By Jeff Zimmerman at ringside
Photos: Robert Hughes
In the main event Saturday night, outside on Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star in Frisco, TX which is also the new headquarters of Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys, super lightweight Fidel “The Atrisco Kid” Maldonado Jr. (24-3-1, 19 KOs) earned a ten-round split decision over former world champion Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano (30-6-1, 21 KOs).
The card was promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and televised by ESPN. It was also the first boxing card at the Cowboy’s new HQ as a card featuring Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland was scrapped earlier this year when Kirkland got hurt in training. That event was going to be inside at the adjacent Ford Center.
Maldonado out of Albuquerque, New Mexico looked in his element outside on the packed plaza. A southpaw, he was the aggressor through the first few rounds as he landed big left hands to the head and body of Cano. Cano appeared tentative, never able to let his hands go, but in the 4th round that all changed when he caught Maldonado with a left, right hand to the chin that put him on the canvas. Maldonado got quickly to his feet as the round ended soon after.
The knockdown energized Cano and in the 5th round he started to land with more consistency, although Maldonado countered at times with solid lefts to the body. Maldonado took charge again in the 6th and 7th round, again mostly going to the body to slow down Cano.
Over the next few rounds, there was heated exchanges with the fight up for grabs. In the end, however, Maldonado had the ring generalship to survive the early knockdown and come away with the victory. The scores read 97-92 twice for Maldonado and Cano was up 96-93 on the 3rd card. Maldonado earned the vacant WBC Fecarbox super lightweight title with the win.
In the co-main event, Golden Boy prospect super flyweight Joshua “The Professor” Franco (11-0, 6 KOs) trained by Robert Garcia used a fluid attack against Dallas’ Oscar Mojica 10-3, 1 KO) to win a hard fought unanimous decision. Franco dropped Mojica at the end of the first round with a left hook followed by a right hand, but Mojica shot back up as the bell sounded.
In rounds 2 and 3, both guys had their moments as Mojica landed an occasional big shot to the head. From round 4 to the final bell, Franco got busy and put Mojica against the ropes and landed multiple combinations to both the head and body. Mojica tried to counter, but Franco took control and looked to finish off the game Mojica to no avail. However, Franco proved why he’s one of Golden Boy’s top prospect winning a tough decision with scores of 79-72 and 78-73. Franco earned the WBC Youth Silver super flyweight title with the win.
There’s a reason why Golden Boy Promotions has high hopes for the Dallas product out of Grand Prairie, Texas, Vergil Ortiz (6-0, 6 KOs), who showed his full arsenal in a 1st round stoppage of Ricardo Fernandez (3-6-4). He landed a stiff jab to open the fight and quickly followed with straight rights. He then quickly unloaded some big body shots that sent Fernandez wobbling across the ring. Ortiz, trained by Joel Diaz, finally put an end to it when he landed a flurry of combos to the head of Fernandez at 2:09 of the scheduled six rounder. Only 19, Ortiz looks to have a bright future as he opened up the ESPN telecast.
Middleweight Alex Rincon (2-0, 2 KOs) mauled Zachary Briones (1-4) in the 1st round before Referee Robert Chapa got between the two fighters with Rincon teeing off. Briones showed he was tough as blood covered his face and wanted to keep on fighting but he was clearly in over his head. Briones did land some shots to the body early on but with little effect. Rincon, a southpaw and much taller, found his range and quickly ended it at 2:13 of round one for the TKO victory.
In a back and forth battle, super featherweight Hector Tanajara Jr (10-0, 4 KOs) and Eduardo Reyes (7-10, 5 KOs) went toe to toe over six rounds. Tanajara Jr came out strong in round one landing hard shots to Reyes and clearly one after the bell. Reyes showed he was more than formidable catching Tanajara Jr on the chin from time to time. Tanajara Jr showed great lateral movement to avoid anything sustainable from Reyes. He however showed constant pressure to the head and body of Reyes and earned the majority decision. The scores read 59-55 twice and 57-57. Tanajara remains undefeated with the win.
Super featherweight Javier Martinez (2-0, 2 KOs) out of Dallas scored a devastating 1st round knockout of the over-matched Daniel Gutierrez (2-6, 2 KOs). Martinez went on the attack from the opening bell and showed he had the superior skills. After a right just missed, Martinez landed a left hook to the chin that put Gutierrez on his back and out. The KO came at 2:09 of the 1st round.
Middleweight Travell Mazion (12-0, 11 KOs) and Even Torres (6-4, 5 KOs) went back and forth over six rounds. Mazion likes to keep his hands down and showboat at times but he had his moments but also paid for it from the counter-punching of Torres. An accidental head butt in the 3rd round sent Torres to the doctor by Referee Laurence Cole but was OK to continue.
Maizon though showed enough ring generalship though to win going away 60-54 twice and 59-55 to earn the unanimous decision at his first fight at middleweight.
On a beautiful, warm night at The Star in Frisco, Texas outside on the Tostito’s Plaza, Golden Boy Promotions landed the first fight at the new headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys. Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland were originally scheduled to square off at the adjacent indoor Ford Center, but an injury to Kirkland scrapped it earlier this year.
Jerry Jones has shown he still wants boxing as he was in the bidding for GGG v Canelo, but came up short. But in his inaugural fight outside, he scored with a great crowd and lightweight David Fabela (1-0, 1Ko) didn’t disappoint as he came out in the first fight from the opening bell landing hard left hooks to the head and body and straight rights to the head of Kashiff Solarin (0-3).
Fabela continued to dominate Solarin who displayed a solid chin but a left, right hand put him down and out in the 4th round of the scheduled 4. Fabela scored the TKO victory at 29 seconds in his pro debut.