Andres Cortes stops Xavier Martinez after seven rounds
LAS VEGAS – Junior lightweight Andres Cortes remained unbeaten Friday night, winning by knockout after the seventh round when Xavier Martinez remained on his stool.
Cortes goes to 20-0, 11 knockouts.
The 26-year-old Cortes was again fighting in his hometown, where family and friends were amongst the crowd inside The Palms.
Both fighters were on their front foot from the opening round. There were instances of clenching and grappling as Cortes and Martinez initiated exchanges, never landing anything flush to the head. Referee Tony Weeks had to warn Cortes for landing right hands behind the head of Martinez.
The pace finally slowed during the third round. Martinez boxed well from distance as Cortes attempted to rush in, but would smother himself at times and never got a rhythm going the way Martinez did.
The distance Martinez was able to create began to work more effectively as he threw and landed two-punch combinations, culminating with a straight right hand to the head.
During the middle rounds, a bruise beneath the left eye of Martinez began to swell. As the fight progressed, the swelling got worse, almost closing Martinez’s eye. Cortes kept his distance, at times outboxing or scoring with overhand right hands to the head of Martinez.
After the seventh round, Robert Garcia, Martinez’s trainer, told the ringside physician to stop the fight, as the swelling would get worse.
The fight was close going into the eighth round. At the time of the stoppage, Cortes was up 68-65 and 67-66, while Martinez was winning 67-66 on the third scorecard.
After the fight, Cortes stated he wanted to fight the winner of the August 12 clash between WBO world junior lightweight titleholder Emanuel Navarette and Oscar Valdez. Cortes would be willing to move up in weight to 135 pounds.
Martinez, who resides in Sacramento, California, falls to 18-2, 12 KOs.
In a crossroads clash between lightweights, Nahir Albright defeated Karlos Balderas by majority decision.
One judge scored the bout 76-76, while the other two judges scored the bout 77-75 for Albright, who improved to 16-2, 7 KOs.
Albright was effective early on, fighting well both from distance and in the pocket. Both fighters were able to connect with punches, also varying their offense that produced decent exchanges. By the fourth round, Balderas began to assert himself as his punches forced Albright to fight on the defensive, at times.
Towards the end of round five, a stiff jab seemed to throw off Albright. Midway through the sixth round, a vicious left hook to the body seemed to hurt Albright. Balderas attempted to follow up, but Albright was able to fight back, even tying up Balderas in an attempt to recover from the punch.
Even though Albright was game, Balderas was able to connect with a series of three or four-punch combinations. Balderas was on his front foot, initiating exchanges, landing the more-effective punches.
Balderas, who resides in Santa Maria, California, falls to 14-2, 12 KOs. He is now trained by Robert Garcia.
Junior welterweight prospect Rohan Polanco of the Dominican Republic dropped Cesar Francis twice en route to a fifth round knockout victory.
After a slow start, Polanco began letting his hands go during the third round. Polanco began landing lead and counter left hooks to the head.
Towards the end of the fourth round, a right cross dropped Francis to the canvas. The bell sounded to end the round, but Polanco continued his attack during the fifth round. Midway through the round, Polanco landed another right hand to the head, dropping Francis to the canvas. Francis did beat the count, but referee Robert Hoyle stopped the bout at 1:05.
Francis, who is originally from San Miguelito, Panama and now resides in Brooklyn, New York, falls to 12-2, 7 KOs.
In the opening bout of the Top Rank card, lightweight Charlie Sheehy stopped Kaylyn Alfred (4-5-2) of Lafayette, Louisiana at 41 seconds of the first round. A left hook to the head dropped Alfred to the canvas. Alfred beat the count, but referee Robert Hoyle stopped the bout, as Alfred did not look in any condition to continue.
Sheehy, who resides in Brisbane, California, improved to 7-0, 5 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 at [email protected]