Golden Boy on ESPN Results: Garcia shows his Class and O’Sullivan Cruises
By Eric Lunger
From the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, another chapter in the venerable Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry was written, albeit in this case Mexican-American, as 19-year-old sensation Ryan “El Flash” Garcia took on hard-hitting veteran Jason Velez in a ten-round junior lightweight clash.
With his boyish good looks and undeniable charisma, Garcia is a worthy member of the Golden Boy stable and heir-in-waiting to Oscar de la Hoya’s legacy as a Los Angelino and proud son of Mexico.
Velez came out in the first working inside and pounding the body. Garcia was patient, but seemed unaccustomed to the tactics he was facing. The second was an even round, with Garcia landing a few powerful counters that may have swayed the judges.
In the third, Garcia showed more confidence in handling Velez’s pressure and countering as the Puerto Rican fighter came in. In the final minute of the round, Garcia caught Velez with some solid combinations, wobbling Velez momentarily. Garcia’s accuracy and hand speed are impressive, indeed, elite level, and he showed a poise beyond his years in the middle rounds, not chasing the knock out.
Accuracy again was the theme of the fifth round, when Garcia landed the cleaner and more accurate shots. By contrast, the sixth featured a lot of clinching and holding until the last minute, when Garcia unleashed a barrage of combinations. As the rounds ticked by, Velez continued to hold and work inside, while Garcia continued to use his accuracy to score. It was hard to see Velez winning any rounds that way. Did Velez’s plan succeed in slowing Garcia down? In the eighth, it did not seem so.
In the ninth, Garcia began to move and circle, to the dismay of the crowd. But again, Garcia fought with composure, doing enough to score and win the round. In the final frame, Velez gave everything he had, and Garcia handled it skillfully and maturely. It was a good fight by both men, but Velez never did enough to break through nor to avoid Garcia’s counters. The judges scored the bout 99-91 across the board for Ryan Garcia.
In the co-feature, rugged and determined Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) of Ireland took on Berlin Abreu (14-1, 11 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. O’Sullivan, 33, sports facial hair from the 1910s, but his boxing skill-set and strength are very modern. Abreu, a full decade younger than O’Sullivan but moving up in weight, was coming off a career-defining win over Argentine David Peralta in December of 2107. Nonetheless, O’Sullivan presented a definite step up in class.
O’Sullivan is a pressure fighter and a power puncher, as Abreu found out in the first round. The Dominican seemed willing to absorb O’Sullivan’s punches, but it seemed a questionable game plan. It was more jabs and hooks from O’Sullivan in the second, though Abreu did respond with momentary offense of his own. That said, the Irishman landed some clean and hard punches. At the end of the round, Abreu seemed to think he had seen something, as he started to drop his hands and look for a big upper cut.
The third round was lopsided, as O’Sullivan landed repeated left hooks to the body and powerful short rights to the head. With 34 seconds to go in the round, Abreu contemptuously spit his mouth piece, or perhaps he was frustrated with the beating that he was taking. Referee Gerard White had no choice but to deduct a point. In the corner between rounds, Abreu’s corner surrendered, and Abreu made a quick exit to the boos of the crowd.
O’Sullivan runs his record to 28-2 with 19 KOs, and remains a candidate to face middleweight kingpin Gennady “GGG” Golovkin at some future date.
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Sur Rungvisai Defeats Estrada
By: Sean Crose
The Forum in Las Angeles, California hosted “Superfly II” on Saturday as a variety of top super flyweights and flyweights battled for acclaim and supremacy in two of the sport’s most exciting divisions. The opening bout was between Donny Nietes,40-1-4, and Juan Carlos Reveco, 39-3, for the WBO flyweight title strap. The first round was fast paced, if uneventful. Reveco wasn’t able to do anything notable in the second, but Nietes certainly wasn’t walking away with it – at least not yet. Indeed, the crowd started to boo in the third due to the lack of action.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
The crowd continued to boo in the fourth, but Nietes was effectively jabbing, then going to Reveco’s body. Reveco was, however, able land effectively to the body himself. Sure enough, the HBO team was loathe to give Riveco credit, but he still managed to land solidly at times in the fifth. Things got interesting in the sixth, as both men nailed each other. Nietes not only edged it, however, but had Riveco clearly hurt and stumbling at the end of the round.
And, in the seventh, Reveco was sent down to the mat. It was enough for Reveco’s corner, which stopped the fight.
Next upth, e colorful Carlos Cuadras, 35-2-1, faced McWilliams Arroyo, 16-3, for the WBC silver super flyweight strap. Both fighters were left waiting in the ring until the paramedics, who had left with Reveco, returned. Once the fight was able to start, Arroyo asserted himself right off the bat by landing hard. The second round, however, saw Cuadras rock his man late in the chapter. The third saw Cuadras again assert himself with hard landed shots. It was intriguing, though, and anyone’s to win.
Things remained intriguing in the fourth. It was a rough, hard hitting affair. Arroyo rocked his man at least twice in the fifth. Cuadras, though, kept things intense. The sixth was close, as was the seventh, a round that saw Arroyo starting to showboat. The eighth was also a tight round, though Arroyo may have edged it with better shots. The ninth and tenth kept up the tempo. Both men were tired, true, but certainly didn’t seem as tired as they probably should have been. Again, it was a tough fight to call. The judges ended up ruling it for Arroyo by majority decision.
It was time for the main event. Juan Francisco Estrada, 36-2, met the conqueror of Chocolatito Gonzalez, the 44-4-1 Siskaret Sor Rungvisai for Sor Rungvisai’s WBC World Super Flyweight title. Both men fought a sharp, gunslinger cold first round. The second round was also exciting – but Estrada started showing his sharpness by landing clean and on target. By the third, Sur Rungvisai started working the body – hard. Rungvisai continued to hammer the body in the fourth – and Estrada was starting to show the effects. He wasn’t slipping away from the Thai slugger as fast as he had been. By the middle rounds, Sur Rungvisai’s power was telling the tale. Estrada was brave and game but the power of Sur Rungvisai’s power was telling the story.
Estrada nailed Sur Rungvisai in the eighth, firmly inserting himself back into the fight. Sur Rungvisai returned the favor, though. It was some kind of fight. Estrada continued to ride his momentum in the ninth. Sur Rungvisai came back strong in the tenth, but it remained a tight, thrilling affair. Estrada had his moments in the eleventh, but it may not have been enough to take the round. The final chapter was explosive for Estrada.
It wasn’t enough. Sur Rungvisai won a majority decision.