By Rocco Morales and Miguel Maravilla at ringside
Photos: Rafael Soto / Zanfer
Nonito “The Flash” Donaire (30-1, 19 KOs) retained his WBO super banamweight championship by stopping former WBC champion, Toshiaki Nishioka (39-5-3, 24 KOs) by way of TKO at 1:54 of the ninth round on Saturday night before a crowd of 7,665 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Donaire swept the early rounds in lackluster action that brought out the boo birds who had just been treated to a fight of the year candidate in the prior bout. Donaire did bring the crowd to life by dropping Nishioka in the sixth round with a hard left uppercut for an eight count. To his credit, Nishioka did fight back strongly in the seventh and eighth rounds but then Donaire dropped him again in the ninth round and, although allowed to continue by the referee, Nishioka, after enduring just one more punch was not allowed to continue further and there were no complaints from either Nishioka nor his corner.
In dramatic fashion, former lightweight world champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-0-1, 22 KOs) won a fight of the year candidate by stoppage the very tough and previously unbeaten Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) at 1:57 of the seventh round. Rios got off to a very good early start but then Alvarado seemed to sweep the next few rounds and rocked Rios on a few occasions with uppercuts and hard right crosses. Rios seemed to be coming on the sixth round and carried it over to the seventh round by hurting Alvarado badly and battering him against the ropes. Referee, Pat Russell, seemed to give Alvarado a chance to throw back but after Rios landed a couple more hard shots, Russell saved Alvarado from further punishment. At the time of the stoppage, the scores were 57-57, 57-57 and 58-56 for Rios.
With the victory, Rios sets himself up for a potential showdown against the winner of the Pacquiao vs. Marquez on December 8th.
Featherweight Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (14-0, 7KO), now fighting out of Oxnard, CA, did his best to fight like a Mexican but lacked enough power and had to settle for a unanimous decision victory over veteran Jose Angel Beranza (35-25-2, 27KO). Beranza had his moments in the fight, showed no hesitation in trading punches with the undefeated Russian and was a solid test for Gradovich who appears to need more seasoning before stepping up to tougher competition. Judges scored the bout 79-73, 79-73 and 80-72 in favor of Gradovich, although it seemed slightly more competitive.
Jose Benavidez, Jr. (17-0, 13KO), put on a boxing clinic for seven rounds, shutting out veteran Pavel Miranda (19-8-1, 10KO), only for Miranda to badly hurt Benavidez in the eigth round and have him holding on for dear life for the final minute of the bout. Miranda was unable to get the distance needed to land the one punch that may have knocked out Benavidez and could only land a moral victory in knowing that he came ever so close to handing Benavidez the first defeat of his career. All three judges scored the bout 79-73 in favor of Benavidez, Jr. in this eight round super lightweight bout.
In an all out brawl, Jose Roman (14-0-1, 11KO) and Javier Garcia (8-2-2, 7KO), went toe to toe in a scheduled eight round lightweight bout only for the fight to end in a technical draw after Garcia suffered a bad cut from what was ruled an accidental headbutt in the third round. Under California rules, four rounds need to be completed to go to a decision, thus leading to the technical draw. Garcia got off to a great start by dropping Roman in round one but it was all Roman the rest of the way. Roman floored Garcia in round two and Garcia was lucky to surive the round and then was battered all throughout round three and appeared on the way to a knockout defeat prior to the stoppage from the cut.
In a scheduled four round light heavyweight bout, Trevor McCumby (7-0, 7KO) walked through portly Elisero Durazo (4-4, 1KO), knocking him down early in the round and finishing him off at just 1:40 of the opening round. McCumby keeps his record perfect and appears ready for stiffer opposition.
Ronald Ellis (4-0, 3KO) kept his undefeated record intact but had to go the distance for the first time in his young career, winning a unanimous decision victory, in a scheduled four round super middleweight bout, over Katrell Straus (2-3, 1KO). All three judges scored the bout 40-36.
Opening bout action, a scheduled four round super featherweight bout, pitted undefeated Saul Rodriguez (6-0-1, 5KO) against Cesar Garcia (6-12-1). Rodriguez had to settle for a technical draw when the bout was stopped in the second round after an accidental headbutt caused a bad cut to Garcia.