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|Brandon Rios ate as many shots from Mike Alvarado as he delivered Saturday, but in the end, Rios' power punches took the greater toll.|
Blue-chip junior welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. (17-0, 13 KOs), 20, of Phoenix, a former amateur standout and one of Top Rank's most heralded up-and-coming fighters, survived a major scare in the final round of his otherwise lopsided eight-round decision victory against Pavel Miranda (19-8-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico.
Benavidez was in total command of the fight, swelling Miranda's face with repeated stiff left jabs. Each round went the same as the previous one -- with Benavidez pitching and Miranda catching. But in the eighth, Miranda caught Benavidez with a hard left hook that badly staggered him. Miranda tried to follow up, and Benavidez had to hang on for dear life before he tumbled to the canvas, which was ruled a slip. He was fortunate that there wasn't much time left in the round, making it to the final bell and winning 79-73 on all three scorecards.
• Featherweights Evgeny Gradavich (14-0, 7 KOs), known as "The Mexican Russian," and Jose Angel Beranza (35-25-2, 27 KOs) of Mexico turned in a fan-friendly slugfest, but it was Gradavich who won the lopsided decision. The judges had it 80-72, 79-73, 79-73 for Gradavich, who was busier and controlled the action throughout the bout while Beranza, a journeyman, took a lot of shots and returned enough fire to make it a fun fight.
• Lightweights Jose Roman (14-0-1, 11 KOs) and Javier Garcia (8-2-2, 7 KOs) battled toe-to-toe for three rounds of hellacious action, but the fight was short-circuited and ruled a three-round technical draw. Referee Pat Russell, on advice from the ringside doctor, called it off after the third round due to the cut that Garcia, of Oxnard, Calif., suffered over his left eye on an accidental head-butt.
The fight was an all-out slugfest from the opening bell. Garcia dropped Roman, of Garden Grove, Calif., during a high-contact first round. After Roman hit the mat, Garcia stood over him and yelled at the fallen fighter, with whom he has feuded. Roman returned the favor, scoring a huge knockdown with a flush left hook-right hand combination in the second round. When the fight continued, the crowd roared as Roman went for the knockout, with Garcia wobbly but hanging on. It was more of the same in the third round, but the cut worsened to force the stoppage.
• Light heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby (7-0, 7 KOs) of Chicago obliterated Eliseo Durazo (4-4, 1 KO) of Mexico in a first-round knockout victory. McCumby hammered Durazo at will, dropping him twice with powerful shots. After the second knockdown, on a flurry of blows, referee Wayne Hedgepeth immediately stopped it at 1 minute, 40 seconds.
• Super middleweight Ronald Ellis (4-0, 3 KOs) of Miami easily outboxed Denver's Katrell Straus (2-3, 1 KO) to win a shutout four-round decision. The three judges each scored the fight 40-36.
• Junior lightweight Saul Rodriguez (6-0-1, 5 KOs) of Riverside, Calif., and Cesar Garcia (6-12-1, 1 KO) of Mexico battled to a three-round technical draw. Although Rodriguez was taking it to Garcia and clearly winning, the fight was stopped after the third round on the advice of the ringside doctor, who deemed Garcia unable to continue because of a swollen right eye suffered on an accidental head clash in the third round. The crowd was treated to toe-to-toe action throughout the bout, but Rodriguez, trained by Robert Garcia, clearly was getting the better of it as he winged shots and connected with abandon. After the clash of heads, he continued to pound Garcia for the rest of the round and had him in retreat.