AVALOS: star quality. / Photo: TOM CASINO, for Showtime
Chumash casino, SANTA YNEZ, CA, Sept. 18
Graham's Odds: 
Avalos -300; Caro +250
Over 7.5 -145; under 7.5 +125

The chief supporting bout on Friday’s ShoBox card gives us the chance to get another look at Chris Avalos, the exciting bantamweight who, in what was supposed to be a step-up fight, blew out Andre Wilson in two rounds in July.

On Friday Avalos has what looks like being a good test against Giovanni Caro, a tough Mexican fighter who had a war with world-class Bernabe Concepcion a year ago. Caro was right in the fight and the Filipino was in trouble with a badly swollen eye when Concepcion pulled out a fight-winning right-hander in the eighth round.

Avalos, only 19, turned professional after losing in the Western region Olympic trials and he has looked tremendous, stopping nine opponents in his 11 consecutive wins. The somewhat Slavic-featured Caro (hence his “Ruso” nickname) has lately been boxing as a 122 pounder, including winning the Mexican title, so he will be coming down slightly in weight for a match made at 120 pounds.

Often when a fighter drops down in weigh he has a size and strength advantage, but it can work the other way and a boxer can be a bit drained in losing weight.

My suspicion is that it is already getting a little difficult to match the hard-hitting Avalos and that his camp is willing to give away a few pounds.

Caro has seven losses on his record but of course he has been matched in tough fights from the off, which is par for the course in Mexico. He was stopped twice in his first six fights but has looked durable since — certainly he was giving the heavy handed Concepcion fierce resistance for seven rounds. "Ruso" knocked out the two-time world title challenger Ricardo Castillo to win the Mexican championship and he retained the title by stopping the once-beaten Carlos Yanez in 10 gruelling rounds. I am not attaching too much importance to a loss suffered by Caro in a six-rounder in his last fight. He was meeting a fighter who I suspect was much better than his record showed, and it could be that Caro took the fight a bit lightly.

Friday’s fight is a big one for Caro. He will be appearing on U.S. TV, and a win would give a big boost to his career. I am expecting a tough, gritty fight from Caro, and I think that his busy punching, pressure style is going to present Avalos with some problems.

There is, though, a star-quality look about Avalos. He fights with poise and assurance, and his punching is fast and powerful. Andre Wilson, a southpaw who on paper looked a stiff test, was floored by a left hook and overwhelmed by an impressive barrage of punches.

Avalos will, I believe, have to reach down within himself more than he has ever had to do in the past, but I am expecting him to win, probably on points‚ although if Caro takes too many flush left hooks there is the chance of a late-round finish.

Last Updated: 
September 16, 2009 - 6:21am