Indio, Calif., September 29, 2018 – Jorge Linares of Venezuela (45-4, 28 KOs) delivered a scare to the rest of the 140-pound division with a devastating knockout win over an overwhelmed Abner Cotto of Puerto Rico (23-4, 12 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, California.
Based on Saturday’s performance, the decision to move up to super lightweight was a smart decision for the 33-year-old veteran. Cotto’s corner stopped the fight at 1:31 of the third round after two knockdowns and more than enough punishment for one night.
After a brisk first round, Linares caught Cotto with an impressive overhand right, delivered after moving Cotto back with a few stutter steps. Cotto’s legs crumbled under him. He shakily stood up and managed to make it through the remaining 40 seconds of the round. But he was damaged goods.
In round 3, Cotto made a beginner’s mistake. Hit by what he considered a low blow, he looked over to referee Ray Corona for relief, taking his eyes off his opponent. Linares moved straight in and landed multiple shots to the temple with his right hand, throwing an already shaky Cotto off balance. Cotto tried to clench, dragging Linares with him to the canvas. At this point, Cotto was wobbling like a sailor on the deck of a ship in rough seas. His corner wisely jumped in and had the fight stopped to protect their hurt fighter.
“I want to say ty to everybody, all my fans for coming to California. It is my first fight (at super lightweight), I’m so happy with that. I’m ready to fight, I’m happy to fight, I feel better and better at 140. I’m ready for a big fight,” said Linares. He named Mikey Garcia as a potential opponent, and added, “Maybe mas with Lomachenko, why not?”
Linares still feels the sting of losing to boxing’s top pound for pound talent, Vasiliy Lomachenko, in June. The Ukrainian cheekily calls himself “No Mas Chenko” after stopping top opposition. He got off the canvas after Linares knocked him down for the first time as a professional to beat him. Linares’ desire for revenge burns bright.
“I want to fight the best,” said Linares. “Now is the best moment at 140, I’m ready to fight the best at 140.” The fans are ready to see Linares do it, too.
Watch Ringside Seat’s full post-fight interview with Jorge Linares here.
Romero Duno gets unanimous decision the hard way against Ezequiel Avilez
“Ruthless” Romero Duno of the Philippines (18-1, 14 KOs) did everything he could to stop Ezequiel Avilez of Mexico (16-3-3, 6 KOs) for a knockout. He knocked Avilez down in the second round, twice in the sixth round, and nearly did it again at the end of their eight round fight. Avilez wasn’t having it.
The two lightweights delivered a crowd-pleasing fight in the co-main event, fighting to the final bell of all eight rounds. It was the only bout on the card to go the distance. Duno won via unanimous decisions by scores of 78-71 on all three cards.
Appreciative fans stood and repeatedly cheered as Duno delivered right and left hooks with Avilez eating most of them – all but two. He landed a few of his own, but Avilez barely made it to his feet at the end of the sixth round, then delivered two more rounds of solid effort. You had to question why Avilez’ corner didn’t stop the fight, but after watching how hard he fought to keep himself in the fight, he earned the right to hear the final bell in the ring on his feet.
“He’s so strong, I didn’t think he could stand up after the knockdown,” said Duno. “I think we showed a good fight to all the fans. I want to thank Golden Boy for giving me that kind of opponent, it’s good for me. He had good conditioning.”
Turning to the crowd, Duno said “To all my fans in the Philippines and in California, thanks for supporting me. Sorry for those who expect a knockout, I’ll try next time, I tried my best.”
Undercard results from Fantasy Springs: Three fights, three knockouts
Travell Mazion’s nickname is “Black Magic.” The Austin, Texas super welterweight waved his knockout wand, scoring a knockout at 2:39 of the first round over Alan Zavala of Tijuana, Mexico (15-3, 13 KOs) to remain undefeated at 14 wins with 12 by knockout.
Mazion overpowered Zavala from the opening bell. He knew it and began showboating near the end of the round. He flashed the Fantasy Springs and Facebook watch fans a cha-cha hip shake, then delivered the single knockout punch with a textbook left hook. Zavala was down immediately, Mazion showed concern, later saying that he prayed for Zavala’s safety after the knockout.
“He took hellacious shots,” said Mazion. “I don’t ever expect a knockout, I expect a good old boxing lesson. I prayed for him, I always pray for my opponents.” Mazion said he’s been through a lot including personal problems, “but now I’m back, thank God. (Jaime) Munguia, I respect you, but I got to get to the top somehow!” Put Mazion in your one to watch category in the super welterweight sweepstakes.
Oscar Duarte of Mexico (15-0, 10 KOs) put on a fan-friendly performance, scoring a fourth-round TKO win over Roger Gutiérrez of Venezuela (19-4-1, 16 KOs). The match-up started off seeming competitive, but Duarte quickly took command of the fight. In the fourth round, a frustrated Gutierrez committed two deliberate head butts. Referee Ray Corona deducted two points. Worse, it ticked off Duarte, who went after Gutierrez with all his firepower. For the last 30 seconds of the fight, fans witnessed a wild exchange. Gutierrez’ corner wisely called a stop to the fight. With just four rounds left and already down on the scorecard with two points additional points gone, there was no point in getting hurt.
“After the head butt, something ignited in me and I turned up the heat,” said Duarte after the bout. Memo to future opponents: don’t make Duarte mad. Duarte credited his preparation with the Diaz brothers and with Jorge Linares for his win Saturday.
It was an auspicious professional debut in the desert for Elnur Abduraimov (1-0. 1 KO), who took out Aaron Hollis of Cincinnati (4-8, 2 KOs) in 1:44 of the first round. This young lightweight from Tashkent, Uzbekistan now fighting out of Brooklyn is going to make some noise. He has power and poise to spare. “Hollis was a good opponent,” said Abduraimov after his win. Thanking his coaches, he added “I think it was a very good performance. I want to thank World of Boxing Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions. I’ll be back in October!”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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