Arnold Barboza Jr. shines, schoolteacher Muratalla wins again, and Elvis Rodriguez scores a must-see KO


Arnold Barboza Jr. took another step towards cementing his status as a junior welterweight contender by conclusively outboxing veteran Tony Luis in a 10-round unanimous decision victory Saturday night at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas

Barboza (24-0, 11 KOs) was in control from the very beginning and was never truly threatened by Luis. After 10 rounds, he won by the scores of 99-90 on all three judges scorecards.

Barboza, 28, boxed intelligently from the outside, and was able to consistently land his left jab and right hand, putting quick combinations together throughout the night. But not only was he quicker than Luis — who is a natural lightweight — Barboza was also noticeably stronger and bigger. No matter what Luis threw his way, for the most part, Barboza was able to shrug it off.

Barboza showed some versatility in the second half of the fight by going southpaw in the sixth round, something he started to do more and more in the late rounds. He made a concerted effort to break down Luis by going to the body often, but referee Michael Ortega deducted a point from him for a shot that landed low.

It was really academic as Barboza just kept landing punches on Luis. If there is a minor quibble with Barboza’s effort is that there were times when he seemed to have Luis hurt but never really shifted into another gear to try and force the stoppage.

With this victory, Barboza put himself in line to face former title challenger Alex Saucedo in October.

Rodriguez scores another must-see KO

Welterweight sensation Elvis Rodriguez (9-0-1, 9 KOs) continued his streak of eye-opening knockout victories as he dominated Cody Wilson in a third-round KO win. Rodriguez, a 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic, asserted his dominance as he knocked down Wilson in the first round and then put him away a couple of rounds later.

Rodriguez’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has been saying for the past year that this power-hitting southpaw is his best young prospect. It’s hard to argue with that assessment based on what Rodriguez has exhibited this summer. He has defeated three opponents in impressive fashion. First it was Danny Murray in one round back on July 2, then Dennis Okoth in Round 2 on July 21.

It was a left hand that sent Wilson (9-3, 6 KOs) down halfway through the first round. A right hook dazed Wilson near the end of the second round, which Rodriguez finished with a flurry. In the third, after another dizzying variety of power punches, a short left hook sent Wilson down and out. There was no need for a count, and the fight was waved off at 1:03 of the round.

Raymond Muratalla stops Valezuela in Round 7

Lightweight Raymond Muratalla defeated Cesar Valenzuela by seventh-round TKO in an impressive all-around performance, but it didn’t come easily, as Muratalla — just as his brother Gabriel did earlier in the night — had to overcome a knockdown in the second round.

Muratalla (10-0, 7 KOs) recovered well and regained control of the action with an uncommon poise for a 23-year-old fighter. He was boxing right after his older brother, Gabriel, scored a four-round decision over Justice Bland earlier in the night.

Raymond Muratalla displayed an impressive array of skills, from well-timed right hands to an accurate jab and left hooks to the body. Muratalla was never seemingly in a rush and proceeded to operate with great efficiency and precision, landing often on Valenzuela, who was shook up several times throughout the bout.

After getting buzzed in the fourth round, Valenzuela was hurt at the end of the sixth as Muratalla landed a series of accurate punches that had more and more effect as the round went on. Finally, in the seventh, as Muratalla was landing on Valenzuela, the bout was stopped 2:24 into the round.

Gabriel Muratalla keeps winning streak going inside the bubble

Gabriel Muratalla notched his third victory of the summer inside the Top Rank bubble, in a hard-earned four-round unanimous decision over Justice Bland. It was, by far, Muratalla’s most difficult bout as a professional.

In the opening minute of the bout, Muratalla suffered a flash knockdown, giving Muratalla a hill to climb to come back in the fight. But as he was struck by Bland (2-1) on the back of the head while on one knee, a timeout was called by referee Robert Hoyle, who also took a point away from Bland for the foul.

But over the next three rounds, Muratalla (5-0, 3 KOs), who is a preschool teacher by day, dusted himself off and got to work. He began to close ground on the much taller Bland, started landing good combinations to the body and came over the top with sharp right hands — one of which buzzed Bland in the third round.

Bland, who had fast hands and long arms, had his moments, but as the bout went on, Muratalla took over the fight with his determination and power. After four rounds, all three judges had Muratalla winning by the score of 38-36.

Martinez dominates Ward

Javier Martinez scored a six round shutout over Rance Ward in his second professional bout. All three judges gave the unanimous decision victory to Martinez, score the fight 60-54.

Martinez, who defeated Jonathan Ryan Burrs by unanimous decision on July 14, was able to outwork Ward throughout the fight. While Ward (4-2-1, 2 KOs) was certainly tough and durable, he was worn down by the Martinez (2-0) activity in the second half of the fight. Martinez threw an array of left hands, uppercuts and right hooks to overwhelm Ward, who was visibly hurt at the end of the fifth round and took his share of power punches in the final round.

For Martinez, this was his first fight under the direction of trainer Robert Garcia.

Still to come:

  • Title fight: Jose Ramirez vs. Viktor Postol, 12 rounds, for Ramirez’s WBC/WBO junior welterweight title

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