Gutierrez Beats Melendez – Mexico’s Antonio Gutierrez somehow eked out a decision win over Puerto Rico’s Jorge Melendez despite suffering a knockdown early in their fight on Friday at L.A.’s Belasco Theater. It was a very even fight in front of a sold out audience.
Gutierrez (21-2-1, 9 KOs) met Melendez (28-7-1, 26 KOs) in the main event at Belasco in a middleweight bout set for 10 rounds. They needed all 10 rounds to decide the winner. It was the Mexican fighter’s second confrontation with a Puerto Rican middleweight.
This time he won.
Based out of Tijuana, Gutierrez started pretty slow against Melendez who was sharpshooting from the start. Some lethal right uppercuts snapped Gutierrez’s head more than a few times and in the third round he found himself looking up after absorbing a Melendez right hand.
From round four on Gutierrez slipped into another gear and began boring through the oncoming combinations fired by Melendez. But the Puerto Rican seemed in control with long range bombs. Gutierrez scored from close quarters and seldom allowed Melendez space to breathe.
Each round seemed to go more toward Gutierrez’s way. Though Melendez kept connecting, the Mexican fighter’s chin kept him in the fight. Melendez, however, was wobbled several times down the stretch.
After 10 rounds two judges scored it 97-92 and a third 96-93 for Gutierrez.
“These Mexico versus Puerto Rico fights are always a war,” said Gutierrez. “I came in knowing we were going to go the distance. He was a tough opponent, and he made me fight for this win. I came out with more Mexican pride in my heart, and I am glad that I was able to provide a good show for the fans.”
In his last fight, Gutierrez was a loser against Puerto Rican Gabe Rosado in a closely contested clash at the StubHub Center this past June. Rosado was in the audience on Friday.
Gutierrez Beats Melendez – Other bouts
Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (pictured in the yellow trunks) stopped Jonathan Corrales in the second round of their lightweight match that was scheduled for eight rounds. Gonzalez, 20, fights out of Azteca Boxing Club and had won his last bout by decision. This time Gonzalez was able to connect with several uppercuts and floored Corrales with a double left hook in the first round. Corrales toughed it out but a right-left combination delivered Corrales to the floor again in the second round. The referee immediately stopped the fight.
Gonzalez arrived at the Belasco Theater with a large crowd of supporters.
“It feels really special to fight at LA Fight Club. I was on the first edition when they first opened LA Fight club, and I love fighting here,” said Gonzalez. “With every fight, the game plan is to go for the knockout, and I was glad I was able to get it with this fight.”
D.C’s Lamont Roach Jr. (12-0, 4 KOs) walked into the ring with only three knockouts but punched a lot harder than that in flooring Mexican tough guy Mario Macias (26-20, 14 KOs) three times in winning by eventual knockout in the lightweight match. Roach showed a sharp jab and crisp combinations against the rugged Macias who shrugged at first. A powerful right by Roach sent Macias to the floor in the first round but it barely hurt the Mexican fighter. In the second round a pretty left hook counter from Roach crumbled Macias who wasn’t shrugging any more. Seven seconds into the third round Roach clipped Macias with another quick left hook and the referee motioned the fight over.
“I spar with world champions, former world champions, and anything else in-between,” said Roach. “I knew Macias was tough since he had fought for world titles before in his career, making me enter the ring even more cautious and even more determined. I knew my punches were breaking him down at the beginning, and it was going to be a matter of time before I knocked him out.”
Oscar Duarte (7-0-1, 3 KOs) scored a knockdown of Rafael Reyes (6-9, 5 KOs) in the second round and that proved the difference in winning by unanimous decision in a true slugfest. Both lightweights came out banging and Duarte managed to floor Reyes and win by one point on each judge’s card in the end. Duarte is trained by Joel Diaz.
Tenochtitlan Nava (3-0, 1 KO) battered his way to a knockout win over Juan Bryand (1-5-1) of Laredo, Texas at 1:47 of the third round of their super featherweight clash. Nava, who lives in L.A., scored his first knockout win in overwhelming Bryand with his hurricane style. Nava never tired or waned in his punch output as he forced the referee to stop the fight despite Bryand never hitting the floor.
“I got my first knock out of my career tonight, which makes me feel great about how we have been training,” said Nava. “I am so glad my fans came out to support me.”
Edgar Valerio (8-0, 4 KOs) won by technical decision against Mexico’s Emmanuel Castro (2-3) whose southpaw style gave the native Californian some trouble. Valerio could not seem to get his timing down and rarely used a jab against the left-handed Castro. A clash of heads caused a severe cut on Valerio’s eye so the fight was stopped at 2:54 of the fifth round of a scheduled six round featherweight contest. The three judges scored it in Valerio’s favor.
“I’m glad we got the win tonight,” said Valerio. “My opponent sure could take a punch.”
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Gutierrez Beats Melendez / Photo courtesy of Al Applerose