Marlen Esparza Cruises in Las Vegas to Victory
By David A. Avila
LAS VEGAS, Nev.-Marlen Esparza may or not be looking for knockout wins but she wasn’t going to get it against Denver’s Aracely Palacios on Saturday afternoon and settled for a victory by decision.
The former U.S. Olympian Esparza ( 3-0) was firing hard but Palacios (5-7-1) was no dandelion in going all six rounds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas before a sparse early morning crowd. But the flyweight female six round bout was televised.
Esparza, 28, now trains under Oakland’s Virgil Hunter who also works with light heavyweight world champion Andre Ward. Under his guidance Esparza has been able to transition into three-minute rounds and its different pacing.
Since her pro debut the Houston native has carefully treaded the professional fight world and gradually progressed into a more prizefighting style. No more slapping punching. Her blows definitely have more force behind them now.
Palacios, also 28, has fought more than 70 rounds as a professional and has proven her resilience in bouts against veterans like former world champion Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora. She knows her way around the prize ring.
“Even though my opponent, on paper, looked like she had more ring experience, I’ve been in the ring way more than she had. Because I had 3 minute rounds, I was able to think a lot more in the ring and was even told by my trainer I had to slow down,” said Esparza.
Speed was the difference in this contest and Esparza was able to navigate around Palacio’s dogged aggressiveness in winning round after round. The Texas fighter used her speed and agility to simply hit and move for all six rounds. Palacios tried her best to put a roadblock on the movement but was unsuccessful.
Esparza cruised to victory in almost monotonous fashion.
“I couldn’t research much about my opponent, but we knew she was going to be throwing her right often. I’m satisfied with my performance because this was my first 6-round fight,” Esparza said after winning by 60-54 on all three cards.
United Kingdom’s Nicola Adams fight against Hungary’s Alexandra Vlajk was canceled at the last moment, according to Golden Boy Promotions.
Vlajk failed her blood tests and the fight was immediately canceled despite both girls participating in the weighings.
The super flyweight bout was set for four rounds.
(Photo by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos)