Ricardo Espinoza KOs Ricardo Nunez for 10th Straight Stoppage Victory
Ricardo Espinoza was riding a 12-fight win streak and a nine-fight stoppage streak going into his fight against Panamanian veteran Ricardo Nunez. Friday night on Telemundo, Espinoza moved those streaks to 13 and 10.
Espinoza stopped Nunez in the 10th round of the fight, marking his third knockout on Telemundo since July. Going into the fight, Espinoza’s record was suspect, having been heavily padded with fights against sub-500 fighters in Mexico. But it was clear over the course of the fight that the man from Tijuana was too good for Nunez, despite tiring as the fight went on.
Espinoza had never fought more than eight rounds as a professional, largely as a result of his knockout power and weak level of competition. So, while Nunez likely planned to drag Espinoza into deeper waters hoping to test his stamina, but he wasn’t good enough to enact this plan completely. Espinoza pressured Nunez early on looking for another quick knockout, and while he couldn’t get it he hurt Nunez to take some of the sting out of his punches. Eventually, Espinoza broke Nunez down before trapping him against the ropes and battering him helplessly until the referee was forced to stop the fight, in the tenth and final round. With the win, Espinoza moved to 23-2 with 20 knockouts.
Erislandy Lara Looks Slow en Route to Draw with Brian Castano
Brian Castano claimed to have been robbed after his fight with Erislandy Lara. He wasn’t. And Erislandy Lara claimed that despite Paulie Malignaggi’s continued insistence that Lara had gone from a basic 1-2 fighter with great movement, to just a basic 1-2 fighter, he didn’t feel any different. That was likely untrue also.
Brian Castano and Erislandy Lara fought to a split draw Saturday night on Showtime, with neither looking like future world beaters or serious threats to the elite fighters at either 154 or 160. Castano didn’t work the body enough throughout the fight to tire out Lara, despite his consistent pressure giving Lara occasional problems. Lara, on the other hand outboxed Castano at times but couldn’t move the way boxing fans are accustomed to see from him. He also wore shorts with the Puerto Rican flag, rather than the Cuban flag on them, which got him mocked on Twitter throughout the night.
Since this was supposed to be a crossroads fight between the up-and-comer and the former champion looking to return to glory, it doesn’t make sense for the two to fight anyone but each other next. A rematch would answer the questions this fight didn’t, but Lara is getting older and slower every second, so for him time is of the essence.
Luis Ortiz Wins, but Doesn’t Look Great against Christian Hammer
Luis Ortiz beat Christian Hammer by unanimous decision, with scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 100-90 on the three judges’ scorecards. That means over the course of the ten-round fight, on the three cards Luis Ortiz lost a total of two rounds total. Still, if Ortiz was looking to impress the crowd on Showtime so much that they demanded he get a rematch with Deontay Wilder immediately, that didn’t happen.
Ortiz was rocked in the first round, and though he was never close to getting stopped it did not bode well for how he would fare against Wilder had a similar shot landed. And, while Ortiz was light on his feet throughout the bout, there’s no denying that, as Graham Houston put it on Twitter, “he had an ‘old fighter’ look.”
That’s because Luis Ortiz is old. But, in case you think it’s simply twitter haters who weren’t overly impressed with Ortiz’s performance, Hammer himself said after the fight “Ortiz is a very good and experienced fighter. He's technical and smart but he's not as intimidating as people say he is. I respect Ortiz but I don't think he's the best fighter I've ever faced." For the record, Hammer has fought guys like Tyson Fury and Alexander Povetkin.
For the (questionably) 39-year-old Ortiz, time is ticking if he thinks he can beat the elite heavyweights in the division. Hammer, who came into the fight with five losses already, wasn’t good enough to beat Luis Ortiz. But other fighters, especially with Ortiz getting older every minute, likely will be.
Bryan De Gracia Takes Advantage of Sudden Spotlight with Shocking KO Victory
Bryan De Gracia had only stopped eight of his previous opponents going into his fight against Eduardo Ramirez. So, down 77-75 on two cards and even on the third card going into the ninth round, it seemed that Eduardo Ramirez was in serious trouble. Instead, Ramirez would shock De Gracia with an uppercut and a flurry of punches that caused the referee to stop the fight in the ninth round. The stoppage was questionable; De Gracia was clearly on shaky legs and not intelligently defending himself, but De Gracia never touched the canvas and Ramirez may have been exhausted if he didn’t finish the fight then and there.
This fight was big for two reasons. Firstly, the fight was a late replacement and presented a huge opportunity for both fighters to make an impact on a Showtime card. Second, the winner of this fight is supposed to get a shot at China’s Xu Can, for the WBA “Regular” featherweight title. Whether that happens or not is unclear, as DAZN is heavily pushing for Can to fight Jordan Gill.
Jordan Gill Continues Rise to Stardom with Third-Round Stoppage of Emmanuel Dominguez
24-year-old featherweight Jordan Gill is on the cusp of boxing stardom, especially in the UK where he consistently fights on Sky Sports. That rise was in no way slowed by Emmanuel Dominguez this weekend, as Gill dropped the 25 year old Mexican twice in the third round, before unloading on him and forcing the referee to stop the fight.
After the fight, Gill pulled off a mediocre Michael Jackson impression and moonwalk (probably not the best weekend to do that), then called out Xu Can and Kiko Martinez.
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