Jairo Noriega Outclasses Azaell Villar in ESPN Main Event

Undefeated light flyweight Jairo Noriega (14-0, 3 KOs) outboxed Azael Villar (20-3-4, 15 KOs) over 12 rounds in a dazzling display of his talents in Friday’s main event at the Casino Pharaohs, Managua, Nicaragua.

Noriega, of Spain, entered the bout as a world-ranked fighter, and he not only lived up to the ranking against Villar but also likely moved himself into striking distance of a title shot.

Noriega dominated the officials’ scorecards, 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112.

Villar came out throwing a lead left hook, but Noriega moved well and proved hard to hit. In the second round, the crafty Noriega continued to move at odd angles but began coming forward. Villar looked for a left hook to the body, but it wasn’t there. His powerful right hand wasn’t landing clean either. Noriega resembled a pesky mosquito; when Villar missed, he’d hit him. When Villar wanted to rest, Noriega forced him to work. The Spaniard landed the best punches of the fight at the end of the round.

Noriega’s overhand right began to thud in the third. Villar followed his opponent, but his punches weren’t confident, and Noriega began finding his rhythm. Villar looked for a big shot, but Noriega couldn’t be pinned down.

Villar had a bit of success in Round 4. Noriega wasn’t as elusive, and Villar got through with some punches, including a left hook to the body. Villar’s body language changed, and he seemed to believe he could take control of distance. He walked forward with no jab and tried to tire out Noriega with big power shots.

In the fifth, Noriega found his legs again. Villar loaded up, but Noriega kept away and had a good bounce-back round. His weapon of choice: an educated left hand throwing clever left uppercuts and left hooks on the inside.

Noriega used every inch of the ring in the sixth. He jumped in with straight right hands, and his hand speed was apparent. He found his groove again, able to beat Villar to the punch when he wanted. In the seventh, Noriega got caught with a right hand, but Villar, in a running theme, was unable to cut off the ring.

In the eighth, Villar got Noriega on the ropes. But Noriega showed no respect to Villar, imploring him to throw. The exchange symbolized the fight. Even when Villar had success, he was nullified. Villar’s best round was overshadowed by Noriega catching him with a short right uppercut on the ropes.

The two exchanged in the later rounds, but it was Noriega’s left hook that did the most damage. By the 11th, Noriega had taken away the usually heavy-handed Villar’s power, and in the final round he all but coasted to the decision.