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Forgotten Champions: Antonio Avelar


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Antonio Avelar was the WBC flyweight champion between May 1981 and March 1982. He was a puncher who scored 32 ko's in 39 wins and a brawler. Like with most punchers, his chin wasn't that great and he lost his title by a devastating first-round knockout. His most famous victory came at the end of his career, when he stopped Wilfredo Vazquez. That was at bantamweight and he would fight for a world title once more after that, but was stopped by Miguel Lora.

A native of Guadalajara, his full name Jose Antonio Rodriguez Avelar. He became a pro in June 1975 and went 6-0 before getting knocked out by Juanito Martinez in 2. His first noted victory came against Refugio Rojas in June 1977; he knocked out the fresh Rojas in 5 rounds. On 21 October 1978, he was controversially stopped on a cut in 10 rounds against Freddy Castillo. He then fought for the WBC fly title for the first time against Miguel Canto, the long-reigning champion, 10 February 1979 in Merida, Mexico. He lost by clear scores after 15 rounds. He then put together a streak of 8 knockouts before again fighting for the WBC title against the new champion, Shoji Ogama of Japan. The fight happened on 12 May 1981 in Mito, Japan and Avelar was triumphant by KO 7 after leading by 58-56 on all scorecards. Also his first defense happened in Asia, as he took on South Korean Tae Shik Kim in Seoul and easily beat him by KO 2. 

His first title fight in Mexico proved unlucky. He fought the unheralded but hard-hitting Prudencio Cardona of Colombia on 20 March 1982 in Tampico and was knocked out and stopped by a barrage of hard lefts and rights after only 2 minutes and 4 seconds of the aggressive first round. He then decided to move up to bantamweight but in his second fight there, he got knocked out by Fred Jackson in 5. On 1 January 1985, he fought the future WBC-champion Gilberto Roman and won by disqualification in 5 rounds, after Roman's intentional headbutt created a cut over Avelar's left eye and he could not continue. They had a rematch 2 months later and this time, Avelar again suffered cuts, but legal ones, and had to surrender in the 7th round, thus losing by TKO. In September that year, he avenged the earlier loss to Freddy Castillo by stopping him by TKO 4.  

His best victory came in 1986, as he took on the future multiple-weight world champion Wilfredo Vazquez of Puerto Rico, 30 May in Miami. After losing the first 4 rounds, Avelar connected with a big left hook in round 5 which sent WV down. However, he was then put down himself later in that same round. In the 8th, after absorbing many punches in the last couple rounds, he once again gained the upper hand and sent Vazquez down again with a big left hook-straight right hand combination. Vazquez got up in time but was in no condition to continue. This was a major boost for Avelar and earned him a fight for the WBC title against Miguel Lora, who already defeated Vazquez for it. The fight took place in Key Biscayne, near Miami, 25 July 1987. However, Avelar made a poor showing and was behind on all scorecards when he was knocked out in round 4.

That was his final fight and he retired with a record of 39-13-1. AA was a "kill or be killed" type fighter and given his not great chin, his career and his championship reign could never be too long. He gave fans some great fights and was never in a boring fight. His poor chin cost him his world title. His impressive victories over the two East Asian world champions Oguma and Kim prove that he was a formidable offensive fighter at his best. He is very little talked about today. And that is why Antonio Avelar is a FORGOTTEN CHAMPION. 

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