Sunday, April 02, 2023  |



Robert Guerrero edges Victor Ortiz, Mark Magsayo KOs Julio Ceja on Pacquiao-Ugas PPV undercard

Photo by Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions
Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS – Former world titleholders Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz, top-flight fighters a decade ago, who faded from their perches with losses and layoffs, were trying to at least get on a path they hoped could lead them back to a world title fight by facing each other.

They did on Saturday night and it was Guerrero who did just enough, scraping by Ortiz by close unanimous decision in the in the co-feature of the Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas Fox Sports PPV card at T-Mobile Arena.

All three judges scored it 96-94 for Guerrero in a fight that never really caught fire.

“It felt good to be back in the ring with fans and I definitely fed off of their energy,” Guerrero said. “I knew this was going to be an all-out war. Victor Ortiz brought the best out of me tonight. It was back and forth action the entire fight and I came out on top as I predicted.”

The action, overall, was sporadic with a lot of grappling, but when they did engage Ortiz, who was one pound overweight at 148 pounds, appeared to be quicker to the punch. They started fairly quickly, however, although an accidental head butt in the first round seemed rattle Guerrero.

Late in the second round, Guerrero landed a series of punishing shots on Ortiz, including a left uppercut and right hand that did damage.

An accidental head butt opened a cut on the side of Ortiz’s right eye in the third round. By the sixth round, Guerrero’s left eye was badly swollen and nearly closed and he could not see Ortiz’s short right hooks coming as the fight wore on but Ortiz was never really able to exploit the eye injury as Guerrero kept coming forward and landing just enough to catch the judges’ eyes.
Guerrero (37-6-1, 20 KOs), 38, of Gilroy, California, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titleholder, won his fourth fight in a row since ending a brief retirement in 2018, although it was his first fight since September 2019.

“Now I’m ready to step up and fight anyone they put in front of me,” Guerrero said. “I have a lot left in me and I’m in this sport to win another world title.”

Ortiz (32-7-3, 25 KOs), 34, of Ventura, California, a former welterweight world titlist, had not boxed since a charitable draw with former two-division titlist Devon Alexander in February 2018.

“I thought I won,” Ortiz said. “It is what it is. It was a close fight. He didn’t hurt me. A couple times I got caught off balance but that was it. I should have boxed a little better, but hey, he did what he had to do.

“I know I box a lot more usually. But tonight it was more toe-to-toe. I don’t know if it was machismo or what. It was a good fight though. He’s a great fighter. We’re still fighting. We have a decade left. I’m going to stay at welterweight and I’ll take any 147-pounder.”

Magsayo flattens Ceja

Featherweight Mark Magsayo, a Pacquiao-backed fighter from the Philippines, scored a devastating 10th-round knockout of Julio Ceja in their WBC title elimination fight.

“I just worked a lot on the straight punches. I kept working it round after round and when I saw he was hurt, I followed up,” Magsayo said. “I’m so glad for the outcome. I expected his style to make it happen and I expected a knockout tonight.”

Magsayo was taken the hospital for observation and his team told The Ring that he would remain overnight as a precaution.

Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs), 26, started fast, dropping Ceja (32-5-1, 28 KOs), 28, of Mexico, with a clean left hook to the jaw in the opening seconds of the fight, but Ceja beat the count and weathered the ensuing storm to make it out of the round, even getting in some good shots of his own.

They spent most of the fight slugging it out toe to toe. Ceja continually dug to the body and Magsayo landed many combinations to the head.

Ceja, who held a junior featherweight world title in 2015 and 2016, broke through in the final moments of the fifth round when he nailed Magsayo with a left hook to knock him down. He beat the count but the bell rang, so Ceja had no chance to land another punch.

Magsayo was all over Ceja early in the 10th round and then he turned out the lights, clobbering him with a two fierce right hands, the first of which bounced Ceja off the ropes and into the second shot, that knocked him out flat on his back as referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight at 50 seconds. Ceja was down for a couple of minutes receiving medical attention.

With the victory, Magsayo, who moved to 6-0 in fights in the United States, is now a step closer to mandatory shot at world titleholder Gary Russell Jr.

“I got knocked down and was surprised, but I focused my mind on what I wanted, a world championship shot,” Magsayo said. “It’s my dream today and now it’s coming true. Hopefully, my next fight is a world title shot.”

According to CompuBox, Magsayo landed 158 of 621 punches (25 percent) and Ceja landed 163 of 554 (29 percent).

Castro stops Escandon in 10th round.

In the pay-per-view opener, featherweight Carlos Castro stopped former world title challenger Oscar Escandon in the 10th round of an action-packed and highly competitive battle.

“In the beginning, we knew he was a strong fighter,” Castro said. “You can’t take anything from Escandon. He’s a hard puncher who just comes forward. My respects to him.

“I knew it was going to be a slow start. (Trainer) Manny Robles taught me a lot, but a year and a half out of the ring, a new coach — it’s always different. I have to keep progressing. Escandon has been in there with the best. He’s gone a lot of rounds with world champions. But it was just a matter of time, picking our punches. I sat down a little more on my shots. I’ve been with Manny Robles for only four months. With a little more time, I think we’ll be able to dominate the division.”

Just before the first round ended, Escandon rocked Castro with a left hook and he was wobbly going back to his corner. It was just the start of an exciting and grueling fight.

They both got in plenty of hard shots and often traded back and forth. Castro had Escandon (26-6, 18 KOs), 37, of Colombia, in trouble on the ropes just as the sixth round ended.

Castro (27-0, 12 KOs), 27, of Phoenix, went after him at the start of the seventh round to see how hurt he was and staggered him with a right hand. Moments later, Escandon went down on what looked like a slip but referee Celestino Ruiz called it a knockdown. However, at the end of the round it was reversed and properly ruled a slip. When the fight resumed after the slip, Castro teed off on him and it looked like Ruiz might stop the fight. However, Escandon rallied and had Castro briefly in trouble as they exchanged with the crowd roaring.

In the 10th round, Castro forced Escandon to a corner and rocked him under a hail of punches, causing Ruiz to step in an stop the fight at 1 minute, 8 seconds.

“I fought my heart out and gave my best effort, but it just wasn’t my night tonight,” Escandon said. “I had him hurt in the first round, but I didn’t have enough time to finish him off. I give Castro a lot of respect. He’s a great fighter and showed great sportsmanship. I’m not done and I will be back.”

Also on the undercard:
–Featherweight Angel Contreras (11-4-2, 6 KOs), 27, of Mexico, scored an upset decision victory over John Dato (14-1-1, 9 KOs), 28, of the Philippines. Contreras dropped Dato with a right uppercut he never saw in the third round and won 78-73, 77-74 and 77-74.

–Union City, California, lightweight Mikel Clements Spencer (1-0, 0 KOs), 17, cruised to a shutout decision over Eliseo Villlalobos (1-2, 0 KOs), 21, of Simi Valley, California, winning his professional debut 40-36 on all three scorecards.


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