By David Robinett at ringside
In the evening’s main event at Indio, California’s Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 22-year old Filipino lightweight prospect “Ruthless” Romero Duno (17-1, 14 KOs) withstood a gutsy challenge from Mexican slugger Gilberto “Flaco” Gonzalez (27-5, 22 KOs) to earn a ten-round unanimous decision by scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92.
Gonzalez, fighting for just the second time in the last two years, looked overmatched early, unable to contend with Duno’s classic Filipino style of attacking in and retreating quickly from multiple angles. At one point in the second round Gonzalez was literally spinning around after being punched, trying to locate his opponent. Duno continued to dominate until round six, when Gonzalez was able to draw Duno into a pitched toe-to-toe battle to start the round, with both fighters trading punches in the corner for nearly a minute. After that, Duno seemed to settle in to a more traditional attack, allowing the southpaw Gonzalez to set his feet and utilize his right jab and left hand. Although the fight was evenly contested over the last few rounds, Duno had built a large enough lead early to secure the comfortable margin of victory.
Undefeated prospect Oscar Duarte stepped on the gas in the second half of his ten-round lightweight fight against Filipino veteran Rey Perez, transforming a largely tactical affair into a one-sided beatdown over the last few rounds in the co-main event of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. Duarte (14-0-1, 9 KOs) and Perez (22-10, 6 KOs) alternated brief spurts of action with long stretches of circling each other and short-arming jabs and straight hands, with Duarte shading most of the early rounds by virtue of landing the heavier punches and occasional combinations, while Perez was largely content to jab and keep a safe distance. In rounds six and seven, Duarte opened up a little bit more with Perez on the ropes, signaling the beginning of a shift in the tempo of the fight, before knocking down Perez with a left to the body in round eight. Perez rose from the canvas but a series of left hands dropped Perez for a second time in the round and he was in serious trouble for the first time in the fight. Perez nevertheless managed to stay off the canvas over the last six minutes but it was all Duarte from that point on. Scores were 98-90 and 99-89 twice.
The evening’s walkout bout featured the debut of lightweight Raymond Muratalla, who performed well, utilizing good ring movement and short, efficient punches to the delight of a boisterous cheering section from nearby Fontana, California. Muratella defeated Frenchman Benjamin Da Cunha (0-4) via four-round unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the bout 40-36.
Featherweight Francisco Esparza (8-0-1, 3 KOs) earned a solid eight round unanimous decision over Texas state featherweight champion Edgar Cantu (7-4-2, 1 KO), in a fight that was more competitive than the trio of 80-72 scores would suggest. Esparza, a long, rangy fighter, used his reach to maximum effect, raining long left jabs and right hands on Cantu all fight while Cantu countered with short, thudding hooks with both hands. Cantu was giving as good as he got for the first half of the fight, but started to tire in the last few rounds, when Cantu mixed in several right uppercuts and bloodied Cantu’s nose as he simply wore down his opponent en route to the final bell. Despite Esparza having fought under the Golden Boy banner for a while now, the irony still doesn’t get old watching a fighter trained by Francisco Vargas but promoted by Oscar de la Hoya, even if the two former Southern California rivals have long since buried the hatchet.
One of Golden Boy’s most recent international signees, light heavyweight Jaba Khositashvili (3-0, 2 KOs), from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, kicked off the evening’s card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, with an easy stoppage of overmatched Fabian Valdez (2-3, 0 KOs). Khositashvili, who narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics and later participated in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing before turning professional, expended less energy than he would have in a round of sparring, landing right hooks at will and prompting Valdez to take a knee in round one from an accumulation of punches. Khositashvili only needed 26 more seconds in round two of the scheduled six-round bout to finish the job, again forcing Valdez to take a knee after several more right hands softened him up.