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Avila Perspective, Chap. 156: A World Title Fight in San Diego and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 156: A World Title Fight in San Diego and More

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    By David A. Avila

    World championship prizefighting returns to San Diego.

    Though the port city serves as a base for US Marines, US Navy and other fighting organizations, boxing has rarely held events in its city limits. But it’s no stranger.

    WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (34-1, 29 KOs) defends against L.A. native Joet Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOs) on Friday night at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif. ESPN+ will stream the Top Rank card.

    One reason boxing events are rare in San Diego lies in the simple reason it’s located a mere 20 miles from Tijuana, Mexico. It is cheaper to stage boxing shows across the border and common to see up to five shows taking place simultaneously.

    A world champion like Navarrete wants to be compensated in world championship style and that means fighting on American soil.

    Navarrete, 26, hails from Mexico City and has beaten back-to-back featherweight contenders from the USA in Christopher Diaz and Ruben Villa. Before that, he upset Isaac Dogboe to win the super bantamweight world title before making weight forced him to move up a division. He’s a fighting machine.

    “I think this is going to be a tough fight. He is a tough opponent,” said Navarrete.

    Gonzalez, 28, was raised in a fighting family and has previously fought for a world title but was unsuccessful against Shakur Stevenson. The Los Angeles native had an extensive amateur career and as a professional he’s steadily adapted to the professional style. This is his shot at the world title.

    “Navarrete has a style that’s very unique, very hard to figure out, and that’s why he’s a champion,” said Gonzalez. “I’m planning on leaving Friday night with that belt.”

    In a semi-main event local fighter Giovani Santillan (27-0, 15 KOs) meets Angel Ruiz (17-1, 12 KOs) in a clash between southpaw welterweights set for 10 rounds. Both fought numerous times on Thompson Boxing Promotion cards in Southern California.

    Santillan has fought as the main event on many occasions and provided upsets in nationally televised events.

    “It’s very special for me to be fighting here in San Diego. I grew up close by here. To all my family and friends that are coming, expect the best version of me. I’m coming with everything,” said Santillan.

    Ruiz also has fought on nationally televised events and upset a fighter or two. Southpaw versus southpaw can be puzzling. It usually comes down to who has the better right hook.

    “He’s a great fighter. I’m a great fighter, too,” said Ruiz.

    Doors open at 5 p.m.

    Mikey Garcia Returns

    It’s been almost two years since Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) last fought. He returns on Saturday, Oct. 16, to face Sandor Martin (38-2, 13 KOs) a slick fighting southpaw from Barcelona, Spain. Their super lightweight bout takes place in Fresno, Calif. at the Chukchansi Park. DAZN will show the fight.

    Garcia has been one of the boxing masters and has captured world titles in four weight divisions. Very few can match his wisdom inside a prize ring. The last time he fought was on February 2020 when he defeated Jessie Vargas in a welterweight clash.

    Now Garcia is back down to super lightweight. He had hoped to entice Manny Pacquiao for a big money fight, but the Filipino superstar chose another.

    Martin has never fought on American soil and has only ventured out of Spain twice. He’s a big question mark when it comes to ability. Can he match skills with Garcia who has won world titles as a featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight?

    We shall see.

    The co-main event features WBO light flyweight titlist Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KOs) of Mexico defending against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez (24-3-1, 14 KOs). As most of you know, anytime Mexico fights Puerto Rico anything can happen.

    Heavyweight Examination

    Tyson Fury’s victory over Deontay Wilder proved to be the best of the trilogy that began three years ago in Los Angeles. Anytime you see multiple knockdowns it exemplifies the fight game to its core. It’s a battle of wills and the best man wins.

    Only once before had two larger heavyweights exchanged blows when seven-footer Nicolai Valuev and Jameel McCline battled in 2008. But that heavyweight match was held at Switzerland and only seen in Europe. And there was another fight between NBA size power forwards in Los Angeles that was equally exciting when Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko clashed in the Staples Center on June 2003. It turned out to be Lewis’s farewell fight and a classic.

    Wilder and Fury put on another classic.

    The 1990s seemed to be the last decade where heavyweight rumbles regularly took place. You had Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield torching each other with massive blows and skill to match. There was Lennox Lewis, of course, and his gentleman killer ways. And, of course, there was still Mike Tyson whose best decade was the 1980s, yet was the heavyweight with the biggest following.

    In this age of social media driven world of entertainment, Fury and Wilder did participate in a lot of seemingly useless drivel. But once inside the ropes, they delivered like FedEx truck drivers on the clock.

    Those old enough to remember recall the three battles between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Nothing tops their three clashes, especially the “Thrilla in Manilla” in 1975. If you get a chance, take a look at that savagery. Though no knockdowns were scored, it was that mesh of skill and intensity for nearly 15 rounds that mesmerized sports fans and made both fighters legends for all time.

    This past Saturday, Fury and Wilder reminded sports fans that heavyweight splendor still exists. And that no other sport comes down to the basic man-versus-man in a boxing ring. The biggest and baddest slugged it out and the winner was Fury.

    Boxing is the ultimate sport.

    Fights to Watch

    Thurs. UFC Fight Pass 7 p.m. Lester Martinez (8-0) vs Raiko Santana (8-2).

    Fri. UFC Fight Pass 7 p.m. Santiago Dominguez (24-0) vs Jesus Antonio Rubio (13-4-1).

    Fri. ESPN+ 6 p.m. Emanuel Navarrete (34-1) vs Joet Gonzalez (24-1); Giovani Santillan (27-0) vs Angel Ruiz (17-1).

    Fri. Telemundo 11:59 p.m. Axel Aragon (14-4-1) vs Armando Torres (26-19).

    Sat. DAZN 11 a.m. Hughie Fury (25-3) vs Christian Hammer (26-7); Savannah Marshall (10-0) vs Lolita Muzeya (16-0).

    Sat. DAZN 2 p.m. Mikey Garcia (40-1) vs Sandor Martin (38-2).

    Sat. FITE.TV 3 p.m. Cletus Seldin vs William Silva

    Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Glad to see some fights showing up on the screen looking forward to the Jr. Fly's stealing the show on the Garcia card and the rest will be interesting or better I would hope. Keep them coming and probellum keep signing fighters and start annoucing your fighters cards ......Showtime should weigh in soon as should the ESPN fight card shortly.

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