Alexis Rocha started strong and finished well tonight in Indio, California, bodying Anthony Young to set up a crushing left hook to the head that ended the situation in the 5th round.
This was not a fight triggered by popular demand. Rocha (23-1, 15 KOs) has spent most of the year circling around a mandatory shot at WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Young (24-3, 8 KOs) had to pull out of his bout with Rocha in January, but was given a second chance as the final stages of negotiations for an uncontested welterweight mega-fight between Crawford and Errol Spence left Rocha in need of a job. opponent.
Rocha was certainly busy working on Young’s body all night while Young tried to do anything to discourage him. Young tried to turn things around by messing things up a bit, grabbing and holding and circling Rocha to wrap him from behind more than once. But whatever magic he had on the night he upset Sadam Ali was not present for him against Rocha, who closed the show with a penalty left kick to the head that put Young on the canvas. Young got to his feet but was visibly unsure, leading to a referee stoppage in the 5th round and a TKO victory for Roch.
Rocha then gave himself a “C” rating and said, “I’m a WBO mandatory, I want the next winner (spence-crawford). And that’s all.”
Highlights of Rocha vs Young matches
Highlights and scores from the undercard
Oscar Duarte TKO-7 D’Angelo Keyes
If life were a Rocky movie, signing off as Oscar Duarte’s opponent would end in a touching triumph for D’Angelo Keyes, who is now homeless, lost his car, lives on friends’ couches, and recently struggled in what is described in the commentary as someone’s backyard.
But boxing and life are often cruel, and the noticeably smaller Keyes couldn’t stop Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs). Duarte looked much bigger in the ring and made some hard punches that made me wince. Keyes (17-3, 11 KOs) gave it his all and never looked anxious or overwhelmed. He has a huge heart and toughness and looks very elegant for an unheralded guy. But Duarte started to pick him up early in the 2nd round, dropped Keyes in the 3rd and 7th rounds and hurt him multiple times in between. Keyes quickly got to his feet after being knocked down in the 7th round, but the doctor saw enough to stop the fight between rounds.
Keyes could have easily stopped on a knockdown or gone down after many punishing power shots from Duarte. Kudos to him for his brave effort and hopefully he gets another chance and paycheck on a future Golden Boy show.
Oscar Collazo TKO-7 Melvin Jerusalem
Melvin Jerusalem’s first fight as WBO champion ended with a corner retirement after a great display of body work by Oscar Collazo. Jerusalem (20-3, 12 KOs) started off hard, keeping Collazo (7-0, 5 KOs) at bay and firing a bit faster in the early rounds.
After three rounds, Collazo had a wicked mark on the left side of his face and Jerusalem seemed to be in control and on his way to victory. But Collazo increased his aggression in the 4th round, and the superb bodywork from then on ultimately turned the fight around. Jerusalem was hurt multiple times in the ribs, stopped knocking back and spent the last half of this fight suffering punishment before he and his corner decided to stop the fight right after the 7th round ended.
Brilliant job of Collazo adapting, taking control of a fight that could easily have gotten out of control.
Scrappy Ramirez SD-10 Fernando Diaz
Awful, terrible results for the opener. This was the second fight in a row where Scrappy Ramirez fought a limited strength opponent who usually fights in a lower weight class, and the second time in a row where he looked limited and underwhelming. Unfortunately for Fernando Diaz, the house fighter’s attitude won out and Ramirez (12-0, 8 KOs) walks out of the night officially undefeated.
Ramirez let Diaz (12-4-1, 4 KOs) lead the action early on and Diaz took the opportunity to land some thrusts and heavy right hands. Ramirez became a bit more assertive starting in the middle of the fight, but spent entire rounds mostly waiting for the perfect counter, receiving much more than he ever gave in the process.
BLH had it 98-92 on our unofficial card, and the crowd at home went from chanting Scrappy’s name at the beginning to booing his victory announcement at the end. If he doesn’t make significant changes, it will ultimately cost him the fight as he bolsters his opposition.