CARSON, CALIF.-Argentina’s Marcos Maidana and Cuba’s Erislandy Lara were behind on scores but rallied to somehow win on Saturday at the Home Depot.
Come-from-behind wins were the name of the game at the Golden Boy Promotions fight card.
Josesito Lopez (30-6, 18 Kos) was seeking to win a spot against a welterweight world champion at the Home Depot and Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) was guaranteed a world title shot in the junior middleweight division. Both lost despite great efforts.
Lopez used his reach and jabs to open up the first round. After getting comfortable, Maidana connected with a solid left hook that woke up the Riverside fighter. He returned fire with blows to the body and head that woke up the crowd.
After winning the second round it looked like the Maidana freight train was at full speed. After clipping Lopez with a few blows, the Riverside fighter urged Maidana for more. Then Lopez fired his own volleys and hurt Maidana with a four punch combo that forced the Argentine to grab tight Lopez’s waist.
“He hit me on the hip and it paralyzed me for two rounds,” said Maidana.
Lopez seemed to figure out the proper distance to fight Maidana and took advantage in round four with long range bombs that could not miss. Maidana tried to counter and ran into some right hands one after another and fell to the floor. It was ruled a slip by the referee.
Maidana needed to change tact and began looking to counterpunch the taller Lopez. After some feints and a few right hands, Maidana opened up with a nine-punch volley that put Lopez in retreat. Lopez ended the round with a long right that connected flush, but lost the round.
The Argentine found a formula and stuck with it. In round six he fired a right to the body and then an overhand right to the head that forced Lopez to take a knee. He got up before the count of 10 but was met with a nine-punch combination that forced referee Lou Moret to stop the onslaught at 1:18 of the round. Maidana was declared the winner by technical knockout.
Lopez was ahead on the score cards.
“I definitely knew that was the way the fight was going to go. It was a good punch that I gave him,” said Maidana. “It was a great job by the ref because he still wanted to fight some more…nobody knew what was going to happen.”
The Riverside fighter was disappointed about the stoppage.
“I felt the stoppage was a little premature. Yeah, he stunned me, but we’re professionals, we can fight out of those situations,” said Lopez. “I got stunned. I got buzzed. If I’m not down for the count I felt he should have let me fight my way through.”
In the previous bout, Angulo stayed as close as possible against the fast moving Lara (18-1-2, 12 Kos). From the first round it was obvious that the Mexican fighter was going to attack the body and that Lara was countering with left hands.
Lara rarely opened up with combinations as Angulo put on the pressure while attacking the body with short punches. That seemed to be the plan for the Mexican to keep the punches short and it seemed to work as Lara couldn’t get off with punches.
Angulo floored Lara with a left hook during an exchange in round four and a huge roar went up from the mostly pro-Mexican crowd. The Mexican attacked in a lower crab-like crouch and didn’t allow Lara to counter with his left uppercut.
The Cuban fighter stepped up his game in round five after getting knocked down the round before. A pretty three-punch combination from Lara stung the fast attacking Angulo, but not enough to hurt him. It was a good round for Lara.
Angulo returned to his low crouch and pinpointed the body of Lara every time the Cuban stopped moving around the ring. Nine-punch combinations to the body stung the Cuban’s left side in round seven.
The body attack paid dividends in round eight for Angulo, who was firing eight and six-punch combos at Lara, who returned fire with one-twos, then moved.
Angulo kept pressuring and firing to the body then suddenly erupted with a left hook and down went Lara again. The Mexican fighter kept the pressure and hurt Lara again with a right hand. But Lara showed he was still in the fight with a crisp one-two that stalled Angulo’s attack a few seconds in the ninth round.
Once again Lara came out more enthusiastically following the second knockdown and Angulo went back into stalking mode. A sudden three-punch combination from Lara landed and suddenly Angulo turned his back and walked away. Referee Raul Caiz immediately signaled the fight over at 1:50 of the 10th round. Two judges had Lara slightly ahead 85-84 and one judge saw Angulo ahead 86-83. But the huge hematoma on Angulo’s eye was evident.
Lara was ecstatic.
“It was a great opportunity, Angulo is a great fighter, he put me down twice but he couldn’t continue in the fight,” said Lara, who suffered knockdowns for the first time in his pro career. “I feel I was still winning the rounds. The only rounds I lost were when I hit the floor.”
Angulo’s trainer Virgil Hunter claimed that the injury was caused by an illegal thumb to the eye by Lara. The gloves were confiscated by the California State Athletic Commission for inspection. Angulo was taken to the hospital for a possible orbital bone fracture.
Fans didn’t appreciate the tactical win by Jermell Charlo (21-0, 10 Kos) over Philadelphia’s Demetrius Hopkins (33-3-1, 13 Kos) after 12 rounds in a junior middleweight bout. Houston’s Charlo was the more aggressive and was rewarded by all three judges who had him winning 115-113. Fans booed throughout the fight for the lack of action.
Orange County’s Ronny Rios (21-0, 10 Kos) started slowly against southpaw Mexican Leonilo Miranda (32-6, 30 Kos) but after two rounds he found a rhythm and systematically beat down the taller fighter. From rounds three through six Rios hit Miranda with pounding shots while the lefty was unable to connect with anything significant. Finally, after a savage beating, Miranda’s corner stopped the fight at 1:37 of round six.
“I believe in my fighters,” said Frank Espinoza, who manages Rios. “I think he’s ready to win a world championship.”
Ireland’s Jamie Kavanagh (14-0-1, 6 Kos) looked extremely sharp in stopping Mexico’s Alfonso Landeros (21-32-2) at the end of round three in a lightweight match. Now training in Indio with Joel Diaz, the Irish fighter attacked the body relentlessly and was accurate throughout the fight.
“We made some slight changes,” said Kavanagh, who formerly trained at Wild Car Boxing. “I worked a lot on staying down after my punches. It made a difference.”
Former U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. (5-0, 3 Kos) was deadly accurate in stopping Rigo Casillas (8-11-1) at the end of round three of a featherweight fight.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?