Report and Photos by Ricardo Ibarra
Pitching a shutout over seven rounds, undefeated Pacific Northwest Jr. middleweight prospect Steven “Hands of Gold” Villalobos (10-0-1, 8 KOs) added his tenth win as a pro on Saturday night at the Jackson Armory in Portland, Oregon, defeating Eagle pass, Texas’ Lionel Jimenez (5-24-1, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision.
In the main event of the 2Pound Sports &Entertainment card, Villalobos controlled the fight throughout with steady pressure, claiming every round on all three judges’ scorecards.
Villalobos, of Burlington, Washington, worked patiently behind his jab from the outset, pushing his opponent back with quick one-twos and lead power shots while switching between an orthodox and southpaw stance. He employed a measured approach through the first three rounds, pressing forward and drilling Jimenez with lead right hands and sporadic flurries of body shots.
In the fourth Villalobos stepped up his output, slamming Jimenez with lead rights and hooks to the mid-section. Late in the round two well-placed rights snapped back the head of Jimenez. The Texan proved to be a resilient fighter, though, continuing to come forward even after taking flush shots.
Villalobos continued to press at a measured pace for the remainder of the fight, using his jab to keep his opponent on the defensive and following up with power punches when the opening presented itself. He easily claimed the decision win with all three judges scoring the fight 70-63 in his favor.
Villalobos, who added only his second decision win in ten victories expressed some disappointment in his showing after the fight. “I’m happy I got the win, but I’m not very happy with my performance. I think I could’ve done a lot better.”
“I was trying to be smart and stay relaxed,” continued Villalobos. “I wanted to stay calm, stay patient, and stick to my game plan. I didn’t want to just jump in and go for the knockout like I usually do because he does have a lot of experience. I picked my shots and did the best I could. I’m glad I got the rounds, I just feel I could’ve done a lot better. This experience will make me better. I’ll be back in the gym Monday and I’ll be working again.”
With the win Villalobos adds his fourth consecutive win of the year. Jimenez, meanwhile, drops his twenty-fourth career loss.
Four other bouts made up the rest of the card, courtesy of promoters Steve Forbes and Christina Lunzman.
In a scheduled six round Jr. middleweight bout, Tacoma’s Andre Keys (8-1, 4 KOs) scored a second round TKO over California’s Somethonit Phoumychak (0-4). Keys took control early, working off his jab and drilling his opponent with lead right hands and hard uppercuts. Late in the first round Keys hurt Phoumychak with a thudding hook to the body. In the second round Keys picked up his tempo, smashing Phoumychak with straight right hands and hard hooks to the torso. He continued to press forward with quick flurries, landing heavily in close and snapping his opponent’s head back. In between rounds Phoumychak’s corner informed referee Ed Collantes they were calling it, giving Keys the win at 3:00 of the second round.
Making his professional debut, Seattle’s Juan Huerta (1-0) claimed a five round split decision win over crowd favorite Blaiwas Eaglepipe (1-1) in a Jr. lightweight match-up. Eaglepipe, of Salem, Oregon, began the bout boxing well out of a southpaw stance, but by the end of the first round Huerta was cutting the distance and landing in close. Through the second and third rounds Huerta was effective in getting in close and digging to the body with thudding hooks, landing the cleaner, harder shots. Eaglepipe used the ring well in the fourth, staying at range and picking his spots. Huerta, though, came on strong in the fifth round, catching Eaglepipe early with a flush straight right and continuing to press as Eaglepipe tried to rally back. The two unloaded down the stretch, each having their moments in a close final round, but Huerta’s harder punches seemed to give him an edge. Two judges agreed, giving Huerta the nod by scores of 49-46, with the third judge seeing it for Eaglepipe at 48-47.
Seattle’s Greg Cruz (1-0) made his entrance into the paid ranks a successful one, claiming a hard-fought four round majority decision win over fellow pro debuter Gerado Esquivel (0-1). The two fighters got off to a fast start, each letting their hands go early, Esquivel looking to cut the distance and get in close, while Cruz sought to keep a longer range and catch his opponent as he barreled his way forward. Esquivel seemed to have a slight edge in the first round with the more effective punching. He slowed in the second, though, allowing Cruz to find his range and land sharp right hands. The third was a close round with Esquivel pressing effectively as Cruz slowed. In the final round, Cruz seemed to find his rhythm, working behind his jab and landing clean right hands. The two engaged in a vicious exchange in the final seconds of the round, swinging wildly in the center of the ring, giving the crowd an exciting end to the fight. The official tallies read 38-38, 39-37, and 40-36, giving Cruz his first win as a pro.
In the evening’s opener, Puyallup, Washington’s Kevin Davila (2-7-2, 1 KO) scored a vicious third round knockout of Tacoma’s Jesse Barich (0-5). Davila let his hands go early in the fight, pressing his opponent with an aggressive assault. Davila slowed down a bit in the second, but he closed out the round unloading with a heavy barrage in the pocket. After spending the first few seconds of the third round, stalking, Davila unleashed a debilitating volley of punches, starting with a left hook and finishing with a right, sending Barich crashing to the canvas. Referee Joey Passarella initiated a count but seeing that Barich was in no condition to get up, waved the fight off at :45 of the round. With the win Davila adds his first win in over six years. Barich drops his fifth loss. The fight was contested in the Jr. middleweight division.
A good-sized crowd packed into the Jackson Armory for former Jr. lightweight world champion Steve “2Pound” Forbes and partner Christina Lunzman’s second card under their promotional banner 2Pound Sports & Entertainment. Plans are underway for their third show, which is tentatively planned for December.