Kelcie Banks might have won a boxing match in the center of the ring, but he lost it on the ropes Monday night, costing him $55,000.
Banks, fighting Mexico's Fidel Avendano for the Forum's lightweight tournament championship, lost a unanimous decision before 5,075 and the winner's share of $65,000. That went to Avendano, 19, who faded in the stretch but won more than enough of the early and middle rounds.
In the co-feature, unbeaten Rosemead super-bantamweight Rudy Zavala stopped Virgilio Openio in the sixth round.
Banks too often let the harder-hitting Avendano trap him on the ropes and score heavily. But without an error by referee Dr. James Jen-Kin, Banks might still have won.
Banks (18-2-1), who had not hurt Avendano (32-1) once through 10 rounds, stunned him with three consecutive left hooks midway through the 11th. He then missed so wildly with a right that he lost his balance and fell. Apparently, Jen-Kin thought a knockdown had occurred and gave the shocked Banks a standing-eight count when he arose. After the breather Banks, from Las Vegas, never threatened again.
Avendano, from Acapulco, won by scores of 115-113, 116-114 and 119-111. The Times card had Avendano ahead, 116-112.
Banks turned pro after the 1988 Olympics. He was knocked out in his first Olympic bout, after being touted as the U.S. team's best gold medal prospect.
Zavala improved to 12-0 with his technical knockout over Openio, who won the first two rounds. After Zavala put Openio on the ropes with a right uppercut in the third, Zavala knocked Openio down in the third and fifth rounds. Referee Lou Filippo stopped the fight at 1:52 of the sixth.
Zavala, who had never gone six rounds before, thus positioned himself for challenges to more widely known super-bantamweights, such as Raul Perez, Daniel Zaragoza, Tracy Patterson, Jesus Salud and Tracy Patterson.