LOS ANGELES– Diego De La Hoya (11-0, 7 Kos) expected a competitive fight but immediately took control over Tijuana’s Jose Estrella (14-7-1, 10 Kos) with jabs and combinations and eventually opened up the artillery to win by knockout on Thursday.
LA Fight Club and a crowded arena saw De La Hoya continue his road toward contention in the super bantamweight division and other prospects too at the Belasco Theater.
For two rounds there was little resistance from Estrella but when he did return fire it allowed De La Hoya to unload his potent combinations. A left hook snapped Estrella’s head back and he shrugged. De La Hoya calmly moved in and delivered an overhand right that sent Estrella through the bottom ropes. He beat the count but was met with more stinging combinations. Referee Lou Moret stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:36 of round four.
“It’s tough to live up to the De La Hoya name,” said De La Hoya. “I’m glad I won by knockout.”
In a crazy junior welterweight clash Mexico City’s Gilberto Gonzalez (26-3, 21 Kos) was stunned by a right cross from Colombia’s Hevinson Herrera (17-11-1, 11 Kos) in the first round and it looked like the fight might be over as the Mexican stumbled a bit. But he turned things around and won by knockout.
It was all Herrera for half of the second round when suddenly Gonzalez connected with his own right. Herrera looked just as hurt as Gonzalez but the round ended.
In the third round Gonzalez fired a right and though Herrera fell to the canvas it was not ruled a knockdown. Meanwhile, Gonzalez sprained his knee while throwing that last punch and it seemed he could not continue. He moved the knee around and they both resumed punching it other at full power. Despite a gimpy knee Gonzalez charged ahead sometimes hopping on one leg while punching away. A flurry of punches including a left cross and right uppercut forced the referee to stop the action at 1:49 of the third round. Gonzalez scored a knockout win though some including Colombia’s Herrera did not agree.
“The referee should not have stopped the fight,” Herrera said.
Oscar Negrete (11-0) opened up his fight against Mexico’s Ramiro Robles (12-4-1) with a bludgeoning body attack in the first round and tried to continue it in the second round. He ran out of steam and tired of hitting Robles who was like a sponge absorbing every blow from head to waist. After eight rounds the super bantamweight Negrete won by unanimous decision.
“His style didn’t surprise me. He has a tough chin,” said Negrete of Robles. “Oscar Negrete is here not only to win but to put on a great fight.”
Undefeated Emilio Sanchez scrambled to defeat Mexico’s Jose Cen-Torres by unanimous decision that was closer than some of the scores. Sanchez nearly dropped Cen-Torres in the first round but the fighter from Merida rallied back with some excellent combinations and counter attacks. It took a while for Sanchez to figure him out, but the taller L.A. fighter was able to use his length and movement to out-score Cen-Torres in the last three rounds. The scores of the super bantamweight fight were 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56 for Sanchez.
“I got a lot of experience from this fight,” said Sanchez (9-0, 6 Kos). “I thought I hurt him a few times with the left hook.”
Cen-Torres wasn’t pleased with the result.
“I thought I won the fight. I felt I frustrated him but at least the fans were pleased,” said Cen- Torres (13-8).
In the last bout of the evening Glendale’s Melsik Baghdasaryan (2-0) battered L.A.’s Abraham Calderon for four rounds in a one-sided welterweight fight. All three judges scored it for the Glendale fighter 40-36.