Escalante retires Ruiz
Ringside report & photo by Gerardo "Silent G" Martinez
Looking like a new and improved fighter, El Paso's Antonio Escalante handed journeyman Edel "Cuate" Ruiz one of the quickest losses of his 59-bout career.
It didn't take long for the 3,200-plus fight fans present at UTEP's Don Haskins Center to notice the new skills learned by their hometown favorite, on last night's Golden Boy Promotions card.
Escalante was moving head and body, making Ruiz miss consistently in the first round. In his last fight in March, Escalante lacked those skills when he went 10 rounds with Miguel "Mickey" Roman and had to use sunglasses at the press conference to hide his severely swollen eyes. The fighters exchanged few punches for the rest of the first round and did more studying than thudding.
Escalante decided to take charge of the action in the second, using his newly-found jab to set up combinations. Ruiz seemed content to dance around the ring and try to counter the quicker Escalante.
Being that the ring is not such a big place, Ruiz could not run and hide for the entire round. Escalante was able to find his mark toward the end of the round and landed some precision combinations to the head and body of the Los Mochis veteran.
Feeling Escalante's power at the end of the second, Ruiz came out more defensively in the third. Escalante continued using his jab to keep Ruiz away and set up combinations. Ruiz began moving towards the ropes which made it easier for his quicker opponent to land. It would be by the ropes where Ruiz' end would come. Escalante jabbed upstairs and then threw a quick left hook to the body. Not expecting the thunderous left hook, Ruiz fell to his knees, then on all fours in pain.
Referee Mark Calo-oy began his slow count and Ruiz had the guts to get up off the canvas, but his corner wanted no more and signaled Calo-oy to wave off the fight. He did so at 1:52 of the third round, giving Escalante the win and Ruiz, the last loss of his career for, at the post-fight presser, he announced that he would be hanging up the gloves.
Ruiz retires with a record of 34-23-4, 25 KOs, while Escalante improves to 24-2, 14 KOs.
"I didn't fight 'cholo' style any more," Escalante said at the press conference, happy with the result but expecting to go more rounds with the Mexican veteran.
Trainer Louie Burke said he and his new pupil trained and sparred to go ten rounds, working on the jab, setting up combinations and improving defense.
With a win against a good veteran fighter and currently ranked No.2 by the WBA and WBO, a world title looms just around the corner for the El Pasoan.
Becerra returns with win
Former Fresquez fighter Alex "El Diablo" Becerra (20-8, 9 KOs) fought an all-out junior featherweight war against Juarez' Francisco "Panchito" Dominguez (7-6, 1 KO), of Juarez.
With a new trainer at his side, Ruben Garcia, Becerra was able to outscore his crosstown rival with scores of 60-53 times three. Becerra is looking to jump start his career at the age of 29 after taking a 15 month layoff.
Charlo takes out Whitaker
Amateur star and rising prospect Jermell "Ironman" Charlo (13-0, 7 KOs) impressed the audience by demolishing his opponent, Quinton Whitaker (7-7, 5 KOs), in two rounds.
Charlo scored a knockdown early in the first round with a hard right to the face. Whitaker would somehow manage to survive the round.
Showing patience in the second Charlo was able to knock down his opponent once again with a powerful straight right to the head. The tough Whitaker got up and was knocked down another two times before the referee had seen enough and waved the fight off at 2:44 of the second.
Palacios draws with Rodriguez
In another cross border battle, middleweights Oscar "Pinguino" Palacios (0-1-1), of El Paso, and Armando Rodriguez (2-0-1, 1 KO), of Juarez mixed it up for four rounds.
For the first two rounds, neither fighter offered any noteworthy action, no one taking control. It would not be until the third round that Rodriguez decided to take control and land a couple of hard overhand rights to stun his opponent. Unfortunately, for the crowd, he did not follow up and allowed Palacios to recover.
Both fighters stepped up the action in the fourth and final round. There were some good exchanges, but nothing spectacular. Rodriguez seemed to have outgunned the out-of-gas Palacios at the end of four.
The judges scored the fight 39-37, 37-39 and 38-38, a draw.
Valenzuela-Alvarado fight of night
Fighting in the last bout of the evening and the most competitive, were El Paso's Cesar Valenzuela (4-0) and Roni Alvarado (3-3), of Juarez. Both fighters lacked skill, but neither boxer lacked heart. They spent all four rounds swinging and landing punches. Neither fighter really took control of the fight, due to, either, inexperience or conditioning, but still provided the audience an entertaining end to the card.
At the end of four rounds of the junior welterweight bout, the judges surprised the spectators by handing the fight to Valenzuela with scores of 38-38, 40-36 and 39-37.