Antonio Gutierrez outworks, outpoints Jorge Melendez
LOS ANGELES – Middleweight up-and-comer Antonio Gutierrez survived a second round knockdown to win a hard-fought 10-round unanimous decision over Jorge Melendez on Friday at the Belasco Theatre.
With the win, Gutierrez improves to 21-2-1 with nine knockouts. Melendez, who has now lost four of his last five bouts, drops to 29-7-1, 27 KOs.
The “LA Fight Club” main event was a crossroads bout between two fighters who were coming off a loss in their previous fight. Gutierrez lost a close 10-round decision to Gabriel Rosado on June 4, while Melendez was stopped by Steven Martinez in the second round on Dec. 19.
Gutierrez was dropped by a right hand to the head in the opening moments of the second round, but he was not visibly hurt by the punch and seemed to go on the attack from that point on.
As the bout progressed, Gutierrez walked Melendez down, putting the Puerto Rican boxer on the defensive. The tactic worked as Melendez’s punch output dropped with each passing round.
Melendez would connect with an occasional hook or cross but was not able to match Gutierrez’s offense, especially late in the fight.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Gutierrez, 97-92, 97-92, and 96-93.
“All I had to do was come strong (from the knockdown),” Gutierrez told RingTV.com immediately after the fight. “(Melendez) has a difficult style, but thank God I was able to work hard to get the win.”
In co-feature action, hard-hitting lightweight prospect Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez knocked out Jonathan Corrales in the second round.
Corrales was able to compete early on but Gonzalez’s power became too much for him to deal with. At the end of first round, a left uppercut followed by a left hook to the chin dropped Corrales to the canvas. Corrales was able to beat the count and make it out of the round.
Gonzalez ended matter in the second round, dropping Corrales flat onto his back with a three-punch combination. As Corrales laid sprawled on the canvas, referee Wayne Hedgpeth stopped the bout at 1:57.
“With every fight, the game plan is to go for the knockout,” said Gonzalez, who is the younger brother of former WBC featherweight titleholder Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez. “I was glad I was able to get it with this fight.”
In the opening bout of the ‘Boxeo Estelar’ broadcast, lightweight Oscar Duarte (7-0-1, 3 KOs) won a razor-thin four round decision over Rafael Reyes (6-9, 5 KOs).
The fight was fought on even terms, but the difference was a second round knockdown Duarte scored, courtesy of a left hook that clipped Reyes’ chin.
All three judges scored the bout 38-37 in favor of Duarte.
In other bouts:
– Lightweight prospect Lamont Roach Jr. dropped Mario Macias (26-20, 14 KOs) three times in route to a knockout win at seven seconds of the third round. Roach improves to 12-0 with four knockouts.
– Junior lightweight Tenochtitlan Nava (3-0, 1 KO) wore down Juan Bryand, eventually stopping him at 1:47 of the third round.
– Featherweight Edgar Valerio (8-0, 4 KOs) won a fifth-round technical decision over Emmanuel Castro (2-3, 2 KOs). All three judges scored the bout in favor of Valerio, 50-45, 50-45, and 49-46.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing