LAS VEGAS-Mexico’s Juan Alberto Rosas overcame the wily ways of Filipino southpaw Federico Catubay to win by unanimous decision and gain ground in the junior bantamweight division on Friday. Constant head butts, illegal punches and bad sportsmanlike moves by Catubay (25-16-3) didn’t deter Rosas from gaining his first victory in two years in the United States in front of a small by vocal crowd at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
“I knew I had to get a win in Las Vegas,” said Rosas (31-5) whose last fight in the gambling city was a loss to Filipino AJ Banal in 2007. It was quickly apparent that Catubay was what boxers and trainers call a “Billy goat” as he bored in with his head down in every opportunity. In the third round the Filipino’s head caused a cut under Rosas' head. Quickly the Mexican boxer adapted and began using an open left hand to stop the Filipino from using his head effectively again.
“He was coming in with his head a lot,” said Rosas. “The crowd was cheering for him a lot. There were a lot of Filipinos in the crowd.”
From the fourth round on Rosa was able to attack the body and head as Catubay attempted to utilize some of his unorthodox moves to confuse the Mexican. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. In one instance, Catubay opened the round acting as if to touch gloves to begin the round, then fired a left hand flush on Rosas' head. Only Rosas' pride was hurt by the unsportsmanlike move. Most of the 12-round fight saw Rosas attack to the body and head between Catubay’s gloves. Though the Filipino was competitive his punches were often inaccurate and it reflected in the score cards 117-111 twice and 116-112, all for Rosas.
In the semi-main event Mexico’s Michele Rosales (25-3) barely won by split decision over Mark Melligen (16-2). But in the end two judges preferred the Mexican’s aggression to Melligen’s boxing and move tactics. Burt Clements scored it 98-92 for Melligen and judges Eric Cheek and Paul Smith had it 96-94 for Rosales.
A bantamweight fight between Z Gorres (31-1-2 ) and Colombia’s Luis Melendez (26-4-1) ended in a win for the Filipino but he collapsed in the ring after hearing the decision. He had knocked down Melendez in the third and was floored badly himself in the 10th and final round but beat the count. As he celebrated his victory he suddenly collapsed in the ring and was quickly ambulanced to University Medical Center. Top Rank officials said he was operated on but did not know the exact reasons. Hopefully the Filipino contender recovers.
Robert Marroquin (11-0, 8 KOs) continued his unbeaten streak with a sizzling knockout victory over Kenya’ s Anthony Napunyi (10-5) in a junior featherweight contest. A two punch combination dropped Napunyi with a thud in the third round. He beat the count but referee Robert Byrd waved the fight off at 1:03.
Las Vegas fighter Diego Magdaleno (12-0) jumped out to a quick start against the taller Josenilson Dos Santos (10-1) of Brazil in an eight round junior lightweight bout. In the first three rounds Magdaleno couldn’t miss with the left hand. Then Dos Santos made some adjustments and was able to land repeated uppercuts to the body and head. Two judges scored it 78-74 and 77-75 all for the Las Vegas boxer. It was Dos Santos' first loss.
Riverside’s Danny Escobar (4-0) survived a near knockdown in the first round against Mexico’s Rodolfo Armenta, then won the next three rounds to win by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight fight, 39-37 three times.
New York’s Steven Martinez (3-0) was floored in the first round then came roaring back to drop Texan Cory Washington (2-2-1) with a left hook to the body. The fight was stopped at 40 seconds of the third round.
Riverside’s Jose Reynoso (11-2) won a close majority decision against veteran Fernando Montilla (32-21-4) of the Philippines in a welterweight contest. In a battle between southpaws Montilla jumped out quickly in the first two rounds but seemed to run out of steam after that. In the subsequent rounds Montilla would fight briskly for two minutes then tire out and Reynoso would take over. The Riverside fighter poured on the punches in the final two rounds and finished strong. One judge Paul Smith scored it a draw 57-57, and the other two judges Eric Cheek and Tim Cheetam 58-56 for Reynoso.