Top Contenders Fall in Carson, California

By Rocky Morales and Miguel Maravilla at ringside

Two undefeated, highly ranked and highly regarded fighters lost their 0s on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Super bantamweight Ronny Rios (31-3, 15KO) scored a spectacular upset knockout victory over previously undefeated WBA #3 Diego De La Hoya (21-1, 10KO) to win the NABF and WBA Gold titles. It was an all-action fight, throughout, with both fighters willingly exchanging at close quarters. By the fifth round, Rios was starting to take control with hard hooks, body shots and uppercuts. About a minute into the sixth round, Rios landed a hard right uppercut that floored De La Hoya. De La Hoya would struggle to his feet but then told the referee he could not continue leading the referee to call an end to the bout at 1:17 of the sixth round. It was a career-best victory and a nice rebound for Rios who suffered a knockout loss last year to Azat Hovhannisyan. With the victory, Rios rejuvenated his career and puts himself atop the list for a world title shot.

Venezuelan super featherweight Roger Gutierrez (22-3-1, 14 KOs) scored a huge upset knocking out previously undefeated WBC #2 rated Rocky Hernandez (28-1, 25, KOs) of Mexico City. Gutierrez’s lip was busted seconds into the opening round as Hernandez worked his way inside with chopping left hooks. Keeping his composure, Gutierrez drilled Hernandez with a hard right hand, sending the Mexican to the canvas as he got up staggering forcing the referee Rudy Barragan to stop the fight at 2:39 of the first.

Joet Gonzalez (22-0, 11KO) impressively knocked out Manuel Avila (23-2-1, 8KO) with a barrage of punches at 2:27 of the sixth round. Although evenly matched on paper, it was no contest in reality as Gonzalez dominated the action. Gonzalez scored a knockdown late in the fifth round but Avila was saved by the bell. The referee, Jose Cobian, seemed to be asleep at the wheel as Avila took about 90 seconds too much of punishment until, finally, a California State Athletic Commissioner was forced to climb atop the ring apron to instruct the referee to stop the fight. In the post fight ring interview, Gonzalez called out both Jo Jo Diaz and Shakur Stevenson who he claimed were both bad-mouthing him. With the victory, Gonzalez shows himself to be ready for a world title fight as his once defeated opponent was never in the fight. Gonzalez adds the vacant WBO Global & retains the WBA Continental America Featherweight title.

In a fight that could have been held inside a telephone booth, local favorite, Alexis Rocha (14-0, 9KO), battered and finally stopped Berlin Abreu (14-3, 11KO) with a TKO victory at 2:58 of the eighth round. Rocha punished Abreu to the body for the majority of the fight before finishing things off with some punishing head shots. Abreu was last seen two weight classes higher badly outmatched and quitting against middleweight, Gary’Sullivan. In this fight, he was able to last longer but never did much more than act as a stationary heavy bag for Rocha. With the victory, Rocha successfully defends his WBC Continental Americas Welterweight title.

Ruslan Madiyev (13-1, 5KO) rebounded from his first professional loss with a hard fought unanimous decision victory over journeyman Ricky Sismundo (35-14-3, 17KO) who lost his third consecutive fight. Madiyev struggled more than one would expect a legitimate prospect to struggle against a journeyman fighter. There were no knockdowns in the scheduled eight round super lightweight bout. Judges scored it 78-74, 79-73 and 78-74 all in favor of the Kazakh, Madiyev, who now resides in Big Bear, CA.

Undefeated lightweight prospect Jousce Gonzalez (9-0-1, 9 KOs) of Glendora, California stopped Jorge Padrón (3-4, 3 KOs) of Mexico. Gonzalez scored two knockdowns in the opening round. Padrón was down again in the second from a hard right as referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight at 2:15 of the second.

In the opening bout from the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Super middleweight Jonathan Esquivel (11-0, 10 KOs) of Anaheim, California made quick work of Gregory Clark (4-4-1, 1 KO). A body shot by Esquivel sent Clark to the canvas did it.

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  • I was really happy to see Rios bounce back with a spectacular win. He looked shopworn in his last few fights and I thought he should probably retire if he took another beating. He looked rejuvenated in this fight and fought smartly by focusing on Dela Hoya’s body followed by some timely left hooks to the jaw. It was a close fight for 5 rounds but Dela Hoya was absorbing a lot of clean shots and he eventually buckled. The uppercut that stopped the fight was the crowning blow but Dela Hoya looked like he was wearing down and could no longer take the shots he took early in the fight. Looks like a great second chance for Rios to get bigger and better money fights from this point on. He just needs to stay motivated and retain the mental focus that he had in this fight.

    Gutierrez exposed Rocky Hernandez as more hype than hope. Hernandez was aggressively going straight after Gutierrez and had early success. However, Gutierrez started hitting Hernandez with clean shots that staggered him before knocking him out. Hernandez needs to go back to the drawing board and learn how to set up his opponents before going in for the kill. He didn’t pay attention to defense and just charged in recklessly to get stopped. Gutierrez didn’t get that high knockout percentage by accident.

    As for Alex Rocha, he made the fight a lot harder for himself than it needed to be. Instead of boxing from the outside and using a jab to set up his power punches, he just closed in on his opponent and made it a mauling affair. His body shots didn’t have much effect in the early rounds, but he was smothering himself and didn’t give himself enough room to deliver punches with leverage. He eventually wore down Abreu but could have had the stoppage a lot earlier by stepping back and landing punches from the outside. It was not an impressive performance although Rocha dominated the fight.

  • We all knew De La Hoya wasn’t on his uncle’s level.. He was slowly build with second tier fighters but he needs really hard work if he will win a major title in 1 or 2 years.. I Don’t think he has the skills to do so !! Prove me wrong Diego !! I was and allways will be an Oscar De La Hoya fan !!

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