Angel Ayala’s victory over Felix Alvarado marred by announcer snafu

Felix Alvarado thought he had done enough to earn a hard-fought decision victory.

Instead, Alvarado walked out of the ring in defeat, wondering what would be next for him.

Alvarado was originally announced the winner in his clash against Angel Ayala Saturday night at the Polyforum Zam Na in Merida, Mexico, only to hear Ayala announced as the actual winner moments later.

All three judges scored the bout 114-113 for Ayala, who improved to 17-0 (8 knockouts) in the IBF flyweight title elimination fight.

The announcement of the scorecard overshadowed a solid and competitive fight between Alvarado and Ayala, which turned out to be a barnburner between flyweights ranked in the top 10 by The Ring. Ayala and Alvarado were ranked Nos. 5 and 8, respectively, going into the fight.

With about 30 seconds left in the opening round, a short right cross to the chin dropped Ayala to the canvas. He beat the count and attempted to fight back as Alvarado attacked, seeking a stoppage win.

Ayala threw and landed crosses and hooks, but it was Alvarado who utilized the more effective ring generalship and harder punches. Ayala would switch from conventional to southpaw and back to conventional in an attempt to throw off Alvarado.

As the bout progressed towards the middle rounds, both fighters mostly stood in the center of the ring and exchanged combinations. Both did connect, but Ayala began to assert himself more.

Entering the second half of the fight, Ayala focused his attack to the body. The tactic did work, as Alvarado’s punch output dropped slightly. Ayala seemed to find a second wind, particularly towards the end of the ninth round, as he connected with a vicious left hook to the head of Alvarado during solid exchanges between the two.

During the 10th round, Ayala did well in spots as he fought off the ropes, waiting to counter Alvarado with left hooks or right crosses, followed by combinations.

Both fighters had their moments during the championship rounds. Alvarado did get a second wind and looked as though he connected more.

Ring announcer Pablo Flores, who has worked for several promotional companies as a ring announcer, including Golden Boy and Zanfer Boxing, originally announced Alvarado as the winner. After rereading the scorecards, Flores corrected himself and announced Ayala as the actual winner.

Upon hearing the announcement, Alvarado shook his head in disbelief. Moments later, Flores showed Alvarado the scorecard, then spoke with members of the local boxing commission.

“I don’t blame my opponent. Ayala did his work. I was here in Mexico,” said Alvarado, who is from Nicaragua. “I think the judges were swayed by the fans’ reaction. I clearly won the fight.”

The 34-year-old Alvarado previously fought on June 10, winning by knockout over Armando Hernandez Torres in the fourth round. Alvarado challenged IBF world flyweight titleholder Sunny Edwards on November 11 of last year, losing by unanimous decision.

Alvarado is the twin brother of Rene Alvarado and held the IBF junior flyweight title from 2018-2022 before vacating.

Ayala, who resides in Mexico City, previously fought on March 4, defeating Luis Rodriguez by unanimous decision in a stay-busy fight. Prior to the Alvarado fight, the 23-year-old notched a notable win over former world titleholder Cristofer Rosales on April 9 of last year.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]

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