SAN DIEGO, April 1, 2017 – “Relentless” Antonio Orozco put himself back into conversation in the junior welterweight division with precisely the performance he needed Saturday in Las Vegas.
Orozco (26-0, 17 KOs) of San Diego scored a fourth round TKO over KeAndre Gibson (16-1-1, 7 KOs) of Las Vegas via St. Louis to remain undefeated. He will remain the number two junior welterweight according to Ring Magazine, and should be in line for a WBC title elimination bout against contender Amir Imam, a stepping stone to the big payoff fight against Terence Crawford.
Before Orozco and trainer Carlos Barragan Jr. give this any thought, including whether he wants to stay at junior welterweight, they deserve to savor Saturday night’s win. Barragan came up with a smart fight plan and Orozco executed it perfectly.
Gibson showed his outstanding speed early, but Orozco showed good head movement; Barragan calls it “swag” at his House of Boxing gym. Orozco ably avoided most of Gibson’s shots while concentrating on a body attack. Of 15 punches landed in the first round by Orozco, 13 were to Gibson’s body.
Orozco stayed with it through the next two rounds, mixing in more punches to the head as he was able to shake off what Gibson had to offer and close the distance. Midway through the fourth round, the body punching paid off as Orozco delivered a perfect right to Gibson’s temple. Gibson got up to beat the count, but he was still dazed. When he could not respond to any of referee Russell Mora’s questions, Mora ended the fight at 1:31 of round four for the TKO win. Gibson didn’t argue, he was done.
“From start to finish, I stuck to the fundamentals in this fight,” Orozco said. “Fundamentals play a big part in boxing. Patience was the key and we prevailed.”
Orozco said of the knockdown, “We saw the opening and double jab, right hand. It’s amazing when you look at it,” laughed Orozco as he watched a replay. “This is the goal. This is the first step (after what happened in December). We’re here to become world champion.”
It was by far Orozco’s best performance in years and he will make a formidable opponent if he can replicate his preparation and stay at junior welterweight. He’d had trouble making weight in two prior fights, but after bringing on nutritionist Alex Verdejo he made weight and performed beautifully.
It was Gibson’s first defeat, a disappointment but it doesn’t have to derail his career. He can recover and learn from the experience moving forward, but at 27 years old he needs to get back in the ring and apply those lessons as quickly as possible.
Super bantamweight Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (30-1-2, 16 KOs) had little trouble finding the target, but wasn’t able to generate knockout power in his bout with Gilberto Gonzalez (27-4, 22 KOs) to make it an early night. Gesta won the unanimous decision with scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 96-93.
Gesta allowed Gonzalez to stay in the fight, making a silly mistake and getting caught with a flash knockdown in the third round. It hurt Gesta’s pride more than anything. Gesta delivered and landed nearly twice as many punches as Gonzalez, but he ate a lot of punches on the way to the win. Gonzalez pressed the action to the final bell. Trainer Joel Diaz can’t fault Gonzalez’ effort, and the fans got the benefit with plenty of action entertainment.
Featherweight Joet Gonzalez (16-0, 8 KOs) had little trouble with a game but outgunned Derrick Murray (13-2-1, 5 KOs), getting in plenty of good work before a fifth round stoppage. Gonzalez was able to pin Murray against the ropes more than once, unleashing a nice variety of shots including a pretty right upper cut and solid left and right hooks. Referee Russell Mora told Murray he needed to show him something before the fifth round, and once he’d seen Murray taking more punishment, he stopped the bout.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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