Jose Enrique Vivas went toe-to-toe with Edy Valencia for eight straight rounds to return to the win column the hard way.
The Mexican featherweight grinded out a hard fought split decision win as a result. Judge Lisa Giampa (78-74) scored in favor of Valencia, overruled by Patricia Morse Jarman (77-75) and Tim Cheatham (77-75) who ruled in favor of Vivas in the final ESPN+ preliminary bout Saturday evening at Resorts World Casino in Las Vegas.
Vivas took the fight straight to Valencia from the very start, not that he had much of a choice. Culiacan’s Valencia had no problem standing directly in front of Vivas, whipping right hooks and left hands to the body out of his southpaw stance. Vivas also focused on a body attack, digging his left hook to the liver and riding out Valencia’s responses to immediately return fire.
Valencia—who has never been stopped in 34 pro fights—went punch for punch with Vivas throughout the second half of the bout, enjoying frequent success when the action was at center ring, Vivas’ pace understandably slowed down the stretch, managing to outland Valencia overall (277 to 255) but whose chin was tested as Valencia crashed home right hooks and wide left hands upstairs in the closing minutes of the contest.
Final Compubox statistics were well reflective of the competitive affair, as the two combined to throw 1,517 punches in just eight rounds. Vivas was 277-of-777 (35.7%), including 260-of-621 power punches (41.9%). Valencia significantly closed the gap in the final four rounds, landing 255-of-740 total punches (34.5%), including 228-of-568 power punches (40.1%).
Vivas advanced to 22-2 (11KOs), rebounding from an equally scrappy majority decision defeat to Eduardo Baez who challenges WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete next Saturday in San Diego. Vivas' lone other defeat came to Ruben Villa, who went on to challenge Navarrete for the same featherweight belt at stake next weekend.
Valencia fell to 19-8-6 (7KOs) in suffering his second straight defeat, though earning high praise for his effort.
Headlining the show, former lineal and unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KOs) faces Mexico’s Pedro Campa in a scheduled ten-round junior welterweight bout. Lopez fights for the first time since losing his championship to George Kambosos Jr. via split decision last November 27 in New York City, as he now campaigns in the 140-pound division.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox