Martin upsets Avalos on ShoBox
Hard-punching bantamweight Chris Avalos was a knockout away from being hailed as one the sport's brightest prospects, but Christopher Martin proved that the 20-year-old slugger still has some growing up to do in a Showtime-televised main event in Hinckley, Minn., on Friday.
Martin (19-0-2, 5 knockouts), a more mature, naturally bigger, and better skilled prospect, out-boxed Avalos (16-1, 13 KOs) over 10 rounds to earn a split decision victory.
Martin, a 24-year-old San Diego native, won by scores of 98-92 and 97-93. The 98-94 card for Avalos was a disgrace. Martin troubled Avalos with his counter punching from the onset and took complete control of the bout from the fifth round to the final bell.
Avalos, a strong-willed puncher from Lancaster, Calif., did his best to pressure Martin, but the older, heavier fighter was able to evade his punches with head and upper-body movement and stay in range to return fire.
Martin, who gave Avalos angles when punching in close, continually beat the hyped youth to the punch with jabs, lead hooks, counter right hands and body-head combinations down the stretch of the fight.
In the co-featured bout of the ShoBox broadcast, cruiserweight prospect Lateef Kayode (13-0, 12 KOs) stopped Alfredo Escalera Jr. (18-3-1, 12 KOs) at the end of eighth round of a scheduled 10.
Kayode, a Hollywood, Calif.,-based Nigerian, was the aggressor throughout the bout. The Freddie Roach-trained boxer-puncher scored with left hooks and uppercuts while Escalera, the son of the former 130-pound champ from Puerto Rico, struggled to find his rhythm.
Kayode didn't allow Escalera to get warmed up and repeatedly bulled the Puerto Rican to the ropes in the middle rounds of the bout. A right hand to the body and the head set up a huge left hook that dropped Escalera late in the round. Escalera got up on wobbly legs and survived the round but he simply lacked the will to continue and his corner did the right thing by signaling the end of the bout to referee Joe Cortez.