A Golden Night At The Marriott

19.03.04 - By Fiona Manning - They say there are no small show, only small fighters. Two small fighters won the hearts of a sell-out crowd at the Irvine Marriott Hotel last night, in anticipation of Golden Boy Promotions ‘big’ show tonight at the historic Olympic Auditorium. Featherweight Marcos Licona won a 10 round majority decision but gave himself plenty to think about in edging out Cristian Favela. The 1000 plus fans who braved the trek to Irvine, were treated to a royal Battle In The Ballroom. Both fighters came out quickly, but Favela dominated, pressing the action with neat combinations. He gave up some middle rounds to Licona who worked up a good pace with head and body shots which slowed down the nimble-footed Favela.

Favela picked things up in the last two rounds and seemed to have won it. You could see his shock and hear it voiced in the booing of the crows as the scores were announced: One judge had it 95-95 (draw) and crazy scores of 99-91 and 97-93 gave it to Licona.

A dripping wet Licona emerged from the ring. "I knew that the fight was close, but my corner kept telling me that I was winning the fight," he said.

Try telling that to a distraught Favela. “I won this fight,” he said.

“It was close, but I thought I did enough to win the fight. The issue with dropping six pounds yesterday at the weigh in did not affect me.”

This was Licona’s first bout back after a seven-month layoff from a KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last August. He praised Favela’s strength and awkardness. “He took it to me, but I won this fight. He’s tough that’s for sure.”

Licona improves to 21-4-1, 7 KOs. Favela slips to 9-5-3, 6 KO's.

First bout up: Efren Hinojosa dug deep to score a six round unanimous decision over Justo Almazan.

Almazan, who stepped in on a day’s notice, fights at various weights and is not one to be taken lightly. He is a big-time spoiler and can make a pretty good fighter look really sloppy.

Just ask Hinojosa.

Almazan came in with his typically hard, looping punches and seemed certain to beef up his substantial record with a rare win.

Hinojosa recovered his poise midway in the fourth, landing some good clean shots.

Almazan's fire was snuffed out when he was dropped in the fifth but he came back swinging in the sixth and final round.

All three judges saw it surprisingly wide for Hinojosa, 58-55, 59-54, and 59-54.

He climbs to 26-2, 17 KO's. Almazan falls to 13-36-5.

Next up, welterweights Santiago Perez won a four rounder over Ernesto Anzar.

Perez won the first two rounds with great, hard punches. He kept up a sharp output, wearing his opponent down, dropping him in the fourth with a straight right that almost took Anzar’s head off.

Perez won: 40-35, 40-35, and 39-36.

In a four round featherweight bout, first timers Richard Alduena and Thomas Bernal fought to a rousing split-decision draw.

Bernal began assuredly, landing clean shots to Alduena. The output seemed to tire Bernal who lost the third round but rallied in the fourth, once again mounting pressure.

The fourth round was Alduena’s until Bernal landed more body shots. Alduena was backing up until a late flurry seemed to give him the fight.

One judge scored the bout 39-37 for Alduena, the second saw it 40-36 for Bernal. The third had it 38-38, a draw.

In the final bout, junior lightweight Mario Juarez won a four round unanimous decision victory over Hector Rivera.

What a strange fight. Was he scared? We may never know. But Rivera spent the duration running around the ring, while Juarez chased and caught his quarry with devastating head shots.

Somebody must have forgotten to mention two words to Juarez before this fight: Nate Campbell. In a stupid, cocky move, he continually stopped and posed, telling Rivera to try and hit him.

Thank God he wasn’t in the ring with Robbie ‘The Bomber’ Peden who knocked out Campbell just last Sunday.

Not surprisingly, all three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Juarez.

Juarez improves to 2-0, 1 KO. Rivera, who may want to re-evaluate career options, drops to 0-3.

Article posted on 19.03.2004

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