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John Dato scores hometown stoppage in five over Rodrigo Guerrero

John Dato vs. Rodrigo Guerrero
Fighters Network

SANTA YNEZ, California – Junior lightweight John Dato was not about to lose in front of a partisan crowd.

Buoyed by cheers from family and friends, Dato broke Rodrigo Guerrero down en route to a fifth round knockout victory before a boisterous crowd Friday night at Chumash Resort Casino.

Dato, who resides in nearby Santa Maria, improves to 15-1-1, (10 knockouts).

The 28-year-old Dato utilized his quickness from the opening bell, moving in and out of Guerrero’s reach and connecting with straight right hands to the head. Guerrero attempted to counter Dato but rarely caught him flush with any punches upstairs.

As the bout progressed, Dato varied his offense by landing two and three-punch combinations initiated by a jab or landing lead right hands followed by left hooks to the head and body.

Both fighters had their moments during the fourth round as Dato stayed in the pocket and traded combinations with Guerrero, who did his best work by landing a series of right crosses upstairs.

About halfway through the fifth round, Dato stunned Guerrero with a right cross to the head during an exchange. Guerrero backed up against the ropes, trying to fight back as Dato closed the distance between the two fighters. Even as Guerrero fought back, Dato landed vicious combinations to the head. Another right hand upstairs snapped Guerrero’s head back, prompting referee Rudy Barragan to stop the fight at 2:31.

Friday night marked Dato’s first bout since suffering his first loss as a pro at the hands of Angel Contreras on August 21.

“I fought the way I sparred,” said Dato after the fight. “I didn’t want to go too crazy from the beginning of the fight.

“Rodrigio was a tough opponent. He came forward and had experince on his side. We had to be smart in the ring against him.”

Guerrero, who resides in Mexico City, drops to 26-14-2 (16 KOs). The former IBF junior bantamweight titleholder has now lost his last eight bouts.

In other action:

– Featherweight Haley Pasion (2-2), of Honolulu, Hawaii, defeated Julia Perez by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Pasion. Perez, who resides in nearby Paso Robles, was making her pro debut.

– Heavyweight Moses Murrieta was successful in his pro debut, defeating Josue Vargas (2-1, 1 KO), of Sun Valley, California, by unanimous decision. Scores were 39-37 twice and 40-36 in favor of Murrieta, who resides in Fontana, California.

– In the opening bout of the World Fighting Championships card, heavyweight Jason Soto, of Bakersfield, California, defeated Visalia’s Michael Cook, who was making his pro debut, by unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36 twice and 39-37 for Soto, who improves to 4-1-2 (3 KOs).



Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.