Maldonado captures IBA belt with split win over Gonzalez
Crown Boxing takes over Orleans scene with high-action card
Ringside by Victor Perea and Albert Jimenez Howell
Photos by Chris Cozzone
Weathering a fifth-round knockdown and the cleaner, sharper punches of now-former champ, Jose Gonzalez, of East LA, Daniel Maldonado of Henderson, Kentucky, captured the IBA featherweight last night by split decision at the Orleans Hotel & Casino on a Crown Boxing card.
Although he was floored in the fifth, Maldonado was the busier fighter throughout the fight, throwing and landing more total punches and ultimately eking out the victory.
In round one, Gonzalez labored to establish his jab, which was very effective at the beginning of the bout. In the second stanza, Maldonado began to open up, connecting with a straight right followed by an overhand right.
As the fight wore on, Gonzalez’ jab lost its effectiveness and it became more difficult for him to keep Maldonado at bay. At the end of the second round, Maldonado forced Gonzalez to the ropes where he unleashed a barrage of power shots.
By the third round, the fighters had settled in and were now trading power shots, toe-to-toe. Gonzalez was cut on the nose in this round but the cut did not slow the action one bit.
The fourth round was marked by the patented Gonzalez hook to the body. Gonzalez punished Maldonado with devastating hooks downstairs throughout the round. After taking a body beating in round four, Maldonado began to fight more cautiously. Despite Maldonado’s more cautionary stance, Gonzalez found his mark in the fifth and almost finished the show.
Looking to capitalize on the fine body work accomplished in round four, Gonzalez came out in the fifth hoping to land the knockout punch. It was a left uppercut by Gonzalez that landed flush on the chin of Maldonado wobbling his foe. Then Gonzalez crushed his adversary with a right uppercut that floored his opponent. Maldonado rose from the canvas and finished the round, but not before Gonzalez unleashed a barrage of unanswered power shots.
After a landslide fifth round, it looked like it was just a matter of time before Gonzalez finished the show. But despite having his opponent severely hurt, Gonzalez could not close it out.
In round six, Maldonado threw caution to the wind and reassumed the role of the aggressor—a role he had abandoned the previous two rounds. After being knocked down in the fifth, Maldonado displayed his warrior’s heart and labored through the pain to steal the sixth.
The seventh through ninth rounds were very close, with each man getting in his fair share of licks.
In the tenth round, Gonzalez went back to his stiff left jab which proved very effective. Gonzalez used the jab to catch Maldonado coming in. Gonzalez also displayed more footwork and movement in the tenth round than in previous ones.
In the eleventh round of this see-saw battle, it was a Gonzalez left uppercut that landed flush on the chin of his foe. Gonzalez followed up with five solid hooks, stunning his combatant with the barrage of power shots. A straight right snapped back the head of Maldonado. Gonzalez then nailed Maldonado with four crushing right hooks to the body while working with his back to the ropes. Maldonado stayed busy during the round, but it was Gonzalez who landed the heavier, cleaner shots.
In the twelfth round, both men rose from their stools willing to engage each other and hoping to land that knockout punch. It was an action-packed final round. Maldonado displayed courage under fire and a warrior’s will and determination as he rose from the canvas to not only finish the twelve round fight but also do enough to convince the judges to crown him the new IBA featherweight champion.
Two of the judges scored the bout 116-111 and 114-113 for Maldonado, now 20-2 (13 KOs). The third judge had it 116-111 for defending champion Gonzalez, who falls to 14-3 (6 KOs). (Howell)
McCarter outboxes Laracuente in three-minute round battle for belt
In the co-main, a ten-round women?s GBU lightweight title fight between Puerto Rico?s Belinda Laracuente and Vegas? Layla McCarter, history was thought to be made with three-minute rounds.
While it was certainly the first women’s fight in this century with three-minute rounds, a 15-round IWBA title fight in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1983, (according to photographer Chris Cozzone who is working on a book on New Mexico’s boxing history), between Darlina Valdez and Holly McDaniel also had three-minute marks.
For the opening moments of the contest McCarter got the better of Laracuente, using constant shots to the body and combinations that left Laracuente unable to protect herself outside of resorting to a few head butts. Moving well enough to make her opponent miss often, McCarter rode the crowd’s support through the first four rounds, landing several big left hands that made it look as though the night would end early for Laracuente.
Unwilling to give up, Laracuente battled back to win the fifth round while both fighters began to lose pep in their shots, possibly unaccustomed to the change in rounds from the usual two- to three-minute pace.
A big clash of heads midway through the sixth opened up a deep gash under McCarter?s right eye. After the ringside physician approved the cut, the contest resumed with what appeared to be a sense of urgency for McCarter. Although well ahead on the scorecards, McCarter exploded with an upsurfe of well-placed combinations that once again brought the crowd to a roar in the seventh.
