By Francisco Salazar at ringside
In a very exciting fight, heavyweight Tony Grano (16-1-1, 13 KOs) scored a fourth round KO over previously undefeated Travis Kauffman (18-1, 15 KOs) on Friday night at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif. Both fighters were rocked in the fight and after Grano was almost out on his feet early in the fourth, he recovered and came back with a brutal assault that finally sent an exhausted Kauffman to the deck at 2:56.
Unbeaten bantamweight Chris Avalos (12-0, 10 KOs) scored a spectacular fourth round KO over Giovanni Caro (12-9-3, 11 KOs). An excellent two-way slugfest ended suddenly when Avalos landed a right hand that laid Caro out for several minutes. Time was 2:25.
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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For sustained two-way action and sheer excitement, it will be difficult to top what transpired Friday on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME.
In a scheduled 10-round main event, once-beaten Tony Grano (16-1-1, 13 KOs) of Hartford, Conn., won a slugfest, rallying to knock out previously undefeated Travis Kauffman (18-1, 15 KOs) of Reading, Penn., at 2:56 of the fourth round.
The telecast’s opening bout at Chumash Casino Resort was also an all-action thriller, Chris Avalos (12-0, 10 KOs) of Lancaster, Calif., overcoming a bad case of the flu and a determined Giovanni Caro (12-9-3, 11 KOs) of Mexico City to remain unbeaten with a fourth-round knockout at 2:15.
Two fights, four boxers giving their all in almost eight complete rounds of give-and-take punching. There was hardly a dull moment during a doubleheader presented by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC. It was ShoBox at its best.
Grano prevailed, but only after barely avoiding getting knocked out himself. Early in the fourth round, he was definitely stung by Kauffman and appeared ready to possibly go.
But Grano created two breaks to buy some time – once for nailing Kauffman south of the border and again, moments, later, after spitting out his mouthpiece.
Those few extra seconds of rest may have been the difference as he came back to hurt Kauffman with a huge right hand. At the end he had delivered something like 30 punches, many of which that landed and Kauffman went down for the first time in his career. Moments later, it was over.
“I said I was going to take this guy into deep waters and do whatever it took to win and that’s exactly what happened,’’ Grano said. “Kauffman was tough and had more experience than me, but he underestimated me and I had the bigger heart.
“I really want to thank SHOWTIME for this opportunity and I hope they bring me back again.
Kauffman, who had won his last eight starts by knockout, can only think what might have been.
“I definitely thought I had him but I let him get away,’’ he said. “Grano was ready to quit. He was looking for a way to quit. That’s why he hit me low and spit out his mouthpiece. But I let him off the hook. For sure, I want a rematch.’’
Avalos, who’d been sick for about 10 days and was bedridden for a brief time late last week, had his fair share of anxious moments against the hard-hitting Caro. Afterward, he seemed more relieved than happy.
“I give the guy credit. This was definitely one of my toughest fights,’’ said Avalos after knocking Caro cold in the scheduled eight-round encounter. “But I was kind of sick and nowhere near 100 percent. I stuck to my game plan, though, which was to box and brawl a little. I’m glad this one is over. Now, I can go home, get some rest, get well and get back into the gym.’’
Welterweight Orlando Lora dropped Hicklet Lau once, but had to settle for an eight round unanimous decision.
Lora was the more effective puncher of the two, connecting more with hard shots to the head in the first half of the fight. Lau tried to work angles, eventually countering with left hooks and lead right hands to the head.
Lora would have been better served to attack the body of Lau and slowly breaking him down, as opposed to throwing combinations to the head.
The sixth round was Lau’s best of the fight. Lau was aggressive and busier, landing more hard shots to the head of Lora.
However, the rally was short-lived as Lora took control of the action in the seventh round. He even scored a knockdown with a combination to the head of Lau. Lau stood up and was able to hold on until the bell sounded to end the round. Lora pressed forward in hopes of another knockdown, but Lau was able to survive the final three minutes.
All three judges scored the bout 79-72 in favor of Lora. Fightnews.com scored the bout the same for Lora.
Lora, from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, improves to 24-0-1, 18 KO’d. Lau, from Miami, FL, falls to 20-21-2, 9 KO’s.
* * *
In an upset, Lightweight Carl McNickols stopped previously-unbeaten Jose Guzman in the first round of a scheduled six round bout.
Both fighters went at one another from the opening bell. McNickols landed a counter right hand to the chin of Guzman, dropping him to the canvas. Guzman got up, but was on wobbly legs. McNickols went on the attack and landed a hard right hand that dropped Guzman, prompting referee Wayne Hedgepeth to stop the bout at 1:03.
McNickols, from Biloxi, MS, goes to 6-2, 6 KO’s. Guzman, from Queens, NY, drops to 8-1, 5 KO’s.
* * *
Featherweight Abraham Lopez won a six round unanimous decision over Noe Lopez.
Abraham Lopez landed the harder and more effective punches throughout most of the bout. At times, he would throw wild hooks and crosses, which left him wide open to be hit at times by Noe Lopez.
Noe Lopez was at his best getting inside of Abraham Lopez’ defense. Undeterred, Abraham Lopez remained aggressive, pressuring Noe to fight.
Abraham Lopez was able to Noe Lopez with a left hook to the body. Noe Lopez was able to hold on and survive the round. Abraham Lopez’ persistence paid off in the sixth and final round when he dropped Noe Lopez with a counter right hand. As he went down, Noe Lopez looked as though he hurt his left knee. He had a difficult time putting pressure on his leg as the bout went on until the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Lopez, with scores of 60-53, 60-53, and 59-54. Fightnews.com scored the bout 59-54 for Lopez.
Abraham Lopez, from La Puente, CA, improves to 8-0, 6 KO’s. Noe Lopez, from Nogales, Sonona, Mexico, drops to 5-3, 3 KO’s.
* * *
Lightweight Archie Ray Marquez remained unbeaten as he stopped Mario Galan in the second round of a scheduled six round bout.
Both fighters threw wild punches that glanced off each other. Marquez dropped Galan with a counter right hand to the head. Galan was able to recover and actually fought back bravely.
At the start of the second round, Marquez came out and landed a right hand, followed by a left hook to the chin that dropped Galan face first to the canvas. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth immediately stopped the bout at 18 seconds of the round.
Marquez, from Albuquerque, NM, goes to 7-0, 6 KO’s. Galan, from Hollywood, FL, falls to 4-6, 3 KO’s.
* * *
In the walkout bout of the evening, Featherweight Rufino Serrano won a four round unanimous decision over Jose Mares in a battle of local fighters.
The taller Serrano had the height and reach advantage to keep the aggressive at bay. Serrano landed the more telling blows during the bout.
All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Serrano. Fightnews.com scored the bout 39-37 for Serrano.
Serrano, from Santa Maria, goes to 2-2. Mares, from Lompoc, CA, falls to 0-2.
– Welterweight champion Andre Berto took in the action from ringside.
– Promoter Gary Shaw told Fightnews.com that boxing will return to the Chumash Casino Resort on Friday, December 4th.
– Al Bernstein, Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver called the ShoBox action from ringside. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
– Friday’s bouts will re-air on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME 2. The telecast also will be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, Sept. 22, and running through Oct. 18.
– Tracy Rodare sang the national anthem. She also served as one of the ring card girls.
– Ring announcer was Mike Adams.