Ringside at the Belasco: Franco KOs Pasillas; Other Prospects Win Too

FIGHT NIGHT AT THE BELASCO — San Antonio’s Joshua “Little Professor” Franco (pictured in the gold trunks) showed how he grabbed the nickname with a textbook display of ring generalship followed by a knockout win over Victor Pasillas on Friday.

Although two high powered fights disappeared, the four bouts remaining at LA’s Belasco Theater showed why Golden Boy Promotions has high hopes for their youngsters including Franco.

From the opening bell Franco (8-0, 4 KOs) was in charge and kept Pasillas (8-6-2, 5 KOs) at his preferred distance as he peppered him with accurate combinations. Jabs, rights and body and head shots landed precisely and every counter attempted by Pasillas was avoided or deflected.

Franco, who trains in Riverside, Calif. with trainer Robert Garcia, seems like a smaller clone of current WBC lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia. He knows exactly where to put his opponent and when to fire.

In the third round, Franco put Pasillas where he wanted and unloaded a quick five-punch combination and down went the fighter from Juarez, Mexico. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight at 2:32 of the round.

“I was definitely expecting a tougher fight,” said Joshua Franco. “I had watched a lot of his fights online, and I expected a knockout later in the fight.”

Other bouts

Jonathan “Thunder” Navarro (8-0, 5 KOs) out-punched Houston’s super tough Angel Rodriguez (5-7-3, 4 KOs) to win the super lightweight contest by unanimous decision after six rugged rounds. It wasn’t easy.

Navarro knew ahead of time that Rodriguez was not just any veteran but someone who had gone to war with several contenders including Adrien Broner. From the first round until the final round Rodriguez matched Navarro blow for blow but the difference was those stiff jabs by the East L.A. fighter and the constant body attack. There were no knockdowns but after six rounds two judges scored it for Navarro 60-54 and another had it 59-55.

Undefeated Ryan “Kingry” Garcia walked in with an undefeated record in his first lightweight fight at Belasco Theater against quick southpaw Devon Jones (2-2) of Louisiana. During the first exchange Jones tagged Garcia with a quick left cross to let him know he was around. Another left cross landed again and a red mark appeared on Garcia’s face. After that, Garcia seemed to figure out Jones attack style and clipped him with a right that wobbled the lefty. Then Garcia moved in and caught him with a quick left hook that floored Jones. He got up and tried to attack but was caught again with a counter right and down he went at the bell. He beat the count.

Garcia calmly walked out for the second round knowing what to expect from Jones and immediately caught the charging fighter with a counter right cross for a quick knockdown. Jones beat the count and was slightly shaky but attacked once again and Garcia connected with yet another counter right that collapsed Jones to the floor. The referee immediately stopped the fight at 55 seconds into the second round.

“I give myself a B- for my performance since I got cobbled in my head a couple of times,” said Garcia matter-of-factly. “I had to adjust because I didn’t know that my opponent was a southpaw. But we got the knockout and that’s what makes champions.”

David Mijares (5-0, 3 KOs) got into a groove early and swept the first three rounds against the taller Evincii Dixon (7-16-2) who leaned on the ropes far too much. Then Dixon began firing back and catching Mijares as he pivoted out. By the fifth round Dixon had measured that escape route and was catching Mijares. A left hook nearly dropped Mijares who kept his balance and doubled his attack. After six rounds two judges scored it 60-54 and one had it 58-56 for Santa Monica’s Mijares who suffered a bloody nose for his effort.

“This was a great learning experience for me. “I definitely want to work on being more aware throughout the fight. He got me with a couple of punches high up on the head that threw me off.”

Hector Tanajara’s fight was called off when his opponent weighed seven pounds over the negotiated limit.

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