Fight Night at the Belasco – Carlos Morales won the NABA super featherweight title by unanimous decision over Cuba’s Luis Franco with his best performance so far under the Golden Boy Promotions banner on Friday at LA’s Belasco Theater.
Morales (14-1-3, 6 KOs) must like superior competition because he stepped up his game against the slick fighting Franco (14-2-1, 9 KOs), who like many Cuban fighters uses a neutralizing defense and slapping offense. But the L.A. fighter Morales (pictured throwing a right hand) was at his best so far.
Franco was great at slipping punches and bending under the blows despite the various combinations thrown by Morales. But when it came to offense he slapped at the body because attacks to the head were evaded efficiently by Morales.
Just like fellow Cuban boxers Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux, fans saw the same methodology from Franco. He was great at slipping blows and avoiding a fight, but when it came to scoring he used the same amateur tactics of touch fighting, not hitting. This isn’t the amateur boxing game; this is prizefighting. It’s all about hurting the other guy more than he hurts you.
Morales was effective in landing the harder blows throughout the 10 rounds. Though he didn’t score an abundance of blows he clearly out-landed Franco. The judges deemed him the winner by scores 98-92, 97-93 and 97-94.
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In the co-main event Joet Gonzalez (14-0, 6 KOs) simply out-boxed L.A.’s Sergio Lopez (19-12-1). Lopez was willing, but could not match the pinpoint accuracy of the Glendora boxer in their featherweight clash.
Early in the fight Lopez was allowed to barge in with his head repeatedly. The first three rounds saw Lopez take advantage of the tactic as Gonzalez used various tactics to avoid head clashes from the Billy goat tactic. Eventually Lopez stopped coming in head first.
Lopez unleashed just as many punches as Gonzalez but was seldom accurate with the shots and was hit with numerous counter-rights throughout the 10 rounds. Body shots came in abundance from Gonzalez who slipped and countered with accuracy in every round.
A Gonzalez right to the body hurt Lopez in the sixth round. The L.A. fighter slowed down immensely from that point on. No knockdowns were scored but Gonzalez showed great defensive skills in slipping and avoiding the head rushes of Lopez. The scores were 100-90, 97-91 and 98-92 for Gonzalez who is managed by Frank Espinoza.
Fight Night at the Belasco – Other bouts
Angel Bojado (1-0), the younger brother of Panchito Bojado, finally got his first fight and won by decision after four rounds against Dominican super welterweight Euris Silverio (0-4). It’s no surprise that Bojado won especially if you ever saw him spar in gyms in Montebello and East L.A. against the likes of Sergio Mora and Austin Trout. Bojado can fight. The hard part was getting him into the ring.
For the past two years Bojado was supposed to get in the prize ring but something always seemed to block his debut. Not on this night. Bojado showed his natural boxing talent and was able to win all four rounds but none were easy. Silverio showed he has talent too but doesn’t throw enough punches. He’s too content in being a counter-puncher and that proved to be a bad idea against Bojado.
Whittier’s Pablo Rubio (7-0, 3 KOs) won a close and hard-fought unanimous decision over Modesto’s Michael Gaxiola (4-8) after six rounds in a super bantamweight bout. Rubio out-worked Gaxiola who remained in a counter-punching mode throughout the fight. Rubio was busier and initiated most of the action despite suffering a cut near his eye in the first round from a clash of heads. Rubio is managed by LA Laker star Metta World Peace. “My opponent was very technical and he didn’t throw any crazy punches, so I applaud him for a tough fight,” said Rubio.
Glendora’s Jousce Gonzalez (2-0, 2 KOs) fired a lead right cross that sent El Paso’s David Montes (0-4) through the ropes for a knockout win at 1:26 of the first round in their super featherweight bout.
“I prepared well for this fight and had great sparring partners in Alex Luna and my older brother Joet Gonzalez,” said Gonzalez. “I always train for double the amount of rounds and if the knock out comes during the fight, it comes. I’m ready for everything. I’m on fire. I’m in the best shape of my life. I can fight tomorrow if could.”
Las Vegas prospect Francisco Esparza (4-0) blitzed by Noe Munoz in just 37 seconds with two knockdowns. A counter right floored Munoz of Juarez, Mexico within seconds of the opening bell. Then a one-two combination put Munoz down for good as referee Lou Moret stopped the fight. Esparza is trained by former Southern California great Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas who was in his corner.
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Fight Night at the Belasco – Photo credit: Golden Boy Promotions