L.A. Fight Club results: Charles Huerta decisions Miguel Angel Gonzalez
Charles Huerta earned a technical decision victory over Miguel Angel Gonzalez Thursday night to keep his dreams of contention alive. The junior lightweight contest was the main event of an “L.A. Fight Club” card televised on Estrella TV and streamed live on RingTV.com.
Scores of 77-76 and 78-75 in his favor gave Huerta his second victory of 2017 but the fight didn’t exactly go the distance. In the eighth and final round, the fight was stopped and sent to the cards after the ringside doctor advised referee Edward Hernandez Jr. that the cut Huerta suffered on his scalp was too serious. Evidently, the fight was still hanging in the balance at the time of the stoppage, which came within the first minute of the eighth.
Huerta, 20-5 (12), got off to a hot start in the first two rounds by dictating his own pace and forcing Gonzalez to constantly duck and dodge his busy hands. Gonzalez, 21-3 (18), entered the third round like a bat out of hell and, by focusing on Huerta’s body, he relaxed his opponent’s offense and got himself into a competitive scrap. The fight got into a good ebb and flow as they started to trade shots, toe-to-toe, in the proceeding rounds and, often times, once the bell signaling the close of each round rang, accidentally scoring the round for the wrong fighter wouldn’t have necessarily been a terrible mistake.
“I thought we got the unanimous decision,” said Huerta. “I felt like I was blocking a lot more of his shots and was able to counter him. I will say that I felt that I let myself get smothered and maybe that’s why it looked a lot more even inside the ring. (Gonzalez) made it a tough fight. Once I go back to the gym, I will be working on my conditioning, so that I can have better performances than this fight.”
The last time Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez fought at the Belasco Theater, in Los Angeles, the 21-year-old was stretchered out of the ring, following his first defeat by a brutal knockout, and, after a third round knockout of Daniel Perales in his return, the smiling lightweight prospect out of Buena Park, California, was able to celebrate again, leaving his fans with a sense of hope rather than fear.
Gonzalez, 17-1 (15), didn’t have an aggressive opponent in front of him and the disparity of the punching power between the two might as well have served as a barometer for their will to win on this night. However his confidence seemed to grow as the fight moved on. Gonzalez didn’t show much of jab but he didn’t need it as the fight took place on the inside. Fighting out of Monterrey, Mexico, Perales, 10-11-1 (5), had a bloody nose by the end of the first round and, in the second, consecutive right hands had him hurt against the ropes, seemingly out of it for a split-second. By this point, the punches he landed, when trading with Gonzalez on the inside, were long gone and Chimpa went on to force him to a knee early in the third. Two left hands, one to the temple and one to Perales’ body, were what forced the Mexican to a knee. After referee Wayne Hedgpeth reached 10, the crowd rejoiced – perhaps louder than usual with a five-month memory still lurking in the background. Gonzalez kneeled to pray at a turnbuckle immediately after his knockout win and flashed his big smile once again, after giving TV interviews before leaving the ring under his own means, something some fighters may take for granted but not Gonzalez.
“When the referee calls the fight, man, that’s the greatest feeling in the world after putting in eight weeks of hard work in training,” said Gonzalez. “Since my last fight, I learned to be a lot more relaxed and to really take my time and have patience inside the ring. Perales had a good left hook and had a lot of power but we practiced my jab in the ring and we wanted to go round by round – I’m glad that we got the knockout in the third round!”
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, Francisco Esparza and Fernando Fuentes fought to a majority draw after six competitive rounds of featherweight action.
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and under the guidance of trainer Fernando Vargas, Esparza had a thirst for some fan-friendly action but the prospect didn’t mind his defense enough to separate himself from his counterpart. Fuentes, Hemet, California, could not only take a punch but his winging left hands managed to find their mark often. Serving as a reminder to that, Esparza, 6-0-1 (2), suffered a cut above his left eye in the opening round and it gently leaked throughout the bout. The rough start seemed to spur on Esparza, as his volume of punches grew. They gave his shots more chances to land on Fuentes but very few and far between did any of them land precisely. Fuentes, 13-7-1 (4), constantly lunged in with a wide left hook that abused Esparza’s body and those shots were what ultimately kept him in the contest. The fourth round was perhaps the fight’s best span of three minutes and, in it, both men dug deep in order to outdo the other, and both fighters’ guts were proven. In the end, one judge scored the fight 58-56 in favor of Esparza but the other two scores of 57-57 overrided that result. Once the decision was read, the crowd valiantly applauded both men, as they had their arms raised. The decision was fair and you could leave it to the crowd to say there were no losers in the fight of the evening.
“It is what it is. Obviously the judges have a different viewpoint from me inside the ring,” said Esparza afterward. “We kept clashing heads and I got a cut over my eye that I got lucky didn’t get out of control. (Fuentes) was a bit taller and had a bit more of a reach. Every fight is a chance to improve.”
“He was pretty tough but he kept headbutting me,” said Fuentes. “I’m hearing that they want a rematch and, if we were to fight again, I’d like to go eight rounds instead of six. It took us both some time to warm up and, in the beginning, he was a bit slow and I wish I would have thrown more punches at the start.”