Bruno “The Aloha Kid” Escalante (11-1-1, 5 KO’s) despite winning a majority decision over familiar opponent Michael Ruiz (9-4-1, 3 KO’s) by scores of 98-92 and 97-93, while judge Kermit Bayless had it a draw, was really in a closely contested bout that could have very well gone the visiting fighter’s way. This during a scrap for the vacant IBA junior bantamweight title hosted at the Sports House in Bruno’s adopted hometown of Redwood City, California
That’s to say Ruiz of Fresno, California as the away fighter looked to carry at least five of the ten rounds as the aggressor in the face of a mainly ineffective counter oriented Escalante. With Bruno taking the first two rounds, Ruiz would find his stride, pressing the attack while piling up the points in the ensuing two rounds.
Then Escalante would in the fifth frame land crunching counters to excite the crowd and clearly bank the round. As for the remainder of the fight, the “Aloha Kid” was either on the defensive, or waiting for something to happen, perhaps pulling out a round or two more with some last minute flurries.
Other than that the man who would split a pair of high level amateur bouts with Escalante was much busier, to at the end of the day be clearly disenchanted with the decision in what was the rubber match. Stated Ruiz, “I felt like I was carrying the fight. All the things my corner told me to do I did in the ring. All I wanted was a fair decision.”
As for the victor, “this is my first belt. I’m very happy. I was controlling with my jab. I always dictate the pace,” said a jubilant Escalante.
San Francisco, California native Jonathon Chicas (12-1, 5 KO’s) would need less than one complete round to end matters, dropping Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico opponent Rodolfo Armenta (13-12-1, 10 KO’s) in the opening moments with a huge left hook, to then jump on him with a flurry of shots to both body and head flooring Armenta yet again. Clearly in no man’s land, the referee had determined enough was enough, so that the bout would be waived off at the 1:22 mark of the very first stanza.
Also fighting out of San Francisco, middleweight Ricardo Pinell (6-1-1, 5 KO’s) is becoming quite the knockout artist, dispatching Phoenix, Arizona’s Arturo Brambila (9-21-1, 4 KO’s) at 2:55 of round 2 in what was to be a six-round tilt. Pinell would strike first, landing a right hook midway through round 1 to wobble Brambila. Following up, Ricardo connecting with assorted shots would keep his opponent unsteady for the remainder of the first, Arturo barely making it back to his stool. Enter round two where Pinell hit paydirt not once but twice, initially dropping Brambila with a crushing left uppercut, only to floor the Arizona native yet again with a devastating flurry that would prompt the referee to call an end.
Still undefeated, up and coming lightweight Andy Vences (6-0, 2 KO’s) of San Jose, California would after a closely contested first round tighten up defensively to outwork and outland Tijuana, Mexico southpaw opponent Victor Capaceta (3-5-3, 2 KO’s) over the course of the next three rounds of this scheduled four-rounder. Throw in a thumping body attack that began in frame two, and this in and of itself would pay dividends, altering Capaceta's demeanor as well as the complexion of the fight. The end result, a unanimous decision win for Vences by scores of 40-36 twice, and 39-37.
Light heavyweight Tony Johnson (7-0, 2 KO’s), also of San Jose, California, went at it with much more experienced Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico opponent Alfredo Contreras (13-17-2, 5 KO’s), pulling out a close unanimous decision verdict win after six rounds of boxing at 58-56 all around. And though Contreras looked to be the more skilled fighter while Johnson was tight in spots, the Mexican didn’t appear as though he was trying to win a fight. Clowning with hands down, Alfredo would allow the perpetually moving Johnson to take advantage by way of landing a majority of clearly visible blows in what almost resembled a sparring session.
Unblemished junior welterweight Darwin Price (4-0, 2 KO’s) of Salinas, California after four rounds of action would stay that way, sweeping crude valley adversary Vicente Guzman (0-3-1) of Tulare, California on the scorecards by tallies of 40-36. The unorthodox Guzman would try to make it a war when he could, only to become victimized throughout by the smart jab and sharp combos let loose by the victorious Price in what was a dominant showing.
In another four-round bout to open the card, also taking place at the junior welterweight limit, Chris Batista (1-0) of Madera, California and Los Angeles native Venito Salazar (0-1) would simultaneously make their pro debut, only to see a unanimous decision go the way of Batista by scores of 40-36 all around. Hard pressed to land any scoring blows, Salazar would consistently walk into pot shots and combinations emanating from the quicker-fisted and more accurate Batista, this in a contest that featured more than a few head clashes.