Photos by Sumio Yamada
DAVID BANKS W10 ELVIN AYALA
David Banks not only won his rematch with Elvin Ayala he did so in more convincing fashion than when the pair met last November. The no-longer unheralded middleweight from Portland, OR, simply outboxed and outworked the taller, harder-hitting local favourite and well-deserved the unanimous decision with scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94.
Banks, 23, showed almost an old-school fighting instinct and cleverness. He is not a banger (just two stoppage wins in 15 fights) but he hits hard enough to get respect and it seemed to me, watching on Telefutura, that Banks had Ayala beaten mentally in the last four rounds. I think Ayala got discouraged when he landed his biggest right hands of the fight and Banks not only did not wilt but came back strongly.
Ayalas jabs were often falling short or being slipped by his opponent, and Banks was always ready to counter with the right hand. This, I thought, was making Ayala reluctant to jab and thus his height and reach advantages were being negated.
I thought that Ayala had a strong round in the sixth, but Banks took it right to him in the seventh, working to the body, looking to bring over the right hand and regaining a control of the contest that he was never to relinquish.
By the eighth Banks was so confident he stood in front of Ayala with hands down, shaking his shoulders to show his opponent how relaxed and sure of himself he was, and I think that at this moment the Connecticut boxer more or less resigned himself to defeat.
In the first fight between them, Banks came in at short notice and had a long, tiring flight to the East Coast with less-than-favourable flight connections. He showed what he can do with more time to prepare and a flight schedule that was a lot less than taxing than it had been the first time he flew out of the Pacific Northwest to meet Ayala.
I did tip Banks to win but I did not think he would do it in such a commanding fashion. It was a feel-good type of fight, with the fans who started out by booing Banks seeming to switch over to his side, cheering when he started to find a home for his right hands. It was, I thought, a very fair-minded crowd, and all that remained was for the judges to have the right winner, which of course they did.