Photo of winner Najera courtesy Rachel McCarson
SAN ANTONIO, TX -- One of San Antonio’s best boxing prospects, junior welterweight Ivan Najera (8-0, 7 KOs), survived a first round knockdown versus Gerardo Dominguez (1-15) to stay undefeated in his young professional career.Najera was in control in round number one, but was caught off balance by a swift left hook that sent him to the canvas near his own corner. He rose to his feet quickly, and then continued the success he began earlier in the round by outclassing his overmatched opponent.
In the second, Najera completed the demise of Dominguez. With a lead hand uppercut, Najera stunned his opponent in the blink of an eye, before sending him reeling to the canvas with a barrage of punches. Dominguez rose to his feet but was unable to continue so the contest was halted at 1:06 of round number two.
While the 19-year-old Najera gave his fans quite a scare versus an opponent who had mustered just one win in his career to date, he can take solace in the fact that he righted the ship quickly and finished the job the way he was expected to – by knock out.
Featherweights Kermit Hendricks (1-2) and Chris Nicolosi (0-1) kicked things off on the Cinco de Mayo card at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio.The fight bill was stacked with seven four-round contests featuring local prospects, journeymen and everything in between.
The first bout of the evening was a rough and tumble affair with lots of crowding, shoving and wild punches. Making his pro debut, Nicolosi did not seem accustomed to the professional fight game; he noticeably tired after just one round. The local guy, Hendricks, took full advantage. The southpaw finished off Nicolosi with a series of left hands in round number three to take the TKO win, his first victory as a professional.
Next, super middleweight Ronald Ellis (3-0, 3 KOs) kept Delvery Wofford (0-3) winless with fast, straight punches he landed right from the opening bell. Ellis, who is trained by Robert Garcia, landed a crisp one-two that hurt his opponent toward the end of the very first round.Ellis earned a first round KO by finishing him off with a devastating three-punch combo leaving Wofford hunched over on the canvas in agony.
Coming to the ring with Anne Wolfe foreshadowed what the crowd was in store for when John Arrellano (7-1, 7 KOs), a junior welterweight from Austin, Texas, came to the ring to face veteran pugilist Julian Rodriguez (19-21-4, 13 KOs) from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.Arrellano came out from the opening bell throwing every punch as if it was his last.It was skill versus will, with the larger, aggressive Arrellano being just too much for the cute tactics of Rodriguez.
Rodgriguez was put down in the first and second rounds by the thudding punches of Arrellano, but was able to parry shots and connect with his own intelligent counters through much of the bout to keep the rounds competitive. The fight ended in the third when Rodriguez seemed to injure his shoulder attempting a looping hook at his hard charging opponent.
Chiseled light heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby (5-0, 5 KOs) came to the ring with a scowl on his face, but he left with a smile. McCumby weathered a fast and furious start by Perseus Givens (1-2) to score a first round technical knockout. Perseus was game, but McCumby’s fierce, hard blows took the steam out of him quickly, culminating with the devastating body blow that led to his demise. Unable to defend himself, the referee stopped the contest with Givens on his feet but just barely coherent.
McCumby appears to be a prospect to be reckoned with.
Some fighters come to the ring and just immediately appear to be in control of a fight. Such is the case when San Antonio’s Steve Hall (5-2, 5 KOs) came up against the previously undefeated Albert Espinoza (2-1).
Hall was patient and opportunistic. He stalked his opponent, carefully moved away from punches with the subtlest steps, and then sent back perfectly timed counterpunches. He was most effective with his straight right, which classically caught the southpaw Espinoza flush almost every time. The fight ended in the first, when one such shot put Espinoza down hard. He was able to rise to his feet, but the referee wisely halted the action as he still appeared dazed from the ferocious blow. The crowd was ecstatic for the hometown guy Hall, whose name was chanted with such fervor after the win that’d Ricky Hatton fans would be proud.
Finally, in the bout preceding the evening’s main event, two junior featherweights from San Antonio put on a very good show for their hometown crowd when Javier Rodriguez (2-0, 1 KO) and Theo Johnson (0-1) traded blows for four very competitive rounds.The shorter, more compact Rodriguez used balanced punching to connect at a higher rate than his longer, leaner opponent, while Johnson made him miss just enough to make things interesting at times.
Johnson had his moments but failed to capitalize on some fairly obvious opportunities. He often chose to stand in the pocket with Rodriguez, giving up his length advantage, and he was able to land enough punches of his own shots to keep the aggressive Rodriguez honest.
Judges scored the contest 39-37 for Rodriguez in what turned out to be the most contested bout of the evening.
The seven card bout, put on locally by San Antonio’s Leija-Battah Promotions, preceded the closed circuit showing of the Mosley-Alvarez and Mayweather-Cotto bouts from the night’s HBO PPV. An estimated 500 fans gathered around the make-shift boxing arena, which seemed to be converted from rodeo bull ring, to watch the live bouts before heading over to the sprawling two level dance floor/bar area to watch one of the many big screens.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV