"He's the one guy to match Manny for speed and ferocity," Arum said of Rios.
CARSON-A Southern California turf war between WBA lightweight world titleholder Brandon Rios and challenger Urbano Antillon ended violently with the champion retaining his belt by knockout on Saturday.
Oxnard’s Rios (28-0, 20 KOs) promised a bludgeoning and delivered against heated rival Antillon (28-3, 20 KOs) of Maywood before a crowd of more than 5,500 fans at the Home Depot Center. The Top Rank-promoted title fight was short but not shy on excitement.
Both Rios and Antillon exchanged savage blows in round one with each giving and taking their share. Antillon landed big body shots and Rios a blistering uppercut and left hook.
Antillon slowed up a bit in the second round and saved his best punches for the last 40 seconds. A three-punch combination found its way through Rios' guard to score big for the Maywood boxer.
The champion came out strong in round three and blasted some hooks, then caught Antillon in mid-punch with a straight right cross that sent the challenger to the ropes and down for the count. He got up but was met with some more heavy blows including another right cross that dropped the challenger again. Antillon tried to hold on but was shoved aside and then stumbled along the ropes forcing referee David Mendoza to stop the firefight at 2:49 of the third.
“He’s very strong. He caught me good,” said Antillon. “The first knockdown took a lot out of me.”
Rios ran around the ring raising his hands in triumph after the referee called the fight.
“I said before the fight it would come down to the guy who could take the punch best. I was that guy. I’m tougher and I’m younger. I got power in both hands,” said Rios, who was making his first world title defense. “In training we watched tape and we saw his mistakes in the last few fights.”
Rios said their prior altercations proved a motivating force for this fight.
“Yes, I took my anger toward him to the ring. I thought he would take it to the last rounds but he didn’t,” Rios said. “I’ll take them all, Marco Antonio Barrera or anybody. I’ll take them all.”
Bob Arum said he could envision Rios fighting Manny Pacquiao in a year or two.
In the semi-main event Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 7 KOs) showed up but former world champion Kermit Cintron (32-4-1, 28 KOs) forgot his mojo in losing a one-sided decision after 10 rounds of a junior middleweight fight.
Molina had his way for most of the rounds as he roughed up and mugged the taller Cintron almost at will. Everything the former champion tried was countered or blocked by the Chicago area fighter.
“I wasn’t hurt at any time,” said Molina, who drove himself by car from Chicago to Los Angeles. “I’ll take anybody next.”
Cintron had no snap to his punches and seemed lethargic for most of the 10 rounds. His usual sharp jab and uppercuts were nowhere to be found.
“There was no excuses in what happened out here. I just couldn’t get off,” Cintron said.
All three judges scored it 98-92 for Molina.
Fresh from signing a promotion contract with Top Rank, San Diego’s Mercito Gesta (22-0-1, 11 KOs) knocked down Mexico’s Jorge Pimentel (22-12, 17 KOs) once in each of the three rounds the fight lasted in their lightweight bout. A short left cross to the head dropped Pimentel in round one, a pretty left uppercut floored Pimentel in round two, and then an explosive burst of three punches finished the job at 2:23 of round three. The Filipino southpaw Gesta was relaxed and calm as he stalked Pimentel.
Russia’s Matt Korobov (16-0, 9 KOs) outboxed Cuban boxer Lester Gonzalez (12-4-2) over eight rounds of a middleweight match. Gonzalez had his moments and landed some good shots but Korobov was busier and convinced all three judges 78-74.
Indio’s Gabino Saenz (4-0, 4 KOs) started slowly against Dallas boxer Quinice Wesby (1-2) but perked up in round two with some heavy left hooks that floored the Texan a total of three times. A blistering hook to the body ended the fight at 1:41 of round three. Saenz remains undefeated and looking for tougher company.
Santa Ana lightweight Jose Roman (11-0, 9 KOs) didn’t waste time in dispatching New Mexico’s Randy Arrelin (8-6, 4 KOs). A perfect left hook floored Arrelin who beat the count, and then a right hand put him on the mat a second time. Arrelin got up but was met with some brutal blows that convinced the referee to stop the fight at 2:07 of round one.
Notre Dame football star Mike Lee (6-0, 4 KOs) knocked down Montana’s Michael Birthmark (2-6) with a long right cross in round one, but then found a more stubborn partner until round three. Lee opened up with some body shots that proved too much for Birthmark who went down twice from the blows. The end came at 2:43 of round three as referee Jerry Cantu decided the Montana boxer had taken enough punishment.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV