Chocolatito The Great Rules The Weekend.
A Chocolatito Masterclass
Despite his opponent coming in overweight, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, looked the part of an all-time great, doing what all-time greats do, beat good fighter, as he shut down Julio Cesar Martinez, early and often en route to a 12-round decision.
Gonzalez is fluid, relaxed, and poised as his experience in the ring makes it look natural and easy. Watching him makes boxing look easy, and towards the tail-end of his career, with a large grouping of L.A.-based media traveling to see him in San Diego, California, at $5 dollar gas prices as well, Gonzalez put forth the type of performance that you tell your children about. The great lower-weight fighter – looked as good as every, punched more, and did it, in what might be his last Southern California fight, as Gonzalez was one of the last fighters that L.A. fight fans got behind that was not from L.A. during his HBO run with Golovkin.
Who knows how much more we will get of him, but it is rare we get a talented fighter, who doesn’t have flat-out embarrassing qualities, like Chocolatito – he is still here, but already miss him.
Gonzalez is a mixture of all the great lower-weight fighters in different ways from Vic Darchinyan, “Finito” Lopez and even Michael Carbajal.
A big-time featherweight fight saw Mauricio Lara get a third-round KO Emilio Sanchez in a fight that was violent. Lara dropped Sanchez in the first round, but Sanchez looked en route to a win as he hurt Lara to the body, but got caught late. The ending of the bout was weird. Lara, who was hurt to the body tackled Sanchez, then asked to be helped up by reference Ray Corona, only to throw wild punches, land them on Sanchez, but the last ten-seconds rang out, as Ray Corona told Sanchez “…you have to show me something,” it felt like a lot was occurring quickly, and it lead to a brutal at the final bell, knockout.
Lara is a fun fighter, imagine if he fought Emanuel Navarrete
In what we thought would be a fan-friendly lightweight bout turned into a popcorn bout, as the bout went ten-rounds, and didn’t really provide action nor a clear winner, we saw Angel Fierro and Juan Carlos Burgos fight to a majority draw. I didn’t score the fight, but observing it, the more meaningful moments came from Burgos. We got no winner – and it felt that way.
Souleymane Cissokho got a hard-fought ten-round unanimous decision against Roberto Valenzuela Jr., in the DAZN opener. The bout saw a potential round of the year as the fourth round saw Valenzuela drop Cissokho who loves to pull straight back – got clipped then a minute later hit Valenzuela with a town business right hand that Valenzuela graciously walked into. Cissokho, an Olympic silver medalist in 2016, part of the great French boxing class, along with Tony Yoka, his fellow stablemate at Vergil Hunter’s Gym in Hayward, California, saw his superior experience and amateur pedigree give him the edge in order to control the fight. Valenzuela just didn’t know how to cut off the ring, outside of catching Cissokho in the fourth round pulling straight back.
Ramirez Wins Return
Jose Ramirez defeated Jose Pedraza in the house that he darn near built (along with Fresno State alum Paul George), as he picked up a 12-round decision win in his first fight back after losing the WBC and WBO 140 lbs title to Josh Taylor last year.
The fight was tense, both had a lot on the line, but the story of the fight was the inactivity from Jose Pedraza, who was looking to land a big shot, but instead was just looking. In a close fight, Ramirez did the small things to pull ahead, and win.
With the win, Ramirez is now in a WBC title eliminator for the 140 lbs. belt. Ramirez will more than likely face Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBC 140 lbs title in the summer.
The bigger question is; how many more times will the Central Valley see Jose Ramirez in the ring? I think we’re down to the last couple times now.
With a new promoter Joet Gonzalez in Top Rank Inc, Gonzalez got a mercy stoppage over Jeo Santisima as referee Edward Collantes had seen enough in the ninth round to stop the bout, and pick up the WBO International featherweight belt. The two beat each other up, and Santisima took a lot of head shots, enough for one of the best referees in California to say he had seen enough. The fight was close, but I respect the decision to show concern for Santisima.
For Gonzalez, it was a much-needed victory, as he was less than six months removed from a decision loss to WBO featherweight world champion Emanuel Navarrete.
Super featherweight Gabe Flores Jr. defeated Abraham Montoya, but it wasn’t a vintage performance. Flores just didn’t look the same as the Jayson Velez fight as the speed and timing, was traded in for looking for big shots in this bout that frustrated a long-time observer, and sadly, once again Flores appeared fatigued in the middle of the fight. As with boxing, the geniuses on the internet love to slander Flores, but after the fight he stated he is moving to 135 lbs. The big thing moving forward is can the weight change this lull in his career.
