Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |



Cruz spoils Miranda’s U.S. debut

Fighters Network

So much for Leonilo Miranda becoming the next great Mexican fighter.

Miranda, who had never fought outside his native Sonora until Saturday night, walked into a perfect left by Orlando Cruz in the fifth round of their featherweight bout in Tulsa, Okla., and was counted out.

The fight was stopped 39 seconds into the round with Miranda struggling to remain upright.

Gone was his perfect record (which is now 30-1, with 28 knockouts). And gone was any hope of him becoming a legitimate contender, at least any time soon.

Miranda also made the WBC and WBA look more foolish than usual. He was in the Top 10 in each organization's rankings even though he was utterly unproven. On Saturday, his skills appeared to be unrefined and his punches not particularly powerful.

Cruz, a 2000 Olympian from Puerto Rico whose career has evolved slowly, didn't look great either until the fifth round.

He was badly beaten in the third round before rallying in the fourth and then ending the scheduled 10-round bout as dramatically as possible.

Cruz (16-0-1, seven KOs) doesn't have a great deal of punching power. However, when you throw a perfect punch and your opponent walks right into it, even light punchers are capable of one-punch knockouts.

Miranda fell flat on his back, managed to get up but was holding the top rope when referee Steve Smoger stopped it.

On the undercard, the once-promising career of Nick Casal (18-4-1, 14 KOs) might be over after he took a beating from Marvin Quintero (15-1, 12 KOs) and quit on his stool after the third round of a lightweight bout.

The one-time amateur standout from Niagra Falls, N.Y., is 3-4 in his last seven fights. Quintero landed punches almost at will toward the end of the short fight.

And 2008 U.S. Olympian Gary Russell Jr. knocked out Antonio Reyes (3-3) 21 seconds into third round of a scheduled four-round featherweight bout, Russell's pro debut.