COSTA MESA, CALIF.-A packed house saw former world champion Rhonda Luna win a unanimous decision against Oxnard’s Crystal “La Morenasa” Morales after six extremely professional rounds on Thursday night.
Luna (17-3-2) had not fought in two years and Morales (7-9-1; pictured, facing you, in Al Applerose photo) had two previous fights after a five-year absence from the boxing ring but they showed varying attacks and strategies before 1,452 fans at the OC Hangar. The non-televised female bout was worthy for mass viewing.
It was Luna who started quicker with overhand rights early in the first round. Morales was not hurt and finally found her groove with some steady and accurate jabs for the rest of the round.
“I couldn’t miss her with my punches,” said Luna. “But I hadn’t fought in such a long time I was worried I would get tired.”
Morales shortened her punches and began firing combinations in-between Luna’s big bombs. Every time the former champion fired a punch Morales was returning fire with multiple punches and landing.
Inside Morales was scoring with the short combos and jabs. Luna was not punching with the same volume but her left hook was scoring.
“We worked a lot on the left hook,” said Luna, who’s known for her overhand rights.
In the fourth round Morales and Luna began to fire big bombs. Luna would land a left hook and Morales would return the blow. Neither seemed to be capable of moving the other back. An uppercut by Luna connected and prompted Morales to quickly return fire with a left hook and right hand. Both were eager to exchange.
“I like to brawl,” said Morales. “I should have kept going with boxing but I can’t help it. I love to brawl.”
Luna and Morales increased the tempo in rounds five and six with each landing and receiving. They were very close rounds and difficult to surmise who landed more and with more force. Neither female boxer looked hurt or squeamish during the furious exchanges.
All three judges scored in favor of Luna 58-56 twice and 59-55. The media saw it closer with many scoring it 57-57.
“I want a rematch,” said Morales, who said she is comfortable fighting at 135 pounds. “I really think it should have been a draw.”
Luna said the long layoff made her tentative and unsure if she could unload more punches early in the fight.
“No disrespect to Crystal but I made it a much tougher fight than it should have been,” said Luna. “I took this fight as a means to an end.”
Luna said she’s looking for a world title and added that she will be playing football on Saturday. Her teammates were in the audience.
“Did you hear them?” asked Luna.
Morales intends to fight very soon.
“The best way to stay in shape is to fight often,” Morales said.
When the final bell ended for the fight, fans began to throw money into the boxing ring. It was that kind of fight.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV