Roger Gutierrez arrived in Dallas with a promise and he kept it. The Venezuelan fighter promised his late mother a world title and will return to his native Venezuela with the World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight black and gold belt after defeating René Alvarado by unanimous decision at the American Airlines Center.
Gutiérrez (25-3-1,21 KOs) got a valuable 113-112 win on the three judges’ cards in a bout in which he knocked down Alvarado (32-9, 20KOs) three times, twice in the third round and once in the twelfth.
In 2018, Gutiérrez was going through difficult times and even posted on social media that he was retiring from sports. The insistence of his relatives and family made him focus and continue in the discipline he loves to get back on track with several important victories, especially the one against Eduardo “Rocky” Martínez in 2019.
When his mother María Neida was diagnosed with cancer it served as a motivation for Roger. He promised to become a world champion and tackled a long road until Saturday night’s opportunity.
When Gutiérrez was confirmed to fight Alvarado this year, the Maracaibo native traveled from Venezuela to Medellín, Colombia, where he began one of the most demanding and important training camps of his career. Everything was going well and the Venezuelan felt better than ever about the match.
However, on November 29, tragic news arrived to shake up the world of the now champion. In the midst of the intensity of his camp and his personal motivation, he received the terrible news of his mother’s passing, which hit him harder than any boxer’s punch in the ring.
Roger, overwhelmed, had to make a decision: attend his mother’s funeral in Venezuela and forget about his fight, or go ahead with the title fight in front of him. But a promise is a promise, and as hard as the decision was, “The Kid” decided to stay in his camp for the championship fight against Alvarado.
He knew it. It would be a tough fight. Roger had already lost in 2017 to Alvarado by withdrawal in eight rounds and he had to improve a lot. But he rose to the occasion, showed how much progress he has made in three years and wrote a different history with his victory.
His punch was a threat and conditioned the fight after his two knockdowns in the third chapter. First with a right uppercut, then with a combination of punches, but that was not enough to end the fight as Alvarado survived and recovered to attack Gutiérrez incessantly in the following rounds, who looked tired in the middle of the fight.
In addition to the fatigue caused by his aggressiveness in the first rounds, he had to deal with a cut on his left eyebrow. But he always stood up, and when his body didn’t respond, his heart spoke for him.
A left hook in the final round touched Alvarado’s jaw and sent him back to the canvas. Roger’s team says he was helped by his mother as it was a major hook, almost miraculous, that tipped the scales to his side and made him the new 130-pound world champion to fulfill the promise he made to his mother.
Gutiérrez’ tears in the ring after the announcer proclaimed him the new WBA Champion showed all the effort and difficulties he endured, but also the joy of having achieved his life’s goal, and his mother’s dream.