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Avila Perspective, Chap. 149: Kali Reis, PacMan and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 149: Kali Reis, PacMan and More

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    By David A. Avila

    A world title fight headed by Kali Reis showcases women’s boxing near the California/Mexico border.

    Reis (17-7-1, 5 KOs) defends the WBA super lightweight world title against a former world champion in Australia’s Diana Prazak (14-3, 9 KOs) on Friday, Aug. 20, at Sycuan Casino in San Diego County. The DiBella Entertainment card will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

    If you haven’t noticed, women’s prizefighting has taken giant leaps especially in the past year.

    While men’s prizefighting stalled a bit due to the pandemic and fans not allowed, the women thrived.

    On Friday, women spearhead a solid fight card with Providence, Rhode Island’s Reis not only defending the WBA title but hunting for the vacant IBO version as well. Opposing her will be hard-hitting Prazak who formerly held the WBC super featherweight title.

    Prazak never lost a fight as a super featherweight. It was only when she ventured above 130 pounds that she was beaten by Holly Holm, Delfine Persoon and Layla McCarter. Once again, she moves into a heavier weight class against Reis. But Prazak does wield firepower.

    Back in 2013, fighting against then WBC super featherweight titlist Frida Wallberg, the Aussie fighter knocked down the champion twice for a stoppage win. But as Wallberg walked back to her corner she staggered and fell. Prazak’s trainer Lucia Rijker ran over to help Wallberg who was ambulanced to a hospital suffering from a brain hemorrhage. (Wallberg thankfully recovered and was able to live a normal life.)

    After losing a fight to McCarter in a Big Knockout Boxing event in Las Vegas in 2015, the Australian fighter did not compete for six years. She returned this past March and won a decision in Tijuana, Mexico.

    Reis took the opposite road. Instead of moving up in weight, the fighter known as “KO Mequinonoag” dropped down to 140 pounds. She formerly held the WBC middleweight world title but now has the WBA super lightweight belt.

    One of her best showings came against Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus in 2018 when during an HBO telecast, Reis floored the welterweight champion in the seventh round. Though the knockdown wasn’t enough to win the fight, she did prove elite status before a national audience. Another thing she has proved is acting ability. She starred in a film recently completed called “Catch the Fair One.” Critics are applauding her performance.

    Now Reis will take step two toward unifying the super lightweight division. She is managed by Brian Cohen who also works with IBF super lightweight titlist Mary McGee and Jessica Camara who was scheduled to face Victoria Bustos for the vacant WBO title. That fight was scrapped. The WBC version is held by England’s Chantelle Cameron.

    Pacquiao vs Ugas

    With Errol Spence forced to withdraw due to a retina tear, the insertion of Yordenis Ugas as a replacement to face Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao should be interesting.

    Ugas was scheduled to meet Fabian Maidana but when the Argentine suffered an eye injury their match was cancelled. Now he’s bumped up to the main event to face Pacquiao on what could be the Filipino superstar’s final bout.

    If you watched any of the Cuban fighter’s previous bouts you know he’s a slick counter-puncher. Whether he’s as good as Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez remains to be seen. Marquez always gave Pacquiao problems. And despite being 42 years old, Pacquiao is still Pacquiao.

    One of the most interesting fights on the Las Vegas card matches two former world champions Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and “Vicious” Victor Ortiz in a 10-round welterweight bout. It’s surprising they never fought before. Both suffered defeats against Floyd Mayweather at the prime of their careers.

    “Everyone knows that when I fight, I bring it, and Victor Ortiz is an exciting fighter as well,” said Guerrero. “I am at a point where I have done a lot in the sport, so I am not going to be fighting every other month like when I was a prospect. When you know how to fight, a layoff isn't always a bad thing."

    The battle of southpaws seems to be an even match. Guerrero, 38, last fought two years ago and won by decision at Staples Center. Ortiz, 34, last engaged in fisticuffs three years ago in a match against Devon Alexander that ended in a draw. Though inactive in the prize ring Ortiz has been very active in the television and motion picture world. He’s been in TV series like “Hawaii Five-O” and motion pictures like “Southpaw.”

    “Robert Guerrero is a legend who I’ve always admired. I look forward to competing against him and giving fans the toe-to-toe battle they’re expecting,” said Ortiz.

    That’s not a very vicious thing to say, but hey, that’s Victor Ortiz for you.

    Vergil’s Victory

    If anyone doubted Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s claims of being sick during his previous fight, just take another look at his victory last Saturday against Egid “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas in a welterweight fight in Texas. That was a different and stronger fighter.

    After Mean Machine put hands on Ortiz in the first round, the Texas slugger went to work in brutal and unforgiving fashion. Five times he dropped Kavaliauskas before the referee stepped in to stop the battering. It was eye-opening stuff.

    It was exactly what a fighter needs to do to gain respect.

    Kavaliauskas, who fought Terence Crawford and lost two years ago, was gracious in defeat and praised Ortiz. The fight world can be humbling but remarkable at the same time for its graciousness.

    Fights to Watch

    Fri. ESPN* 6 a.m. Hasibullah Ahmadi (12-0) vs Rauf Aghayev (31-9)

    Fri. UFC Fight Pass 8 p.m. Kali Reis (17-7) vs Diana Prazak (14-3).

    Sat. Pay-per-view 6 p.m. Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2) vs Yordenis Ugas (26-4); Robert Guerrero (36-6-1) vs Victor Ortiz (32-6-3); Mark Magsayo (22-0) vs Julio Ceja (32-4-1).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    “Ghost” Guerrero absolutely puts a scare into the mentally weak minded Ortiz and finds a way to make him quit just by refusing to do so himself, something that’s never been a part of Guerrero’s warrior mentality. Victor needs the money while Guerrero still needs his dignity enough to perform at the level required to petrify Ortiz. It’s all over before the start of the 8th round.