LAS VEGAS-Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux wasted no time in showing why he was the favorite over the champion Rico Ramos and by ripping the WBA junior featherweight title from Ramos by knockout on Friday.
“I knew once I hit him with the lefts he wouldn't get up from that,” said Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 Kos) showed why he was the favorite over Ramos (20-1, 11 KOs) in front of more than 2,000 at the Palms Casino Resort. The title changed hands emphatically as the Cuban's vaunted left cross proved too much for California's Ramos.
A flurry of sizzling left hands beginning from the body to the head from Rigondeaux put down the new champion in the first round. The Cuban fighter attacked but was unable to capitalize. That round proved to be the most exciting for the next four frames.
“He was afraid of getting hit,” said Cuban southpaw.
Ramos seldom initiated the action and that proved his undoing as Rigondeaux won almost every round though not many punches were thrown. A punch behind Ramos's head in the sixth stopped the action for a moment but referee Joe Cortez refused to give him time to recover. He needed it. Rigondeaux attacked with five more left hands that crumbled Ramos for the count at 1:29 of round six.
“I never thought it would be easy but when I hit him I knew he wasn't getting up,” Rigondeaux said.
Next for the new WBA champion is Nonito Donaire or Jorge Arce.
In a rousing junior lightweight match Lancaster's Joel Diaz (7-0, 6 Kos) survived a knockdown and registered three of his own against Sacramento's Guy Robb (7-1, 3 Kos), as he scored a stoppage in round seven at 2:20. It was a back and forth between the two Californians, which saw Robb amazingly finish round three and roar back with a body attack and some well placed right hands. But Diaz finished the fight with a flurry of punches and Robb failed to return fire. Referee Vic Drakulich stopped the fight.
Two Southern Californian junior middleweights battled to a six round decision that saw former Olympian Javier Molina (10-1, 4 Kos) floor Riverside's Alberto Herrera (8-5-1, 5 KOs) in the first round with a sneaky left hook. From there on it was Herrera trying hard to pressure the taller Molina into a fracas unsuccessfully. Two judges scored it 58-55 twice and 59-54 for Molina. Ironically Molina's only loss came to a Riverside fighter in his previous fight.
“This guy was tough and came forward a lot,” said Molina, who was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team. “He was a little awkward and moved his head very well.”
Palmdale's Matt Villanueva (7-0-1, 7 Kos) stopped Fresno's Miguel Ruiz Jr. (8-2-1, 3 Kos) at 1:04 of round seven of a junior bantamweight match. A left hook staggered Ruiz in round seven and that was followed by a right hand and referee Russell Mora ended the bout. Ruiz had been knocked down in round two with a barrage of blows.
Heavyweight Razvan Cojanu (2-1) brawled successfully against San Jose's Rodney Hernandez (1-1) over four rounds to win by unanimous decision. Helping the tall Romanian's corner was former heavyweight champion James Toney. The scores were 40-36, 39-37 twice for Cojanu.
Las Vegas junior middleweight Yosmani Abreu (2-2) survived a staggering overhand left from Marcus Robinson (4-2) in round one to mount a counter attack with a vicious body attack. Abreu seldom took the fight upstairs and it proved beneficial in fighting the quicker Robinson. The judges all scored it 39-37 for Abreu.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV