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Avila Perspective, Chap. 46: Tragedy After Big Fight, Ruben Villa and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 46: Tragedy After Big Fight, Ruben Villa and More

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    By David A. Avila

    It’s with great sadness that I report the loss of 13 people who departed from Las Vegas and apparently died when the private chartered jet they boarded went down over Mexico on Sunday. Most of them reportedly had attended the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fight with Daniel Jacobs at T-Mobile Arena last Saturday.

    Canelo issued a statement via Twitter about the victims of the tragedy expressing his sorrow.

    Boxing fans are unique in my opinion. They save their money, plan trips or events around the sport of prizefighting, and gleefully share the moments with anyone who cares.

    Just recently I’ve come to realize that I love people who love boxing. Whether it’s the fighters, trainers, managers, promoters, matchmakers, condition coaches or the millions of men and women who love watching prizefighting, I truly consider all of them my people.

    From Australia to Zimbabwe the sport of boxing exists and the people involved or who support it, well they’re my kind of people. They are usually passionate, understanding, and open-minded of all races, religions and nationalities.

    Join me in giving a toast to those fans who journeyed to Las Vegas to see an epic fight not knowing they would never return home. We will remember you.

    Another day of remembrance occurred on May 7th when Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo set the sports world on fire with their classic encounter in 2005. It remains my favorite fight of all time. I will never forget being in the audience as a journalist and watching these two warriors give their heart and soul inside the prize ring that night at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

    Sadly, two years later on the exact same day, May 7th, Corrales passed away after crashing on his motorcycle. It remains a heartbreaking moment for me. I had shared chats and broken bread with Corrales on occasion. He was warm, unpretentious and always willing to sit down and talk about boxing. He also loved his sweets. I had never met anyone who liked desserts more than “Chico.” He would down eight pieces of cake in 10 minutes and then go back for more.

    Boxing people are the best.

    Thompson Boxing

    Those fans living outside of Southern California may not be familiar with Thompson Boxing Promotions, but they are the pocket-size battleship of the boxing industry. They aren’t very big, but they do pack a wallop.

    Two weeks ago their fighter Danny “Baby Face Assassin” Roman unified the WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles with a fantastic battle against Ireland’s outstanding TJ Doheny. Check that fight out on DAZN.

    On Friday May 10, Thompson Boxing unravels two more of its young stars at Corona, Calif. on a boxing card that will be televised on Showtime.

    Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) meets Luis Alberto Lopez (17-1, 8 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico in the main event at Omega Products International. It’s the Salinas, California featherweight’s second appearance on Showtime.

    Villa (pictured) has a flashy southpaw style that allowed him to run right through Ruben Cervera and hand the undefeated fighter his first loss this past January. Now he gets Lopez who won the WBO International featherweight title this past February.

    It’s a tough fight on paper.

    “I want to be able to say I fought the best and beat the best,” said Villa, 22, a two-time national Golden Gloves champion as an amateur.

    Also on the same card, Michael Dutchover (12-0, 9 KOs) meets Chile’s Ramon Mascarena Jr. (10-0, 5 KOs) in a battle between undefeated lightweights.

    Dutchover, 21, trains in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. but is actually from Texas. This is a big test for the lightweight in facing Mascarena who has never fought outside of Chile. No one knows what he brings to the table but he is the Chilean National champion. But with Dutchover, fans know he’s aggressive and willing to engage. It should be action-packed.

    Another on the same card will be Petr Petrov (39-6-2) who fights Ruben Tamayo (27-12-4) in a lightweight clash.

    Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and information call (714) 935-0900.

    Top Rank in Tucson, Arizona

    A heavy duty fight card showcases two world title fights that are doozies. You can watch both on ESPN on Saturday May 11.

    First, WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt (35-1) fights former champion Francisco Vargas (25-1-2) in a rematch. The last time they met Berchelt took the title from Vargas who had been involved in numerous bloody battles.

    Their first encounter took place two years ago. Now, Berchelt, 27, is a heavy favorite to repeat the bloody beating he gave Vargas back in January 2017. Since that fight the Cancun, Mexico fighter has battered four opponents with three not going the distance. He seems to be getting better.

    Vargas, 34, only has that loss to Berchelt on his resume. He was involved in the Fight of the Year against Japan’s Takashi Miura in 2015. The Mexico City prizefighter has never been in a boring fight. He’s like the Red Cross, he always gives blood when he fights. Usually, it’s his own blood. But he loves to throw punches and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Another world title fight pits Isaac Dogboe against the guy who took his WBO super bantamweight world title away from him – Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete.

    Dogboe (20-1, 14 KOs) was confidently enjoying his world title belt when he met long-armed Navarrete (26-1, 22 KOs) who specializes in beating up the shorter guys. That was last December in New York City. This time both are fighting in Tucson, Arizona were Navarrete will have a sort of hometown advantage. It’s a mere two hours away from the Mexican border.

    Whoever wins this fight will probably get a crack at Danny Roman who holds the WBA and IBF versions.

    Both title fights take place at the Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday.

    Super Welters

    Now that Canelo Alvarez has left the premises, the search for the next super welterweight kingpin begins.

    Jarrett Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) defends the IBF and WBA super welterweight titles against Julian “J-Rock” Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday May 11, in Fairfax, Virginia. FOX will televise the encounter and several other notable fights.

    The last time Hurd entered the boxing ring was in a supporting role in Los Angeles on the undercard of Deontay Wilder versus Tyson Fury. On that December night at the Staples Center, the tall and awkward fighting Hurd allowed Britain’s Jason Welborn to take the initiative and coolly assessed his skills. Then he lowered the boom with a body shot and that was that.

    Williams fights out of Philadelphia and only has a loss to one of the Charlo brothers, Jermall. He never saw the punch coming. Since that loss he’s racked up several wins to get back a shot at a title.

    Another bout on the card features super lightweights Mario Barrios (23-0, 15 KOs) meeting Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco (20-1, 12 KOs) in a 10 round affair.

    It’s a very tough match for Barrios who has slowly been passing all the tests one by one. Velasco was last seen providing WBA and WBC titlist Regis Prograis a tough time for eight rounds until he succumbed to the pounding given by the New Orleans slugger.

    If Velasco, 32, still has something left, he could give Barrios a struggle.

    Barrios, 23, not only has power but good speed. The San Antonio fighter could be headed for an eventual showdown with Prograis. Saturday will shed some light on his abilities.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Very touching tribute, David. Boxing fans are the best. They (we) share something that is difficult to articulate but very real. I join you in this toast. May God look over them.