By Francisco Salazar
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Manuel 'Tino' Avila had no problems in a new weight class. Within a year, he could make noise against the top fighters in the featherweight division.
Avila won a workmanlike 10 round unanimous decision over Rene Alvarado before a sell-out crowd at the Belasco Theatre.
After making his mark as a junior featherweight, including a win over former world title challenger Yoandris Salinas on August 8, Avila decided to move up to the 126-pound weight class. In his last bout on October 24, his first as a full-fledged featherweight, Avila won an eight round unanimous decision over Jose Angel Beranza.
Alvarado entered Friday's bout having lost four of his previous seven bouts, all against top featherweights in the Golden Boy Promotions stable, including Joseph Diaz, Andrew Cancio, and Eric Hunter.
It was Avila who took the lead in the fight early on, beating Alvarado to the punch as both traded in the middle of the ring. Alvarado attempted to get Avila to exchange in the center of the ring, but Avila was content to box from the outside.
Alvarado found success early on in the sixth round, landing a series of lead right hands to the head of Avila. As the bout continued into the later rounds, Alvarado pressed the action, attempting to walk Avila down.
Alvarado found some success, but Avila was too crafty. He was able to use his ring generalship to stay on the outside and counter Alvarado to the head.
Avila continued to remain on the outside, scoring more at will with counter right hands to the head of Alvarado. As the bout was concluding, Alvarado attempted to go for broke, but Avila was never in danger, coasting to a decision win.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Avila, 97-93, 97-93, and 100-90.
Avila remains unbeaten and improves to 20-0, 8 KOs. Alvarado drops to 23-7, 16 KOs.
Junior welterweight Gilberto Gonzalez (26-3, 22 KOs) scored a dramatic one-punch knockout win over Luis Arceo in the sixth round. Despite fighting with a bloody nose from the opening round, Gonzalez was getting the better of Arceo (28-15-4, 19 KOs) early on in the fight, connecting with a series of right hands to the head. By the fourth round, Arceo began connecting with a series of punches to the head of Gonzalez. Both fighters had their moments, but Gonzalez ended matters with a devastating left hook to the head that dropped Arceo face-first to the canvas. Arceo beat referee Jack Reiss' count, but Arceo's corner threw in the towel, prompting Reiss to wave the fight over at 1:41.
Welterweight Marquis Taylor (4-1) won a six round split decision over Oscar Torres. The action was foul-filled and sloppy early on, as both fighters attempted to land with wild crosses and hooks. There was was no ebb and flow early on as both fighters tied up on the inside. As the bout progressed, Taylor figured out fighting from the outside was effective, eventually contacting more behind a steady jab. Torres (8-1, 4 KOs) attempted to walk Taylor down, looking to land a looping hook or cross to the head. Both fighters had their moments, but the volume of punches Taylor landed in the second half of the fight was enough to win on two of the judges' scorecards. One judge scored the bout 59-55, while the other two judges scored the bout 59-55 and 58-56 in favor of Taylor.
Featherweight Edgar Valerio (6-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Javier Rodriguez in the opening round of a scheduled six round bout. Valerio hurt Rodriguez (3-2, 2 KOs) with a left hook to the stomach about 30 seconds into the fight, but struck gold almost midway through the fight, dropping Benavides with a left hook to the head. Referee Jack Reiss counted Rodriguez out at 1:30.
Junior featherweight Pablo Rubio (5-0, 3 KOs) struggled early on, grinding out a four round split decision over Juan Carlos Benavides. Rubio dealt with a bloody nose from the opening round, likely caused by a punch from Benavides (5-8-1, 2 KOs). Rubio controlled the last two rounds of the fight, beating Benavides to the punch. One judge scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Benavides, while the other two judge scored the bout 39-37 and 40-36 for Rubio.
Bantamweight Joshua Franco (5-0, 3 KOs) stopped Jorge Perez in the second round of a scheduled six round bout. Franco hurt Perez with a right uppercut-left hook combination, eventually dropping him to the canvas. Franco dropped Perez (2-2, 1 KO) with another right uppercut to the head in round two, promoting referee Dr. Lou Moret to stop the bout at 1:24.
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, junior lightweight Tenochtitlan Nava won his pro debut, decisioning Antonio Martinez (3-7, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision over four rounds. Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 in favor of Nava.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing