Easy win for boxing’s busiest fighter
By Bill Tibbs
Boxing’s busiest fighter is back in action. Saturday night, live from the TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City, Mexico, it was Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete vs. Uriel Lopez. WBO super bantamweight champion Navarrete, of San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico, was coming into the fight at 31-1 with 27 KO’s, while Mexico City’s Lopez was clocking in at 13-13 with 6 KO’s. So, clearly this was a chance for boxing’s busiest promotional firm to get boxing’s busiest fighter back in the ring in a ‘stay busy’ bout.
Navarrete hasn’t been in the ring since February and for him that is a big layoff. He won the WBO super bantamweight title by dismantling, then champion, Isaac Dogboe in 2018. He then made 5 title defenses in 9 months, with 2 of them coming 3 weeks apart; this will be his 6th fight in 13 months. For his Las Vegas based promoter, Top Rank Boxing, this will be their 3rd show this week and the first time they have ventured out of their home base at the MGM Grand (“The Bubble”) where they have twice-weekly shows lined up for the foreseeable future in their summer series.
Navarrete is a throw-back fighter and even with Covid19 restrictions making it very difficult to stay busy, don’t be surprised to see him in the ring 5 times again this year. If he can’t get title fights, he will stay active with non-title bouts. While his style could be described as unspectacular, he just comes straight at you and unloads, his results are most spectacular. He has the wingspan of a welterweight, he hits like a middleweight and he weights 122-pounds; he is, arguably, boxing’s most exciting fighter.
The Main Event
Emanuel ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete TKO 6 Uriel ‘Yuca’ López
For Navarrete, who was fighting at 126-pounds, it was a chance to test the featherweight waters; a division he will certainly see himself in before too long. While Lopez was game and did remain competitive for the first couple of rounds, once Navarrete found his range, it was evidently clear that it was 2 fighters from 2 different levels. After a couple of trips to the canvas for Lopez, the referee thankfully waved it off in the 7th. As ESPN announcer Tim Bradley said before the telecast in describing the WBO 122-pound champion, “Navarrete’s offence, his punching power, his volume is like no other”- he isn’t wrong. Saddle up featherweights – “Vaquero” is coming.
Edwin ‘Pulpo’ Palomares TKO 5 Carlos ‘Chinito’ Ornelas
Sergio Chirino Sánchez KO 3 Gustavo Alan Piña
Ivan Garcia W SD 6 Roberto Palomares
Not unlike ‘The Bubble’ studio set up in Las Vegas, Top Rank had ‘The Bubble’ style studio set up in Mexico City. So, while it isn’t the ideal setting to see live boxing, it is great to see boxing back in action, and fight fans will take what they can get.
*Note: If you ever wondered how important a live, energetic room is for any live entertainment venture – sports, music, whatever - this pandemic has confirmed its imperative role. No matter how great it is, without the live feedback of the audience, for both the performers and the fans, something major is lost. Here’s to the Herculean efforts of Top Rank for doing everything they can, under extremely trying circumstances, to keep live boxing up and running; Bravo TR!