Fighters placed on a significant Cinco de Mayo weekend card in Las Vegas like Canelo vs Bivol get an unmatched opportunity to shine, gain new fans, and impress their promoters and matchmakers. It's an investment in their future. Like many monetary moves, some pay off, and some don't.
Judges Show Some Love, But Fans Don't
The improbable rise of super lightweight Montana “Too Pretty” Love of Cleveland (18-0-1, 9 KOs) continues. One year ago, he was known only to hardcore fans, boxing in venues like Atlanta's Buckhead Fight Club. When Jake Paul tapped him to appear in front of his hometown fans on the Paul vs. Woodley undercard, Love's flashy performance was the night's hit. His big personality and his cute little French bulldog Poppy were a bonus.
Love didn't deliver the same flash after his live rap accompanied ring walk, trading knockdowns with Gabriel Golluz Valenzuela (25-3-1, 15 KOs) in rounds two and three. From that point forward, between rounds three and 12, there was more excitement when Mike Tyson walked in to take his seat for the main event. Love was fortunate to squeak by with a unanimous decision win by cards all reading 114-112. The Latino crowd hissed and booed during the bout. Love's engaging personality will secure another visible fight, but he can't repeat a performance like this.
R2: dow 30 seconds into the Gabrial Gollaz Valenzuela of Guadalaajara (25-2-1, 15 KOs)
Giyasov Wins By Way Too Wide a Margin
Shakram Giyasov of Uzbekistan (12-0, 9 KOs) went about his business against Christian Gomez of Guadalajara (22-2-1, 20 KOs), picking his shots efficiently and effectively. Giyasov dropped Gomez in round four on a pretty left hook counterpunch and rocked Gomez at the end of the fifth round. Giyasov slapped his glove together to say, “Let's go!” to Gomez.
He may regret it. Gomez appeared to knock down Giyasov in the eighth to the delight of the partisan Mexican crowd, but referee Kenny Bayliss ruled it a slip. In the tenth round, feeling a bit more urgency, Giyasov scored his second knockdown of Gomez, but the durable opponent got up and kept the fight competitive to the final bell. The judges saw it all Giyasov's way, with scorecards of 99-88 X2 and 98-89 for a unanimous decision. Even considering two knockdowns, the cards were too wide, letting Giyasov off a little more lightly than Gomez deserved.
Marc Castro Goes the Distance for the First Time
Super featherweight Marc Castro of Fresno (6-0, 5 KOs) and Pedro Vicente of Puerto Rico. (7-4-1, 2 KOs) went the six-round distance, a first for the California prospect. Castro won with a shutout unanimous decision, 60-54 X 3. Castro is still learning his craft at age 22. He makes few mistakes, and his punches are sure and well-chosen. He’ll need to move into the “no risk, no reward” mindset to build a larger fanbase in the not-too-distant future.
Big Bang From the Big Man Outta China
With Filip Hrgovic of Croatia out due to his father's death, Zhilei Zhang of China (24-01, 19 KOs) faced late replacement Scott Alexander of Los Angeles (16-5-2, 8 KOs). He lived up to his nickname “Big Bang,” blasting Alexander to the canvas with a snapping straight left. No ten-count necessary. Zhang may not have thrown more than ten punches total by the time of the knockout at 1:54 of the round. Let’s reschedule Zhang and Hrgovic as soon as possible.
Early action: Velasquez, Silva, Abduraimov, Molina winners
Joselito Velasquez of Mexico, now training in Los Angeles (15-0-1, 10 KOs), delivered a series of left hooks in round six, dropping Jose Soto of Columbia (15-2, 6 KOs) hard to the canvas. He got up, but referee Mike Ortega waved it off at 1:06. Velasquez, age 28, needs performances like this to stay competitive in the flyweight and super fly talent pool.
Super middleweight Aaron “Superman” Silva of Monterrey, Mexico (10-0, 7 KOs) delivered a minor upset win in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd of fans, giving local Las Vegas prospect Alexis Espino his first loss. Silva had Espino pinned to the ropes in the fourth round, driving to the body. Referee Celestino Ruiz didn't delay the inevitable outcome and, against Espino’s protests, stopped the fight at 1:17 of the round.
Elnur Abduraimov of Uzbekistan (9-0, 8 KOs) remained unbeaten (9-0) with a quick round two TKO over Manual Correa of (11-1, 7 KOs) of Miami via Cuba. The Brooklyn-based super featherweight is one to watch as he steps up against better talent.
Fernando Molina of Guadalajara improved to 8-0 with a split decision win over Ricardo Valdovinos of Guadalajara (8-2, 5 KOs). Scorecards read 57-56 and 58-56 for Molina, 56-55 for Valdovinos.
Putting the FALKENTALK hat on, allow a brief closing rant. Why don't fans get to their seats and enjoy the whole card? Some of the most enjoyable moments during a big-time fight card happen during the early fights when it's still quiet. Occasionally you get to see a fighter who becomes a star. In my case, that includes Devin Haney's US debut. If you buy a ticket, you should get to your seat long before the interval between the main event and co-main. All fighters train just as hard for their bouts. The youngsters sacrifice for your entertainment. It's a basic sign of respect. So get your ass in your seat. You can bring your drinks.