Matthysse & Linares Victorious
In Los Angeles
By Albert Castillo
Photos: William Trillo
In front of a crowd of 6,124 at the “Fabulous” Forum,
knockout artist, Lucas Mathysse (39-4, 36 KO’s) captured
the vacant WBA World Welterweight Title with a devastating
knockout of previously unbeaten Thailand fighter, Tewa Kiram
(38-1 28 KO’s.)
Mathysse, a notoriously slow starter, began to push the
fight in the middle rounds, forcing Kiram to continuously
jab and move away. Kiram’s unwillingness to mix it up caused
merciless booing from the boisterous crowd.
In the 8th round the crowd was silenced when Mathysse
connected with a crushing overhand right hand that dropped
the Thai fighter on his back. Kiram was able to get up at
the count of eight but a quick left hand dropped him again
for good. Fight over at 1:21 of the 8th round. Notably,
champ Mathysse has not been defeated in 5 years.
Mathysse on his win, “I’m really happy. He moved really
well, and he was really big. That’s why it was hard to cut
the distance. I didn’t feel his power, so that’s why I was
able to find him later and stop him.” “I’m here for the best
and biggest names. I want the rematch with Danny Garcia or
Manny Pacquiao. Those are the big fights I want, though of
course that will be up to Mario Arano and Golden Boy
Venezuelan Jorge Linares (44-3-27 KO’s) retained his WBA
World Lightweight Title with a unanimous decision over San
Diego’s Mercito Gesta (31-2-2 17 KO’s). The slugfest
witnessed two well conditioned athletes go toe to toe for 12
Remarkably Gesta shook his head and smiled each time he was
hit with a solid shot from Linares. And Linares landed some
bombs that would have put any other fighter down. Linares
landed at least ten solid knockout punches that had the
crowd oohing and awing.
Gesta was never rocked and to his credit fought back
gallantly. Linares was all business, stoic, focused, and
determined. Every time that Gesta attempted to make it a
brawl, the slick Linares would slip away and then return to
the pocket with lightning quick combinations. Linares’ speed
is a force to be reckoned with and Gesta had no answer.
This is not to say that Gesta didn't have his moments
because he did open a cut over Linares’ eye in the 8th
round. It was not nearly enough as judges had it 118-110,
117-111, 118-110 all in favor of Linares.
Linares stated after the fight, “I didn't really feel his
power, though I hurt my hand in the fourth or fifth round. I
threw my right hand without really putting too much power
into it. I wasn’t touching him. There wasn’t a knockout
because he was well prepared.” “Like I said to Oscar De La
Hoya, I don’t want to mention names for my next opponent.
You know what’s nice? That people mention my name. That’s
fine that they mention my name, but let’s get them in the
ring. Let them get in the ring with me.”
Gesta commented, “I fought against a world champion, and
that was a great privilege. He adjusted well to my style
after the first couple of rounds. Overall, I am proud of
myself for taking this tough fight, and I know me and coach
Freddie Roach came in with the best game plan, we just fell
a little short.
Argentinian Marcelino Lopez (34-2-1-19 KO’s) stopped
Columbian Breidis Prescott (30-12, 22 KO’s) at 2:59 of the
fifth round of this entertaining slugfest. In workmanlike
fashion Lopez dismantled Prescott round after round by
bobbing, weaving, and making his way inside to the
The tall and lanky Prescott definitely had the reach
advantage but could not snap his jab hard enough to keep
Lopez at bay. Lopez made his way inside and set up a sharp
left uppercut with a crisp right hand that dropped Prescott
for an 8 count.
Once on his feet, Lopez attacked with cannon like shots to
Prescott’s head and body. Finally, a cannonball right hand
to Prescott’s kisser dropped the Columbian with a thud.
Prescott could not get to his feet in time to beat Referee
Thomas Taylor’s ten count.
“Boxing is a beautiful sport, that is so exhilarating – but
to get a knockout is the best part and what we train for,”
said Marcelino Lopez. “It takes sacrifice to leave your home
country, and be able to focus and get a win like this is so
satisfying. I want to thank Joel Diaz, who has taken me in
like his family and has helped me improve and refine my
Las Vegas, Nevada, fighter Francisco Esparza (7-0-1 3KO’s)
remained undefeated as he dispatched of previously unbeaten
Tenochtitlan Nava, (7-1, 1 KO) by stopping him at 1:43 of
the 6th round. Esparza demonstrated journeyman skills
connecting all night with counter right hands that left
Nava’s nose bleeding profusely and his left eye cut badly.
