The fights are underway tonight in Las Vegas, and we’ve got all the results and notes from tonight’s Stevenson-Nakathila undercard.
- Manuel Rey Rojas UD-8 Tyler McCreary: This was an upset, kinda, in that McCreary (16-2-1, 7 KO) was the favored guy and the A-side, but Rojas (21-5, 6 KO) pretty much dominated here, and that wasn’t that much of a surprise if you’re honest about McCreary’s record. The ESPN team did roast him pretty hard for most of the fight, and based it all on him losing badly to Carl Frampton in his last fight back in Dec. 2019. But McCreary had shown serious limitations before that, too — he drew with Roberto Castaneda and won a split decision over Jessie Cris Rosales before the Frampton fight. The low ceiling on McCreary has seemed fairly clear for a while now. Rojas is no top fighter, but he’s a scrapper and always comes to fight. McCreary has a bad habit of just not throwing enough or doing enough, and it killed him here. Not that Rojas was crazy busy or anything, but he was consistent and made his work count more.
- John Bauza TKO-2 Christon Edwards: Weird fight with Edwards (12-3, 6 KO) going down late in the first round, then getting finished off early in the second. The stoppage was legit, Bauza (15-0, 6 KO) was beating him easily. Edwards also started the fight without a mouthpiece, so it was just strange all around. Not much to say about the fight, really, Bauza did as expected, but man does this dude throw blatant elbows. Something for future opponents to scout, I guess.
- Xander Zayas TKO-3 Larry Fryers: Fryers (11-4, 4 KO) gave his usual solid effort, but the 18-year-old Zayas (9-0, 7 KO) really is looking like a star in the making so far in his pro career. Top Rank signed him at 16, which made him the youngest fighter they’ve ever signed, and when you watch him fight you can see why they had that much enthusiasm for him and still do. He’s sharp, smart, doesn’t fight like an arrogant young guy, has power. Puerto Rico has been aching for a top young boxer to actually break through and become a true top pro fighter for a while now, and Zayas might be the best current bet among pros.
- Bryan Lua UD-6 Frevian Gonzalez: Lua (8-0, 3 KO) got scores of 58-56, 60-54, and 60-54, and I lean more to the shutout than giving Gonzalez (4-1, 1 KO) two rounds. The 23-year-old Lua continues to look sharp, someone seemingly a bit ahead of his experience level as a pro, after losing some time to injuries that could have ended his career. Bernardo Osuna kept talking about Lua having a “big fight” by the end of 2021, but he had to keep it confidential, so it’s a very big mystery if he means an actual big fight at 130 or, like, Karlos Balderas or Toka Kahn Clary or somebody.
- Troy Isley TKO-4 LaQuan Evans: I’m generally a “better safe than sorry” guy, and I generally respect the ref’s calls because they’re right there, but I think Evans (4-2, 2 KO) deserved to finish this fight. There were about 30 seconds left, he wasn’t notably hurt, and he was fighting back and defending himself. Bad stoppage. But the win was going Isley’s way. Isley now heads to Tokyo for the Olympics starting next month, and has some momentum. The 22-year-old junior middleweight was sharp here in his second pro fight, and Evans gave himself some useful work, too.
- Kasir Goldston UD-4 Maurice Anthony: Not the most exciting showing for the 18-year-old Goldston (3-0, 1 KO), but also had no real problems with Anthony (3-2, 3 KO) and not always being super exciting isn’t necessarily the worst thing. He’s a young fighter still learning his trade, and Anthony gave him a few things to think about.
- Jahi Tucker UD-4 Ysrael Barboza: Tucker won on scores of 40-36 across the board, as he should have. The 18-year-old Tucker (4-0, 2 KO), a welterweight prospect, did not much impress Tim Bradley on commentary here, particularly when he spent time mid-fight trying to shout Tim out from the ring. Tucker’s young and a little cocky, but he’ll either learn from gradual reality checks or not. That just comes in due time. Good prospect, though, clearly has ability.