Las Vegas May 4th, 2019- Virgil Ortiz 13-0 13KOs is the real deal. Yes, he was supposed to beat Mauricio Herrera 24-9 7KOs. That’s not the point.

A stoppage of Herrera would have met or exceeded expectations and he delivered on his potential. That’s what stars in boxing do, they meet or exceed expectations and rise above pressures to distinguish themselves from their peers. Fail to do that, and your just good. Not a star, not great. Just good.

Ortiz dominated distance from the outset of the fight landing right hands at will dropping Herrera at the end of the second.

To open the third Ortiz launched a rocket of a right hand that stopped Herrera dead in his tracks as he slowly crumpled to the canvas. Referee Russel Mora saw the limp body of Herrera and immediately stopped the fight.

Its been a long career for Herrera and this fight should be a signal for his retirement.

The sky is the limit for Ortiz as he notches his most impressive win over a rugged fighter who had never been stopped.

“Everyone thinks that I don’t have all that experience just because I’m 12-0…well I’m 13-0 now. People don’t realize I work in the gym hard every day. I spar world champions all the time. I’m not the one that goes to the world champions and says, ‘hey, can we spar?’ They come up to me. And that’s the difference between me and the other prospects.”

Joseph Diaz Jr. Rolls Fonseca in 7th

Joseph Diaz Photo: Lina Baker
Joseph Diaz Photo: Lina Baker

Since moving up to 130 after failing to make weight in a title challenge last year Joseph Diaz Jr. 29-1 15KOs has looked faster and stronger dispatching low opposition. Tonight was no different as Diaz landed first and last in each exchange, Fonseca was game but no match for Diaz’s level.

After a blistering for seven rounds Fonseca’s trainer Marcos Caballero had seen enough jumping onto the apron to signal a halt to the fight.

“I felt really good at 130. This is my second fight at this weight and I felt very comfortable. Like I said, 126 was just way too hard for me. I wasn’t able to showcase the power I actually have. Now I’m able to showcase my skills, my defense, my head movement, everything. I feel like I have it all at 130. Tevin where you at?”

Joseph Diaz lands a left hook Photo: Lina Baker
Joseph Diaz lands a left hook Photo: Lina Baker

Lamont Roach Stays Unbeaten

Even though the crowd didn’t approve Lamont Roach Jr 19-0-1 7KOs picked up a deserved victory over rugged Jonathan Oquendo 30-6 19KOs. Oquendo smashed Diaz’s nose early in the second round to send a constant stream of blood for the duration of the fight.

Lamont Roach Jr Photo: Lina Baker
Lamont Roach Jr Photo: Lina Baker

Oquendo would have moments during aggression but it was often Roach landing first then last to win the exchanges down the stretch. In the eighth round Oquendo was docked a point for leading with his head by referee Russel Mora.

On scores of 97-92 twice and 96-93 Roach heads back home Washington D.C. in line for a potential title shot.

“The fight played out good. I think it could have gone better of course. But I’m glad we got this experience, to go up to the championship level. The only guys that beat him became champions and I’m one of them.”

Young Stops Ali in Three

Sadam Ali was on the rise after an upset victory over Miguel Cotto in late 2017. Coming back from a knockout loss to Jessie Vargas, the former American Olympian ran into wrecking ball Jaime Mungia and looks to be a changed man.

Anthony Young beat a slow and out of synch Ali to the punch on every occasion. Increasing the amount of damage taken referee Robert Byrd jumped in to save Ali from himself at .

Ali stared on in disbelief as a jubilant Young celebrated his first notable victory.

After the fight Young said, “I don’t want to say that he was over the hill but I think a lot of the confidence was taken after he fought Munguia after the Miguel Cotto fight. He was always moving backwards, and I knew that if I just applied pressure I was going to break him down. First couple punches, I saw his reaction to it, and I thought, I got it.”

Ryder Stops Akkawy

Bilal Akkawy 20-1-1 16KOs was on the rise heading in to face John Ryder 28-4 15KOs for the vacant WBA Interim Super Middleweight title. Ryder, possibly feeling disrespected made short work of the Eddy Reynoso trained Akkawy stopping him at 2:12 of the third round.

Ryder dropped Akkawy with a right hand then followed up with a flurry that prompted referee Jay Nady to step in and save the Australian.

“That was for the interim title, I’ve won an eliminator and I’m number one in the WBA so the message is clear, I want Callum Smith next. He’s got a fight on June 1 on the AJ card and if he wins that, I want to fight him next. I’ve paid my dues and got into position for it, Callum is a brilliant fighter and I know it’s a tough fight but it’s one that I want and I’d love. It would be a big fight in the UK and it would be a great fight too.” Said Ryder.

Avagyan Beats Esparza

Russian pressure fighter Aram Avagyan 9-0-1 4KOs out gunned previously unbeaten Francisco Esparza 9-1-1 3KOs down the stretch to notch a unanimous decision victory on scores of 97-92, and 96-93 twice. Esparza landed a hard right hand in the second to floor Avagyan. Avagyan turned the motor on after beating the count for the rest of the fight and never let off the gas.

Espinoza had no answer for the swarming Russian that never took a step back.

“It was a good camp. We trained well for the past two months. We had a gameplan, and we went in there and executed.” Avagyan said after the fight.

Espino Wins 2nd Bout

In the opening fight Las Vegas native Alexis Espino 2-0 1KOscored a unanimous decision victory over Montana’s Billy Wagner 1-1. Score cards read 39-35 twice and 39-34.

About Albert Baker

Writer/Producer/Director of the Under the Hand Wraps documentary series and owner of Albert Baker is currently based in Fresno, California and has been covering boxing since 2014.

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