The Forum in Inglewood, California played host to a fight card that included two fights that were earmarked for greatness. The main event was a WBC World super flyweight bout that featured two undefeated fighters, WBC World flyweight champion Ramon “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs) going against the man who put his belt on the line, Carlos “Principe” Cuadras (35-1-1, 27 KOs).
Chocolatito was attempting to get his fourth weight division championship in this fight. It was considered a tough challenge for the Nicaraguan, but Gonzalez was well aware of that and felt he was up to the task. This championship fight was scheduled to go 12 rounds.
It was absolutely deafening from the seemingly packed house in the Forum, with chants of “Mexico” and “Nicaragua” frequently. The opening round showed a lot of action, but that was nothing compared to when the men moved into the second; then the heat was on. While the duo travelled around the ring a lot, Chocolatito was still able to really keep the pressure on Cuadras, and landed very good combinations throughout the three minutes.
The third was more of the same. Carlos was also able to get in his share of power shots, but the very quick Gonzalez could out-work him. In the fourth, Cuadras had a great first half of the round, but then Ramon came on strong. Back and forth we went, with so many hard, hard shots landing for both men. At the end of each round the fans and journalists alike would applaud and cheer their approval.
Cuadras was once again able to land some really hard leather on his opponent in the fifth. He began to showboat a bit, and when he did so, Gonzalez would jump in and retaliate with expertly placed punches of his own. No clue how many punches these two were throwing, but it had to be a lot.
The sixth round saw much of the same. Nothing was going to slow these two down. It was once again a continuous trading of punches in the seventh round. When it seemed as if one fighter was getting the upper hand or was close to finishing the show, the other one would grab the control back.
In the eighth, Carlos spent some time running and making Ramon chase him. He had done that a bit before, but was rather blatant about it in this round. That tactic was not a popular one with a lot of the fans however, and the boos came out. Cuadras would then stop, plant, and fire, but Gonzalez would not be deterred, and would answer back with his own punches to his opponent.
In the ninth a cut was opened up next on the right eye of Cuadras from what appeared to be a head butt. No surprise there, as these two would both jump in during their battle. In the tenth, and as he had been doing all night, Carlos would open up with his rapid-fire combinations that Chocolatito would wait through, and then launch his own strong attack.
Cuadras had a good eleventh round. Ramon did land some punches, but Carlos appeared to feel the urgency of possibly needing a knockout to get the victory. We moved into the twelfth and final. Cuadras seemed to have the upper hand in the last round, but both men had spent 12 rounds going at it. For all of the rounds it was so loud in the building that it was hard to ever hear the bell signifying that they had come to an end – crazy, but great fun!
We went to the scorecards, and none of the judges agreed on the scores. One saw it 117-111, another 116-112, and the final judge had it 115-113. One thing they did agree on however, was who those scores favored. They were all for Chocolatito. Gonzalez upped his win streak to 46 AND got his fourth weight division championship!
If you were to think that Ramon would be able to slip the punches thrown at him by Cuadras, one look at his face would tell a different story. Both eyes were swollen almost shut, but hearing the words, “NEW WBC World super flyweight champion” I’m sure more than made up for that.
The exciting co-main event involved junior middleweights, as the durable Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass (28-11-4, 18 KOs) had a rematch against Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 23 KOs). These two faced off the first time in April of this year and that fight ended as a split draw. It was also considered a Fight-of-the-Year worthy bout. Each wanted to get their definitive victory in this encounter. The fight was set to go 10 rounds.
In the opening round a very hard body shot by Kamegai on Soto Karass really did some damage. Yoshihiro was well aware of that, and targeted that body for the rest of the fight. But both men were able to reach out and get leather on the other in this first round. Jesus was able to land a body shot or two of his own in the second. These two were fighting in a phone booth for the entire three minutes.
For those who were hoping to see another war between these two they were not disappointed, and we were only in round three! Punches, counters, body shots, and leather to the head; nothing was missing in this fight.
In the fourth and fifth neither would give an inch, and the question became whether they could keep up the pace they had started with. The attack on each other continued into the sixth. Both of them applied pressure, and just when it seemed as if one of them had slowed a little, the other would pounce and they would start up again. Kamegai got Soto Karass on the ropes and was pounding away, but Jesus was able to fight out of it.
In the eighth round Soto Karass was once again hurt with a body shot. He grabbed a hold of Kamegai, and referee Jack Reiss had to drag him off of Yoshihiro. Just a few seconds after that Jesus was put on the canvas, but got back up. He did manage to get out of the round, even landing a great shot right before the bell. But his corner decided that he had taken enough punishment on this night, and they called an end to the fight. Kamegai fought an excellent fight in this victory.
The vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title was on the line as another undefeated fighter, Ryan Martin (16-0, 9 KOs) took on Cesar Villarraga (9-2, 4 KOs). This fight was to go eight rounds.
We saw a good first round here, as Villarraga showed off his jabs while Martin displayed power punches. Right at the bell Ryan landed a hard body punch on Cesar.
Villarraga was showing a lot of heart and desire, but he really got rocked by a good shot in the third. He was still trying hard, but he was being picked apart bit by bit. In the fourth round Cesar was put down by a right hand.
In the fifth and sixth rounds it became apparent that Villarraga’s punches were not affecting Ryan much at all. It was the same thing in the seventh; Martin just shook off whatever punches landed on him and carried on. But it was rather surprising that Ryan was not able to drop his opponent, and we moved into the eighth and final.
This last round was a good one. Each man was trying to knock out the other for their victory. But instead we went to the scorecards. Those scores were 79-72 twice, and 78-73, all for Martin.
Women took to the ring as flyweights Seniesa Estrada (8-0, 1 KO) looked to keep her undefeated streak alive as she went up against Nancy Franco (14-10-2, 4 KOs) in a fight scheduled for 8 rounds.
Estrada is one tough lady, and she dominated Franco throughout the eight rounds. Imagine everyone’s surprise when ring announcer Mark Kriske announced that all of the judges saw the fight the same, 80-72, all for Franco. Nancy happily jumped around, Seniesa looked a bit stunned, and the fans were booing – a lot. Several seconds later Kriske announced that he had made a mistake, and that Estrada was the actual winner.
The opening fight provided the professional debut of Chazz Moleta squaring off with Brahmabigi Montgomery (2-1-1) in the lightweight division, and was slated for four rounds. Unfortunately for Moleta, his debut did not get that first number in the right column.
Montgomery put Chazz down in the third round, and Moleta was really suffering a beat down in the fourth before the referee put an end to his misery at 2:44 seconds of the fourth and final round.
So while it was a short fight card, there was no grumbling about the two big fights. Well, unless you disagreed with the judges, and of course some did. Regardless, both of these fights were entertaining and certainly lived up to their billing. Great job by both Chocolatito and Kamegai on their big victories.