Ruben Villa advanced another step toward a featherweight world title shot Friday night.
The elusive, skillful southpaw expertly out-boxed rugged Cuban veteran Alexei Collado in their 10-round, 126-pound fight in Shreveport, Louisiana. Each judge – Pat Dayton (99-91), Todd Singletary (98-92) and Keith Thibadeaux (98-92) – scored the bout by huge margins for the unbeaten, 22-year-old Villa, of Salinas, California.
Winning a unanimous decision in this “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event improved Villa’s record to 18-0. Miami’s Collado, 31, lost for the third time as a pro (26-3, 23 KOs).
Well aware that he needed a knockout to win, Collado came out firing at the start of the 10th round. A right hand by Collado landed 45 seconds into the final round, but Villa wasn’t hurt by that punch.
Collado couldn’t connect with another flush shot for the rest of that 10th round.
Collado went down 1:05 into the ninth round, but referee Mark Nelson ruled it was the result of a slip. Villa kept avoiding Collado’s punches throughout that ninth round and let his hands go in combination at times.
Villa landed jabs, straight lefts and rights to the body during a dominant eighth round for him.
A right hook by Villa caught Collado in the final minute of the seventh round. A straight left to the body by Villa stopped Collado from coming forward later in the seventh.
Villa’s left hand snapped back Collado’s head with just over 50 seconds to go in the sixth round. Villa landed a right to the body and followed with a right hook up top later in the sixth.
An accidental clash of heads caused a brief break in the action early in the fifth round.
Villa pumped his jab throughout the fourth round and slipped most of Collado’s punches. Collado landed a right hand with just under a minute remaining in the fourth.
A left hand by Villa knocked Collado off balance with seven seconds to go in the fourth round. Collado then pushed Villa to the canvas just before the fourth round concluded.
Collado connected with a right hand to the side of Villa’s head with 40 seconds to go in the third round. Villa took that shot well and avoided taking another hard shot for the rest of that round.
Villa buckled Collado’s legs by landing a jab to the body about 55 seconds into the second round. A right hand by Collado caught Villa while he was moving backward late in the second round.
Villa used his jab throughout the first round and stayed out of Collado’s punching range. Collado followed him around the ring, but couldn’t connect with a clean shot.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.