Morales and Gonzalez win, Bojado debuts at LA Fight Club
The latest edition of “LA Fight Club” saw local junior lightweight Carlos Morales win a unanimous decision against Cuba’s Luis Franco under the golden dome of the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles on Friday.
Franco used a busy jab in Round 1, often doubling up, before cuffing Morales with a left hook that knocked the local fighter off balance and into the ropes. There was no follow-up, though. Franco, 32, was the quicker fighter in both hand and foot but seemed to lack the size to overpower Morales, who led with power shots from a distance and winged punches to the head and body when in closer. A few landed. As might be expected, the rangier Morales had some success with his jab; he just didn’t throw it very much.
The fighting got pretty sloppy – there were a lot of shoulders clipped and air whiffed, and the punches that landed mostly had the sound of a pleasant spring rain, but occasionally something meaningful got through. Round 8 featured the best prolonged exchange up to that point – Franco dipped and flurried and stuck out his tongue but seemed to take the harder punches. The trend continued in the next round as the 26-year-old Morales (14-1-3, 6 knockouts), despite looking exhausted, found his opponent’s face with a few more hooks. The last round began with some jab-jousting but soon fell back into the pattern of awkward infighting in which neither fighter did much of consequence.
Franco (14-2-1, 9 KOs), immediately began to smile and shake his head as the scores were read out: 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 for Morales.
In the featherweight co-main event, Joet Gonzalez (14-0, 6 KOs), 22, won a punishing 10-round unanimous decision over Sergio Lopez (20-11-1, 13 KOs), 30, of Los Angeles.
Lopez was the more aggressive fighter in the first round, sometimes literally pushing Gonzalez back with the top of his head, but in the second round the man from Glendora, California (just a couple miles down the road from where Bill and Ted discovered strange things afoot at the Circle K), went on the attack.
Lopez tried to do his damage with alternating uppercuts on the inside (along with a bit of covert arm-twisting), and overall he was throwing virtually non-stop punches, but very few of them were cracking Gonzalez’s defense. Gonzalez didn’t show a lot of head movement but demonstrated his considerable skill at blocking – reliable enough to lay back and wait for his chance to explode with yet another series of bombs.
Lopez, whose back is covered with a tattoo of a zombie hand reaching up through the earth, showed a hell of a chin but was huffing from the accumulation of body blows and his head had all the elusiveness of an inverted speedbag in the later rounds. He absorbed too many cringeworthy punches to describe one over another, and the last few rounds all seemed to end with him about 20 seconds from being knocked out. It became a matter of how long he could continue to outrun the clock but, miraculously, he made it to the final bell.
Scores were 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 for Gonzalez.
In a four-round junior middleweight swing bout, Angel Bojado, the 22-year-old brother of Francisco Bojado (now 33), made his pro debut with a unanimous decision win against Euris Silverio (0-4) from the Dominican Republic.
Bojado definitely looks like his older brother physically, but the similarity ends there – at least for the time being. He seems to like combinations that incorporate body shots but doesn’t show much in the way of footwork and has definite deficiencies in his defense; he got caught by all kinds of things but most notably a pair of left hooks that bent him diagonally at the end of Round 1.
Who knows what sort of pressure he was feeling along with the name, but this wasn’t the sort of performance that will inspire any talk of a second coming. Scores were 40-36 across the board. Silverio left the ring without reacting.
– Earlier in the evening, local junior featherweight Pablo Rubio pounded out a six-round unanimous decision win over a very game Michael Gaxiola, 22, from Glendora.
Rubio had a reach advantage with his 5-foot-9 frame but preferred to strike by lunging forward, and during one of those attacks in Round 1 a clash of heads resulted in a cut above his right eye. In Round 2 he began to rely more on his jab but couldn’t stay completely out of the phonebooth, where Gaxiola was able to stun him a couple times. Rubio’s cut opened up again and coated his cheek with blood in the third round and Gaxiola hustled his way inside to connect on multiple levels, but the punch felt by the crowd with a collective “Ooh!” was a left hook to the body thrown by Rubio.
Another left hook from Rubio, this time upstairs, triggered a flurry of infighting that left Gaxiola worse for the wear in Round 4. Rubio (7-0, 3 KOs) finally seemed to be settling into his rhythm and was clearly the stronger fighter but Gaxiola (4-8) hung tough and closed the round hard. More blood was draining from Rubio’s right nostril in Round 5 but the momentum was on his side and Gaxiola’s punches were looking a little more rubbery.
The final round was difficult to score through all the punches; each man had his head swiveled multiple times, though again it was Rubio’s punches that produced the more painful-sounding thuds. The judges scored in his favor: 59-55, 58-56 and 58-56.
– The second fight of the night saw Glendora junior lightweight Jousce Gonzalez (2-0, 2 KOs), 21, double his pro record with a first-round knockout of David Montes (0-4). Montes tried to get an early toehold but Gonzalez stayed calm and patiently waited for moments to release his power, which he did, particularly with some nice low-angled, left-handed hooks to the 43-year-old body of his opponent. Montes’ midsection crisis came to an end behind a straight right headshot that put him halfway through the ropes on his hands and knees.
– In the kickoff bout, featherweights Francisco Esparza, 21, from Las Vegas, and Noe Munoz, 27, briefly squared off. Despite Munoz’s camouflage trunks it only took Esparza 20 seconds to find him with an overhand right that put the native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on the canvas. Fifteen seconds later Munoz (2-3) was down again after catching another right hand and the fight was waved off. It was the first knockout win for Esparza (4-0, 1 KO).