Escobedo blows out Kelley
Ringside report by David Robinett
Photos by Dhon Santos, Maloof Sports & Entertainment.
2004 U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo continued his rise from prospect to title contender with a two-round blowout of faded star Kevin Kelley in a scheduled ten-round lightweight bout Thursday night before 2,777 fans at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California.
Although long past his prime, the “Flushing Flash” was expected to provide a reasonable test for the still-developing Escobedo. It looked that way too, in round one, with the southpaw Kelley boxing smartly, circling Escobedo and snapping his right jab as Escobedo tried to work his way inside.
Round two started evenly as well, until Escobedo caught Kelley coming in with a short right hook that dropped the old pro. Kelley appeared to rise on steady legs, but Escobedo quickly moved in to finish, trapping Kelley against the ropes and landing several unanswered punches before Kelley sank to the canvas under the pressure. This time Kelley struggled to beat the count, and as he rose referee Jon Schorle decided Kelley was in no shape to continue and called a halt to the bout at 1:53 of round two.
“I wanted to be patient and dictate the fight,” explained Escobedo, (21-1, 13 KOs), after the bout. “[After the knockdown] I wanted to be cautious and I didn’t want to get overconfident.”
Escobedo, currently ranked #3 by the WBC at lightweight behind champion Edwin Valero, continued, “We’re looking at a title fight maybe at the end of this year or early next year. There’s a possibility I might go down [in weight] but I’ll talk with my manager to see what’s next.”
Escobedo also spoke about fighting again in Sacramento, near his hometown of Woodland, California. “It means everything to me to be fighting here. This is my home and I wanted to put on a good show for my fans.”
Kelley, (60-10-2, 39 KOs), was not immediately available after the fight for comment, but appears to have settled into the role of resume builder at age 41, having lost four of his last six bouts.
Hot Prospect Martin Takes Out Daniels!
Undefeated prospect Christopher Martin, (15-0, 3 KOs), broke down game challenger Torrence Daniels, (15-10, 5 KOs), before scoring a technical knockout at 2:59 of round five in a scheduled eight-round super bantamweight bout. Daniels started strong in round one, keeping Martin off-balance with a fast jab and quick movement around the ring. Daniels continued to bother Martin in round two, darting in and landing jabs and lead left hooks while avoiding Martin’s jab and attempts to counter, utilizing shifty head and upper body movement. Martin did manage to trap Daniels in the corner a couple of times, where he started to regain some momentum by working Daniels with both hands, particularly to the body.
Martin continued to catch Daniels along the ropes and in the corners in rounds three and four, and his body attack seemed to wear Daniels down, who began to cover up in defense rather than utilize his speed and movement. Martin’s consistent body work through round five left Daniels open for a right hook to the head that sent Daniels tumbling off-balance between the ropes and nearly out of the ring. Daniels untangled himself and beat the count, but appeared to be a little shaky and Martin tried to capitalize, chasing Daniels around the ring in an attempt to finish him. Daniels almost made it out of round five until a Martin left hook to the body crumpled Daniels right as the bell sounded, and which kept Daniels down for several minutes although officially the referee waved the fight over before completing a count. There was some confusion as to the official time but it appeared to be 2:59 since the final knockdown occurred nearly simultaneous with the bell.
Lynks Blitzed by a Desert Storm!
Hard-hitting youngster Andrew Cancio, (9-1-1, 9 KOs), kept his streak of knockout victories intact with a fifth-round stoppage of Michael Lynks, (8-11, 4 KOs) in a scheduled six-round lightweight bout. Cancio, hailing from the Mojave Desert town of Blythe, California, was simply too big and too strong for Lynks, who fought gamely but was outgunned. There were no knockdowns in the fight but Cancio was landing power punches at will on Lynks, punctuated by a lunging left hook that sent Lynks reeling backwards to the ropes, where referee Jon Schorle stepped in at 1:50 of the round. To his credit, Lynks was visibly upset by the stoppage and did not appear to want out even though he was clearly losing the fight.
Jordan and Morales Staredown!
In a fight comically devoid of action, heavyweight prospect Ashanti Jordan, (9-0, 7 KOs), circled, shadowboxed, and stared down his opponent, late replacement Alvarao Morales, (7-5-2, 3 KOs), through six laborious rounds, with Jordan winning a unanimous decision, 59-55, 59-55, 59-55. Neither fighter landed more than a half dozen punches in any round, most of which were harmless jabs, and a remarkable percentage of the jabs that were thrown landed several inches short of the target.
Despite Morales being a replacement for Jordan’s original opponent, the 5-21-5 David Johnson, this was somewhat of a step up for Jordan, as the 285-lb. Morales outweighed Jordan by over 60 pounds and has drawn with young heavyweight prospects Tyler Hinkey and Elijah McCall, son of Oliver McCall. While Jordan won this fight, it was only due to one or two more jabs landed per round than Morales, and even then a case could be made that Morales actually showed the better technical skill, utilizing surprisingly nimble footwork and enough upper body movement to throw off Jordan’s normally reliable offense.
In Other Action
Undefeated super middleweight Brandon Gonzalez, (8-0, 7 KOs), knocked out Ray Craig, (6-5, 5 KOs), at 2:32 of the first round in a scheduled six-round bout. The end came suddenly courtesy of a whip-quick right hand to the body by Gonzalez , which dropped Craig in a heap and for the count.
Rugged Mexican Juan Jose Beltran, (19-12-3, 11 KOs), scored a mild upset over two-time super flyweight challenger Akihiko Nago, (29-7-1, 15 KOs), by scores of 58-56, 59-55, 59-55, in a six-round super bantamweight bout. Beltran, who holds a 1998 win over current WBO super flyweight champion Luis Maldonado, took control from the outset, attacking Nago’s body throughout the fight, digging away at his opponent and finishing often with a right uppercut for which Nago had no defense. Nago also acquitted himself well, countering Beltran with his own body punches, but not nearly at the volume or intensity of Beltran.
Heavyweights Henry Wells and Tony Johnson, both making their pro debut, engaged in a mostly tactical affair, with Johnson taking a narrow four-round majority decision 38-38, 39-37, 39-37. The bout started slowly, with Wells ducking and weaving past the taller Johnson to occasionally land a lead left hook or straight right hand. Johnson began to heat up as the fight progressed, progressing from a simple jab and straight right hand, to occasional three and four-punch combinations with Wells against the ropes. Both fighters acquitted themselves well in the final round, fighting at a steady pace with Johnson’s combination punching winning over Wells heavier but sporadic hooks and straight right hands.
An eighth bout, featuring local welterweight Michael Ortega fell through when Ortega did not receive his medical clearance in time for his fight. The remaining seven bouts were presented by Maloof Sports & Entertainment, in association with Don Chargin Productions.
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