SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 18, 2020 – Despite the cancellation of the original main event due to a positive COVID-19 test, Thursday’s edition of Top Rank on ESPN delivered enough action to keep fight fans entertained.
Gabriel Flores Jr. of Stockton, California (18-0, 6 KOs) dropped veteran Josec Ruiz of Miami, Florida (21-3-3, 14 KOs) for the first time in Ruiz’s career, and then cruised to a ten-round decision victory. Scores were all 100-89, a complete shutout for Flores Jr.
Flores came out freshly cooked from the opening bell, working behind a sharp left jab and moving around the ring with ease. He didn’t give Ruiz any chance to get in front of him. In the second round, Flores caught Ruiz with a solid left hook he didn’t see coming and finished with a right hand to put Ruiz on the canvas for the first time in the veteran’s career. Ruiz wobbled to his feet, but used his experience to steady himself. Flores didn’t go wild trying to finish Ruiz off.
Flores Jr. seemed content to roll up rounds, not opening himself up too much to Ruiz. Flores Jr. was so much faster on his feet and quicker with the hands, he didn’t need to take too many chances. Trainer and father Gabriel Flores Sr. told his son to “step it up” at times, but Flores Jr. mainly stayed in his lane. Flores Jr. said after the fight he’d suffered a back injury and he could only operate at about 50 percent.
“I did great for my condition. I had to stay focused, I know I have to get in there, hit and not get hit,” said Flores Jr. Flores Jr. explained he injured his back in sparring. “It’s the worst injury I ever dealt with in my lower back. I could have capitalized way more, but ever time I moved, I felt my back I only showed 50 percent of me, I wanted to do more but my back wouldn’t let me,” said Flores Jr.
Gabriel Flores Jr. is a big draw in his hometown of Stockton and has all the skills to deliver exciting wins, but he’ll need to overcome the tendency to play it safe, or as safe as anyone can in boxing. His footwork keeps him out of trouble and he needs to trust himself to do it while pressing the offense. Considering it was his first ten round pro fight, he may have been holding back a little bit. Fans will learn more when we see Flores Jr. again.
Clay Collard takes another zero away, beats Kaminsky
“Cassius” Clay Collard (7-2-3, 2 KOs) may have the best record in boxing in 2020. He’s gone 3-0 and beaten three previously undefeated prospects in a row. The MMA veteran took out his most skilled foe to date, battering David “The Lion of Zion” Kaminsky (6-1, 3 KOs) for six wickedly tough rounds and getting the victory by split decision. Scores were 58-56 X 2 for Collard, and 58-56 for Kaminsky.
Collard is as tough as they come, and his mixed martial arts background means he’s willing to throw his weight around in a fight. Kaminsky was badly cut over the left eye in the first round, but he did his best to work through it. Collard never let up, later saying his winning streak has given him the confidence to press the action. Collard’s body shot kept Kaminsky from working too close, but he also scored to the head. By the end of six rounds, Kaminsky looked as if he’d gone a hard 12 rounds, swollen around both eyes and bleeding from the mouth. The 19-year-old prospect never gave up and he’ll learn plenty from this tough outing.
An emotional Collard said “The key to victory is to keep pushing, will (yourself) to win. Get after him, stay after him, don’t show him that you’re hurt, don’t show him that you’re tired, don’t show him nothing,” said Collard of the nine unbeaten fighters he’s faced including Kaminsky. “You’re going to take shots facing these young lions, you’re going to get hurt. If they smell blood they’re going to kill. I try my best not to show it, I just push through it.”
Kaminsky was taken to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas to be checked over immediately after the bout.
In other undercard results:
Robert Rodriguez of Riverside (8-0-1, 3 KOs) took care of business in two rounds, scoring a knockdown and eventually a TKO win in the second round over previously unbeaten fighter Adrian Servin of Phoenix (9-1-1, 3 KOs). The 20-year-old Rodrigez thoroughly outclassed the 23-year-old Servin, dropping him early in the second round with a smart combination, and as he pressed the action, referee Robert Hoyle decided there was no reason to let Servin continue to take it, stopping the fight with seconds left in the Round. Servin came up in weight from flyweight to get the chance to fight Rodriguez but the disadvantage in size was too much.
Nineteen-year-old Puerto Rican super featherweight Frevian Gonzalez (3-0, 1 KO) remained undefeated with a four-round decision over Jose Martinez (2-2, 1 KO) of Los Angeles. Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 X 2.
Victor Rodriguez (3-0, 1 KO) of Stanton, California had no trouble with local Las Vegas fighter Justin Horsley (0-2), scoring a 40-36 X3 shutout decision win in four rounds.
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. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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