LAS VEGAS – Jose Enrique Vivas looked like he would get knocked out in the third round by Louie Coria on Saturday.
Somehow, Vivas overcame two knockdowns during that third round and a point deduction for a low blow in the fourth round to edge Coria on all three scorecards in their entertaining eight-round junior lightweight fight. Each judge – Glenn Feldman, Chris Migliore and Patricia Morse Jarman – scored their all-action fight for Mexico’s Vivas by the same slim margin, 75-74, on the Jose Ramirez-Josh Taylor undercard at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Vivas, of Texcoco, Mexico, improved to 21-1. Coria (12-5, 7 KOs), of Moreno Valley, California, dropped a third straight close decision.
Coria lost his two previous bouts to Adam Lopez, who won a majority decision 11 months ago, and Robson Conceicao, who beat him by unanimous decision in another closely contested encounter October 31.
The 22-year-old Coria faded in the later rounds Saturday, but he seemingly had built enough of a lead to get the nod on the scorecards.
A tired Coria tried to keep his distance during the eighth round, when Vivas stalked him and landed the harder punches. Vivas violently snapped back Coria’s head when he landed a right hand with just over a minute remaining in the seventh round.
Hoyle deducted a point from Vivas for low blows with 29 seconds to go in the fourth round. Hoyle had warned Vivas for a low blow earlier in the fourth round.
Coria scored two knockdowns during the third round.
His crushing counter left hook sent Vivas to the canvas face first with 1:32 to go in the third round. Vivas got up and went back at it with Coria.
Hoyle counted a second knockdown for Coria, although it seemed like Coria pushed him through the ropes with just under a minute remaining in the third round.
The action intensified during the second round. Vivas blasted Coria with two left hooks in the first 15 seconds of that round, before they traded consistently inside.
A left hook by Coria drew a response from the crowd with just under a minute to go in that second round.
Earlier Saturday, Andres Cortes remained unbeaten by out-boxing Eduardo Garza in an eight-round lightweight fight.
The craftier Cortes was more effective offensively and defensively during a fight he won by unanimous decision. Las Vegas’ Cortes (14-0, 7 KOs) didn’t do anything spectacular, but he fought smart and didn’t allow the rugged Garza to draw him into a difficult, physical fight.
Judges Eric Cheek (77-75), Max De Luca (78-74) and Lisa Giampa (79-73) scored the action for Cortes by varying margins.
Garza (15-4-1, 8 KOs), of Mission, Texas, lost a second straight bout. In his prior appearance, Eduardo Hernandez (30-1, 27 KOs) knocked him out in the third round November 19 at Wild Card Boxing Club in West Hollywood, California.
Cortes caught Garza with a counter left hook that knocked him off balance with about a minute remaining in their fight. Cortes’ combination, punctuated with another left hook, affected Garza with 25 seconds to go in the eighth round.
Garza landed a left hook barely a minute into the seventh round, though Cortes took it well. Cortes continued to catch Garza with right hands in the sixth round and made Garza miss with most of his punches.
Garza tried to rough up Cortes in the fifth round, but Cortes broke free when Garza tied him up and continued to out-land him.
Cortes controlled the action for most of the first four rounds, when he consistently landed his overhand right as Garza came forward.
In the previous fight Saturday, Robeisy Ramirez didn’t dominate Ryan Lee Allen, but he did more than enough to extend his winning streak Saturday.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was more economical with his punches, yet more accurate than Allen during their six-round featherweight fight. Ramirez dropped Allen in the second round on his way to winning a unanimous decision by big margins on the scorecards of judges Tim Cheatham (60-53), Dave Moretti (59-54) and Steve Weisfeld (60-53).
The Cuban-born Ramirez (7-1, 4 KOs) has won seven consecutive fights since Adan Gonzales upset him by split decision in Ramirez’s pro debut in August 2019 in Philadelphia. A six-round, unanimous-decision victory over Denver’s Gonzales (5-4-2, 2 KOs) in their rematch is among those seven wins.
Las Vegas’ Allen (10-6-1, 5 KOs) was aggressive at times and often went to Ramirez’s body, but he couldn’t hurt his left-handed opponent. Ramirez fought well off his back foot when Allen pressed the action and landed left hands with regularity.
Ramirez landed a straight left hand that knocked Allen to the seat of his trunks about 1:20 into the second round. Allen didn’t appear too badly hurt when he got up and he fought hard for the remainder of the second round.
Before Ramirez beat Allen, Raymond Muratalla was too fast, too strong and too active for Jose Gallegos throughout their fight.
The unbeaten lightweight prospect unloaded an array of power punches on Gallegos during the fourth and fifth rounds of their scheduled eight-rounder. Referee Mike Ortega had seen enough just after the halfway point of the fifth round, when he stepped between them to stop the action at 1:40 of that round.
Gallegos (20-11, 15 KOs), of Bakersfield, California, remained on his feet throughout their bout, but he clearly had little chance of coming back to win when Ortega stopped their fight. The 26-year-old Gallegos lost inside the distance for the third time in his six-year pro career.
Muratalla (12-0, 10 KOs), of Fontana, California, has won seven consecutive bouts by knockout. He was in front by the same score, 40-36, on all three scorecards entering the fifth round.
In the first fight Saturday, Javier Martinez got the spectacular knockout he sought Saturday after three-plus rounds.
The middleweight prospect from Milwaukee caught Calvin Metcalf with a right hook he snuck around Metcalf’s guard just before the midway mark of the fourth round. That devastating shot sent Metcalf flat on his back.
Referee Robert Hoyle quickly stopped the action as Metcalf convulsed on the canvas. The 26-year-old Metcalf recovered quickly, though, and left the ring without any assistance.
The 25-year-old Martinez, a southpaw who was a decorated amateur, improved to 4-0 and recorded his second knockout.
Kansas City’s Metcalf (10-6-1, 3 KOs) lost by knockout for the first time in nearly five years as a pro. He is 1-5 in his past six fights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.