By Francisco Salazar at ringside
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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Welterweight Luis Carlos Abregu seems as though he likes to play with fire based on his last two outings in the ring. Luckily on Friday night, he had his knockout power to save the day. Having been dropped twice at the hands of Irving Garcia, Abregu survived and eventually stopped Garcia in the fourth round before a boisterous crowd of 1,350 at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, CA. The bout headlined a seven-bout “ShoBox: The New Generation” card, presented by Gary Shaw Productions.
Prior to the Garcia bout, Abregu drew criticisms for his less-than-stellar performance in December against David Estrada in December. Abregu tired late in the 10 round fight before escaping with a split-decision victory.
Garcia was unbeaten in his last five bouts, including a 10 round technical draw Yuriy Nuzhnenko last April. In his last bout, he defeated Chris Smith by a 10 round unanimous decision.
Both fighters pawed their jabs in the opening minutes of the first round, feeling out one another in an attempt to land counter right hands. It was Garcia who struck first when he landed a right hand that dropped Abregu. Getting up on shaky legs, Abregu did enough to hold on.
Abregu began the second round strong, backing up Garcia and even hurting him with a series of right hands. Abregu’s punches had Garcia on unsteady legs throughout the round and it almost looked as though Abregu was going to finish Garcia off until the bell sounded to save Garcia.
“I was very surprised at how he was taking my punches,” said Abregu, who is promoted by Gary Shaw. “I thought my hands would start hurting because I was hitting him with hard shots.”
Garcia had the better of the action in the third round, being quick to the punch and outboxing Abregu during a majority of the exchanges.
In the wild fourth round, Garcia dropped Abregu with a left hook to the chin. Abregu was wobbly as he stood up and it looked as though a solid punch by Garcia to the head was all that it was needed to stop the bout.
However, Abregu came on in the last half of the round, pressing the action and going right at Garcia. Abregu was able to land a series of punches to the head of Garcia, which slowed him down. However, it was a right hand to the head by Abregu that dropped Garcia in a corner.
Referee Jack Reiss began counting, but waved the fight over at 2:59 as Garcia was leaning on the bottom rope.
“I’m disappointed that the fight was stopped,” said Garcia, who had fought at the Chumash Resort Casino in December of 2006, winning a unanimous decision over Michael Santos. “I had put my head back on the bottom rope, but I was fine. When I looked up, the referee stopped the fight. I felt fine.”
Abregu, from Salta, Argentina, improves to 27-0, 22 KO’s. Garcia, from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, falls to 17-4-3, 8 KO’s.
In the co-feature bout of the evening, Lightweight Marvin Quintero won a workmanlike eight round unanimous decision over Wes Ferguson.
It was Ferguson who started well in the first two rounds, utilizing his speed to land his jab and counter right hand. As Quintero pressed the action, Ferguson was busier and more accurate with his punches.
The southpaw Quintero increased his punch output in the third round. Quintero was able to land his right jab above that of Ferguson’s and landing left hands to the head and body.
Ferguson began most rounds well, but seemed to allow Quintero to dictate the tempo and the pace of each round. In close, Quintero outhustled Ferguson as he was able to land well to the body.
Quintero wobbled Ferguson with a left hand to the head in the sixth round. Ferguson held on long enough to get his legs back underneath him.
Ferguson slowed down considerably in the final round as Quintero finished strong. Quintero’s high rate of shots to the body allowed for him to tire Ferguson.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Quintero, with scores of 78-74, 78-74, and 79-73. Fightnews.com scored the bout 78-74 in favor of Quintero.
Quintero, from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, improvrs to 16-1, 12 KO’s. Ferguson, from Las Vegas, NV by way of Flint, MI, drops to 20-4-1, 6 KO’s.
2008 U.S. Olympian Gary Russell Jr. dropped veteran Alvaro Muro once, but had to settle for a four round unanimous decision.
Ferguson traveled with the Olympic team to Beijing in last summer’s games. However, he failed to make weight and did not compete.
The southpaw Russell was by far the more polished fighter. The former Golden Gloves and world amateur champion was quicker and stronger than the taller Muro, who was slower and hoped to catch Russell with counter right hands to the head or body.
