By: William Holmes
With Olympic boxing dominating the headlines, one cannot forget that the professionals are still out there fighting, and on Friday Night Fights ESPN broadcast a card from Cabazon, California featuring Darley Perez and Baha Mamadjonov in the lightweight division and Chris Avalos and Yenifel Vincente in the junior featherweight division.
The opening bout was between Chris Avalos (20-2) and Yenifel Vincente (23-1-2). Vincente was making his debut in the United States and his inexperience showed on national TV. Vincente was at times tentative and Avalos was clearly the stronger and more technically sound fighter. Avalos tagged Vincente with perfectly timed counters whenever Vincente threw wildly, and Avalos was also very effective with his jab.
Vincente attempted to pick up the pace in the fifth round, but he ate a hard left hook that droped him to the mat. Avalos was able to finish strongly and there was no doubt as to who was the winner when the official scores were read. The judges scored it 97-92 on all three cards in favor of Chris Avalos.
The main event was between Darley Perez (26-0) and Baha Mamadjonov (11-1) in the lightweight division. Perez is a highly touted prospect, but he struggled against Mamadjonov early on in the fight. Mamadjonov was in fact dominating in the early rounds and Perez at times looked baffled and was unable to defend against Mamadjonov’s offense. Mamadjonov stunned Perez in the second round with a three-punch combination, and Perez had to hang on just to survive the round and avoid a costly knockdown.
However, Perez eventually figured out Mamadjonov’s style and came on strong in the middle-to-late rounds of the fight. It also helped Perez that Mamadjonov appeared to tire and was not in the physical shape necessary to compete in a ten round fight. A knockdown from an uppercut by Perez may have been the difference in the fight. Perez was perhaps a bit too cautious after the knockdown and failed to capitalize on an opportunity to finish the fight.
In the end, Perez squeaked out a split decision with scores of 96-93, 95-94 for Perez, and 95-94 for Mamadjonov.