By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In a Friday the 13th main event on ESPN from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, knockout artist Ismael Barroso (20-1-2, 19 KOs) terrorized Fidel Maldonado Jr. (24-4-1, 19 KOs) over six rounds before slashing a left hook to the body and dropping Maldonado for the full count and then some at 2:23 of round six in a scheduled ten round super lightweight bout.
As is often the case when two southpaws face each other, the fight was an awkward affair early, with lots of bumping of heads and shoulders, which led to frequent holding and prevented either fighter from getting into any sort of rhythm.
However in round three Barroso’s power finally came through, when he dropped Maldonado over the bottom rope with a double left hook. Maldonado beat the count and managed to tie up Barroso several times in the round to stay alive, but from then on he was mostly in survival mode against the Venezuelan slugger.
Referee Raul Caiz deducted a point from Maldonado for holding and pushing his glove across Barroso’s face in round four, as Barroso continued to stalk his wounded opponent in rounds four and five, landing his left hand with ease and busting up the right side of Maldonado’s face. Maldonado, who has been knocked down twice in his last three fights (all wins) and several other times in his career, managed to mount some offense in round six, but by starting to move forward and let his hands go, he left himself vulnerable and Barroso took advantage, landing a short left hand to the body that immediately dropped Maldonado and kept him down for the count.
Barroso, who was unbeaten for 11 years before losing for the first time in his last bout challenging Anthony Crolla for the WBA lightweight title, was moving up in weight but showed no ill effects, carrying his power well.
In the evening’s televised swing bout, former Mexican National Team member Marvin Cabrera (6-0, 5 KOs) got in a quick workout before dinner, using ancient journeyman Hector Velazquez (57-30-3, 39 KOs) in place of a heavy bag for about three and a half rounds before Velazquez’s corner asked the referee to step in and end the fight. The 42-year-old Velazquez, who is 1-9 since early 2014, and whose claim to fame is that he is 1-1 against fighters named Pacquiao in super featherweight bouts (a win against Bobby, a KO loss to Manny), did at least throw some punches back in this middleweight bout, although some of them had not yet landed at the time this story was posted. Official time of the stoppage was 1:27 of round four.
In a proverbial crossroads fight between two fighters trying to maintain viability as contenders, Argentina’s Marcelino Lopez (33-2-1, 18 KOs), scored a surprisingly quick knockout over the normally durable Pablo Cesar Cano (30-7-1, 21 KOs) of Mexico at 2:27 of round two in a scheduled ten-round welterweight bout. Cano, a former interim super lightweight titlist, controlled the first round, working patiently behind the jab and backing up Lopez. More of the same in round two, with Lopez bleeding from a cut suffered late in round one. Then out of nowhere, a right hook, left hook combination by Lopez crushed Cano in the final minute of round two. Cano pulled himself up off the canvas but was visibly unsteady, prompting referee Eddie Hernandez to wave the fight over rather than let Cano continue.
Undefeated super lightweight prospect Oscar Duarte (12-0-1, 8 KOs) scored an impressively economical fourth round TKO over former title challenger Juan Montes (25-6-2, 15 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout. Duarte, managed by well-known Mexican actor Gabriel Soto, let Montes do most of the work, who pushed forward behind the jab and generally outworked Duarte over each of the first three rounds. However when Duarte let his hands go, he exploded with ripping body punches from both hands that reverberated through the event center. In round four Duarte stepped up his workrate and fired off combinations to the head and body at will, causing an apparent cut on Montes which allowed the ring doctor an opportunity to stop the one-sided fight at the end of round four.
Indio’s own Ruben Rodriguez (2-0, 1 KO) worked over his welterweight opponent, Israel Villela (5-7, 2 KOs) over four rounds to earn a 40-36 shutout on all three cards. Rodridguez looked like he might make quick work of Villela at the start, rocking his opponent early with a pair of looping right hands, and generally pounding on Villela with little resistance, to the delight of his considerable cheering section. However Villela showed some serious mettle, overcoming a nasty, bloody cut over his right eye to trade with the bigger, stronger Rodriguez over the final two rounds. It was a one-sided fight, but Villela made Rodriguez work for it, which allowed both fighters to put on a good show.
In the opening bout from Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, California, former US National Team member Javier Martinez (4-0, 3 KOs) went the distance for the first time, grinding out a unanimous decision over Ricardo Arias (1-2-1, 0 KOs) in a six round super featherweight bout. All three judges scored the fight 59-55.