Russell scored a knockdown in the third round when an overhand left hand caught Muro on the temple, dropping him to the canvas. Muro got up and was able to survive the round.
Muro increased his punch output in the final round, even catching Russell with some glancing shots. However, Russell was content to box, countering at will as Muro moved forward towards him.
All three judges, including Fightnews.com, scored the bout 40-35 in favor of Russell.
Russell, from Capital Heights, MD, ups his record 3-0, 1 KO. Muro, from Moreno Valley, CA by way of Durango, Mexico, falls to 6-14, 5 KO’s.
Super Middleweight Anthony Dirrell need just 51 seconds to stop Alexander Pacheco Quiroz.
Dirrell, the far more polished and experienced fighter, went straight at Pacheco Quiroz from the opening bell. Even though Pacheco Quiroz, who normally fights as a Junior Middleweight, attempted to protect himself and fought back, it not deter Dirrell from moving forward.
Dirrell hurt Pacheco Quiroz with a right hand to the head and scored the eventual knckdown with an accumulation of punches. Pacheco Quiroz stood up, but was overwhelmed by the aggressive Dirrell.
Pacheco Quiroz backed into a corner where Dirrell continued to rain down punches. Eventually, a wobbly Pacheco Quiroz took a knee, prompting referee Dr. Lou Moret to stop the bout.
Dirrell, from Flint, MI, improves to 17-0, 13 KO’s. Pacheco Quiroz, from Miami, FL by way of Cartagena, Colombia, falls to 14-8-1, 12 KO’s.
Bantamweight David De La Mora remained unbeaten with a six round unanimous decision over Alex Becerra.
De La Mora was more fluid with his combinations as Becerra attempted to counter with right hands to the head.
Becerra began to catch De La Mora more with right hands to the head. At times, Becerra had De La Mora backing up as he pressed the action.
However, De La Mora came back and took control of the fight in the last two rounds. De La Mora was able to several left hooks to the head of Becerra. Unfortunately for Becerra, his face began to redden with each blow landed to the face by De La Mora.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of De La Mora, with scores of 59-55, 59-55, and 58-56. Fightnews.com scored the bout 58-56 for De La Mora.
De La Mora, from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, goes to 16-0, 11 KO’s. Becerra, from El Paso, TX, falls to 19-8, 9 KO’s.
In the walkout bout of the evening, Bantamweight Chris Avalos stopped Cesar Lopez in the first round of a scheduled six round bout.
Both fighters traded shots in the opening round of the bout. However, the bigger and stronger Avalos used his strength to break down and hurt Lopez.
Lopez was dropped with a right hand to the head by Avalos. Lopez got up on shaky legs and Avalos went in for the kill. Avalos aggressively went to the body and was able to drop a defenseless Lopez with an accumulation of punches to the head. Once Lopez looked like he was out on his feet, referee Jack Reiss stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:50 of the round.
Avalos, from Lancaster, CA, goes to 10-0, 8 KO’s. Lopez, from El Paso, TX, drops to 20-8, 4 KO’s.
Junior Featherweight Rufino Serrano won his professional debut when he won a four round unanimous decision over Gilbert Amaro.
Two left hooks by Serrano dropped Amaro in the opening minute of the fight. The taller Serrano found a home for left hooks to the head of Amaro throughout the fight.
However, he left himself wide open for punches as the gutsy Amaro landed hard right hands to the head of Serrano. Although the game Amaro did not back down, the faster Serrano won a majority of the exchanges throughout the fight.
Amaro was deducted a point in the final round for having his mouthpiece knocked out of his mouth twice in the round.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Serrano, with scores of 40-33. Fightnews.com scored the bout 39-34 in favor of Serrano.
Serrano hails from nearby Santa Maria, while Amaro, from Lancaster, CA, drops to 0-2.
– Super Middleweight Andre Dirrell and local fighter Antonio Ojeda took in the action from ringside.
– The Abregu-Garcia and Quintero-Ferguson bouts were televised on Showtime as part of the “ShoBox: the New Generation” series. Nick Charles and Steve Farhood called the action from ringside.
– Ring announcer was Michael Vale.