The popular Nava, cheered on by his hometown following,
displayed tremendous courage with an impressive flurry in
the fifth round, which was his best work of the night.
However, Esparza responded with counter right hands and
stole the round.
By the sixth and final round Esparza had Nava against the
ropes slamming him with rights and lefts to the jaw and
chin. Referee Thomas Taylor stepped in to call a halt to the
abuse and raised Esparza’s hand as the victor.
“We were expecting a knock out by the eight round, so we
were glad that it happened earlier,” said Francisco Esparza.
“I’m trained by former world champion Fernando Vargas, and
is an important mentor and helped me execute a game plan
where we broke down Nava. Hopefully, I’ll be fighting in my
hometown of Las Vegas in May.”
Philippine fighter Romero Duno (16-1, 14 KO’s) returned to
form by knocking out Mexico’s Yardley Armenta, (22-10, 12
KO’s) at 1:01 of the first round. After an unimpressive
victory in December at the “Fabulous” Forum, Duno
mercilessly attacked Armenta from the opening bell.
Duno’s ferocity was reminiscent of his bout with Chimpa
Gonzalez. Later Duno commented, “I wasn’t expecting to knock
him out in the first round. I can’t even remember if I
actually hurt him. My coach told me to go in there and use
my jab and to keep calm, but I just got really excited and
the next thing I knew I won.”
One of the most entertaining fights of the night saw the
talented Ferdinand, Lucky Boy, Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KO’s) live
up to his nickname by holding on to win his 8th fight over
tough (Lucius Johnson, 4-2-1, KO’s).
Kerobyan dominated the first five rounds with powerful left
hooks to the body that punished Johnson. Every one of
Kerobyan’s punches landed with snap, crackle, and pop. In
the 4th round Kerobyan, a nasty, dangerous puncher, landed a
sizzling right hand that projected Johnson’s mouthpiece into
the third row.
It was incredible that Johnson was able to remain on his
feet. Then, suddenly, in the sixth and final round, Johnson
landed a crisp right hand to the jaw of Kerobyan that sent
Kerobyan reeling. A few punches later and Kerobyan fell
backward onto the canvas. Johnson did not have enough left
in the gas tank to finish the job and Lucky Boy Kerobyan
held on to garner a unanimous decision. Judges scored it
59-54, 59-54, 59-54.
“The energy was incredible tonight! I was glad to have the
support of the fans and my Armenian community,” said
Ferdinand Kerobyan. “I’m just ready to start stepping up the
level of competition I am facing and I want to be able to
start fighting for some regional titles soon.”
In this middleweight match-up Daquan Pauldo, (17-1, 9KO’s)
captured a unanimous decision over Osbaldo Gonzalez, (6-2,
4KO’s). A phone booth would have been a more appropriate
venue for these two warriors.
Hunkered down inside for the entire fight both fighters
exchanged blows on a variety of right- left combinations.
The fight was close as the scores indicate, however, Pauldo,
the Floridian, proffered a more consistent and extensive jab
that bloodied Gonzalez nose and gave Pauldo the edge. Judges
had it, 58-56, 58-56, 59-55.
After the fight Pauldo offered, “I thought the judges were
going to stop the fight after the third round because his
nose was torn up. I would give myself a 5.5 for my
performance – it’s been two and a half years since I’ve been
able to be consistent in the ring, and I think both me and
my promoter would agree that what I need is to be more
consistent with my training. I needed to move a lot more
inside the ring, and be more active inside.”
In the opening bout of the evening Javier Martinez (5-0,
3KO’s), Dallas Texas, hammered out a unanimous decision over
Danny Flores, 15-12-1, 8KO’s), Mexico City, Mexico. Judges
scored it – 58-55, 58-55, 59-55 all in favor of Martinez.
“I am not proud of my performance, it was really hard to
adjust and get into the rhythm of things,” said Javier
Martinez. “This sport is all about taking steps forward, and
I just have to take from all my mistakes and improve from