TEMECULA, Calif. – Puerto Rico’s Fres Oquendo surprised Javier Mora (20-3-1, 18 KOs) with a big right hand in the first round and never looked back in winning a 10-round heavyweight contest at the Pechanga Resort and Casino on Thursday.
Mora, a Mexican-American heavyweight from Anaheim, Calif. who weighed 257, was attempting to move up the ladder in the heavyweight ranks, but was blocked by the more experienced 220-pound Oquendo. The judges scored the fight 96-93, 98-92, 98-92 for Oquendo.
“He was a tough fighter, nobody wanted to fight him, but I did,” said Oquendo (26-3, 16 KOs). “My conditioning was the difference.”
After the near knockdown in the first round, Mora slowly began to get his senses back and opened up with a few combinations in the third. But Oquendo used a steady jab and pecked away at Mora.
“He got caught cold,” said John “Pops” Arthur, who helps train Mora. “He couldn’t cut him (Oquendo) off.”
Mora had a few decent rounds where he was able to land some combinations. But more often than not, Oquendo would rain jabs and keep moving. He never let the Mexican-American fighter get a bead on him.
“I tried to be smart,” said Oquendo, who trained in California with Freddie Roach for six weeks. “I’ve been off for two years. But I showed that I still have a lot left.”
Oquendo said he’s fought some of the best fighters in the world and would love to fight any of the current four world champions. But there’s one fighter he’d like first:
“I want the WBO guy,” said Oquendo, who saw Sergei Liakhovich take the title from Lamon Brewster. “I’ll start with him.”
Andre Dirrell (7-0, 4 KOs), 22, the 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner, survived a third-round knockdown against Alfonso “El Monstro” Rocha (8-4, 5 KOs) and slipped into overdrive to win a six-round unanimous decision 58-55 in a super middleweight contest. Both fighters weighed 166.
The speedy Michigan boxer was cruising along and able to land whatever punch he felt without getting hit in return. He switched to southpaw and was successful in that stance too. But toward the end of the third, as he unleashed a lightning combination, Rocha fired a big right hand that dropped Dirrell at the bell. He got up.
“That proves I was in great shape,” said Dirrell, who had no idea who he was going to fight. “Man, that guy could take a punch.”
Dirrell entered the fourth round with guns blazing and fired a big right uppercut that crunched Rocha’s nose. Blood gushed out but the tall Mexican fighter kept chasing Dirrell.
Dirrell took no chances and covered up well. But usually he proved too fleet of foot to be caught by another power shot from Rocha.
“This wasn’t an easy fight, but this is what I want,” Dirrell said. “To be champion you have to fight guys like this, tough guys.”
In another heavyweight bout, Riverside’s Chris Arreola accepted a fight with veteran Sedreck Fields (21-28-2, 15 KOs), a known upset artist, and still kept the unbeaten streak intact.
“He was a rhino, he could take a punch,” said Arreola (16-0, 14 KOs). “These are the kind of fights I like.”
Arreola was the harder puncher from the onset, but Fields, who has more than 50 pro fights, proved he could take shots to the head. But a barrage of body punches put him down for a knockout 42 seconds into the seventh round of an eight-round fight.
“We knew he wasn’t going to be easy,” said Arreola. “We took the fight anyway because I wanted to. I give myself a C in this fight. I’ll only give myself an A if I fight and beat a champion.”
Anthony Dirrell, 166 lbs., 21, fired a right uppercut at the end of the first round that decked overmatched Juan Carlos Ramos, 166 lbs. in a super middleweight bout. Referee David Mendoza stopped the fight at 2:54 of the first round. It was a mismatch. Dirrell proved much too fast and skilled for Ramos.
“I was a little surprised it was so easy,” said Dirrell (8-0, 8 KOs), the younger brother to Andre. “I was just real aggressive. I didn’t expect a first round knockout.”
Jason Gavern (10-1-2, 5 KOs), who in the past trained with James Toney and Mora, knocked out Derek Berry (12-5-1, 5 KOs) of Texas with a left hook at 2:55 of the fifth round.
“He was definitely durable,” said Gavern of his opponent Berry who was knocked down twice in the fight. “I was slapping with my punches at first.”
Gavern has beaten two good heavyweights in three months. His last victory was a decision victory over Raphael Butler at the Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs.
Another heavyweight prospect, Travis Walker, needed but a minute to dispose of Curtis Taylor (12-17-1) of Virginia.
“You made me wait too long,” said Walker (18-0-1, 15 KOs) after bludgeoning Taylor with lefts and rights in the first round.