LAS VEGAS – It was hard knocks at the Hard Rock Casino as Bobby Pacquiao was disqualified for repeated low blows in his title bout against Mexico’s Hector Velazquez on Thursday.
Velazquez (46-11-2, 32 KOs) was declared the winner of the WBC Continental Americas junior lightweight title at 2:56 of the 11th round of the foul-plagued bout.
The younger brother of Manny Pacquiao tried to duplicate his brother’s victory over Velazquez who was knocked out two years ago by Pac Man, but found himself wandering well below the belt line numerous times. Referee Kenny Bayless had warned the Filipino southpaw at least five times for low blows.
Pacquiao (27-12-3, 12 KOs) jumped ahead with a third round knockdown. A left uppercut dropped Velazquez, but the Mexican fighter used his experience and ring smarts to keep Pacquiao’s powerful left hand neutralized for the rest of the contest.
Throughout the fight low blows, elbows, head butts, shoulder blows, arm twists and blows to the buttocks and groin were issued by both fighters, but more so by Pacquiao. Bayless attempted to gain control but the low blows continued.
A point was deducted from Pacquiao in the third and fifth rounds and could have been deducted in the 10th round as well, but the submarine punches continued. Finally the referee saw one more in the 11th round and the fight was stopped. The Filipino fighter was ahead on two score cards 94-93, 95-93 and behind on one 94-93.
“I was afraid after the knockdown that they might take the fight from me, but I also knew they had taken many points from him for low blows,” said Velazquez. “He knocked me down but I was hurt more by a head butt than the punch. He butted me with his head the whole fight.”
Mexico’s Jose Luis “Chelin” Cruz and Archak “Shark Attack” Ter-Meliksetian battled in a bruising eight-round junior middleweight affair. A right uppercut broke Ter-Meliksetian’s nose in the final round but he refused to wilt and perhaps won the last round.
Around the third round it appeared the tall Armenian fighter would not last another frame. But he found energy in his legs and landed a right hand in the fifth round that showed there was still power in his fists.
“I was surprised by him. He took a lot of my shots and gave them back,” said Cruz (34-2-2, 28 KOs) whose only losses were to Shane Mosley and Sharmba Mitchell. “I had to fight inside more than I wanted.”
The judges scored it unanimously for Cruz 78-74 twice and 77-75.
Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka proved too slick for Mexico’s Jose Alonso and stopped the hard-charging fighter with a single left to the body. Referee Jay Nady counted out Alonso at 2:59 of the fourth round in a junior featherweight bout scheduled for eight rounds.
Nishioka, a slick moving southpaw from Hyogo, moved in and out of danger with subtle steps. Using an assortment of right hand jabs, the quick Japanese boxer kept Alonso off-balance and unable to counter. Throughout the first three rounds Nishioka’s hand speed kept Alonso from charging in. A quick lead left followed by another lead left almost dropped a surprised Alonso.
Alonso tried to increase the pace but the quicker Nishioka stiffened the jab and landed several hard lefts and rights to the body. A single left hook through the middle of Alonso’s elbows sunk into the Mexican’s midsection and he dropped instantly. Nady counted to 10. The Mexican fighter from Navajoa was breathless for about a minute more as ringside physicians attended him. He got up and waved to the crowd.
In a lightweight bout scheduled for four rounds, West Covina’s John Molina (5-0, 5 KOs) must have been in a hurry as he obliterated the slick Odi Rivera (5-9-3) at 2:11 of the first round. After 90 seconds of feeling out, Rivera landed a left hook. That ignited Molina who fired back-to-back right hands that left Rivera hanging against the ropes. But one more right hand caused referee Toby Gibson to take a point away for hitting the fighter when he’s down. In actuality, Rivera was not down but hanging on the middle strands. The fight resumed with Molina trapping Rivera in the corner and firing a lightning four-punch combination that caused Rivera to slump to the floor. The referee waved the fight off without a count at 2:11 of the first round.
Tijuana’s Alejandro Lopez (7-0, 2 KOs) won by unanimous decision over Miguel Reza (3-2) of Oxnard, California in a six round featherweight bout. Lopez, who fights like an Erik Morales clone, used his movement and combinations to impress the judges. But every round was fought closely. The judges scored it 60-54 for Lopez.
Florida’s Robert Da Luz scored a first round technical knockout of Juan Carlos Santiago at 2:36 of the first round. A left hook did the job. Referee Jay Nady stopped the fight after determining Santiago was not able to continue.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV