ESPN2 results: Juan Carlos Abreu retires Jesus Soto Karass
Juan Carlos Abreu stopped Jesus Soto Karass in the eighth round Thursday night, bringing an end to the Mexican gatekeeper’s career for good. The welterweight contest was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card held at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, and televised live on ESPN2.
You could see the limits Soto Karass had to reach at the weigh-in, on Wednesday, and the language of that 35-year-old body, as he entered this scheduled 10-rounder, didn’t look all that comfortable from the jump. In fact, it took Soto Karass a handful of rounds to even break a healthy sweat, as Abreu took advantage of a sluggish opponent stuck in the mud. The Dominican was able to easily pick the Mexican apart in the early rounds and looked faster than usual, thanks to the plodding man in front of him.
Entering his 46th professional fight of a career cultivated by his craving for action, Soto Karass, 28-13-4 (18), seemed to finally find his way, around the fourth round, once letting off some return fire. Left hooks to the body slowed Abreu down, at times, but Soto Karass’ power right hand found its target enough. By trying to knock out Abreu with that hand, Soto Karass missed often with it and, just when you thought there was a semblance of the Soto Karass of old, he tired himself out by the end of the sixth. Never known for his defensive capabilities, Soto Karass was starting to take a lot of punishment.
Abreu, 20-3-1 (19), turned things up as Soto Karass limped into the eighth round, and that’s when Soto Karass started to physically show the effects of that damage. Within the first minute of the round, Soto Karass was walloped with a a few consecutive hooks with each hand and slowly crumbled to the canvas for a knockdown. Once on his feet, Soto Karass left a huge breath and raised his arms as referee Rocky Burke ensued his count. The fight could’ve even been stopped there but Soto Karass wasn’t going to tell Burke that, on his own accord. He willingly stepped forward and seemingly let Abreu finish the job, eating one final right hand to drop Soto Karass again in the same spot he was, a few seconds earlier. Burke immediately waved it off, once and for all, at the 1:07 mark.
“Adios,” Soto Karass told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna afterward, confirming that this was indeed it for the Sinaloan out of Los Mochis.
In the co-feature, Ryan “Kingry” Garcia was set to face his toughest opponent to date in Cesar Valenzuela but the 19-year-old prospect made it look easy, scoring two knockdowns and forcing a third round stoppage for the win. The junior lightweight contest was scheduled for eight.
Fighting out of Victorville, California, and the orthodox stance, Garcia, 12-0 (11), displayed a versatile left hand that ultimately put Valenzuela in his place. He measured the jab to open the first and quickly showed his advantage in speed but, in its waning seconds, Garcia timed a beautiful left, while going backward, that suddenly dropped Valenzuela. Once gathering himself on a knee, the 27-year-old out of nearby Phoenix seemed shocked how quickly it happened and it changed his tone going forward in the fight.
Valenzuela, 14-6-1 (5), who is seasoned in the Southwest boxing circuit, tried to use his legs and maneuver his torso enough to beleaguer the patience of a young fighter but Garcia wasn’t falling for it. Throughout the second round, Garcia maintained full control, even when Valenzuela tried to make it a physical affair. A few times, Valenzuela found himself bullied, in the clinch, and, once Garcia established his range to the fight on the outside again, the flashiness continued.
A murderous left hook to the temple did Valenzuela in, in the final seconds of the third round. A right hand proceeded it and the left came in, just as Valenzuela tried to get out of the way. The shot sent Valenzuela’s back against the ropes and dropped him onto his knees immediately for the knockdown. Valenzuela got up, looking barely good enough to finish the round but, once action resumed, Garcia let his hands go until referee Tony Zaino waved the fight off, with one second remaining in the round. Valenzuela was on his feet at the time but perhaps it would have been ruled an eventual stoppage.
In the opening bout of the ESPN2 telecast, Hector Tanajara, 11-0 (4), earned a unanimous decision (80-72 twice, 79-73) over Jesus Serrano, 17-5-2 (12), after eight rounds of junior lightweight action.