A great fight in which both fanbases traveled to the fight saw Hector Tanajara Jr., of Robert Garcia Boxing Academy, as well as Miguel “The Caveman” Contreras of Bakersfield, California. In a great contrast of styles, as a boxer in Tanajara versus Contreras a pressure fighter, we saw two fighters, neither who could impose their will, neither willing to let other one get a lead. In the end, we saw both fighters give it their all, and fight to a majority draw. The best fight of the evening, and it showed the heart both fighters truly have.
Karlos Balderas fighting at a catchweight of 134 lbs fought Top Rank veteran Aelio Mesquita showed his ability to study tape as he landed a punch within seconds of the fight that was perfectly timed for what Mesquita does, and dropped the game fighter. Mere seconds into the second round the bout was waived off, as Balderas stopped him. After KO Balderas went to check on his opponent, showing how good of a person he is.
Middleweight Javier Martinez got a six-round decision over Donte Stubbs, but not without caution as Martinez was dropped in the mid-rounds, but one seemingly every round outside of that round. The big cautionary thing was, Martinez didn’t separate as much as one might have hoped given his pedigree.
Lightweight Charlie Sheehy needed just one round to stop undefeated Johnny Bernal as Sheehy, looked every bit the part of a first-round draft pick in his Top Rank debut. A tad bit emotional start with friends and family in the crowd, Sheehy closed the showed, and looks like a fighter to watch.
Six-foot, nine-inch, Antonio Mireles, who explained in pre-fight interview that he had always wanted to train with Robert Garcia, and now does, got a second-round KO against Brandon Hughes. Mireles is a big puncher, who is a big-time athlete as well, it will be all about refinement as he builds up his record for the potential Richard Torrez bout years down the road.
Super welterweight Dennis Hogan defeated Wade Ryan by way of a 12-round decision, also on this card Liam Wilson stopped Joe Noynay in two rounds. The bout was rematch as Noynay stopped Wilson in their fight.
MMA In 500 Words Or Less
An odd main event saw two former friends, who also were very big Donald Trump supporters in Colby Covington face former teammate Jorge Masvidal in a main event that somewhat proves how meaningless belts are in the UFC. Masvidal has stood out as a tough guy from the Miami area, whereas Covington is like an 80’s pro wrestler, playing an over the top version of a MAGA supporter.
That being said the fight saw Covington win by taking down Masvidal, and keeping him down, for large spurts outside of the second round, and even then it was hard to not give that round to Covington. Covington felt like the fighter who had more left, and though it was sold as “bad blood”, both guys seemingly had a lot of pride on the line, leading to a lot of stalemates creating odd viewing, as Covington imposed more of his will, and picked up the decision win..
Rafael dos Anjos got a one-sided decision over Renato Moicano who took the fight on Tuesday or so, as his original opponent was pulled from the card. dos Anjos, now 37-years-old, has a chance at a big fight.
Bryce Mitchell picked up a decision win over Edson Barboza. Mitchell is a solid fighter, but more known for his pro-MAGA beliefs, which I think doesn’t help him a ton having a deeply southern accent. On a very on-brand UFC move the stick to sports rhetoric has yet to apply to Mitchell’s views so far. That being said, after the bout he pledged a healthy sum of money to the Children’s Hospital in Arkansas. Basically, what sums up Mitchell for me is – people are confusing, I like and dislike things he does, but I do think he will be one of the guys of the future in the division.
Kevin Holland, who has been on a recent run of beating up internet trolls took his talent to the UFC PPV card and stopped Alex Oliveira in two rounds. Holland is a personality, and it seems MMA is best when it is cartoon character like people in prime spots. Holland is one of those.
Sergey Spivak knocked out the disgraced former NFL player Greg Hardy, who left the league based around severe allegation around domestic violence. It happened in the first round, it is Hardy’s third KO loss – seriously, why is he the opening bout of a PPV?
It seems Nicolae Negumereanu split decision over Kennedy Nzechukwu was very unpopular as most well respected media outlets, seemed to score it for Nzechukwu.
An emotional Maryna Moroz, who is Ukrainian defeated Mariya Agapova by way of a second-round submission. Big win for her, in a big moment in time.
Former UFC flyweight title contender Tim Elliott got a three-round decision over Tagir Ulanbekov