By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Marlene Marquez
Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA, was the venue for a super Golden Boy Promotions card this past Friday night. The event was also televised on Fox Sports 1. There were eight fights on the card, and both the main event and the co-main event were particularly important fights for two of the participants. Both previously undefeated fighters Ronnie Rios and Antonio “Relentless” Orozco were looking to move up the ladder by posting victories to their respective win columns.
Rios (23-1, 10 KOs) went up against Robinson Castellanos (20-10, 13 KOs) in a super featherweight fight that was scheduled for 10 rounds. The opening round saw Castellanos coming out like a bull and trying to win, throwing and landing punches on Rios. Rios was answering back in a very active first round.
Robinson caught Ronnie with a right hand in the second round and Rios went down. He never really recovered from that punch, but was somehow able to make it to the bell.
In the third, Castellanos was just pummeling Ronnie with that right hand, the same hand that caused the knockdown in the previous round, and it was the same story in the fourth. Rios was literally saved by the bell at the end of those three minutes. The ring doctor checked on him between the fourth and fifth rounds, but the fight continued, albeit briefly.
In a fight that on paper Rios was supposed to win handily, referee Ray Corona was right there, and when the beating by Castellanos continued, he jumped right in and stopped the contest at :11 seconds of the fifth round.
Orozco (21-0, 15 KOs) matched wits with the veteran Steve “2 Pound” Forbes (35-14, 11 KOs). This fight was scheduled for eight rounds in the welterweight division. The first round was a good one for both men, as they were both able to assert themselves a bit. In the second round, Orozco was all over Forbes the majority of the time.
In the third, Forbes hit the deck, but it was ruled a push by Antonio and not a knockdown. Towards the end of the round it appeared as if Orozco had Steve in trouble, but he was able to get out of the round. While Antonio did not dominate quite as much in the fourth round as he had been, it was still The Relentless One who was in complete control.
There was not much new and different to report in the fifth, or the sixth. Tony was fighting smoothly; being very consistent and precise with his punches. Same story in the final two rounds, and we went to the scorecards.
All of the judges saw the fight the same, 80-72, a clean sweep and unanimous decision for Orozco. No surprise there, as Antonio did exactly what he had to do to get the win. But to the credit of Forbes, the crafty veteran and former world champion made it a night of work for Orozco, and did a very good job as well.
In the first television fight we saw Diego “Golden Kid” De La Hoya (7-0, 5 KOs) facing off with Luis Ruiz Lizarraga (5-3-1, 2 KOs) in a featherweight fight that was scheduled to go six rounds. The first round was a good one for the fast and accurate De La Hoya. He landed some very good punches on Lizarraga that Luis definitely felt.
Diego was still showing his superiority in the second, but Lizarraga did land some punches as well. De La Hoya was just showing that he had more polish and talent at this point. The third round was still all Diego.
In the fourth De La Hoya really got in some good shots, but Luis would not go down. If he thought he might, Lizarraga would hold on to prevent that from happening. Diego’s left hand snapped back the head of Lizarraga several times in the fifth, but still, Luis held on and did not go down.
In the sixth and final Diego was still able to display his skills and we went to the judges’ scorecards. All three judges saw the fight the same way, all 60-54, all for De La Hoya. He remained undefeated against a very game Lizarraga.
In a fight that was the swing television bout and scheduled for four rounds in the light welterweight division, Jesus Delgado (2-0-1, 1 KO) took on Joan Valenzuela (1-1, 1 KO). We were seeing a very active first round when a solid punch by Delgado’s left hand put Valenzuela down and out at 1:50 of that opening round. It was a very scary knockout and the fight was immediately waved off by referee Jerry Cantu. It was good to see Joan finally get up and sit on his stool.
Neeco “Rooster” Macias (7-0, 3 KOs) faced off against Roberto Crespo (4-5) in a fight in the light middleweight division. This fight was for a scheduled four rounds. There was a lot of action from both fighters in the opener. Neeco suffered a good-sized cut over his left eye, I believe by an accidental head butt in that first round as well.
In what proved to be a very punishing second round, Macias caught Crespo with a combination that put him off balance, then Rooster threw a right hand to put Roberto down for eight. Somehow Crespo made it out of the round, but he failed to make it out of his corner for the third round. The entertaining Macias increases his win streak to seven.
In a super middleweight fight that was scheduled for six rounds, Antonio Gutierrez (16-0-1, 7 KOs) went up against Dashon Johnson (15-17-3, 5 KOs). Gutierrez demonstrated his dominance from the get-go, controlling the action against Johnson. Dashon would throw one punch and hope to connect with it, while Antonio kept throwing combinations.
In the fourth, Gutierrez was looking a bit tired. Johnson was throwing his big single punch, but it was landing more often than in the first few rounds. He came back out on fire in the fifth, throwing those combinations again. But towards the middle of the round he backed off and allowed Dashon to get in some shots.
We moved into the sixth and final, with this last round looking a lot like the rest. One thing was certain; we did not watch a pretty fight. We did however, get to go to the scorecards. The scores were 57-57 once, but that was overruled by the other two judges, who both saw it 59-55, giving the victory to Gutierrez.
Santiago Guevara (8-0, 3 KOs) stood across the ring from Rocco Espinoza (4-10) in a fight scheduled for four in the lightweight division. We saw a good first half, as the pair were going back and forth. Each man was throwing and connecting with their respective punches.
It was the same result in the last two rounds of the fight, although Guevara was showing he had the most skill of the pair. We went to the scorecards. All three saw the fight the same, 40-36, all for Guevara. Santiago remained undefeated.
The opening bout of the evening saw Oscar Negrete (7-0, 3 KOs) in the ring with Salvador Perez (2-6-2, 1 KO). This fight was scheduled for four rounds in the super bantamweight division. The four were not needed however, as a punishing body shot by Negrete at 1:55 of round two put an end to the contest.
This was a very good night of boxing that saw a little bit of everything; big knockouts, a huge win by Orozco, an upset loss delivered by Castellanos, and quite a bit of entertaining overall boxing action.