Alvarado oversees Herrera in fight of the year thriller, improving Gesta stops Cuero after two deckings

15 Apr

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

Unbeaten junior welterweight Mike Alvarado once again showed that he is fast-emerging as one of the most entertaining boxers regardless of division as he and opponent Mauricio Herrera engaged in a hit-and-get-hit spectacle at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 14. Alvarado trumped Herrera by way of unanimous decision, while Mercito Gesta shut out and knocked out Oscar Cuero on an undercard segment.

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Herrera's face told the story of Alvardo's power as his eyes swelled early. Credit: Chris Farina/ Top Rank

Delgado’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

10 10 10
9 9 9 9 9 9 10

Official verdict: Alvarado wins unanimous decision (99-91, 97-93, 96-94).

Herrera did his best to dictate the early tempo of the bout, marching out for the first round and forcing Alvarado to follow his orders as he crouched low and, with good leverage, slammed hook shots to the side of the body followed by crisp lefts to the temple. Herrera, who had a strong victory over Mike Dallas Jr combined with the fame of having taken away Ruslan Provodnikov’s zero prior to the Alvarado duel, fought with unrelenting pressure into the second as he bravely duked it out with a fighter renowned for his punching ability.

In the third round, Mile High Mike – a Denver native – found his range and enjoyed good success when he had his opponent trapped, mainly against the ropes, which allowed him to peel off power punch after power punch, however, he did not have it all his own way as he had to keep his gloves up to protect himself at all times… Herrera fought like he had Duracell batteries in his rotator cuffs as he put together four and five punch combinations.

There were seldom breaks in the all action slobberknocker and, in the fourth, Alvarado trapped Herrera back onto the ropes like he had done in the third. This time, though, whenever Herrera attempted to fight his way out of trouble, Alvarado would clobber him with heavy hands. For Herrera, the hook was his amigo while American 140lber Alvarado’s bestie was the uppercut.

As the contest reached it’s midway point, it became clear that the competitive fight would be won on what the three ringside judges preferred in a prizefighter… Herrera had the activity, the punch-output, the work-rate, but it was Alvarado who had the effective aggression, the power and the obvious physical advantages. It was Alvarado, though, who had the edge during the final straight as it was his conditioning and Herrera’s waning that was the primary difference-maker.

Herrera’s speed of hand slowed, his body movement lost intuition and he was unable to see what Alvarado was throwing and where it was coming from as his eye closed from considerable swelling. For any judge who was in doubt as to where the decision should be heading, rounds eight and nine were – in particular – telling, as Alvarado was dominant. The best, though, was saved for last as in the tenth round both pugs traded slugs in the centre of the ring. The decision was, rightly, unanimous as Alvarado had his arm raised upon completion of the contest while Herrera’s face looked painfully swollen and markedly different from the victor.

In triumph, Alvarado rose to 33-0-0, 23ko while Herrera dropped down to 18-2-0, 7ko.

Alvarado cracks one of his many right hands onto Herrera's jaw. Credit: Chris Farina/ Top Rank

Elsewhere on the Brandon Rios versus Richard Abril undercard, was a further appearance from Filipino hotshot Mercito Gesta, who boxed maturely and near flawlessly as he recorded a shut-out teekayo win in the eighth.

Delgado’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

9 9 9
9 8 9 8 8

Official verdict: Gesta wins by way of eighth round technical knockout.

Despite a slow start, Gesta boxed like the boss, flurrying with body shots late in round one to nab the ten score and edge Oscar Cuero. A fighter with little amateur experience to speak of as he was primarily consumed with the muay thai discipline, Gesta had shown good technique in the opener but got complacent in round two, allowed Cuero to gain an upper hand, but beat the advantage out of Gesta by finishing well, throwing bombing left hands straight through the middle and rocketing uppercuts toward the chin.

Even though Gesta was not perturbed nor troubled by any aspect of Cuero’s game, his head cornerman – Vincent Parra – implored his trainer to make a greater impression on the Las Vegas bill broadcast by broadcasting behemoth HBO. Mandalay Bay crowds and pay-per-view purchasing fans relish one type of victory; the knockout, and Gesta sought to soften Cuero up for a stoppage by bombarding him with blows to the barrel.

Gesta landed the uppercut again in the fifth, but his guard had holes in as it leaked punches with Cuero punching through it. The aggressor and ring general, Gesta was awarded a further point advantage as Cuero had one deducted due to repeated holding and turning Gesta. When Cuero looked his best, he was fighting with sustained pressure, forcing his opponents to either retreat or wilt, however, Oscar – the 26-year-old opponent from Colombia – was too depleted of energy to fight this way for the majority of a round, let alone the entirety of a fight.

Cuero was down in the seventh, taking a count of nine having been dropped following an accumulation of shots to the body. When he returned to his feet, he clinched, wrestled both himself and Gesta to the floor and bought some vital time. At the round’s end, Gesta engaged in kidology after Cuero landed a hat-trick of power shots. Down again in the eighth, Cuero was deemed to be in no fit state to continue and the Filipino prospect secured an eighth round technical knockout.

With the convincing win, Gesta jumped to 25-0-1, 13ko. Cuerro fell to 15-8-0, 12ko.

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