By Miguel Maravilla at ringside
With the NCAA March Madness tournament beginning today, super lightweight Juan Antonio “El Mozo” Rodriguez (30-7, 26 KOs) of Puebla, Mexico pulled the upset in stopping WBO #2 rated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (32-3-2, 17 KOs) of San Diego in the ninth round on Thursday night at the Avalon in Hollywood, California in the Golden Boy main event.
Gesta came out aggressive from the opening bell attacking Rodriguez landing some hard shots. Countering in round two, Gesta was caught by solid right in the second but Gesta adjusted and worked off the jab. Trading on the inside in the third, Gesta and Rodriguez exchanged big punches as neither took a step back. Continuing on the inside in round four, Gesta attacked the body and mixed it up with the jab as Rodriguez began to tire but was still going forward. Keeping his distance and popping the jab, Gesta was cut on both eyes as Rodriguez pressed as he landed a solid, later both traded away till the round ended.
Halfway through in the sixth, the Mexican landed the hard straight left a few times as Gesta stood in front of Rodriguez despite blood trickling down his cut on the eye. The Filipino landed a solid uppercut in the seventh but Rodriguez returned the favor connecting with his uppercut on the inside as the blood continued to trickle down Gesta’s right eye. The straight left by Rodriguez found its mark continuously in round eight but Gesta despite being cut continued to mix it up standing and trading.
Late in the fight in the ninth with the fight close, Rodriguez pressed and connected with a solid straight left badly hurting Gesta. Rodriguez continued to attack prompting referee Zachary Young to step in to stop the fight 2:55 of the ninth.
“I want to thank God. I want to thank my sponsors back home,” said Rodriguez. “I felt it was a matter hitting him to the body until he collapsed, and he did. It was a matter of time until he quit, and he quit. He stopped throwing punches.”
“It was a good fight,” said Mercito Gesta.”The guy was tough. He fought hard. No excuses from me. What’s next? I want whatever is best for me. I’m a fighter, and I love challenges.”
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In the co-feature bout, Blair Cobbs (10-0-1, 6 KOs) of Las Vegas won a unanimous decision over North Hollywood’s Ferdinand Kerobyan (11-1, 9 KOs) as they squared off for the vacant NABF junior welterweight title. Kerobyan suffered a nasty cut on his right eye from a clash of heads in the opening round as Cobbs came out flashy popping the jab from the southpaw stance. Attacking and shooting the right hand in round two, Kerobyan backed Cobbs to the ropes as he continued to bleed but kept the pressure as Cobbs kept his distance. Cobbs worked off the jab and kept his distance targeting the cut, later in the round Kerobyan was staggered by a short right hook. Pumping the jab in the fourth, Cobbs followed up with a hard right hand and backed Kerobyan as Cobbs went for the finish.
With the blood continuing to gush out in the fifth, Cobbs continued to work off the jab and box away as Kerobyan’s eye began to swell badly. The jab by Cobbs blinded Kerobyan in the sixth as he never saw it coming. Cobbs boxed confidently heading to the seventh but Kerobyan despite the blood gushing from his eye came out strong landing solid shots attacking Cobbs. Searching for the knockout in the eighth and final round, Kerobyan pressed fighting valiantly with blood flowing from his face as Cobbs mixed it up and let his hands go. Finishing strong, Kerobyan had Cobbs against the ropes and landed a huge right to close as Cobbs right eye was swollen.
After eight rounds the judges scored the fight 79-73, 77-75, and 77-75 as Blair Cobbs wins a unanimous decision.
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Opening up the live stream, Fairfield, California’s Manuel Avila (23-1-1, 8 KOs) returned to the ring as he and Jose Gonzalez (23-7-1, 13 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico fought to a draw in eight round junior welterweight bout. Avila boxed and kept his distance as Gonzalez went straight at him being the aggressor in the early rounds. Swinging wildly, Gonzalez continued his charge forward putting in work as Avila kept his distance countering away in the fourth.
A hard left hook by Gonzalez in the fifth backed the jabbing Avila as the Mexican kept the pressure. Gonzalez continued his attack in the sixth landing the wild right hand throughout the round as Avila looked tired. The right hand continued to find its mark for Gonzalez in the seventh as Avila was on the receiving end of some big punches. Heading into the final round Avila and Gonzalez traded in the center of the ring as Gonzalez was on the receiving end of a crisp left hook. Later in the round, Gonzalez landed a solid overhand right and pressured as Avila boxed away working off the jab.
The judges scored the bout 77-75 for Avila, 77-75 for Gonzalez, and 76-and 76.
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Local heavyweight James Wilson (7-0-1 6 KOs) and Miguel Cubos (13-20-1, 10 KOs) of San Luis Potosi, Mexico fought to a draw. Wilson stalked as Cubos let his hands go, showboating and having fun in the early rounds. In round three, Wilson had Cubos on the ropes unloading a combination but Cubos continued to have fun raising his arms in confidence urging Wilson to fight. Connecting solidly with an uppercut in the fourth, Wilson had his best moment in the fight but the Mexican was not fazed as he shouted at Wilson to fight on having his rally. Cubos landed an overhand right to start the fifth and continued to have fun with the stalking Wilson. The sixth and final round saw Wilson switch it up to southpaw as Cubos spent the round backing but connected with a solid right hand that stopped Wilson’s momentum. Stalking away Wilson looked to finish strong but the Mexican proved to be a difficult task in going the distance. The judges scored the bout 58-56 for Wilson, 57-57, and 57-57.
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Super lightweight David Mijares (6-0, 3 KOs) of Pasadena, California won a unanimous decision over Antonio Sanchez (6-5-2, 3 KOs) of Puerto Rico. It was all Mijares as he displayed the superior skills against the tough Sanchez. Boxing from the southpaw stance Mijares kept the aggressive Sanchez away. Connecting with crisp punches, Mijares countered Sanchez’s aggressiveness. With the fight in the bag, Mijares stuck the plan boxing away in route to a decision win as Sanchez proved to be strong in going the distance. All three judges scored the bout 60-54.
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Garden City, Kansas lightweight Oscar Acevedo (5-0) won a unanimous decision over Daniel Bastien (4-13, 1 KO) of Mexico. The southpaw Acevedo boxed patiently in the opening round keeping his distance from Bastien. Keeping his composure throughout the fight Acevedo dominated and finished strong in route to a decision win. Scores were 40-36, 39-37, and 39-37.
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In the opening bout from the Avalon in Hollywood, California super middleweight Chris Ousley (10-0, 9 KOs) made quick work of Jorge Munguia (13-15, 5 KOs) of Houston. A left hook to the body staggered Munguia as Ousley followed up scoring a knockdown. Ousley continued his attack forcing the referee Zachary Young to step and stop the fight at 1:54.