Miguel Flores wasn't cautious against Chris Avalos after receiving his first loss in his previous fight, and although his aggressiveness seemed to be serving him well this time around, he was defeated again in a manner that proved difficult to accept.
Flores gained a third-round knockdown and was ahead on all three scorecards Tuesday night, but a cut above his left eye was deemed too serious for him to continue after five rounds and Avalos was awarded a controversial TKO victory in an action-packed 126-pound showdown at Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Miguel Flores (21-2, 9 KOs) went right after Avalos at the opening bell, and the two engaged in a close-fought, back-and-forth contest for almost the entire bout. Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs), a former 122-pound title challenger, gave as good as he got for the first two rounds, and never stopped moving forward.
Flores blasted his opponent with a barrage in Round 3 and forced him to a knee, but Avalos rebounded quickly and remained competitive throughout the fight.
A laceration opened above Flores’ left eye from what seemed to be a headbutt in the fourth round. When the ringside doctor ruled after Round 5 that Flores was unable to continue because of the cut, Avalos was given the stoppage victory amid some confusion after referee Bruce McDaniel ruled that the cut had been caused by a punch.
“I'm disappointed by what happened,” Flores said. “We were winning the fight. Everybody saw what happened. We saw the referee say it was an accidental headbutt, but this kind of stuff happens in boxing. They took it away from me.”
Said Avalos: “We caught a little bit of a headbutt, but I don't remember any cuts coming from it. I didn't see any blood from the headbutt. I saw blood after I threw a right hand.”
Flores, who turned 25 Monday, was ahead 48-46 on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage, but instead suffered his second straight defeat after being stopped by Dat Nguyen in Round 6 in February.
“ We were winning the fight. Everybody saw what happened. We saw the referee say it was an accidental headbutt, but this kind of stuff happens in boxing. They took it away from me. ” Miguel Flores, on losing to Chris Avalos by fifth-round TKO
“The cut was bothering me and I couldn't really see out of that eye,” Flores said. “It was just a matter of time until I got the knockout, though. I was breaking him down. I'll learn from it and get better. I definitely want an immediate rematch next.”
Avalos ended a two-fight skid in his first bout in nearly 15 months, and won for the first time since earning an eight-round unanimous decision over Rey Perez in August 2015. The 27-year-old Lancaster, California, native said afterward that he would be willing to consider a rematch with Flores.
“I didn't get the victory the way I wanted, but I got the win,” Avalos said. “It was a good back-and-forth action fight. We both had moments where we went after each other and the other guy always came right back.”
The controversial ending overshadowed what had been a very good action fight. Both guys ate monster shots that would have put many fighters on the canvas, but Flores and Avalos were undeterred as they continued to go at it.
If Flores was at all bothered by being knocked out by Nguyen earlier this year, he didn't show it. Instead of boxing from the outside like his corner probably would have preferred, he slugged it out with the battle-tested Avalos, who was stopped in the fifth round by Carl Frampton in their 122-pound world title bout in February 2015.
In undercard action, powerful 175-pound prospect Ahmed Elbiali (16-0, 13 KOs) remained perfect with a dominant second-round TKO of Christopher Brooker (12-4, 5 KOs), and Ryan Karl (14-1, 9 KOs) won an eight-round unanimous decision over Carlos Winston Velasquez (24-30-2, 14 KOs) in a 145-pound bout.
For a complete look at Flores vs Avalos, visit our fight page.