Davis-Garcia undercard: Morrell scores chilling first-round KO, Melikuziev outpoints Rosado
LAS VEGAS – David Morrell Jr. solidified his reputation as one of the best super middleweights in the world with a scary first-round KO of normally durable veteran Yamaguchi Falcao in the chief support to the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia main event at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
Morrell (9-0, 8 KOs), The Ring’s No. 5-rated super middleweight, started fast, bombing with accurate power shots that put the 35-year-old veteran against the ropes on wobbly legs. Morrell motioned to the referee to take a look at the staggered fighter, but Celestino Ruiz wasn’t ready to do that, so the 26-year-old Cuban went back on the attack, rocking Falcao (24-2-1, 10 KOs) into the ropes badly enough for Ruiz to count it as a technical knockdown.
Morrell quickly closed the distance once the fight resumed, landing a looping overhand left and then connecting with a flush right hook in close that instantly turned Falcao’s lights out, ending the fight at 2:22 of the opening round. The Brazilian southpaw fell flat on his face and remained there for a few tense minutes as ringside doctors attended to him, slowly turning him on his back. Thankfully, after 10 minutes, Falcao was able to leave the ring on his own.
.@OsvaryJ‘s power is nothing to be played with 😱
He scores an emphatic round 1 KO of Falcao.#MorrellFalcao #DavisGarcia
Order: https://t.co/mIiYdmufbG pic.twitter.com/OpgpVlHjAD
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) April 23, 2023
“This is a big moment for me, a big night,” said Morrell, who is based in Minneapolis. “I respect everybody, but inside the ring, I respect nothing.
“I want to fight the best of this division. Hey baby, (he yelled to The Ring’s No. 1-rated super middleweight David Benavidez) you’re next! I want Benavidez.”
Bektemmir Melikuziev was too strong, too fast, too mobile and too active for his former conqueror, the 10-years older Gabriel Rosado, throughout their 10-round rematch. However, the 27-year-old super middleweight fringe contender wasn’t active enough for the crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena. Melikuziev (12-1, 9 KOs) won a lopsided decision by unanimous scores of 99-91, but the fans in attendance booed throughout due to its lack of sustained action.
Melikuziev, who was overly cautious at the start of the crossroads bout, tried his best to score a knockout during the late rounds, but Rosado (26-17-1, 15 KOs), who’s as tough as he is cagey, weathered the storm of power punches. Missing from Melizukiev’s offense (until the final round) was his signature body attack. No doubt memories from their first fight, which abruptly ended with Rosado putting Melikuziev to sleep with a single right hand in the third round, lingered in the younger fighter’s mind.
The threat of Rosado’s counter right kept Melikuziev in check during the early rounds, but as the bout progressed it was clear that the veteran was simply unable to pull the trigger even when the shot was there. To Melikuziev’s credit, he did a much better job of moving his head in this bout than he did during their 2021 fight.
Teenage middleweight prospect Elijah Garcia remained undefeated after outpointing tough Kevin Salgado over 10 rounds in the opening bout of the Showtime/DAZN pay-per-view broadcast.
Garcia (15-0, 12 KOs), a 19-year-old southpaw from Phoenix, won by scores of 95-94 and 97-92 (twice). The rangy up-and-comer had to withstand an aggressive start from Salgado, but gradually outclassed the 25-year-old Mexico City native over the second half of the bout.
Salgado (15-2-1, 10 KOs), who attacked the body whenever in close, was repeatedly warned for low blows by referee Robert Hoyle during the first five rounds of the bout. Garcia didn’t allow the borderline shots to deter him and continued to land the cleaner punches while exhibiting the better defense and footwork.
Salgado was deducted a point for low blows in Round 7.
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