Photo courtesy of Erik Killin ringside
FAIRFIELD, Calif. — A day after a club show took place down the road in Sacramento, Golden Boy Promotions in association with Don Chargin Promotions and Paco Presents returned to the Fairfield Sports Complex Saturday as homegrown Alan Sanchez looked to continue forward progress as he took on veteran gatekeeper Manuel Leyva in a 10-round welterweight bout.
Sanchez took a few rounds to get untracked as the pace at the outset of the Sol Boxeo main event was not enthralling. Sanchez and Leyva showed each other too much respect early on, and Sanchez only started getting his offense really moving after Leyva bothered him midway through with some solid body work. Though Leyva may have only won a single round, the 6th being his best far and away, he forced Sanchez to open up a bit more, which lead to some exciting exchanges.
A Leyva from even a few years ago could have given Sanchez a scare on this night, but having been starched in four of his previous six, the29-year old from Downey, Calif. was well on the downside when this fight came together.
Still, Leyva handled himself alright for fighting at a weight he doesn’t belong at, and Sanchez did not do much to separate himself in the opening rounds. In the first few rounds, it is possible that the two fighters touched gloves more time than clean punches landed.
From round 7 on, Sanchez pasted Leyva with precise power punches as he had much more left than the battle tested Leyva. Leyva proved pretty game as he never was issued a count during the fight and lasted until 1:46 in the 10th and final round before referee Dan Stell saved him from further punishment.
It was almost to Leyva’s detriment that Sanchez possesses little in terms of one-punch power in addition to Leyva’s solid set of whiskers as he took far more punishment than he should have. To his credit, Leyva offered something in return almost always, though the zip from his punches fell by the wayside in the middle stanzas.
Sanchez is one of boxing’s last real fighters out there. After starting out 5-2-1, Sanchez has won six straight, including a one-round demolition of Artemio Reyes, which avenged one of his two previous defeats, a six-round split decision in June 2010. He sells tickets, lots of them.
He may never reach the upper echelon of the sport, but Sanchez has generally delivered crowd-pleasing fights and packs them in. His ability to stay active also gives other fighters in his region to fight in front of nice crowds and an exciting atmosphere. Sanchez may not be that future world beater, but maybe one of the guys coming up on his undercards could pick up steam thanks to the support the headliner provided.
In the co-feature, Golden Boy featherweight prospect Manuel Avila (8-0, 2 KOs) of Fairfield, Calif. impressed against Vincente Alfaro (5-2, KO) of Northfield, Minn. in a six-round bout. Avila dropped Alfaro twice, first scoring an official knockdown in the 2nd when Alfaro’s glove touched the canvas following a power punch from the local draw. In round 4, Alfaro’s knee was ruled down by referee Edward Collantes and he was issued a count. Avila poured it on following the knockdown and Collantes stopped the fight at 2:04 of the 3rd.
Avila looked far sharper in this outing than he did short of a month ago on the Robert Guerrero undercard in San Jose on July 28. Avila fought with much more command of his aggression, though he still got hit a bit much given the level of his opponent. Avila also showed some more pop than in previous contests, picking up his third stoppage in nine pro fights.
Alfaro was a smidge more quality than some of the guys Avila has been in with, but given his young 20 years of age, expect Golden Boy to take their time developing him.
Delano, Calif. middleweight Paul Mendez (8-2-1, 2 KOs) stayed busy after fighting less than a month ago on the Robert Guerrero undercard in San Jose as he improved upon a previous victory, forcing Loren Myers (8-17-1, 2 KOs) of Fresno, Calif. to retire at the end of three rounds in a pointless rematch from last year. Mendez won their initial encounter via unanimous decision, and it looked as though Myers was taking his shots well, but his corner decided to fight another day after eating more shots in the 3rd round than the previous two.
San Francisco junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas (6-0, 3 KOs) kept up his winning ways as he worked through some tough moments to unanimously decision Jose Mendoza (7-6, 3 KOs) of Jalisco, Mex. in a four-round bout. There was pretty good give and take throughout the bout but Chicas proved to be the sharper puncher, though Mendoza had moments. Chicas did his best work when he trapped the quick-footed Mendoza in the corner. Chicas dropped Mendoza in the 2nd round but it was ruled a slip by referee Edward Collantes. Scores were 40-36 across the board, all in favor of Chicas.
San Bruno, Calif. cruiserweight Joe Gumina (3-1, 2 KOs) returned to the ring after a layoff to outpoint Payton Boyea (0-2) of Sacramento in a four-round bout. Gumina had Boyea staggered in the opening seconds but was unable to follow up with enough accurate shots to ever put Boyea on the canvas or in danger of being stopped. Boyea was cut in the 3rd but it was deemed to be caused by a headbutt. Gumina was his old wild swinging self and it did not look as though he refined too much of his technique in his time off. Official scores read unanimously in favor of Gumina by way of 40-36 twice and 39-37.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail and followed via Twitter. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.