By Jake Donovan
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that the welterweight bout between Jorge Paez Jr. and Aaron Herrera produced an inconclusive ending. Somehow, Paez Jr. was suggested to be in the running for a 140 lb. title shot with a win, but will have to wait another day for such an opportunity, as he was forced to settle for a technical draw after less than six rounds of action Saturday evening in Yucatan, Mexico.
The fight was stopped after Herrera - a local favorite - was deemed unfit to continue after suffering an accidental blow to the back of his head.
The main event did not lack entertainment value, as neither fighter traveled very far in the ring. Paez Jr. consistently scored with quick, chopping shots on the inside, while Herrera's best moments came when he was able to load up from the outside, putting his height and reach advantage to good use.
Action grew heated with each passing round. Two-way exchanges highlighted a thrilling round three, while both fighters were having their moments in a free-swinging round five. Herrera was able to work the inside, digging to the body during the moments Paez Jr. didn't let his hands go.
Paez Jr. regained control midway through the fifth, scoring with left hooks and right uppercuts. Herrera flurried towards the end of the round, bringing the crowd to its feet. The war of wills carried over to round six, with the majority of action taking place in center ring.
Disappointment was felt throughout the venue when an errant blow by Paez Jr. brought an end to the fight. Herrera momentarily turned to his side as Paez Jr. launched an overhand right, the punch landing on the base of his skull. A warning was issued to the second-generation boxer, while Herrera was hunched over in a corner as he was granted medical attention.
The accidental foul was the last punch thrown in the fight, as Herrera could not regain his senses. The fight was stopped and ruled a technical draw.
Paez is now winless in each of his past two starts, which makes for an unthinkable scenario that he was in line to face the winner of the November 22 super lightweight title clash between Jessie Vargas and Antonio De Marco. Somehow a title shot was in his future, and at a weight he hasn't made in more than six years.
It's doubtful he is granted such a fight, as the draw brings his record to 37-5-2 (22KOs). The fight came more than six months after suffering an upset points loss to badly faded former titlist Vivian Harris this past March.
Herrera came in riding a two-fight win streak. While still unbeaten on the year, his record moves to 27-3-1 (17KOs).
Rising super featherweight prospect Miguel Berchelt picks up his third straight win - all by knockout - after stopping what's left of Antonio Escalante inside of three rounds.
Two knockdowns came in the deciding round, with Escalante reacting horribly to incoming punches. The second knockdown came from an accumulation of shots, with the referee ending mid-count as he saw the faded veteran was in no position to continue.
The official time was 2:33 of round three.
Berchelt improves to 24-1 (21KOs). The 22-year old has scored knockouts in 10 of his past 11 starts, with his lone loss - a shocking 1st round knockout defeat earlier this year - wedged in between. He has yet to be extended beyond six rounds in a given prize fight.
Escalante falls to 29-7 (20KOs), having suffered three knockout losses in his past four fights. The 29-year old El Paso native was once upon a time a promising featherweight prospect, but has long ago seen better days.
Local unbeaten super welterweight Ivan Montero survived an opening round knockdown to take a unanimous decision over Julio Cesar Avalos in their eight-round swing bout.
Scores were 77-73 (twice) and 76-74 in favor of Montero, who didn't exactly shine in what was intended as a hometown showcase. The undefeated prospect was decked midway through round one, courtesy of a counter overhand right as he was wide open for the shot.
Avalos was the victim of a strange knockdown call at the start of round seven. The referee issued a standing eight count after his corner was slow to get down from the ring apron.
More home cooking came later in the round, when Montero was knocked off balance and eventually put on the canvas when missing with a right hand and getting caught with a body shot. The sequence was ruled a slip, and both fighters were on the canvas moments later when Montero pitched forward and collapsed on top of Avalos in a corner.
There was little upside to the win, other than Montero remaining unbeaten as his record advances to 16-0 (7KOs). Avalos falls to 14-4 (7KOs) as he just can't catch a break. The 24-year old has faced undefeated prospects in four of his last six bouts.
All three bouts aired on TV Azteca in Mexico and on UniMas in the United States.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox