Hometown fighters generally get the benefit of the doubt. Try telling that to Oscar Vasquez.
The Reno bantamweight fought to an eight-round majority draw with Modesto, California’s Gilberto Mendoza on Friday at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino. The judges’ decision was loudly jeered by a sellout crowd.
One judge scored it 77-75 for Vasquez, and two had it 76-76.
“I thought the first judge had it right on,” Vasquez said. “When I heard the other two, I couldn’t believe it.”
It was Vasquez’s first time in the ring in 17 months. He was coming off a decision loss on May 4, 2018 to Ricardo Sandoval. His only other loss came in June 2012. His record now stands at 15-2-1.
Mendoza is 15-7-1.
The gameplan for both fighters was clear. The taller Mendoza wanted to use his reach advantage and jab from the outside. Vasquez wanted to fight on the inside.
Boxing from a crouch, Vasquez moved forward all night long. He was able to get inside, often leading with lefts to the body followed by rights to the head.
Mendoza, who had plenty of support from his hometown of Modesto in the audience, got in his licks, too. Much of the action was toe-to-toe.
“I hit the body, the top, the shoulders. Everything I could,” Vasquez said. “I closed every round and I hit him with the harder punches. He was just one-two, one-two, jab, jab. I broke him down but it was only enough for one of the judges.”
Mendoza entered the final round as if he thought he needed a knockout to win. He threw flurries of punches, many of them landing. But Vasquez weathered the storm and appeared to win the round.
Tahoe Onstage boxing analyst Simon Ruvalcaba scored it 77-75 for Vasquez.
“He started out fast in each round,” Vasquez said. “I did my job and I got inside every second of every round. I am just glad we are both safe and can go home to our families.”