Featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez continued moving forward tonight in Las Vegas, stopping veteran Chris Avalos in the fifth round of a pretty dominant performance, improving to 17-0 (15 KO) in the process.
Valdez, a two-time Mexican Olympian, looked very sharp offensively and showed some solid defensive skills, as well, as he was able to outbox Avalos (26-4, 19 KO) and catch him routinely with straight right hands, plus stinging counter left hooks. It was one of those left hooks that dropped Avalos at the end of round three, catching him on the side of the head. Avalos' legs wobbled all over as he eventually fell to the canvas. Had that knockdown come earlier in the round, it likely would have been over there.
Instead, Avalos was back out for round four, and the fight increasingly became target practice for Valdez, who really couldn't miss anymore. Avalos stayed in the pocket with little to no head movement, taking a beating until referee Russell Mora stepped in for the stoppage at 1:17 of round five.
Super middleweight prospect Jesse Hart stayed undefeated with a one-sided but ugly win over Aaron Pryor Jr in the co-feature, stopping Pryor with nine seconds left in the ninth round. Hart (18-0, 15 KO) was pitching a shutout, but it would be hard to say this was really a good performance, either, other than the fact that he won the entire fight.
Perhaps that sounds weird, but Hart looked green, wasting tons of motion and energy with looping right hands that didn't land. Though he beat up on Pryor (19-9-1, 12 KO), he was also easily baited into awkward holding and grappling throughout the fight. It's a win for Hart, one he deserved and earned, and also a performance he can learn from. There's still a ways to go in his development, and if nothing else this fight gave him some lessons, which is probably more valuable in the long run than just knocking Pryor out in three rounds would have been.