LAS VEGAS-A healthy of mind Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero returned with thunder against Argentina’s Roberto Arrieta (35-16-4, 16 KOs) and broke down the usually resilient boxer with eight rounds of up and down on Friday.
“I felt great I wanted to get some rounds in. I worked my jab and got out of there,” said Guerrero (26-1-1, 18 KOs).
A crowd of more than 3,000 at the Tropicana Pavillion filled the stands to see the first Tecate Solo Boxeo show in years and Guerrero didn’t disappoint. The Golden Boy Promotions fight card is the first of many televised shows for the year.
After a slow start, Guerrero found his timing in the second round and landed a crisp one-two jab and left cross to drop Arrieta in the corner. Another left hurt Arrieta and a left uppercut barely missed in a good round for the Ghost.
Arrieta worried about the body shots after doubling over from a left hand to the belly. A left counter by Guerrero floored Arrieta again who was off balance but nonetheless floored with the punch in the third round.
Guerrero poured on the left hands and forced Arrieta to stand his ground for a few exchanges or get overrun in the sixth round. A right hand counter by the Argentine bought him some time but he was nearly caught with a left uppercut at the bell.
In the eighth round Guerrero found an opening and landed a counter left cross that dropped Arrieta hard. He got up and tried to hold but was hit with a body shot and dropped again. Referee Jay Nady stopped the fight at 29 seconds of the round for a technical knockout victory for Guerrero.
“This sets me up for a bigger fight. I made a statement at 135 and I’m back,” said Guerrero who was forced to cancel a fight because of his wife Casey’s battle with leukemia. “I want the winner of (Juan Manuel) Marquez and (Juan) Diaz. This means a lot of me because Casey is fighting for her life.”
Golden Boy’s bonus baby Frankie Gomez (2-0, 2 KOs) looked much better in his second pro fight as he set a more deliberate pace in calibrating the skills of Santa Ana’s taller Ricardo Malfavon (0-2) in a junior welterweight match.
Gomez looked used his jab and defense to gauge Malfavon’s punches and speed. Some quick combinations trapped the taller fighter in the corner near the end of the round. Both fighters clashed heads a bit as they attempted to go inside. You could tell that Gomez wasn’t accustomed to feeling pain when making the same move as an amateur.
“I had to get used to fighting in the pros. It’s different,” Gomez said.
A quick one-two combination by Gomez in the second walloped Malfavon whose body was twisted from the blow and down he went. He beat the count but was met by a Gomez barrage that forced the referee to stop the fight 29 seconds into the second round for a technical knockout victory for the East L.A. product.
“I felt better than the first time. I had seven months off so I was a little off,” said Gomez of his first pro fight several weeks ago. “I felt stronger and my combinations were better.”
Gomez looked much improved and smoother in this fight.
Olympic bronze medal winner Deontay Wilder (10-0, 10 KOs) needed time to figure out Alvaro Morales (4-8-5) a clever chunky heavyweight out of Las Vegas. After catching punches from the much smaller Morales the Olympian heavyweight used his reach and finally nailed Morales with a three punch combination in the third round. A punch and a push dropped Morales but it was ruled a push by referee Jay Nady. Morales however was hurt from the punch and struggled to get up. His corner stopped the fight at 1:23 of the round.
Puerto Rico’s Juan Velasquez (10-1, 5 KOs) won every round against the smaller Robert Guillen (5-7-3) of Arizona but worried more about getting hit with the head than punches. Several times the diminutive Guillen’s head met Velasquez’s jaw and chin forcing the Puerto Rican to pause especially in the fourth and final round of the featherweight contest. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Velasquez.
L.A.’s Rene Torres (0-1-1) barely missed winning his first pro fight but got a majority draw instead against Las Vegas fighter Toddy Junior (2-0-1) in a junior lightweight bout. The Nevada fighter started quickly but was slowed down by Torres body attack in the last two rounds. The scores were 39-37, 38-38 twice.
Puerto Ricos Abner Cotto (7-0, 4 KOs) had a little of everything more than San Bernardino’s Juan Sandoval (1-3) but wasn’t able to dominate the less experienced fighter. Sandoval held tough and was able to land his punches, but not enough to offset Cotto’s volume and skill. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Cotto a lightweight who is related to Miguel Cotto.