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Alvarado upsets Shafikov, Munguia blasts Valenzuela on Salido-Roman undercard

Rene Alvarado vs. Roger Gutierrez in their first fight in July 2017. (Photo by Tom Hogan / Hoganphotos)
Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS — Rene Alvarado remains one of the most reliable gatekeepers in boxing.

The 28-year-old Nicaraguan veteran denied Denis Shafikov a victory in the rugged Russian’s junior lightweight debut on the Orlando Salido-Mickey Roman undercard on Saturday at Mandalay Bay. Shafikov, a perennial lightweight contender who had come up short in 135-pound title shots, had hoped to jump start his career in the 130-pound division, but his choice of opponent in the new weight class was a bit too tough.

Alvarado (28-8, 19 knockouts), who scored a knockdown in Round 5 and opened an awful gash high on Shafikov’s head that poured blood throughout the brisk fight, won a 10-round split decision by scores of 96-94, 96-93 and 94-95. It was a competitive and entertaining fight. Shafikov (38-4, 20 KOs) applied his usual relentless southpaw pressure behind a stiff jab and hard lefts but Alvarado remained relaxed and controlled while boxing off the back foot, and the Nicaraguan fired accurate power punches, especially right hands, in return.

Alvarado has now won his fourth consecutive bout since losing a decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa (who he dropped) in March. That run includes a seventh-round KO of then unbeaten (15-0-1) Venezuelan prospect Roger Gutierrez in July. Alvarado also owns a split-decision over former featherweight title challenger Jayson Velez in 2016 and he gave then-prospect-now-contender Joseph Diaz Jr. hell in a 10-round decision loss in 2015.

Junior middleweight prospect Jaime Munguia lived up to his considerable hype by blasting out normally durable spoiler Paul Valenzuela in Round 2 of their scheduled eight rounder. Munguia (26-0, 22 KOs), a 21-year-old boxer-puncher from Tijuana, dropped 31-year-old Valenzuela in an exchange of left hooks midway through Round 2 and quickly finished matters without rushing himself.

Munguia usually fights at or around the junior middleweight limit, but weighed in at 157 pounds at the request of Valenzuela, who often fights at middleweight. Valenzuela (20-7, 14 KOs) went the eight-round distance with Tony Harrison and 11 rounds with Wilky Campfort earlier this. He upset then-unbeaten Tijuana up-and-comer Antonio Gutierrez in 2015. But Munguia, who won his seventh bout of 2017, is a much better prospect than Gutierrez was.

Pedro Duran (16-0, 13 KOs), a hard-punching junior lightweight prospect from Paramount, California, stopped crafty Daniel Evangelista (20-9-2, 16 KOs), a solid pro from Mexico City, after Round 5 of their scheduled eight rounder. Duran, who patiently stalked his stick-and-moving opponent, dropped Evangelista twice in Round 5. Evangelista’s corner waved it off between rounds.

In the opening bout of the card, Joselito Velazquez (5-0, 5 KOs), a 2016 Olympian from Cancun, Mexico, stopped game veteran Armando Vazquez (22-21-1, 5 KOs), of Mexicali, in Round 5 of their scheduled six rounder.