BURBANK, Calif. – In the heart of the San Fernando Valley two of its boxing sons Miguel Espino and Rigoberto Plascencia brutalized each other as expected in front of a gasping crowd at the Burbank Hilton Convention Center on Thursday.

As we predicted on the SweetScience.com, former first season Contender Espino of North Hollywood and veteran slugger Plascencia of Pacoima attacked each other with a ferocity that could only result in a knockout.

Espino survived the brawl in a fight scheduled for eight rounds in the super middleweight division and staged by Manny Cota Promotions.

“I don’t like to start fast like that,” said Espino (13-2-1, 5 KOs), who has fought on the Contender fight cards the past year. “It’s too dangerous. That’s how you get knocked out.”

Plascencia did not afford Espino an alternative and immediately ignited a brawl with a blistering two-fisted attack to the head and body. Espino shifted into second gear with a counterattack and the brawl was on.

“We fought before so I know him,” said Espino, who fought three years ago to a majority decision over Plascencia in Las Vegas. “This was more action.”

In the first round both attempted to attack the body but a few of the blows drifted below the belt. Referee Ray Corona warned both of possible penalties.

“My trainer (John Bray) was telling me to go to the body but I didn’t want to lose a point,” Espino said. “I tried to deflect and hit but I didn’t want to start so quickly.”

After the furious first round ended, most of the spectators expected a slower second round. It didn’t play out that way.

“That was the best round I’ve seen this year,” said Daniel Loza, a boxing fan of the second round. “They were tearing each other apart.”

Espino used his defense and counters to fend off the ever-attacking Plascencia. A left uppercut to the chin turned the momentum and left Plascencia slightly staggered toward the end of the second round. Espino poured it on.

“I caught him with a good one,” Espino said.

Plascencia seemed woozy as he returned to his corner and the ringside physician advised referee Corona to wave off the fight for a technical knockout victory for Espino at the end of the second round.

Espino says he’s ready for a higher-level contest.

“I think I’m at a higher level than the other Contender fighters,” Espino said. “I’d like to step up soon.”

Other bouts

San Diego’s Heather Donoho (4-0-1) needed all four rounds to figure out the awkward and rubbery Alice Herron (1-5) of Seattle in a junior bantamweight contest.

The always-aggressive Donoho faced a much taller Herron whose arms were down but her legs were ready to spring backward or sideways in an instant. Through most of the first round Donoho could not find the range for her hammer of a right hand. But with 10 seconds left a right followed by another right, decked Herron at the bell.

“I was a little rusty because I took a year off,” said Donoho, a former amateur standout. “She moved real well.”

After tasting Donoho’s power, Herron made sure there was never less than three feet between them. And when Donoho closed the distance, Herron grabbed her head or arms like a human octopus.

After three rounds of Donoho chasing and Herron holding, it was pretty evident that the San Diego fighter’s power was not welcome.

“I had a lot of rust in there,” said Donoho who fought to a draw two weeks ago at Camp Pendleton. “But I’m getting sharper.”

Donoho says she has her target set on a fight against Moreno Valley’s Kaliesha West.

Lancaster’s Cornell Davis (3-5) scrapped his way to a four-round split-decision over Inglewood’s Jason Condon (1-4-1) in a heavyweight bout. Davis fought inside against the taller Condon who was penalized one point for holding his opponent’s head down in the third round. Davis landed the harder punches throughout the fight and was the winner with scores of 36-39 and 38-37 twice.

In a junior lightweight contest Heder Rivas (4-1) won by unanimous decision over Marco Torres (0-2) in a four-round bout between two Los Angeles fighters. Rivas had too much experience for Torres, who was the more athletic of the two. Every time Torres fought inside he was the quicker of the two, but he failed to realize it. The judges scored it 39-37 and 40-36 twice for Rivas.