COSTA MESA, CALIF.-Sometimes it’s good to take a chance.
With only four pro fights Pomona’s Alexander Flores (5-0, 3 KOs) accepted a match with Russia’s Sergey Karpenko (6-2, 4 KOs) and won by knockout against the heavy-handed heavyweight on Thursday before a sold out crowd at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa.
“It was an important fight,” said Flores, 21, knowingly.
Both heavyweights entered the ring knowing it was a crossroads fight of sort as both needed a win to continue in the fast path. On this night it was Flores using his superior hand speed and defense to win handily until stopping the Russian fighter at 2:59 of round four.
A crisp three-punch combination beginning with a right hand counter, left hook and right hand sent Karpenko collapsing on the ropes and forcing referee Lou Moret to step in and end the heavyweight clash.
“We call that an F-3 combination,” said Flores.
Both heavyweights had more than six weeks to prepare with Karpenko training in Big Bear. Flores used his quicker jabs and a short cross to continually catch the Russian fighter walking into punches.
In a six round super middleweight match David Tabatadze (8-1-1) out-hustled San Diego’s Lester Gonzalez (12-5-2) in the second half of the fight to win by unanimous decision. Both southpaw fighters received a rain of dollar bills after their crafty and technical battle.
Gonzalez tired around the third round and never could muster enough firepower to keep Tabatadze from landing combinations. But the fans appreciated both fighter’s effort. Gonzalez had just returned from Cuba and needed to make the rent so he accepted the fight in little over a week ago.
In a welterweight bout it was Marcus Robinson (4-0) continuing his unbeaten string with a four round unanimous decision over Laguna Hill’s debuting Alexander Vias. Robinson was in charge but Vias never was hurt or dominated.
A heavyweight mixed martial arts match saw Huntington Park’s Manny “Chicanito” Lara (4-1) need only 21 seconds to knock out Santa Ana’s Neil Cook (6-2). Both fired the big bombs but Lara connected first and floored Cook who was then beaten with a blistering attack until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Another MMA fight saw Vince Pichel (5-0) use a flying knee strike to hurt San Diego’s David Gardner (15-15) and then follow up with a barrage of punches to end the fight at 1:47 of round two.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV