By Francisco Salazar
LAS VEGAS - In a crossroads bout, Rene Alvarado dropped Denis Shafikov of Russia en route to a 10 round split decision.
The victory was Alvarado's fourth in a row.
Alvarado (28-8, 19 KOs) was the aggressor from the opening bout, walking down the southpaw Shafikov, who fought for a world title at lightweight and is now competing at 130 pounds.
Things became more complicated for Shafikov in the second round, when he was cut over the left eye. Blood came out profusely throughout the bout, which trainer Abel Sanchez attempted to stop in between rounds.
Alvarado dropped Shafikov (38-4-1, 20 KOs) in round five. Alvarado did land a right hand to the body, but Shafikov tripped over Alvarado's foot as he was moving to his right.
Sensing he was down in the fight, Shafikov pressed the action, finding a home for repeatedly landing left cross to the head of Alvarado.
Both fighters had their moments during the last couple of rounds, letting their hands go until the final bell.
One judge scored the bout 95-94 for Shafikov, while the other two judges scored the bout 96-93 and 96-94 for Alvarado, who resides in Managua, Nicaragua.
Munguia stops Valenzuela
In the co-feature of the HBO Latino broadcast, junior middleweight contender Jaime Munguia made his U.S. debut a successful and impressive one, stopping Paul Valenzuela in the second round.
Munguia (26-0, 22 KOs) dropped Valenzuela with a counter right hand to the head early in the second round. Valenzuela beat the count, but fought on wobbly legs.
A barrage of punches from Munguia dropped Valenzuela a second time in the round. Valenzuela stood up and tried to fight back, but was battered until referee Jay Nady stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:26.
Zanfer Promotions is very high on the 21-year-old Munguia and will likely have him fight again in the United States in 2018.
Valenzuela (20-7, 14 KOs) has now lost his last three bouts.
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 (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing