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Avila Perspective, Chap 218: Looking for Mr. Good Year

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 218: Looking for Mr. Good Year

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    By David A. Avila

    WBA super flyweight titlist Joshua Franco travels to Japan and meets WBO titlist Kazuto Ioka on Saturday Dec. 31, at Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.

    It’s a unification clash.

    Franco, 27, the older brother of Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, has patiently waited to defend the WBA title he won more than two years ago during the height of the pandemic lockdown in defeating Andrew Moloney.

    Ioka, 33, last lost four years ago on Dec. 31, the same date he fights Franco. Is it an omen or fate?

    Neither champions are big punchers but rely on strategic pressure. Franco (18-1-2, 8 KOs) trains in Riverside, California under Robert Garcia. Ioka (29-2, 15 KOs) trains in Tokyo and in Las Vegas where his longtime trainer Ismael Salas is headquartered and has defended the WBO title five times since defeating Filipino fighter Aston Palicte by knockout in 2019.

    It’s been almost 17 months since Franco last entered the prize ring.

    “It’s just another day in the lab,” said “The Professor” Franco on social media.

    The New Year opens with a bang in Japan.

    Hiccups in 2023

    We have yet to enter 2023 and two major fights have been scrapped or are on the verge of the scrapyard.

    Three years have passed since the coronavirus pandemic enveloped the world and changed life. Boxing survived but teeters from lack of marquee fights at the higher level. Boxing at the club level was nearly dead for two years and only now recovered.

    Next month an intriguing match between undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo and Australia’s Tim Tszyu was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas. Then, last week, it was announced the champ suffered an injury and the match was postponed.

    Several days ago, Gervonta “Tank” Davis was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery. The always exciting lightweight pugilist was set to face Dominican fighter Hector Luis Garcia on Saturday Jan. 7, at Capital One Arena in D.C. That match is questionable now.

    Enter Jaron “Boots” Ennis.

    Philadelphia’s young welterweight Ennis has quietly dismantled nearly every opponent he’s faced. Part of the problem has been that he blasts them out almost effortlessly with single blows that don’t seem powerful, but when they connect, the victims don’t get back up.

    If Tank Davis cannot solve his current legal problem in time, Ennis can easily slide into the main event and show his overwhelming arsenal. He’s a complete fighter.

    “It’s boxing, anything can happen,” said Ennis, 25. “You can fight the best fighter in the world and you can knock him out in two seconds. The big names are coming, I just have to be patient.”

    Can Ennis save the month of January?

    He won’t be alone. Also on the Showtime pay-per-view card will be Demetrius Andrade now fighting at super middleweight.

    Andrade, 34, a slick southpaw with speed, skills and long arms, has grabbed world titles in the super welterweight and middleweight divisions. But he’s had a miserable time enticing the better-known fighters to face him in the prize ring. Both Charlo brothers, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin have all declined to fight Andrade.

    It’s simply a case of too much risk without much reward.

    Because Andrade lacks big name recognition or the boxing style that attracts fans, he’s unable to bring big money to the table to offer the Charlos, Canelos and Triple Gs. All these fighters can make the same money fighting easier opponents. No promoter has been willing to put up the big money for Andrade to fight any of the superstars.

    Andrade will be fighting Demond Nicholson, a veteran super middleweight out of Maryland who went the distance with Puerto Rico’s Edgar Berlanga to snap his 16-fight knockout streak. All had been stopped in the first round. Nicholson lasted eight rounds but lost by decision.

    If Tank Davis is unable to participate, the remaining bouts are quality fights.

    Memories of Past January’s

    Here are some of the best fights that took place in January during the past 20 years:

    Jan. 29, 1994. Felix Trinidad beats Hector Camacho in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. Tito was fairly unknown and “Macho” Camacho had only two losses in his extensive career and was never stopped. Many expected Trinidad to be the first, but he was unable to accomplish the feat. Instead, he was satisfied with a unanimous decision win in the battle between Boricuas. Camacho was never knocked out in his long career.

    Jan. 20, 2001. Floyd Mayweather’s knockout win over Diego Corrales on Jan. 20, 2001 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After five knockdowns Corrales corner stopped the fight. Many expected the taller and more powerful punching Corrales to knock out Mayweather. That night Mayweather dropped Corrales repeatedly and gave a masterclass on timing.

    Jan. 21, 2006. Manny Pacquiao beats Erik Morales in a rematch in Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center by 10th round knockout. A year earlier Morales had defeated Pacquiao but in the rematch, it was all Pacman who proved too powerful and too fast for even the Tijuana warrior.

    Jan. 24, 2009: Shane Mosley defeats Antonio Margarito by knockout in the 9th round to win the WBA super welterweight title at the Staples Center in L.A. Few expected the smaller Mosley to defeat Tijuana’s Margarito. But moments before the two entered the ring another battle was going on as Mosley’s trainer spotted an infraction of the rules. Margarito was found using old hand wraps and was forced to use new hand wraps. Later, Margarito would be found guilty of the hand wrap infraction. Many incorrectly said he loaded his wraps with cement. This was not the case; it was merely old wraps used in fights before. Loading his gloves was inappropriate terminology. But he was suspended for illegally using old hand wraps. When they finally met in the ring Mosley proved too fast and too skilled for Margarito and the fight was stopped after two knockdowns.