Diego De La Hoya’s star shines brighter; Tienda tests Lopes
Diego De La Hoya put on an impressive display of boxing against Jesus Ruiz, beating him convincingly via unanimous decision (100-90 twice, 99-91). The fight was the main event of an “LA Fight Club” card presented by Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast for the first time on EstrellaTV.
The display was like that of a symphony and De La Hoya was the conductor. Using his hands to orchestrate the crowd’s cheers at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, Calif., Diego had the fans in his back pocket after every instance he snapped Ruiz’s head back. The 21-year-old stood his ground in the ring and his poise looked contrary to that of a fighter just in his 12th professional fight. De La Hoya’s combinations were fluid, quick but not rushed against Ruiz, who has been in there with class opponents before. In the middle of each flurry, he imposed, De La Hoya would suddenly snap Ruiz’s head back and forced Jesus to put himself in a shell afterward.
De La Hoya’s uppercut was precise and in the third round, one of the biggest roars from the crowd came from a left uppercut that momentarily stunned Ruiz into a daze. Just as impressive as Diego’s combination punching was his ability to stay balanced the entire fight. He was never off-kilter and was always in position to sit on his punches. Although he was cruising, Diego never stopped fighting and in the sixth round, he paid for it. Ruiz landed a nice right hand to force a cut above De La Hoya’s right eye. By the end of the round, it began to swell as he walked to his corner.
Even under the surprise of feeling his own blood drip down his face, De La Hoya never bothered to slow his pace down. He kept going after Ruiz violently and got the crowd roaring again to the beat of his own hands drumming on his opponent. Although it was such a one-sided contest in the eyes of the official ringside judges, there was constant action, as he lived up to the name his second cousin, Oscar, set the standard for years ago.
“Movement was part of my strategy, to outbox [Ruiz]…I felt comfortable and I thought I hurt him with some of my uppercuts, some of my favorite punches to throw,” said Diego afterward. De La Hoya, 12-0 (7), Mexicali, Mexico, won a minor 122-pound WBC trinket with the victory. It’s the first belt in his career but if he keeps growing as a boxer – and a man – at this rate, it certainly won’t be his last. Ruiz, 34-7-5 (23), fought tough but just didn’t have an answer in the ring to counter De La Hoya’s attack. The 25-year-old was chosen to be Diego’s biggest test to date and was just one fight removed from fighting for a world title against Leo Santa Cruz last January.
In the co-feature, Everton Lopes, 4-0 (1), edged Omar Tienda, 13-1 (8), receiving a majority decision (76-74 twice, 75-75) after a fight in which he suffered two knockdowns.
Lopes, an import lightweight from Brazil, was impressive to start, flashing the speed and crisp combinations he honed as a decorated amateur. Though a right-hander, the straight left was his go-to punch and was always preceded by a right jab from a southpaw stance. Everton’s speed wasn’t the only thing sending Tienda into a tactical lull early but also his footwork. Lopes almost always bounced backward after his quick left hand landed flush. After the first, it was trending toward becoming an outclassing but Tienda had a case to make.
A Mexican making his American debut, Tienda was able to get some momentum in the second round after scoring a knockdown. It looked more of a push of Lopes after Tienda threw a clubbing left hand; nonetheless, referee Zac Young started his count. Lopes smiled after he saw Young call it a knockdown, making one believe it was nothing more than an ill-judged occurrence. The Brazilian proceeded to go back to his crisp one-two combination and finished the round well enough to convincingly win it, despite suffering the knockdown.
Going for broke, Tienda became more aggressive as the fight led on and it disrupted Lopes’ timing a bit, not to mention forced Everton to often clinch his opponent. There was no warning given by Young for the holding that toed the line of being blatant over the entire fight. Tienda’s intrusive nature eventually paid off, however, and, in the fifth round, he landed a clean right hand that dropped Lopes in a flash. Lopes was wary afterward and, for the remainder of the round, he was forced to hold even more as a survival tactic.
Lopes couldn’t hide the fact that he was flustered in the fifth and it seemed to bother him for the remainder of the fight. On numerous occasions, Young would have to call time to pick Everton up off the canvas because he tried to grab onto Tienda just before Omar moved out of the way. It made the fight an ugly one toward its end but there were some close rounds to finish the fight and those were indicated on the judges’ scorecards.
“Every fight is a learning experience. I need to go back and work at what I didn’t do as well this time. It was my first time being dropped but I stayed calm and used movement effectively enough to win the fight,” said Lopes afterward, seemingly realizing this wasn’t his best night in the ring. Lopes will take the victory, despite the lackluster performance in the tail end of the contest, but perhaps he can indeed use the experience positively going forward.
In the opening bout of the EstrellaTV broadcast, Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez received the TKO victory in the second round after Luis Ruiz Lizarraga Jr.’s corner stopped the fight.
Gonzalez’s left hook was on point in the preceding round-and-a-half before it dropped Lizarraga. The fateful shot came instantly after a right hook to the body and Lizarraga didn’t see it coming. The shot was thunderous and Lizarraga’s body crashing to the canvas was just as loud. He slowly rose to his feet to beat referee Sharon Sands’ ten count – and Sands was about to let him continue – but Luis Sr. made the fatherly decision of stepping into the ring and ending the fight at 2:09.
Lizarraga, 5-6-1 (2), didn’t waver at his father’s decision and slowly stepped back into his corner, still in a daze, dropping his fourth bout in a row. Gonzalez, 11-0 (10), got the crowd on its feet with the impressive stoppage and also had a pack of fans rooting for him in his hometown. Certainly a good way to make an impression on his promotion’s debut fight on its first televised card on EstrellaTV.
Jesus Delgado UD 6 Thomas Herrera, junior lightweights
Rafael Gramajo UD 6 Adrian Rodriguez, junior featherweights
Jonathan Navarro UD 4 Gibran Gutierrez, junior welterweights