Alexis Rocha started hot and finished strong tonight in Indio, California, pummeling the body of Anthony Young to set up a crushing left hook to the head that ended things in the 5th round.
This was not a fight made by popular demand. Rocha (23-1, 15 KO) spent most of the year so far orbiting around a mandatory shot at WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Young (24-3, 8 KO) had to withdraw from fighting Rocha in January, but got a second chance as the final stages of negotiations for the undisputed welterweight mega-fight between Crawford and Errol Spence left Rocha in need of a stay-busy opponent.
Rocha certainly stayed busy, working Young’s body with thumping lefts all night long, while Young struggled to do anything that might discourage him. Young tried to turn the tide by mucking things up a bit, grabbing and holding, and circling around Rocha to wrap him up from behind more than once. But whatever magic he had the night he upset Sadam Ali wasn’t present for him against Rocha, who closed the show with a punishing left to the head that put Young on the canvas. Young got up, but was visibly unsteady, leading to a 5th round referee stoppage and a Rocha TKO victory.
Afterwards, Rocha gave himself a “C” grade, and said “I’m the WBO mandatory, I want the winner [of Spence-Crawford] next. And that’s it.”
Rocha vs Young highlights
Undercard highlights and results
Oscar Duarte TKO-7 D’Angelo Keyes
If life were a Rocky movie, signing on as Oscar Duarte’s opponent would have ended in heartwarming triumph for D’Angelo Keyes, who is currently homeless, lost his car, lives on the couches of friends, and last fought in what was described on commentary as someone’s backyard.
But, boxing and life are often cruel, and a visibly smaller Keyes couldn’t keep Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KO) at bay. Duarte looked significantly bigger in the ring, and landed multiple power shots that had me wincing. Keyes (17-3, 11 KO) gave a good effort, and never looked anxious or overwhelmed. He has tremendous heart and toughness, and looks very slick for an unheralded guy. But Duarte started reeling him in early in the 2nd round, dropped Keyes in the 3rd and the 7th, and hurt him repeatedly in between. Keyes got up quickly from the 7th round knockdown, but the doctor saw enough to stop the fight between rounds.
Keyes could easily have stayed down on either knockdown, or fallen down on multiple punishing power shots from Duarte. Credit to him for a courageous effort, and hopefully he gets another opportunity and payday on a future Golden Boy show.
Oscar Collazo TKO-7 Melvin Jerusalem
Melvin Jerusalem’s first fight as the WBO champion ended with a corner retirement after a magnificent display of body work from Oscar Collazo. Jerusalem (20-3, 12 KO) started hot, keeping Collazo (7-0, 5 KO) at range and firing off a bit more quickly in the early rounds.
After three rounds, Collazo had a wicked mark on the left side of his face, and Jerusalem seemed in control and on his way to victory. But, Collazo stepped up his aggression in the 4th round, and outstanding body work from that point on ultimately swung this fight. Jerusalem got hurt bad to the ribs on multiple occasions, stopped throwing back, and spent the last half of this fight suffering punishment before he and his corner elected to stop the fight right after the end of the 7th round.
Fantastic job of adjusting by Collazo, taking control of a fight that could easily have gotten out of hand.
Scrappy Ramirez SD-10 Fernando Diaz
Terrible, terrible scores for the opener. This was the second consecutive fight where Scrappy Ramirez fought an opponent with limited power that usually campaigns at a lower weight class, and the second consecutive time where he looked limited and underwhelming. Unfortunately for Fernando Diaz, house fighter bias carried the day, and Ramirez (12-0, 8 KO) escapes the night officially undefeated.
Ramirez let Diaz (12-4-1, 4 KO) drive the action in the early going, and Diaz took the opportunity to land some snapping jabs and heavy right hands. Ramirez got a bit more assertive starting in the middle of the fight, but spent entire rounds largely just waiting to land the perfect counter, taking far worse than he ever gave back in the process.
BLH had this 98-92 on our unofficial card, and the house crowd went from chanting Scrappy’s name at the start to booing the announcement of his victory at the end. If he doesn’t make substantial changes, it will eventually cost him a fight as he steps up his opposition.