By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotions put on a stacked undercard with some of their most promising young talent at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
J’Leon Love (15-0) and Gabriel Rosado (21-6) was the first bout of the night in the middleweight division. The arena was still mostly empty during this fight but those who watched it were entertained.
Rosado is known as a tough and tested veteran who would gave the young J’Leon Love the toughest fight of his career. Love’s jab was effective early with his jab and he was more efficient with his punches. At one point in the second round it almost looked like Love was toying with Rosado, but a straight right hand near the end of the round by Rosado caught the attention of J’Leon’s love attention.
The third round was an extremely close round, but Rosado picked up the pace in the fourth and started to catch Love with some combinations near the ropes. Love out boxed Rosado in the fifth round, but Rosado landed a vicious combination that sent Love down hard in the sixth round.
Love was able to turn it around again in the seventh and eighth round with his efficient punching from the outside and using his stiff jab to keep Rosado at bay. Rosado however again turned the tide of the fight when he had Love on very wobbly legs with a right uppercut left hook combination. The 10th round was incredibly close, but Rosado appeared to have the edge.
But the judges had a different opinion at the end of the night. J’Leon Love won the decision with scores of 97-92 for Love, 95-94 for Rosado, and 95-94 for Love.
Leo Santa Cruz (23-0-1) and Alexander Munoz (36-4) met next in the junior featherweight division. Santa Cruz was the younger and clearly taller fighter, but Munoz was another veteran who had a ton of heart.
Most of the fight was fought in very close quarter, with Santa Cruz throwing the crisper and harder punches but Munoz landing his fair share of punches while continuously coming forward.
Santa Cruz continuingly walked through the punches of Munoz and was snapping the head of Munoz with ease. Santa Cruz scored two knockdowns, once in the third round and again in the fifth round. Munoz was increasingly getting rocked by Santa Cruz, and Munoz’s corner almost stopped the fight in the fourth round.
But they only to watch the second knockdown soon after the start of the round to stop the fight at 1:05 of the fifth round.
Ponce De Leon (44-4) and Abner Mares (25-0) was the last bout on the undercard for the WBC Featherweight title.
Many were hoping for an all action fight similar to the Barrera and Morales trilogy. It was an exciting fight, but it was mainly controlled by the younger Abner Mares.
Mares was tagged often by De Leon’s straight left hand, but it was the only punch that De Leon would seem to throw at times and he rarely went to the body. Mares was able to out box De Leon, and land several hard right hands of his own and he did a better job of mixing up his combinations. Mares landed a vicious two punch combination in the second round that knocked De Leon down for the first time of the night.
Mares controlled the reminder of the fight, though De Leon was beginning to land his left hand more often in the seventh and eighth rounds as Mares began to tire. De Leon unwisely chose to engage wildly in the ninth round and was sent to the ground hard by a wide right hook. De Leon got back to his feet and tried to touch gloves, but Mares ignored the friendly gesture and went in for the kill. He unleashed a flurry of punches by the ropes, and even though De Leon was focused on Mares and kept his focus on him, the referee stopped the fight.
Abner Mares wins by TKO at 2:20 of round nine.
Badou Jack (14-0) Defeated Michael Gbenga (16-7) by third round TKO in the light heavyweight division.
Luis Anas (5-0) Defeated DonYIl Livingston (8-2-1) by majority decision with scores of 58-56, 57-57, 58-55 in the super middleweight division.
Lanell Bellows (4-0) defeated Matt Garretson (2-0) by 4th round TKO.
Ronald Gavril (4-0) defeated Roberto Young (5-7-2) by 3rd round TKO.