and allow the Russian time to recover. A cut opens over Leal’s left brow. Leal is very tough but cannot keep up with Evgeny’s high workrate. Gradovich tends to place his forehead close into Leal’s face which results in blood from the cut being spread onto his face gloves and trunks turning everything a light shade of pink.
This practice along with Leal’s exchanges has given Gradovich numerous welts on head and sides of his face including a mouse developing under his left eye. Gradovich’s combinations begin to dominate the bout but with a lack of one punch power combined with Leal’s toughness, the fight turns into a one sided affair. Finally after a barrage of punishing blows, Leal drops the the canvas and Ramos halts the beating. Leal slumps and the ringside doctor lies him down before calling in the paramedics to stabilize him and take him to the hospital for precaution. Leal appears to have his conscienceness throughout.
A 10 count of the ring bell was done in honor of boxing historian Bert Sugar who passed away recently.
Super Middleweight Kelly Pavlik (38-2, 33 KOs) over Aaron Jaco (15-3, 5 KOs) by TKO at 0:45 of the 2nd round
Top Rank finds the former middleweight champion of the world a stay busy type fight to show off his progress with new trainer Robert Garcia. Pavlik opens with a solid boxing display and measures Jaco with a left hook late in the 1st after which he takes a knee to receive an eight count from referee Jon Schorle. Seeing that he has perfect measure of his distance, Pavlik lands a single strong left again early in the 2nd which puts Jaco on queer street ending the contest rather quickly.
Ivan Najera (7-0, 7 KOs) vs James Lester (9-8, 4 KOs) by KO at 2:59 of the 1st round.
Najera is a hot prospect from San Antonio out of the Lou Mesorana stable of boxers. Lester fighting out of Detroit. Motor City vs Alamo City. Najera has perfect KO percentage and deposits Lester on his butt in 1st round. Lester uses his wheels to evade as Najara’s stalking, but eventually is caught up against the ropes with a body shot which puts him down for the full ten count just as the round was to come to a close.
Super Welterweight Bryant Perrella (2-0, 2 KOs) over Arturo Lopez (0-2) by TKO in the 4th round.
Featherweight Saul Rodriguez (4-0, 4 KOs) over Ricardo Valencia (1-3-1) by KO at 0:19 of the 1st round.
Lightweight Eduardo Alicea (3-0, 2 KOs) over Edwynn Jones (1-4-1, 1 KO) by four round Unanimous Decision with scores of 40-36 all three judges scorecards.
Alicea was an outstanding USA amateur boxer acquiring six national tournament titles. Finished his amateur career at 152lbs, quite a bit heavier for this bout. Jones is an awkward switch hitter, difficult to fight journeyman from Houston. Jones proves mostly elusive with Alicea landing strong left hooks and body shots when Jones gets within range.
Featherweight Luis Zarazua (3-0-1, 1 KO) drew with Victor Sanchez (1-3-1) with scores of 39-37 for Zarazua, 38-38, & 38-38.
Sanchez is a go for broke youngster from Houston, Zarazua is prized prospect from south Texas. Sanchez opens bout without fear or respect for the promoters fighter swinging away from his southpaw stance. Zarazua fights through Sanchez’s punches trying to create space to do his work. In the 2nd round, Sanchez workrate is markedly lower but still standing within range, Zarazua’s straighter punches are more effective as the action swings to his favor. Sanchez closes the range to begin the 3rd round and a toe to toe slugout ensues. Neither young man display an ounce of fear and both have a definite love for fighting. Sanchez continues in the 4th to outscore the prospect with wide hooks from many angles as Zarazua’s left eye shows some effects of this good scrap.
Bantamweight Adam Lopez (2-0, 1 KO) over Ramon Bayala (0-3-1) by Unanimous Decision 38-36 on all three judges scorecards
Bayala opens in a southpaw stance and Lopez goes to work with left hooks to the body. Bayala is tall and lanky and his defense consists of holding his opponent when he is engaged. This proves interesting as referee Jon Schorle is on duty for this bout coming on the heels of last week’s Molina-Kirkland controversy which contained quite a bit of holding. Lopez shows experience beyond his years in pushing the clutching Bayala into the ropes and using leverage to bend and twist his opponent and land with his free hand. Schorle gives STERN warning to Bayala to discontinue his holding.
Ronnie Shields gives Lopez instruction between rounds imploring him to box at distance. After Lopez misses a wide punch, Bayala catches him with a solid left hook early in 3rd round, dropping Lopez to his knees. The San Antonio fighter groggily rises and smartly shows the ref that he can continue, then takes a minute to recover, fighting safely and throwing hard punches to keep his respect. Near end of round, Lopez returns to strong body punches and Bayala returns to holding as Lopez seems mostly recovered. Bayala throws his shoulder into Lopez in the 4th round while holding Lopez and Schorle penalizes him a point, which negates the point advantage he gained from the knockdown. They exchange blows after the final bell, before Schorle sends them back to their corners.