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  Top Rank’s Thanksgiving Feast Boxing Card:
Fans Served Up A Full Plate Of Excitement

By William Trillo


This past weekend in Las Vegas The Cosmopolitan Casino hosted a boxing card that reminded me of why I love the sport of boxing so much. There were more feel good moments on this one card than we have possibly seen all year combined. For those who follow the sport this was truly a great night. It’s not a coincidence that this card did not feature any money hungry Prima Donna’s of fighters more interested in Instagram followers than they are taking on viable opponents. What this card did feature was budding stars, hungry opponents and over-achievers who just wanted a chance to prove they belong. That was a recipe for a fight card we all should be thankful for.

In the main event Super featherweight Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KO’s) took on an opponent who literally took this fight in the eleventh hour as the original opponent for Vasquez showed up eleven Chalupas over the contracted fighting weight. In the blink of an eye Adam Lopez (13-2, 6 KO’s), who was scheduled to fight on the under-card, got the call to take on the highly touted Valdez. Lopez wanted to prove he was up to the challenge and the fight was on!

As the fight began it was very clear that Valdez had no intention on cutting Lopez any slack, last-minute opponent or not. Likewise, it was equally clear that Lopez was there to show he was more than just an opponent. Lopez was prepared to fight on this night, but the question remained whether he bit off more than he could chew with an undefeated top contender.

That question was answered in the second round as a crisp left hook landed on Valdez’s chin and dropped him to the seat of his pants. This was a legit knockdown. Valdez rose to his feet to take the count, but he was wobbly…and shocked. The silenced crowd took a collective deep breath as the unexpected happened. Lopez showed poise by not going for the kill and punching himself out. Wisely Lopez attacked with a great game plan in mind. At that moment Lopez won the round and more importantly he won the heart of the fans who were cheering on the underdog.

The fight turned into a very entertaining battle of a young man on the verge of getting a title shot against another who was looking to show he is on that same level. It was give and take over the course of the next few rounds. Showing his pedigree Valdez had landed some heavy thunder but showing his tenacity Lopez weathered the storm and to the surprise of everyone he kept giving Valdez much more than he was expecting.

In round seven Valdez shifted into high gear as he was on an all-out onslaught. Against the ropes Lopez finally succumbed to the punches and went down. Like Valdez did earlier Lopez rose to beat the count proving his warrior mentality. Looking to finish the show Valdez threw a bevy of punches until the ref saw enough and brought a halt to the fight at the 2:53 mark. Truthfully there were many in the house who questioned the stoppage. With only seven seconds left in the round it was likely Lopez would have survived to round. After that it’s anyone’s guess if he would have lasted all ten rounds, but Lopez did garner a huge amount of attention from his performance and it is a safe bet we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

For the undefeated Valdez it is now time to take center stage as he becomes the # 1 contender and mandatory challenger for WBC Super Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO’s).

Featherweight Carl Frampton (27-2, 16 KO’s) took a trip across The Pond as he took on a tough Tyler McCreary (16-1-1, 7 KO’s). This was a battle of a couple of sharpshooters with world class hand speed. In the opening rounds Frampton seemed content to survey the landscape in order to find out what McCreary was all about.

Once Frampton became comfortable with what he saw he started to let his hands go, mostly downstairs to the body. McCreary began to take shots to the body repeatedly. As the shots became more thunderous the Irish fans who made the trek with Frampton started chanting and singing as only they can do. It was a raucous crowd and needless to say, the atmosphere was off the charts.

Body shots crumbled McCreary twice along the way but he was able to rise on both occasions and make it to the final bell. The fight went to the cards and according to the judges it was all Frampton all the time as he swept the scores 100-88 x 3.

To say the battle between Super welterweights Carlos Adames (18-1, 14 KO’s) Patrick Teixeira (31-1, 22 KO’s) was a bloodbath would be putting it mildly. With the interim World Boxing Organization World Super Welter Title on the line the Donnybrook turned into one exciting and memorable fight.

Coming into this one the undefeated Adames was most likely the betting favorite but the battle tested Teixeira did not come here all the way from Brazil lay down. On the contrary, Teixeira was here to conduct business, and as we would soon find out it was serious business indeed.

Before the bout was a couple rounds in Adames had pounded out a tune on Teixeira’s face, he was lumpy, bumpy and on the verge of opening up. Nevertheless, Teixeira sneered at Adames as he would not relent or give an inch of ground. His confidence through the injuries was impressive to say the least.

By the mid-rounds Teixeira was a bloody mess. How he could see through the blood and keep up the attack he did was a miracle onto itself. The fact that he was in this fight at this point was even more miraculous, but there he was.

With the crowd going wild the championship rounds gave everyone all the action they needed and more. Adames was landing shots on the bloody face of Teixeira but every time he did, he was met with the resilience of a determined Teixeira. The fight went the distance and there was no way to tell how the judges were going to score this one. The ring announcer read the cards, 116-111, 114-13 and 114-113 all in favor of the new champion….. Patrick Teixeira.

Super lightweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (23-0, 10 KO’s) went to war with William Silva (27-3, 15 KO’s) in this scrap with the NABF Junior Super Light Title on the line. There was no feeling out process in this fight as punches with mean intentions were flying as soon as the opening bell rang.

Immediately it was Barboza who was the aggressor, this was a man on a mission. Silva seemed like he was unable to get his punches off and he paid the price with a wicked body attacked applied by Barboza.

A brutal body shot sent Silva to the canvas but he found a way to continue and fight on, albeit tentative. Then as if shot out of a cannon Barboza unleashed a body shot that sent Silva down in agony. The fighter writhed as he rolled around in pain on the canvas. There was no way he was going to beat the ten count. An elated Barboza celebrated when the fight was stopped at the 2:59 mark of round five.

Welterweight Brian Mendoza (18-1, 13 KO’s) came into this fight against Larry Gomez (10-1, 8 KO’s) with a very confident swagger but he was about to find out that no fighter should be taken lightly especially when he is aiming two fisted leather in your direction.

Mendoza came out strong in the early rounds and appeared to be on a different level than Gomez. It seemed Mendoza would have his way on this night. He was landing at will and moving well, Gomez didn’t seem to have an answer.

But the tide started to turn midway through the fight and suddenly that edge Mendoza had was gone and now it was Gomez who was in command. Gomez was taking charge and his confidence was growing with each passing second of the final rounds.

In the latter rounds it was obvious to both corners this fight was close and it was going to take everything each one had to come out on top. That made for some very exciting boxing and once again the fans in the house were treated to great action. When the final scores were read Gomez had upset the undefeated Mendoza by a split decision. Scores read 77-75 Mendoza and 77-75 Gomez twice.

High School senior Welterweight Xander Zayas (2-0, 1 KO) took his Thanksgiving vacation break to come to Las Vegas and obliterate Virgel Windfield (2-3-1, 2 KO’s) at the 1:48 mark of round one. The wunderkind from Florida is most definelty one to keep a close eye on.

Super lightweight Andy Hiraoka (15-0, 10 KO’s) TKO’d Rogelio Casarez (13-9, 5 KO’s) at the 2;16 mark of round two.

Heavyweight Guido Vianello (6-0, 5 KO’s) dispatched Colby Madison (8-2 -2, 5 KO’s) at the 44 second mark of round one.

Heavyweight Jared Anderson (2-0, 2 KO) made quick work of Stephen Kirnon (2-3-1, 1 KO) stopping him at the 44 second mark of round one.


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