By Jake Donovan
Adrian Estrella knew the risks of taking on a still-dangerous DeMarcus Corley, but chose to stare down the barrel of the proverbial shotgun anyway. He nearly paid the price in the ring, overcoming a late knockdown to scrape together a majority decision win over the wily veteran Saturday evening at Gimnasio Nuevo Leon Unido in Monterrey, Mexico.
A tally of 114-114 was overruled by scores of 117-110 and 116-111 in favor of Estrella, who has now won his past five starts.
Corley is well past his best years but continues to serve as a freak of nature, supremely conditioned at age 41 as he habitually grabs short notice assignment versus up and coming fighters literally around the world. Saturday's contest marked his seventh in a span of just 11 months, taking place in five different countries.
The humble boxer from Washington D.C. entered on the heels of a two-fight win streak, including a minor upset of previously unbeaten Osama Hadifi less than two months ago on the road in Denmark. The win was his first in 17 months, snapping a four-fight win streak and suddenly breathing new life into a once-brilliant career that had dissolved into that of an opponent for hire.
Still, he vowed to give Estrella the fight of his life and managed to do just that, particularly throughout the second half of the contest.
Estrella - a former reality TV star who boasts model looks and potent punching power - jumped out to a sizable lead, but was unable to hold the line over the long haul. Having previously grown accustomed to overwhelming his opponents, the 24-year old had to learn the hard way that not everyone will fall at his feet.
Some will even fight back, as was the case when Eden Sonsona shocked him inside of two rounds last May in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Estrella bounced back with three wins prior to Saturday, which for most of the night saw a new-and-improved version of the once-reckless slugger.
Old habits resurfaced in a near-disastrous round nine. Estrella foolishly initiated a shootout, with Corley riding out the storm before connecting with a perfectly timed counter right hook over the top to drop the local favorite in a heap.
Estrella beat the count and managed to survive rough waters down the stretch to escape with just the third decision win of his career in advancing to 26-1 (23KOs).
Corley gave it a hell of a ride over the second half of the fight, but comes up just short in the end.The former super lightweight titlist sees his record fall to 44-27-1 (26KOs) as a result, but will likely get work in the near future as he is always in shape and remains ready for an opportunity that comes his way.
The bout aired live on Televisa in Mexico.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox