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Boxing News, August 25, 2006

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Segura Will Liven Things Up
A 112-Pound Brutal Free Swinger



Lilliputians took center stage at Texas’ Pasadena Convention Center, which was broadcast on Telefutura. Mexican flyweight Giovanni Segura looked like a scaled down version of George Foreman. He winged punches from all angles, but when they connected you had to check his mitts for horseshoes.

He dispatched Colombian Jair Jimenez at 2:59 of round four.  The TKO raised him to 15-0-1 (12), while Jimenez fell to 22-7-1 (16).

The Southpaw Segura who now lives in Bell Gardens, California, almost finished his work before breaking a sweat. With 15 seconds left in the first he caught Jimenez clean and had him buckled on the ropes. He was too reckless in his pursuit and allowed the vet to see the second.

Segura focused on the body next, and had the opponent caroming off the ropes like a 112-pound billiard ball.  Every hook downstairs registered pain on Jimenez’s face and had his legs moving in different directions. In fairness, a prototypical Colombian—awkward, technically unsound, but aggressive—he didn’t look like a finished product to begin with.

With under a minute left in the third, a series of long-distance hooks and uppercuts had a reeling Jimenez touching a glove to the canvas. After taking the count, further abuse commenced. He went down again just before the round ended, but it was ruled a slip.  It was a slip, but one induced by a score of unanswered punches.

Blood foamed from Jimenez’s mouth as he began what would be his last round.  The first shot that shook him was, surprisingly, a straight left. (I’d assumed Segura’s arms were irreversibly bowed.) Eventually, a long right uppercut put him down. He rose on unsteady legs but it was the glazed look of his eyes that forced the ref to halt the bout.

Segura is not a perfect product, however he’s fun to watch and he’s got options. If minimumweight king Ivan Calderon were willing to move up and face Segura, it would be a compelling clash of style versus power. Or maybe Giovanni could go down to 108 (he was 111 for this bout) and face Japanese phenom Koki Kameda.  Or he could just stay where he is and bide his time till he gets a crack at one of three fly champs—Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (WBC), Vic Darchinian (IBF), or Lorenzo Parra (WBA). Fact is, he needs improvement before facing any of these options.

Mike Alvarado, who moved to 15-0 (10) in decisioning Brazilian Edvan Barros, seems ideally suited to fight at a catch-weight between the jnr. welterweight and welterweight limits.  Listed at 5’9’’, he weighed in at a trim 143.5, which is about the norm for him. When he moves into title contention, say, two years from now, in which class will he campaign?

This is something for his manager, Shelly Finkel, to worry about. For now, Alvarado should just be satisfied with the way he broke down his tough Colombian opponent, now 8-3-1 (7). The fight was scored 78-74 twice and 79-73.

The operative word in the second sentence of the above paragraph is “broke down.” Most prospects at Alvarado’s stage of development don’t appreciate the concept, nor have the skill to apply it.  Not him. He’s a diligent, well-schooled in-fighter.

Barros, all muscle and bone, likes to work in close, too. But Alvarado was consistently sharper. He fights in a tighter envelope, works a steady jab, and turns his man to find angles.

Through the second, an aggressive Barros refused to take a back step.  Rather than take one himself, Alvarado worked in tiny circles. In the third through fifth, there was no daylight between the combatants.  The toll of this style began to tell on Alvarado’s face; he had a cut on his right cheek, and a nick that threatened to open above his left eye. His cutman ensured the marks wouldn’t be a factor, whereas Barros had a problem no cornerman can treat: damage to the body. With a few seconds left in the fifth, a shot on the beltline sent Barros to his knees. He didn’t appear to be faking, but the shot was nowhere near the gonads.

In the sixth and seventh, Barros was still very much in the fight, but his work-rate slowed. And he had a bad habit of leaning over his feet, leaving himself open for uppercuts; the undefeated prospect proved himself a quick study and found a home for that shot.

Towards the end of the seventh, Barros was hurt badly by a punch to the solar plexus.  He behaved as if it not only hurt, but was illegal.  The ref, who was out of position, gave him time to recover.  

In the eighth and final round, Barros fought gamely, but along with his diminished output, fatigue and desperation made him sloppy. Alvarado was opportunistic at such moments and his disciplined approach never wavered. He closed the show strongly.

One of the Telefutura commentators had the fight even, but my guess is he has some family in Brasil—the judges had it right.

Last September, then 20-year-old Jesus Gonzales was thrown in against formidable Jose Luis Zertuche. It was too much too soon for the young middleweight; he took his first loss, getting stopped in the eighth. This was the southpaw’s first fight back, and he responded well, earning a UD 6 over Fernando Vela. All three judges had it 60-54, as Gonzales upped his record to 18-1 (11).

Vela was a wise choice of opponent for Gonzales’ first fight back.  He’s a very large middleweight, 6’1’’ with a frame that could easily carry 175. He’s a tough customer who comes to fight. But he’s woefully slow with crude skills. Gonzales was able to get off his combinations, slide around his man, and stay out of harm’s way. With this victory he might’ve recovered some lost confidence, knowing his people put him in with a big bruiser, not a feather-fisted blown-up welterweight. 

Noel Rodriguez won a six-round UD over Wayne Fletcher. Martin Ojeda beat Orlando Jesus Soto via UD 4. John Rarden got a MD over Gary Bergeron in a four-rounder. Jonathan Velardez scored a TKO 4 over Ricardo Avila.





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