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  • By Miguel Maravilla at Ringside Photos by Tom

Cotto Dominates Kamegai

While most of the world's attention was focused on the Mayweather McGregor fiasco in Vegas. The action was in Southern California as Puerto Rico's only four division world champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) returned to the ring Saturday night at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California taking on Japan's Yoshihiro "El Maestrito" Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs) on HBO World Championship Boxing main event. In what was an action packed fight from start to finish Cotto added another world title to his legacy in winning a hard fought decision over the Japanese warrior Kamegai who kept bringing throughout the night.

Kamegai came right at Cotto sneaking in the right hands and backing him to the ropes but in the closing seconds Cotto connected with a huge left hook. Continuing to go at Cotto, Kamegai pressed in round two as they went toe to toe. The Japanese kept the aggression in round three as Cotto boxed away landing power shots. Circling the ring in round four Cotto landed big but despite that, Kamegai continued to go at him taking his best shots.

Cotto landed a huge right hand to start the fifth snapping Kamegai's head back tagging him throughout the round but that didn't bother to shy away the Japanese warrior who kept coming banging his gloves together. Nothing seemed to bother Kamegai as he kept running into Cotto's bombs in the sixth and pressing, the Puerto Rican boxed effectively. Past the halfway point in the seventh Cotto continued his dominance but Kamegai's heart made it a fight as he kept coming.

Late in the fight in round nine the Puerto Rican landed power combinations snapping Kamegai's head again. In round ten Cotto circled the ring boxing away but there was no stopping Kamegai. The championship rounds was all Cotto as he kept it conservative and sealing it in route to a decision win as the judges scored the fight 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110.

In the co feature bout WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs ) of Mexico City and Ronny Rios (28-2, 13 KOs) squared off as Vargas was defending his WBC title he won over Gavin McDonnell going into hostile territory for the second fight in a row as the local favorite Rios of nearby Santa Ana, California was looking to become Santa Ana's first ever world champion.

Rios off to a fast start shot right hands to the body as Vargas jabbed following up with looping rights. In round two Vargas connected with a left hook to the body as Vargas returned landing a solid right hand. Trading away in the third Rios backed Vargas up as he went to the body crunching him in the closing seconds. Keeping his distance in round four Vargas shot the jab and fired combinations.

A body shot by Rios backed Vargas to start the fifth as he followed up with an uppercut, later in the round Rios landed a solid left hook. The sixth round saw Rios work inside as Vargas kept his distance boxing away. Past the halfway point in round seven it was all action as Rios pressed Vargas threw combinations. A looping right by Rios followed by a left hook staggered Vargas as he escaped from the attack surviving the round.

Late in the fight in the eighth the left hook found its mark for Rios as he backed Vargas to the ropes, the Mexico City fighter continued to keep his distance. The left hook was the key for Rios as he continued to connect Vargas in the tenth, who fired combinations and boxed away. The championship rounds saw Vargas busier pop away with the jab from a distance and fire combinations inside as the local fighter attempted to get inside. The twelfth and final round the champion Vargas was conservative in keeping his distance boxing as the hometown fighter and challenger Rios pressed sensing the urgency.

In the end the judges scored the bout 118-110, 118-110, and 115-113 as Vargas retains his WBC super bantamweight title.

Other Bouts

Glendora, California's Joet Gonzalez (18-0, 9 KOs) scored a fifth round stoppage over Deivis Bassa (19-3, 11 KOs) of Montreal, Canada in a scheduled ten round super featherweight bout. A right hand by Gonzalez sent Bassa to the canvas as he continued. Gonzalez continued his attack as referee Jack Reiss stepped in to stop the fight at 2:57 of the fifth.

Super bantamweight prospect Emilio Sanchez (15-0, 10 KOs) of Pacoima, California stopped Danny Flores (11-8-1, 5 KOs) of Durango, Mexico in five rounds of a scheduled eight rounder. Sanchez landed a solid right hand in the opening round as he backed Flores. Attacking the body in round two Sanchez worked Flores inside as he kept pressing. In round three Sanchez continued to land big punches as he boxed Flores. The fourth round saw Flores land some big punches as he exchanged with the fast handed Sanchez. However in round five an accumulation of punches by Sanchez forced the referee to stop the fight 33 seconds of the fifth.

Tenochtitlan Nava (7-0, 1 KO) of Los Angeles had his hands full against Angel Aguilar (8-14, 1 KO) of Mexico in going the distance of a scheduled four round featherweight bout. Nava fought on the inside the majority of the fight pressing Aguilar who held his own making the local fighter work hard for his victory as the judges scored the bout 39-37.

In a scheduled six round welterweight bout Ronnie Rios's younger brother Alexis Rocha (9-0, 6 KOs) of Santa Ana, California, scored a knockout over Esau Herrera (19-10-1, 10 KOs). A right hand by Rocha in the final seconds of the opening round did it dropping Herrera as he did not get up referee Jack Reiss reached a ten count at 2:59 of the first.

San Diego's Genaro Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Rafael Reyes (7-11, 5 KOs) in a lightweight bout. Gamez scored a knockdown in round two as he connected Reyes with a right followed by a left to the body. In round four Gamez cornered Reyes and landed chopping overhand rights. Later in the round Gamez landed a low blow as referee Tony Crebbs deducted a point. Gamez kept his composure and continued to box cruising his way to a decision win as the judges scored the bout 59-53, 59-53, and 58-54.

Javier Padilla (3-0-1, 3 KOs) of Indio, California and Ricardo Arias (1-1-1) of Mexico City went toe to toe going the distance in a four round bantamweight bout. Fighting on the inside the taller Padilla teed off and busted Arias's nose in the opening round. Padilla continued to land big punches as Arias stood his ground throughout the fight. The fourth and final round neither fighter took a step back sensing the urgency as the fight was close. All three judges scored the bout even a draw 38-38.

The little guys Janel Rivera (16-2-3, 10 KOs) of Puerto Rico and Mexicali, Mexico's Marco Sanchez (12-6-3, 7 KOs) were in action as Rivera scored a brutal first round knockout in a scheduled eight round minimumweight bout. Rivera landed a low blow to start as the referee Tony Crebbs deducted a point. However moments later a huge left hook knocked Sanchez out cold as the referee immediately waived the bout at 1:59 of the first.

In the opening bout from the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California Ruben Rodriguez (1-0, 1 KO) of Indio, California made his pro debut stopping Rolando Padilla (0-3) of Los Angeles in two rounds of a scheduled four round bout. Rodriguez landed bombs early as the referee had seen enough waiving the bout at 47 seconds of the second.

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