Growing increasingly frustrated, Laracuente became more obvious with her head butts, elbows and hitting on the break, prompting a warning from referee Joe Cortez. Seemingly out of gas, Laracuente backpedaled her way through the rest of the contest as McCarter continued to bring the pressure en route to a unanimous decision victory.
With the second-tier GBU lightweight belt, McCarter improves to 21-12-4 (3 KOs), while rugged Laracuente dropped to 22-14-4 (9 KOs). (Perea)
Marin improves to 2-0
Las Vegas’ Oscar Marin (2-0) wasted no time against Alejandro Cortez (0-3) of L.A., earning his second professional win.
Coming out on all cylinders, Marin pressured and punished Cortez from the get-go, pinning Cortez in his own corner with a flush four-punch combination that woke the crowd up.
Marin blasted into the second round after landing a sharp left hook-right uppercut combination that shook the tough Cortez. After sleeping through the first round and a half of the contest, Cortez connected a stunning combination of that started with a left hook, followed by a straight right hand and another left hook that evened the contest at one round a piece.
Following the losing round, at his corner’s advice, Marin did not allow Cortez to regain the upper hand, opting to use a hard jab and occasional left hook to the head that worked well. Unable to find his mark and unwilling to go to the body, Cortez found nothing more than the backside of a glove while Marin landed the bigger more accurate shots.
Cortez finished the four-round contest with a flurry of hooks to the arms of Marin and the fight ended too soon for the Los Angeles, CA native to mount an effective counter attack.
All three judges scored the contest the same as Fightnews, 39-37 for Marin. (Perea)
Grace, under pressure, loses
The opening bout of the evening featured Oakland’s Jose Grace (3-1) in a four-round super middle bout against Las Vegas’ Deshaun Cohen (5-1, 1 KO).
Good movement along with a right jab-straight left combination worked very well for Cohen throughout the contest, while the less-than-graceful Grace missed two wild shots early on in the first round. Pursuing his adversary, Grace could not land a meaningful blow until midway through the contest when a counter left hook found a place on the brow of Cohen who still managed to win the round.
Unable to find an answer to Cohen?s predictable offense, the third round saw a double punch from Grace accomplish little, while Cohen landed several big straight left hands, along with a continuous stiff jab that battered his foe. Cohen dictated the pace of the fight while landing the bigger blows and managed to explode in the closing moments of each round.
Entering the fourth and final round, Grace needed to score a knockout to win, but after receiving three consecutive four-punch combos from Cohen, all he could manage was to clinch and hang on until the end of the contest.
Scores read 40-36 twice and 39-37 for Cohen. (Perea)
Orr remains undefeated
Daniel Orr (5-0, 2 KOs) scored a third round TKO victory over Victor Robles (1-2, 1 KO) in their four-round super middleweight bout.
Orr came out in round one and landed a strong left jab flush on the chin of Robles. Then a big right hand by Orr floored his opponent. A badly-shaken Robles was able to peel himself from the canvas and beat the ten count. Clearly outgunned, he barely survived the opening stanza, absorbing right after jab after hook from Orr.
In the second round, Orr continued to nail the defenseless Robles with left jabs and hooks upstairs and to the body. But the determined Robles stayed on his feet and absorbed the punishment dished out to him by Orr.
In the third round it was much the same. An Orr left hook connected flush on the jaw of Robles who was visibly wobbled by the blow. Orr followed up with two punishing right uppercuts. Recognizing that their fighter would not bow out himself, Robles’ corner threw in the towel to save their fighter from absorbing more devastating punishment.
Robles was never in the fight and at the request of Robles’ corner, referee Joe Cortez stopped the bout at 1:55, declaring the undefeated Orr victor by technical knockout. (Howell)
Grajeda impressive in debut
Making his professional debut in his hometown of Las Vegas, Cesar Grajeda (1-0, 1 KO) knocked down his adversary in round two as he sailed to a unanimous decision victory over Kristian MaGallon (1-1, 0 KOs) in their super flyweight contest.
From the outset of this bout, both young men let their hands fly. The two young combatants proved they were offensive-minded possessing fighting styles made for TV.
Round one was a close round but whereas MaGallon was active in spurts, Grajeda was active and effective non-stop.
Then, in round two, a Grajeda hook upstairs sent MaGallon reeling to the canvas. MaGallon rose from the floor and took the eight count. Grajeda stormed his hurt foe and dug a damaging left hook to the mid-section of his opponent. Nevertheless, the game MaGallon held on to finish the round.
Bleeding from his nose, MaGallon rose from his stool to begin round three, determined to win the round. MaGallon’s aggression served notice and Grajeda used the third round to demonstrate his fancy footwork.
But Grajeda came back in the fourth, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at his adversary. MaGallon was game though and continued to absorb and answer Grajeda’s power shots.
In the end MaGallon was simply out-gunned. Grajeda’s non-stop style proved too much for his foe, earning him the nod from the judges. The scorecards read 40-35 twice and 39-37, all for Grajeda victor in his professional debut. (Howell)