By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Red-hot WBO junior featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (29-1, 25 KOs) impressed again, just four weeks since his last title bout, stopping the game but outgunned Juan Miguel Elorde (28-2, 15 KOs) 26 seconds into round four of what had been an action-packed fight on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Elorde, who came into the bout on an 18-fight winning streak dating back to 2012, showed no fear of the hard-hitting Navarrete, walking the champion down and throwing body punches with bad intentions in round one. Navarrete answered back in round two, landing several punishing left hands on Elorde, who was still coming forward as the aggressor. Although he showed great fighting spirit, Elorde never had an answer for Navarrete’s left hand, taking serious punishment in round three before finally going down from a left hook by Navarrete that deposited him in a sitting position on the bottom rope, prompting referee Russell Mora to call a knockdown.
The two fighters picked up where they left off in round four, viciously exchanging punches but Navarette was simply too strong for the challenger. Ironically, it was Navarette’s right hand that ended the fight, with a big hook wobbling Elorde during an exchange that prompted Mora to jump in and stop the fight, perhaps a little prematurely even if the outcome seemed inevitable. Nevertheless, after three title defense knockouts in the last four months, there are few hotter commodities than Navarrete in boxing right now.
“I’m happy because I think I put on a great performance,” said Navarrete afterward. “Fortunately, my opponent is OK, and I came out here to put on a show. I hope the fans enjoyed it on my very first Las Vegas show on Mexican Independence Day Weekend. ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete is here to stay.
“The most important thing here was that it was a good performance for me. I think the referee did the right thing. He’s going to go home to his family, and everything is going to be OK. It was a good performance on my behalf and he gave what he could. At the end of the day, I came away with the hard-fought victory.”