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  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 Promotions.”

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 rounds.

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 Columbian’s pocket.

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 style.”

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 this point.”


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