The WBA has three new mandatory challengers, Alexis Rocha picked up a win, and Diego De La Hoya returned with a victory on tonight’s Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna undercard in Los Angeles.
Here’s a rundown of everything we saw before the main event.
Alexis Rocha UD-10 Luis Veron
- Official scores: 99-91, 100-90, 100-90
- BLH Unofficial scores: 100-90 Rocha (Wil), 100-90 Rocha (Scott)
A truly dull fight, with Veron (19-5-2, 9 KO) again displaying his two skills, durability and indifference to throwing punches, the latter helping with the former because he takes no risks to get caught with big shots.
This was, to be fair to everyone, a short-notice fight. Golden Boy didn’t have anyone particularly better for Rocha (20-1, 13 KO) lined up here (it was Samuel Kotey), but it might well have been more fun to watch than this was. Rocha was never really able to step on the gas and turn this up, and in part that’s Veron’s veteran skill set, sure, but you also can’t help but think the real top young welterweights — Jaron Ennis, Vergil Ortiz Jr, Conor Benn — get this guy out of there at some point, and probably before we hit the second half, in all honesty.
DAZN’s commentary team worked very hard to make out that Rocha is on par with those fighters, though, including a bizarre attempt to suggest that making Ortiz vs Rocha — Golden Boy’s only credible in-house fight for Ortiz — might be “too soon” early next year, as if there is some massive hope that it’s a major money fight if you wait longer. I don’t see it; Rocha has shown his level in 21 fights, he’s a solid fighter, and Golden Boy won’t have anything better for Ortiz to do at 147. It’s an obvious fight to make, not one to over-think and not make.
Lamont Roach Jr UD-12 Angel Rodriguez
- Official scores: 116-112, 116-112, 117-111
- BLH Unofficial scores: 118-110 Roach (Wil), 117-111 Roach (Scott)
The evening’s third and final WBA eliminator (more on the other two as you keep reading), with Roach (23-1-1, 9 KO) putting himself in line for a shot at the winner of the Aug. 20 fight between Roger Gutierrez and Hector Garcia.
If it’s Gutierrez, it will be a very easy fight to make. If it’s Garcia, maybe slightly tougher but I’d expect it would get done, it’s not like either guy is a marquee superstar.
Roach fought well here, a bit more aggressive at times than his normal, and he rocked Rodriguez (20-2, 10 KO) pretty good at one point. But Roach is not a great finisher, and Rodriguez got it together pretty well.
The 34-year-old Colombian-Venezuelan was mostly out-classed here, though, with Roach a better boxer and even a better puncher. Rodriguez had really done nothing to truly earn an eliminator slot in the first place, and the class difference played out after a decent start for the underdog.
David Jimenez MD-12 Ricardo Sandoval
- Official scores: 113-113, 114-112, 114-112
- BLH Unofficial scores: 113-113 (Wil), 114-112 Sandoval (Scott)
A very close fight, with Jimenez (12-0, 9 KO) pulling a by-the-odds major upset here in a WBA eliminator at flyweight. Extremely debatable, controversial but not in the “robbery” sense, though a lot of people will throw that word around.
Wil wound up scoring this even, as did one of the judges, with Sandoval (20-2, 15 KO) getting dropped in the 11th round and Jimenez docked a point for excessive holding in the seventh, a deduction that I think was earned and totally fair from referee Thomas Taylor, who overall did a very good job here.
So it really came down to the swing rounds, and there were a solid handful throughout. Sandoval had more clear rounds in his favor than Jimenez, but if you gave Jimenez those swings or the bulk of them, getting to a 7-5 (114-112) card in his favor is understandable.
Good fight, tough loss for Sandoval who was right on the cusp of a world title shot, not just with this eliminator but he’s highly ranked with other sanctioning bodies, too, or was before this fight. And Jimenez now should have a shot at Artem Dalkian lined up; Dalakian has quietly held the belt since 2018, basically refusing to make much of an impression with it by fighting exclusively at home in Ukraine for his five defenses. But Dalakian can box, too; he’s not a joke or anything. It’s a good fight if we get it.
Sandoval is still just 23, so obviously he’s going to get more chances, and he’s a good fighter.
Oscar Collazo UD-12 Victorio Saludar
- Official scores: 116-112, 116-112, 118-110
- BLH Unofficial score: 118-110 Collazo (Scott)
This was a WBA eliminator at 105 lbs, likely for the secondary (“regular”) belt held by Erick Rosa, who beat Saludar for that belt last December in a split decision in Santo Domingo.
So this makes two straight fights where Saludar (21-6, 11 KO) lost to a fighter in their fifth pro bout. Collazo (5-0, 3 KO) was a very good amateur, isn’t trying to waste time as a pro, and took a good step up here against a still-solid veteran, and after a competitive first few rounds, he took this fight over.
We got some action all the way, and some drama in the seventh when Saludar was given a count on a delayed reaction to body shots, then caught Collazo with a counter uppercut to knock him down moments later.
It was a good fight, if you missed it, you can watch it on YouTube with the rest of the prelims.
More results and highlights
- Diego De La Hoya TKO-4 Enrique Bernache: Goofy fight where Bernache’s boots had no traction on the canvas so he was sliding around and tape was minimally effective. This was a rematch of a fight from April 2019, where De La Hoya (23-1, 10 KO) and Bernache (24-14, 12 KO) went to a no-contest because of an accidental headbutt in the second round. They were scheduled to fight against but De La Hoya pulled out late with illness, and in fact this was Diego’s first fight since Dec. 2019, when he won a fight in Mexicali five months after getting smashed by Ronny Rios. He’s said he needed a break from boxing, but I think the break lasted longer than he might have originally planned. He’s 27 now, his upside seems limited, but he’s not untalented and he has a last name. He will get shots if he can stay active.
- Miguel Gaona KO-1 Abdiel Padilla: Took 80 seconds. Padilla (1-3, 1 KO) took a couple body shots, sat down, got up, took a couple more, sat down, stayed there. Gaona, a 24-year-old southpaw welterweight from Los Angeles and trained by Joel Diaz, is now 3-0 (2 KO). There was absolutely nothing here to suggest anything about his potential or scout him or whatever, but he has now beaten someone who isn’t grandpa Gilberto Aguilar, so he’s moving forward!