ESPN2 results: Diego De La Hoya outboxes Erik Ruiz

Undefeated junior featherweight prospect Diego De La Hoya (left) vs. Erik Ruiz. Photo credit: Tom Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions


Staying undefeated, Diego De La Hoya out-boxed Erik Ruiz for 10 rounds to earn a wide unanimous decision (100-90 twice, 99-91) victory Thursday night. The junior featherweight contest was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card televised on ESPN2 and hosted at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.


De La Hoya, a 22-year-old cousin of Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya – got off to a hot start with his willingness to step into the pocket, and quickly revealed his advantage in hand speed by way of his combinations. Sometimes they came four to five punches at a time as Ruiz hid behind his guard. More often than that, De La Hoya would stamp each flurry with a right uppercut. That shot snapped Ruiz’s head back throughout the fight, with De La Hoya so aggressive, he landed counters of his own.


Fighting out of Oxnard, California, Ruiz, 16-7-1 (6), timed his counter left hand well in the fourth round and, in his best span of three minutes, seemed to have found another gear that would make this fight a competitive one. De La Hoya didn’t let that happen as he continued to overshadow Ruiz’s sporadic success with sheer volume. Once he began to use his feet in the middle rounds, Ruiz couldn’t cut the ring off and coax Diego into a dog fight.


De La Hoya, originally from Mexicali, Mexico but trains in Indio, California, under the direction of Joel Diaz, made it look easy at times in the later rounds. He’d even abandon his fluid combination punching and let Ruiz land a shot with his hands down late in the fight but never found himself in a dire situation. Ruiz simply didn’t have that other gear and while, the two found themselves in a heated exchange in the final 20 seconds of the fight, De La Hoya, 18-0 (9), gave another example of his growing development.


In the opening bout of the ESPN doubleheader, D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard edged Adrian “Tyson” Luna with a unanimous decision victory after 10 competitive rounds of super middleweight action.


Scores of 97-92 and 95-94 twice were given to Ballard after partaking in not only is first 10-rounder but, no doubt, the toughest fight of his young career.


Fighting out of Temple Hills, Maryland, Ballard, 17-0 (12), got off to a patient start but his counter left hook in the second round abruptly dropped Luna to the canvas. Luna, Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, was hurt bad, with about a minute remaining in the round, but managed to survive as Ballard couldn’t quite get around the guard. Ballard timed more left hands in the fourth but, midway through the fight, Luna got himself back into it.


Beginning in the sixth, Luna, 20-5-1 (13), courageously wailed hooks with both hands and eventually lured Ballard into some heated exchanges. That style of fight suited the 27-year-old Mexican better and had erased a jab Ballard had established in the fifth. Subtle straight right hands to the body from Luna also helped exasperate Ballard late in the fight. With momentum lost and his mouth wide open, a flurry of hooks in the final minute of the ninth round had Ballard hurt badly and, going into the 10th, the fight was seemingly up in the air.


The final round was close, as well, but a couple of left hooks from Ballard in the final 30 seconds seemed to stun Luna before the final bell, perhaps sealing a close, hard-earned win.



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