ESPN2 results: Alberto Machado beats Carlos Morales

 

Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado solved Carlos “The Solution” Morales after 10 rounds on Friday night, earning a unanimous decision victory to stay undefeated, and introduce his skills worldwide on ESPN2. The junior lightweight contest was the main event of a card co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Cotto Promotions, held at the Complejo Ferial in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

 

A southpaw out of San Juan, Machado, 18-0 (15), showed the explosive power he boasts, early in the fight, and set a precedent by dropping Morales for a knockdown in the second round. With his opponent on the ropes, two imposing left hands to the body and head crumbled Morales forward to the canvas, and set a tone for the fight going forward. Morales, a Mexican transplant from Highland Park, California, was hurt momentarily afterward but managed to clinch his way out of the round. From that point on, however, the 27-year-old was noticeably hesitant to engage in anything other than a clinch for a few rounds, and this ultimately affected the rhythm of the fight.

 

Morales, 16-2-3 (6), had a sneaky right hand that began to show itself in the fifth but, often times, his distance came off a body clash that would proceed a quick exchange. At this point in the fight, Machado had never seen the fifth round before but did his best to maintain a comfortable lead behind a pumping right jab. The explosiveness from the 26-year-old subsided in the later rounds, however, and it built up to a dramatic final three minutes he’ll never forget.

 

Morales rallied in the 10th and a left hand to the body sucked the wind out of Machado, in its first 60 seconds. The shot really changed the temperament of the Puerto Rican and compelled Morales to get out of his tentative shell. A couple of slips had Machado on the canvas, as well, and, in the moment, a left hand to the chin seemed to be the catalyst during one of them. With Machado looking tired and hurt, Morales had some bad luck with the tape loosening on his right glove and forced a brutal timeout that let Machado catch his breath. He wasn’t safe until that final bell sounded, however, and, while he did indeed get the nod, with scores of 99-90 twice and 98-91, this bout was was another reminder how one punch can change a fight.

 

Puerto Rican bantamweight prospect Emanuel Rivera seemed primed to get his hand raised in victory after fighting Nate Green for eight rounds but, in a shocking turn of events, he lost via unanimous decision.

 

Rivera, 17-2 (11), had plenty of early success in the fight by visibly hurting Green into a stumble toward the ropes in the opening round and scoring a knockdown in the final moment of the second. His punches were sharper and his attack more assertive, compared to his opponent and, after Green suffered a cut above the left eye in the fourth, a stoppage seemed inevitable.

 

Fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, Green, 9-0 (2), found himself in survivor mode in the first half of the fight and, by relying on his tired legs the rest of the way, the fight morphed into a swashbuckling mess with headbutts, clinches and complaints by Rivera to the referee. There was even a few moments in which both men fell to the canvas, when in the clinch, and the breaks in action not only allowed Green to catch his breath but kept Rivera from getting into that early rhythm, which also stopped the beating Nate was receiving. Once the fight mercifully came to an end after a few more tackles toward the final bell, the result seemed inevitable but three scores of 77-74 for Green ruined everything Rivera worked for.

 

In the opening bout of the ESPN2 telecast, Edwin Rodriguez earned a majority decision win over Juan Carlos Camacho Jr. after six rounds of intense super flyweight action.

 

It seemed as though the two Puerto Ricans were made for each other, as they quickly got into heated exchanges in the opening round. With seemingly every hook they threw, bad intentions were behind them and, seeing how Rodriguez and Camacho are sparring partners, the fluid fight they created throughout the six rounds was not just built on familiarity but driven by their competitiveness.

 

Rodriguez, 9-4 (5), separated himself from the fast-handed Camacho by possessing the edge in power and mixing his attack with shots to the body. The 24-year-old wobbled Camacho with a right hand early on and, by the third round, the prospect was being stalked around the ring. Fighting out of Juana Diaz, Camacho, 6-1 (4), got a second wind in the fourth round after gasping for air leading into it, and, in the fifth, was able to trap Rodriguez against the ropes to turn the tide. There were a few close rounds but ultimately Camacho’s late surge didn’t exactly erase what Rodriguez had done earlier and, after a final round, in which each man emptied the tank in another close one, the prospect’s first defeat was rightly finalized with two scores of 58-56 overruling a 57-57 draw tally.

 

Camacho, 20, came up short in his U.S. television debut but, partaking in such a fun fight is half the battle on the airwaves. Signed to Cotto Promotions, Camacho showed fast hands, good combinations and a fighter’s drive to retaliate. He and Rodriguez raised each other’s hands at the end of the fight and, if everything goes right for everyone, they’ll do it again someday.

 

 

You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2.

 

 

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