The action was hot and heavy on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Emerald Queen Casino. A packed show room witnessed a six-bout Battle at the Boat 117 that offered up a little bit of everything for fight fans. In regular fashion at these events, there was a rising star or two on the bill, and this time around they both took care of business to continue their climbs toward the top of the national boxing rankings.
In our four and a half years of covering the Battle at the Boat series at the EQC, the matchups have been consistently solid, and sometimes stellar. Occasionally, a true mismatch will occur, but those instances have been few and far between. Battle at the Boat 117 was no exception.
However, there were definitely some surprises on the night.
Kicking off the event was a contest between two undefeated fighters. Sure, those undefeated records were just 1-0, but that meant one of the two was going to have a sudden blemish on their extremely fresh boxing career. Juan Gomez would face Gilberto Duran in a 127-pound affair, and it turned out to be one of the better openers we have seen in a while.
These sort of fights often begin with both fighters lighting off cannon shots and throwing haymakers. That wouldn’t be the case for these two newcomers. Gomez and Duran eased their way into what would become a brutal encounter. By the end of the first round, Gomez was finding success working the body, as well as delivering some action upstairs. Duran countered in the second with some fire, but it was quickly tempered by a left hook from Gomez that made his legs a little wobbly. However, Gomez was unable to finish the job, despite two more flurries that rattled his opponent. It was close too, because if the round had another 10 seconds to spare, Duran would have went down. He was basically saved by the bell.
Duran continued to eat punches from Gomez in the third round, but he was still hanging in there. Soon, Duran was bleeding over his left eye. Another left hook from Gomez sent Duran to the canvas in what seemed to be slow motion. The referee had finally seen enough and stopped the fight for a Gomez technical knockout. It should be noted that Duran was added to the fight card as a replacement just a few days prior to fight night. He certainly didn’t “mail in” his opportunity, and gave it his all.
Next up was a battle at 142 pounds between two fighters making their professional boxing debuts. Luis DeAlba would face a much taller Andres Garcia Albaca in a bout that would go the distance, surprisingly. It didn’t look like the fight would advance out of the first round with DeAlba landing a barrage of left hooks and upper cuts to the chin of Garcia Albaca. Several times, the taller fighter’s legs appeared to turn to rubber, but DeAlba was unable to close the deal, and Garcia Albaca just refused to go down.
The fight would turn decidedly in Garcia Albaca’s direction in the second round, as DeAlba began to slow down, while his opponent began peppering him with shots of his own. The third and fourth rounds were also strong for Garcia Albaca, as DeAlba’s face turned bloody from a right-eye cut. After the final bell, the judges’ gave a unanimous decision to Garcia Albaca, in one of the more entertaining debut duels that we’ve seen at the Battle of the Boat.
Undefeated Chris Reyes was going for his fourth victory in the third bout of the night, and Keith Wolf had the misfortune of being his opponent. Reyes put Wolf on the canvas twice in the first round, via some nasty left hooks. Frankly, we were surprised Wolf made it through the round. He ate quite a few shots. Whatever luck he had ran out in the second round as Reyes pummeled Wolf back down to the mat, and the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Following three, four-round bouts, the action moved to five rounds for the two featured fights. First up was an interesting matchup between Andres Reyes and Sean Gee. With fight experience coming out of both corners, this looked to be a hard-fought affair, and it turned out that way. Over the years, both fighters proved to have strong chins, while not wielding any incredible knockout power themselves.
The fight turned out to be a slugfest, with both fighters going on the attack throughout the five rounds. However, neither fighter was able to send their opponent to the canvas. As a matter of fact, we were not going to be surprised if the fight was called a draw by the judges when it was all over. Following the final bell, the judges’ score cards nearly had it that way, with two judges scoring it 48-47 for Reyes, and one scoring it 48-47 for Gee, giving Reyes the slim, split decision.
Up next was one of the bouts that looked like a real winner on paper. Shae Green and Jorge Linares have both looked very impressive in their short careers, and it figured that it would turn into something special when the two met in the ring.
Linares entered the ring to a sizable bit of cheers coming from the crowd and he appeared amped-up to get things started. To tell the truth, when the action began, it looked as though Linares was so amped-up that his fight plan went out the window. The 138 pounder was looking to deliver a knockout quickly, and all Green did was sidestep some wild swings and deliver shots to the head of Linares. After going down to the canvas quickly, on what appeared to be more of a surprise reaction than any real damage, Linares appeared to lose any momentum he had entering the ring. Green would continue to dodge Linares’ wild haymakers, while delivering lightning-quick left hooks to the head of Linares.
The fight wouldn’t make it out of the first round as Green sent Linares to the mat another two times and the referee called the fight. After expecting to see an impressive bout that could go the distance, this result was very shocking, as well as impressive on the part of Green. If he can keep his focus and not get overconfident, he looks like he has the tools to make some waves in this business.
It was now time for the main event. Undefeated Gio Cabrera Mioletti (12-0-0) would be looking to make it 13 out of the gate against a tough veteran in Carlos Padilla (16-7-1, with 10 knockouts). Again, on paper, this looked like a very interesting contest. Padilla obviously had the knockout power, while Gio brought the kind of smooth skills that remind boxing fans of the glory days of the sport.
For a main event, we were less than impressed with Padilla’s output. He offered up a target right in front of one of the fastest boxers in the Pacific Northwest, and he paid the price for it. Gio seemed to have an open avenue to Padilla’s face with a constant delivery of jabs and straight lefts and rights. It’s possible that Padilla’s game plan was to let Gio wear himself out, but that doesn’t work when you can’t make it past the fourth round of a 10-rounder.
Before the fifth round commenced, there was a conference between Padilla’s corner, the referee and the fight doctor on hand. The result was the referee waving his arms and stopping the bout. While it was a bit of a letdown not to see Gio put in more work, and really face a challenge, it was still a solid and very fun night at the EQC.
Battle at the Boat 118 is set for Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Emerald Queen Casino.