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The Avila Perspective, Chap. 45: Looking Back at Danny Roman, Vegas Notes and More

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  • The Avila Perspective, Chap. 45: Looking Back at Danny Roman, Vegas Notes and More

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    By David A. Avila

    Traffic congestion in Los Angeles rates among the worst in the world. Yet, those who struggled through murderous traffic to see last week’s fight card on a late Friday afternoon were rewarded with the top boxing card this year.

    It was a thriller.

    Except for one dud, the entire Forum fight card showcased enough action to make frustrated drivers forget the crunching L.A. traffic nightmares to get to Inglewood. One major drawback was the $30 parking cost. What the..?

    But the multiple championship fights, especially the super bantamweight and super flyweight world title fights, were blazing.

    The L.A. area finally has another local hero in Danny “The Baby Face Assassin” Roman. His super bantamweight world title unification match with Ireland’s TJ Doheny probably woke up the ghosts of past champions who fought there.

    First, anytime you match a Mexican against an Irishman you are going to get the real deal. I’m sure the late Don Chargin was watching from above and smiling at the matchup. In his days at the Olympic Auditorium he would often pit Irish fighters like Frankie Crawford and Art Hafey against Mexican pugilists such as Bobby Chacon and Ruben Olivares. They were guaranteed to light up the arena.

    Roman (on the left) and Doheny did not disappoint. It was like watching the Academy Awards for prizefighting and these two 122-pounders delivered every ounce of guts into their performance. It was perfectly amazing.

    It’s what fans truly want. They want to be amazed and inspired and they got it from Doheny who rose from two knockdowns and from Roman who was reeling from those rocket lefts delivered from the Irish fighter. This was prizefighting at its best.

    The Matchroom Boxing card assisted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions put their heads together and amassed one of the most thrilling fight shows I’ve seen in years.

    Believe me. The several thousand fight fans that tortured themselves driving across town to watch this card will do it again and bring their friends. And those fans watching on DAZN, more than got their money’s worth.

    So what’s next?

    Las Vegas

    The once boxing capital of the world has been relegated to two big weekends a year now. Some blame the Nevada State Athletic Commission for making it difficult to stage big fights and others blame the promoters who refuse to match their top fighters against each other.

    Cinco de Mayo weekend remains a big time of the year for boxing and here comes Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs in a middleweight unification match at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday May 4.

    Unification is in the air and that’s a good thing for boxing fans.

    Nobody wants multiple world champions in the same weight class. Fans can’t remember the true champion nowadays and that’s a bad thing. Imagine baseball fans not knowing who won the World Series.

    “Every single one of my fights is important. Every single fight marks history for me. It's another check. (Jacobs) is the second best middleweight in the world, so it's another step in that direction, to keep writing my history,” said Alvarez.

    Canelo has risen to the top of the boxing world but it’s a tenuous hold. In Mexico he’s loved and hated simultaneously and that spells big numbers in viewership. Jacobs has a decent following but nothing compared to Canelo. Can he attract viewers to DAZN’s fan base remains the big question.

    “It's the biggest fight that can be made, especially at the middleweight division. I'm looking forward to displaying great skill Saturday night and I'm looking forward to being victorious,” said Jacobs.

    One other intriguing match on Saturday’s T-Mobile card features young power-hitter Vergil Ortiz facing veteran Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera in a super lightweight clash set for 10 rounds. Both fighters train in different parts of Riverside, Calif. which has become boxing central for the area known as the Inland Empire which is east of Los Angeles County.

    It’s new school versus old school once again.

    Ortiz (12-0, 12 KOs) has never won by decision. All of his previous foes have been stopped before the final round. He’s 12 for 12 when it comes to knockouts. The lean tall Texan trains with Robert Garcia in the hills of Riverside. He has power in both fists and stamina to boot. If he wore a black hat he would be the villain, but in actuality he’s a nice kid with musical talent. He plays a mean guitar when not busting heads.

    “I'm definitely one of the hardest workers in boxing, and May 4, it's going to show. I'm not going to get tired. I'm going to show that I can go even more rounds,” said Ortiz about fighting a veteran like Herrera.

    Herrera (24-8) trains in other Riverside hills nearby and has been fighting world champions since his third year as a professional. Despite fighting world beaters like “Mighty Mike” Anchondo, Ruslan Provodnikov, Mike Alvarado and Danny “Swift” Garcia, he has never been stopped. Most experts swear he defeated Garcia back in March 2014 in Puerto Rico and should have been wearing those world title belts. It’s one of the most egregious decisions ever rendered. They don’t call Herrera “El Maestro” for nothing. He’s slick, smart and tough as they come.

    "It doesn't mean nothing, it doesn't mean anything to me. I don't care what he does. It's what I'm going to do. I don't care about his record,” said Herrera, 38. “I just want to go out there and give it my best and give a good fight to the crowd and come out with a win.”

    Last weekend a similar matchup in women’s prizefighting took place with undefeated Selina Barrios losing to veteran fighter Melissa Hernandez. Will history repeat again this week?

    It should be a very interesting match between Ortiz and Herrera.

    Hard Rock Hotel

    Golden Boy Promotions has a boxing card featuring mostly middleweights at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday May 2. Doors open at 2 p.m.

    Canada’s Steven Butler (26-1-1) meets Vitalii Kopylenko (28-1) of Ukraine in a middleweight clash set for 10 rounds on the main event.

    Butler, 23, fights out of Montreal and needs a win to move up the ladder to contention. Kopylenko, 35, trains in Oxnard and needs a win to stay relevant in the prizefighting world. Something has got to give.

    Also on the fight card is local fighter Francisco Esparza (9-0-1) in a 10-round featherweight fight with Aram Avagyan (8-0-1) for the WBC Silver title. It’s Avagyan’s first fight outside of Russia.


    An IBF super flyweight world title fight between champion Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2) of the Philippines and Japan’s Ryuichi Funai (31-7) will be held Saturday May 4, at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, California. The Top Rank fight card will be streamed on ESPN+.

    Ancajas, 27, a southpaw, fought to a draw in his last fight against Alejandro Barrios at the Oracle Arena in Oakland last September. Funai, 33, is getting his first shot at a world title and is fighting for the first time outside of Japan. It should be interesting.

    Battles between the Philippines and Japan are always pretty intense.

    Fallen Fighter

    Izaac Colunga, 25, is still recovering from a gunshot wound incurred more than a month ago while at a party in Riverside, Calif. The tragedy took place on March 3. The super featherweight prospect was attending a party and sitting inside a home when someone riding outside in a car shot into the house where people were gathered. Colunga was hit by the gunfire and immediately taken to a nearby hospital. Currently he is in a rehabilitation center in Colorado. He just had his birthday yesterday on April 30.

    Colunga was part of famed trainer Robert Garcia’s team and had recently fought in San Bernardino on Mikey Garcia’s first boxing card. He won by first round knockout. Now the Colunga family seeks helps with his hospital costs. A Go Fund Me page has been created for those wishing to contribute:

    Photo credit: Al Applerose

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel