Big time boxing was in our backyard last weekend. Staples Center hosted a card that featured two title fights.
The main event was a relatively tame affair.
There have only been 10 Lightweight Championship unification bouts in history, and this was the only one between two undefeated champs.
Four-division world champion Mikey Garcia put his WBC World title on the table and Robert Easter Jr. bet his IBF belt in a scheduled 12-rounder.
The entire fight was an action-packed, chess match between two highly skilled boxers.
The biggest moment came in the 3rd round when Garcia landed a 3-punch combination (lunging jab, right cross, left hook) that found face and set Easter on the seat of his satins.
Garcia remained in control, the bout went the distance, and Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s) was awarded a unanimous decision victory, by a large margin.
Undefeated Mario Barrios (21-0, 14 KO’s) laced them up against Jose Roman (24-3-1, 16 KO’s) in a bout for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental Welterweight title.
Barrios sustained a cut to the outside of his left eye (determined to be from a punch) in what was otherwise, a fairly even opening frame.
They spent the next round staying away from one another, but Barrios picked up the pace in the 3rd by working to the body.
Round 4 was the turning point.
Roman dropped his guard during a 1-2 combination from Barrios and the “2” (a right hook) caught Roman on the jaw and sent him staggering back to the ropes.
Barrios swarmed him, and a left to the temple put Roman on his back pockets.
He took the mandatory 8-count, the violence resumed and Roman survived the round…just barely.
Barrios remained patient through the next few frames, while looking for an opening.
It came in the 8th.
An overhand right rendered Roman dazed and confused. Barrios pressed him into a corner and let the leather fly until Roman wilted under the attack.
He took the count and went back at it, but his corner saw the danger in continuing and wisely tossed in the towel between rounds.
Mario Barrios took the title, remains undefeated and extended his knockout streak to six.
The co-main event was a bout in the Heavyweight division.
Both Luis Ortiz and Razvan Cojanu had lost their last fights, and needed to regain ground in their weight class.
Luis lost to Deontay Wilder (everybody loses to Wilder) in a sloppy slugfest in March of this year.
Ortiz gave Wilder more opposition than he had ever encountered. He plowed forward and backed Wilder around the ring for the first four rounds.
In Round 5 Deontay doubled up on rights that sent Ortiz south. Then he mauled him badly in the 7th, and beat him into the floor for a stoppage in the 10th.
Cojanu turned in a tepid performance on his last outing, losing a one-sided, unanimous decision to Joseph Parker.
Neither Ortiz nor Cojanu is an advertisement for a “slim-fit” diet. They entered the ring looking smooth and doughy, and with a combined weight well over 500-pounds.
But this bout didn’t last long enough for conditioning or stamina to be a factor.
They took a nap during most of the opening frame. Lefty Luis nullified Cojanu’s 3-inch reach advantage by using a stiff jab to keep the distance.
But two-minutes into the 2nd round, Ortiz landed a sweeping right followed by a straight left that compromised Cojanu’s compass…cause he couldn’t tell “up” from “down.”
Cojanu dropped to his knees. He almost fell through the ropes on his first attempt to rise, and nearly tackled the ref on his second try. That’s when the referee decided to call a halt to the competition.
Good call, ref.
With this impressive win Luis Ortiz reaffirms his dominance in the ranks and improves his campaign to 29-wins against 1-defeat, with 25-victories coming by way of knockout.
God Bless and always look for an opening.
Mark Felicetti is known for doubling up on his rights. Reach him at email@example.com.