San Francisco resident Melissa McMorrow, the reigning WBO world flyweight champion, successfully defended her title Saturday in Magdeburg, Germany, with a split decision win over Nadia Raoui.
McMorrow’s constant pressure was enough to win the requisite rounds against Raoui (15-2-1, 3 KOs). Scorecards of 98-91 and 96-94 for McMorrow overruled a 96-94 verdict for Raoui, who was fighting out of Essen, Germany.
“There’s no question what Melissa planned to do in there,” said trainer Eddie Croft. “She was able to get inside on Raoui and land some good, short shots. I thought the one judge who had it wide for us got it right.”
Training out of San Mateo’s B Street Boxing, McMorrow (9-3-3, 1 KO) is one of an astounding three NorCal-based 112-pound women’s world titlists (the other two being Chico’s Ava Knight and Watsonville’s Carina Moreno).
MORENO, ESPARZA MIX IT UP: Speaking of Moreno, “La Reina” sparred 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza at the Undisputed Gym in San Carlos last Saturday.
[VIDEO: Q&A with Olympic boxer Marlen Esparza]
“It was great work,” said Moreno (23-5, 6 KOs), who holds the WBA version of the title. “Obviously, I’m out of shape. I took some time off from my last fight in September…Marlen’s good. She’s got a lot of speed.”
The open session was a measuring stick of where Esparza stood heading into April’s U.S. National Championships in Spokane, Wash. The seven-time defending champion has had to adjust to a team (Brian Schwartz, Mike Bazzel, and Victor Conte) and the new amateur scoring system, which has shifted to one that mirrors the pro game.
“I think it went really well…It was really important to us because we wanted to see what my instincts were against a really good opponent,” said Esparza, who was on Chronicle Live earlier in the week.
VASQUEZ DROPS CLOSE ONE: Hercules light heavyweight Paul Vasquez, who was recently featured on CSNBayArea.com, gave heavily favored Elvir Muriqi of New York all he could handle before losing an eight-round majority decision last Friday in Whippany, N.J.
[VIDEO: Paul Vasquez fighting for more than just a paycheck]
Though Vasquez (9-3-1, 3 KOs) staggered Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) several times in the last two frames, he came up short on his opponent’s virtual hometurf. Scores were 76-76 on one card and 77-75 twice for Muriqi.
“It was a close fight, but I knew I'd be fighting the promoter, the crowd, and the refs,” said Vasquez, who donated his entire paycheck to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “I'm glad I got to do some good with my cause and that a few more people know about it.”
FREEMAN REMEMBERED: More than 1,500 filled the Salinas Storm House on Saturday to participate in a memorial service for 20-year-old welterweight Preston Freeman, who was tragically gunned down in his hometown of St. Louis two Wednesdays ago.
Freeman’s parents and relatives were in attendance as members of the coastal city community shared how the promising prospect touched their lives since he moved to Salinas last year to live and train with family-operated Garcia Boxing.
“I can only imagine what his parents are going through,” said Freeman’s manager Kathy Garcia, who had steered him to a 3-0, 1 KO record before his passing. “Preston seemed like a quiet kid to anyone who didn’t know him, but those who did know how warm and funny he was. It hurts. I still can’t believe it.”
“Preston was like a little brother to me,” added middleweight Paul Mendez, who also trains with the Garcias. “He had so much to look forward to, but we’re never going to forget him. I’m dedicating my next fight to his memory.”
GUERRERO CAMPS OUT: Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero has departed for Las Vegas to commence camp, but not before family and friends threw him surprise party lasgt Saturday complete with a piñata in the likeness of his May 4 opponent, WBC welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather.
Showtime, which will broadcast Mayweather-Guerrero on pay-per-view, chronicled the shindig for its “All Access” docu-series, with the first of four episodes debuting Apr. 10 at 10 p.m. Parent network CBS is also set to film a separate documentary called “Mayweather”, which will air Apr. 27 at 8 p.m.
For those hoping to get their fight fix earlier, on Apr. 3 at 10 p.m., Showtime will broadcast “30 Days in May,” a one-hour special that chronicles Mayweather’s stint in jail last year for a domestic violence conviction.
CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RMaq28.