By John J. Raspanti
Egidijus Kavaliauskas wanted to make a statement Saturday night at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, CA. He didn’t. Kavaliauskas did regain his NABF welterweight title by defeating Juan Carlos Abreu, but his performance wouldn’t make many boxing fans clamor for him to fight one of the top welterweights.
In the opening stanza, the power-punching Kavaliauskas (20-0, 16 KOs) looked to set up his shots. Abreu (21-4-1, 19 KOs) obliged by standing right in front of him. A clash of heads opened a cut over the right eye of Kavaliauskas. Abreu was also dripping blood due to the same headbutt.
The aggressive Kavaliauskas landed a hard jab in round two. He followed up with a solid left hook. Abreu had no desire to fight on the inside. He connected with a combination that knocked Kavaliauskas back a step.
In rounds three and four, Kavaliauskas stalked but the action was limited. He landed a left and right. The taller Abreu moved to his left and fired a sweeping right hand that missed. He did land a good right hand to the head.
Abreu used lateral movement in round five. He stuck out his long jab. Kavaliauskas right eye was leaking blood. That cut was caused by a punch. The awkward Abreu was making life difficult on the heavily favored Kavaliauskas. Rounds six and seven were close- Kavaliauskas landed a solid right that caused Abreu to pause. His jab was landing to the head and body. A big right found pay dirt. Abreu fought back with some power shots of his own.
Kavaliauskas, a two-time Olympian, did more good work with his jab in round eight. Abreu was hanging back, looking to counter. Kavaliauskas clobbered Abreu with solid blows in the last two rounds.
The scores were 97-93 (twice) and 96-94-all for Kavaliauskas.
In a boring heavyweight encounter, Andy Ruiz Jr. (31-1, 20 KOs) mastered Kevin Johnson over 10 rounds. The victory was the second in a row for Ruiz since losing a majority decision to then WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. Ruiz was able to outwork Johnson throughout the lackluster affair.
Andy Vences outpointed Frank De Alba over 10 rounds to retain his World Boxing Continental America super featherweight title.
In rounds one and two, Vences (21-0, 12 KOs) beat De Alba, a southpaw, to the punch with jabs to the head and body. A number of lead rights also landed. One wobbled De Alba. Vences, 27, continued to sting De Alba with crisp blows in round three. De Alba (22-4-1, 9 KOs) landed a left to the chin and a number of jabs. Vences worked the body and fired combinations. The round was close.
Vences, coming off a disputed draw in his last fight, came out working his jab in round four. He landed a number of jolting rights to the body. His upped activity was bothering De Alba. Vences continued loading up on his shots in round five.
He forced the action and went back to the body. Vences switched to southpaw and found some success. A thudding left landed. Vences continued to mix up his attack on rounds six and seven. He was winning, but the crowd wasn’t thrilled. De Alba was hanging around but not doing much.
In round nine, Vences came out to close the show. He hurt the gutsy De Alba with a right. Vences followed up with a combination to the body. De Alba surprised Vences in the last round by forcing the action. Why hadn’t he done this earlier? Vences fought back and was control as the final bell rang.
The scores were 99-91 (twice) and 98-92.
Super featherweight phenom Gabriel Flores Jr. (9-0, 5 KOs) dominated James De Herrera (4-4, 3 KOs) to win a wide six round unanimous decision. Flores came out popping his jab and firing combinations. A quick left hook put De Herrera on the seat of his pants. Flores continued to outclass De Herrera in rounds two and three.
De Herrera tried to rough up Flores on the inside, but his tactics didn’t bother Flores. The 18-year-old from Stockton used his quick feet to set up a crisp one-two that stopped De Herrera in his tracks.
Flores cracked De Herrera with more left hooks in rounds five and six, but his jab had disappeared. De Herrera, from Texas, never stopped trying, but the difference in skill was pretty evident.
All three judges had Flores winning every round.
Super featherweight Joseph Adorno scored his eight-consecutive knockout by blasting out old pro Guadalupe De Leon in round three. De Leon did well at times until Adorno connected with a sharp left hook to the temple. A combination of blows sent him to the canvas. De Leon,39, got up, but an accumulation of punches forced referee Jerad White to wave off the contest.
Santos Ortego (2-0, 1 KO), managed by former world champion Tim Bradley, used his advantages in height and reach to capture a four-round unanimous decision over a determined Ivan Martino (3-2, 0 KO)
Super lightweight Ruben Rodriguez (3-0, 1 KOs) outpointed Richard Howell (2-2-2, 1 KO) over four rounds. Rodriguez shook Howell up with a couple of right hands.