CARSON, Calif., May 4, 2018 – Cinco de Mayo weekend breezed in as the Goodyear Blimp circled overhead at the Stub Hub Center, where 6,625 boxing fans saw three fighters working toward the next level in their professional careers.
Ryan Garcia goes the distance for his 15th win
Rising star Ryan “Flash” Garcia (15-0, 13 KOs) of Victorville, California went ten rounds for the first time, winning a decisive unanimous decision over Jayson Valez of Puerto Rico (26-5-1, 18 KOs). Scores were 99 to 91 on all three cards.
Velez is the best opponent put in front of Garcia to date. He showed he wouldn’t be a pushover, winning the first round and giving Garcia all he could handle. The veteran Velez crowded Garcia and frustrated him by fighting on the inside, shutting down Garcia’s offense. In turn, Garcia would hold, and the fight slowed at times as the pair tangled.
Garcia started fighting at a bit more distance to prevent Velez from shutting him down, but continued to be aggressive. The tall junior lightweight tagged Velez to the body, followed by a shot to the head, and it got Velez’ attention as he wobbled a bit. Garcia was successful in rocking Velez again in the fifth with two right hooks in succession. Throughout the fight, Garcia ’s fans reacted wildly with every successful punch.
“I feel I did great, I didn’t expect for him to be such a durable fighter,” said Garcia after the bout, admitting, “Yes, I understand the crowd, I’m 19 years old, I’ve got a long way to go … It’s all part of the game, man, I’m still learning.” Garcia said he realized he would have increased his chances of stopping Velez if he’d invested in more body work.
“I want to thank Jayson Velez for teaching how to go longer rounds, and how to react. I’m just going to learn from it,” said Garcia. “I want to test my skills, my will, my power, if you lose you lose.”
“I didn’t think he would last with me but I was proven wrong,” admitted Velez. “He needs a little more experience but he’s going to be big. He moves well and was able to keep up with me. He’s a great opponent and we put on a great show. I’m proud of what we did here.”
CompuBox stats show why the scorecards were so lopsided in Garcia’s favor. He landed 152 of 531 punches thrown (29 percent) to 54 of 311 for Velez (17 percent). Garcia landed more than double the power punches, 120 to 54. Garcia only landed 32 jabs of 192 thrown (17 percent), but Velez didn’t do much better, landing 17 of 94 jabs thrown.
Ryan Garcia has good reflexes and he was able to evade many of Velez’s punches through upper body movement. At a few points the pair traded wild shots and lit up the crowd, but Garcia couldn’t stop Velez before the final bell sounded. Nevertheless, it was precisely the fight experience Garcia needed. Flashy first round knockouts are fun, but eventually Garcia will need to rely on what he’s learned in the trenches against opponents like Velez when he faces tougher opposition.
Garcia’s fans roughed him up a bit with some catcalls, expecting something more spectacular. It’s important to bear in mind Garcia is only 19 years old, still figuring out what to do with his raw talent and how to handle himself in the limelight. The best thing he can do is review video of the fight and get right back in the gym to work on his shortcomings.
Gary O’Sullivan pounds out a TKO win in three rounds
Before he threw a single punch, Irish middleweight Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan got the crowd in his corner. He made his ring walk to a classic Mexican mariachi song, wearing a sombrero, a kelly green tartan kilt and green boxing shows adorned with shamrocks. He wore the kllt for the fight, which has to be a first at the Stub Hub Center.
O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) delivered in the ring, stopping Berlin Abreu of Puerto Rico (14-2, 11 KOs) for a third round TKO win.
“It was an honor to fight in front of the Mexican people on Cinco de Mayo weekend, and also an honor to have such legends as Oscar De La Hoya and (wrestler) Chuck LIddell ringside to support me,” said O’Sullivan via Twitter after the bout.
The Irish fighter went right to Abreu, blasting him from the opening bell with a nice mix of body shots and whipping left hooks. Abreu, who had been out of the ring nearly 18 months, never got his feet under him or his hands in front of him. With few exceptions, it became target practice for O’Sullivan. Fans flinched when they heard O’Sullivan hit Abreu to the body.
It wasn’t long before Abreu appeared too fatigued to fight or even protect himself well. Near the end of the third round, Abreu spit his mouthpiece out in a desperate attempt to get O’Sullivan off him, and got a point taken away for the blatant move. It didn’t help him. Though he finished the third round on his feet, his corner called the referee over and had the bout stopped. It was a wise decision.
“He could punch, and caught me with a couple of good ones,” said O’Sullivan. “I came to do my job, and that was get the win. This win doesn’t compare to what’s waiting for me. Who knows? You might see me on the next major Mexican holiday weekend,” alluding to Mexican Independence Day on September 16. It’s possible O’Sullivan could become an opponent for Canelo Alvarez’s return to the ring after his suspension and after recovering from minor knee surgery. Stay tuned.
Seniesa Estrada wanted a stoppage superbad, and she got one
Los Angeles native Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada came out guns ablazing from the opening bell, as if she was in a hurry to go somewhere after her fight. The undefeated flyweight (13-0, 3 KOs) bulldozed a game but outclassed Amarillis Adorno of Puerto Rico (1-7), winning by third round TKO.
It didn’t help that Adorno suffered a serious cut over her right eyebrow, apparently ruled to be from a punch. Adorno’s cutman cleaned it up enough for her to proceed to the third round. But with Estrada strafing Adorno, the referee asked the ringside physician to look her over. He called a halt to the bout at 38 seconds of the third round.
“I knew I was going to knock her out at some point … I just kept landing my left hook knowing she’d give up soon,” said Estrada.
Estrada took the bout on short notice. It was her second fight at the Stub Hub Center. Her third could be against her fellow Golden Boy fighter, U.S. Olympian Marlen Esparza. These two don’t like each other at all, which adds welcome spice to a good matchup.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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