TIJUANA, MEXICO-A Mexican bullring proved a fitting location for an array of fighters from that country that included the son of legendary Julio Cesar Chavez toughing out a victory against Argentina’s Luciano Cuello on Saturday night.
The circular arena was filled with more than 16,000 fans who shouted Mexico, Mexico and fired up the fastest waves ever seen by a large crowd that saw Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (39-0-1, 29 KOs) and fellow Mexican champions show their stuff.
If you saw Chavez first enter the ring with that baby face, you would not recognize the same face after he endured 10 gut-wrenching rounds with the constantly shuffling forward Cuello (23-1, 10 KOs).
Both fighters sustained bloody noses, reddened torsos and swollen faces.
From the first round Chavez waded in with his familiar left hooks and right hands to the body. Cuello shrugged off every punch and came back with his own tight shots to the head and body.
Several times the judge’s scores were announced. Chavez was ahead, but Cuello was too close for comfort.
If people criticized Chavez’s training habits there was nothing anyone could say in this fight. He was in shape and was lucky he had the stamina to offset the Argentine’s counters. The fight was never one-sided.
In the eighth round Chavez discovered a place for the right uppercut and actually moved Cuello backward for the first time. But after some time to recover, Cuello returned to his former self and began rumbling with Chavez again.
After 10 hard rounds the judge’s cards were read 98-92, 96-94 and 96-95 for Chavez. A few boos cascaded from the crowd but most saw the scores as fair. It wasn’t like the last venture in Hermosillo, Mexico where a decision in favor of Chavez resulted in a mass of boos.
One spokesman for Top Rank said Chavez’s next opponent is probably Ireland’s John Duddy in the summer.
WBC junior lightweight world titleholder Humberto “Zorrito” Soto (47-7-2, 30 KOs) blasted through the rugged Antonio Davis (26-5, 13 KOs) in four rounds. At first, it looked to be a quick knockout victory when a left hook dropped the Atlanta fighter. But he beat the count and the bell rang ending the first round.
In the second round, Davis came in close and placed his head in Soto’s face and kept the champion busy trying to avoid the head butts. The next round saw Soto discovering that a left jab followed by a right hand was the secret recipe to dispose of the determined Davis. Davis beat the count and was dropped again with the same one-two punch. He beat the count again. Then a flurry of punches by Soto followed by a left hook wobbled Davis badly and referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. stopped the fight at 2:38 of the fourth round for a technical knockout.
WBO bantamweight world titleholder Fernando Montiel (39-2-1, 29 KOs) needed a little more than one round to figure out his counter left hook could do damage against Argentina’s Diego Silva (24-2-3, 12 KOs)…then the knockdowns came quickly.
First, Silva ran into a stiff left jab in the second round and was floored. He recovered, but in the second round, he charged hard and twice was dropped by counter left hooks by the super accurate Montiel. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight at 2:24 of the third round as Silva lay motionless.
“As soon as I landed my left jab, I knew he was done,” Montiel said. “Once I found my distance I knew I would be too strong for him.”
In a bruising welterweight battle Antonio Diaz used his ring experience to out-smart the hard-hitting Javier “Zorro” Castro of Juarez after 10 rounds.
“He was a strong dude,” said Diaz, who was supposed to fight Jose Luis Castillo but fought Castro after Castillo pulled out with an injury. “He could take a punch.”
The first round saw both fighters get staggered but it was the younger fighter Castro who landed more blows. After the third round Diaz realized he should change tactics and began taking the fight inside and out while changing the tempo.
“I told myself let me get some work out of this, he isn’t going anywhere,” Diaz said.
A low blow in the ninth round cost Castro a point deduction. The judges scored the fight 95-94, 96-93 twice for Diaz.
Tijuana’s Hanzel Martinez (1-0) floored Guadalajara’s Jose Yniguez (0-1) twice with vicious blows to the body. The referee stopped the fight in the second round of a flyweight bout.
In a heavyweight bout, Andy Ruiz (1-0) floored fellow heavyweight from Mexicali Miguel Ramirez (0-1) with big right hands in the first round. Ramirez couldn’t beat the count at 54 seconds of the first round.
Tijuana’s Adan Ozuna (1-0) dropped Guadalajara’s Manuel Armendariz (0-1) twice in the second round for a knockout in a bantamweight contest.
Tijuana’s Arturo Badillo (15-0, 13 KOs) needed only 37 seconds to knock out Lizandro De Los Santos-Inicia in a bantamweight fight.
Super middleweight Rigo Alvarez (22-0, 15 KOs) out-toughed Sonora’s Eduardo Ayala (17-25-4) after six rounds to win by unanimous decision. The Guadalajara fighter bored his head down and swung for the fences.