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Fight Night Club debuts


David Rodela lands a big right against Juan Garcia in the main event of “Fight Night Club” in Los Angeles. Photo / Tom Hogan-Golden Boy Promotions

The party at Club Nokia on June 11 rocked.

The downtown Los Angeles nightclub-turned-boxing venue wasn’t completely packed but roughly 1,500 showed up to watch the first “Fight Night Club” show and root on their favorite sons, the majority in a raucous standing-room-only area right below the ring.

Most of them were there to support their hometown fighters, shouting their support – “Luis! Luis!” they chanted repeatedly for Luis Ramos — and holding up signs with their names in big, bold letters.

And all the fights – none longer than six scheduled rounds – were as entertaining as promoter Golden Boy Promotions could have hoped. No one seemed to be disappointed.

The card also was streamed live on and televised on Versus.

“We’re very happy,” said Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez. “This really is different; you don’t see anything like this in L.A. Look at all those people standing down there. They’re all having a good time. Everything is good.”

Gomez also was pleased with the fights because what sometimes looks good on paper doesn’t look good in the ring.

The main event looked like the best matchup on paper and that’s how it played out, as both David Rodela of Oxnard, Calif., and Juan Garcia of Phoenix let the punches fly in a fight that could’ve gone either way.

Rodela, who survived a near-fatal car accident five years ago to become a professional boxer, was rocked in the third but came back in the fourth to hurt Garcia (14-3, 5 knockouts) badly with a combination and nearly put him down. And so the fight went.

In the end, Rodela won a split decision – 59-55 and 59-55 in favor of him, 57-56 for Garcia.

Rodela (13-1-3, 6 KOs) wasn’t pleased with his performance – giving himself a C+ — but was pleased with the support he received. He said he sold a few hundred tickets to family and friends and might’ve had an opportunity to sell more.

“I told (Golden Boy) I could sell tickets,” he said. “They said, ‘Can you?'” They hesitated to give me a block of tickets. Then, when I sold the whole block, they said, ‘Hey, do want to try to sell more?” I said, ‘No, I don’t want a job.'”

The others sold their share of tickets as well.

In the co-featured event, Charles Huerta (11-0, 6 KOs) of Paramount, Calif., who brought in a big contingent of supporters, had too much skill and firepower for his, game opponent, Mexican Noe Lopez, in a scheduled six-round featherweight bout.

Huerta, a polished boxer because of his extensive amateur background, measured his opponent in the first round, began landing heavily the second round and unloaded in third, in which he scored three knockdowns.

The beginning of the end came on a short left hook that knocked Lopez (4-1, 3 KOs) flat. A second left hook forced him to one knee. And a counter right finished the job, the referee deciding enough was enough.

Ramos (11-0, 6 KOs) had the most-spectacular knockout in a scheduled six-round lightweight bout. His opponent, Baudel Cardenas (18-17-2, 6 KOs) is a veteran fighter from Mexico who has gone the distance with the likes of Vicente Escobedo and Steve Luevano.

And Cardenas proved to be resilient, surviving a first-round knockdown – the result of a vicious body shot – to give Ramos some resistence. However, in the fifth round, he landed a right hook that would’ve stopped Wladimir Klitschko.

“I landed a pretty solid shot but I didn’t know if he would get up,” Ramos said.

No one else had any doubt. Cardenas seemed to be out the second the punch landed.

And the first-ever “Fight Night Club” bout, a four-rounder between Ricky Lopez and Rufino Serrano, set the tone for the night. Fighters generally don’t pace themselves in four-round fights. This one was no exception, as the featherweights threw ill-intended punches from beginning to end.

Lopez (4-0, 2 KOs) gave up about six inches in height to Serrano (1-1) but was the better boxer, landing more punches and doing more damage. Thus, he won each of the four rounds on all cards.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this,” Lopez said.

That seemed to be the prevailing attitude on Thursday night.