Boxing trainer Robert Garcia has sung the gospel of Raymond “Danger” Muratalla for years, and now it seems he might be a fight away from a big opportunity.
In the biggest test of his career, Muratalla defeated Diego Torres via eighth-round technical knockout.
Muratalla, who has been compared to Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez who trains out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy, as a hidden gem that just needs a shot got a stern test against Torres’ who was undefeated with eighteen prior wins, and seventeen coming by way of knockout. Yet, if you hadn’t seen either fight before you wouldn’t have known it. Muratalla known for his world-class inside fighting stalked Torres, who never could sustain a substantial attack in the first round.
With his father, Gabriel Muratalla Sr., and Robert Garcia in his corner, it looked as though Muratalla wanted the stars to align so he could enter 2024 as one of the most talked about lightweights in a division that might have a lot of belts come empty if Devin Haney moves up to junior welterweight for good. Shakur Stevenson and Edwin De Los Santos will fight for the vacant WBC lightweight world title, and now given Muratalla’s WBO Global denotation it seems Muratalla would be in the picture for a vacant WBO lightweight title if Haney chooses to leave the division.
The Muratalla show continued as he impressively took a fighter viewed as his toughest test as a professional and made him look like a tune-up fight. Within the first few rounds, Torres’ will to win looked to be gone, though he was still fighting the confidence in a big punch landing looked to be slim to none. The person who seemed to know it the best was Torres who looked on with the best seat in the house, as Muratalla’s nickname is ‘Danger’, but on this night it could’ve been ghost as he was not getting touched by Torres. Add to the fact, that Muratalla has been known to start slow - yet on this evening he never gave Torres a chance.
The whispers of this being a tough test for Muratalla in the fighter hotel seemingly were gone by round three as it was no longer about if Muratalla would win, but how he would win. Torres was throwing spirited hard shots, but nothing was set up, and Muratalla always seemed a step ahead setting traps, hitting Torres sometimes clean, sometimes on gloves, but always on something. This was something Torres could not do as by the third round a big right hand landed that rocked Torres that caused an audible grow from the crowd.
As Muratalla began opening up showing pivots, feints, and angles it is clear we were watching one of the best lightweights in the world, and that the world soon would be let in on the secret. It wasn’t quite what Lomachenko did in the No-Maschenko era, but it wasn’t that far off either. Muratalla was making a feared power puncher who to be fair had a padded record from Mexico, but nonetheless a very dangerous puncher, looking like a limited fighter unable to compete on the world-class level.
That is a sign of a great fighter, and depending on his progression, an all-time great. The fight was relentless as Muratalla handed out a one-sided beating in which he never eased up. It was big shot after big shot. It was angle after angle. It is hard to believe that Torres will ever be the same after this type of fight in which everything that had worked for him was taken away within seconds of the opening round.
The deflated Torres saw things get worse as his output got lower and Muratalla got bolder landing several four-to-five punch combinations. Between rounds, the doctor took a good hard look at Torres, who was stilling wanting to fight, but the great people in the Nevada State Athletic Commission were not starting to pay close attention to the fight’s well-being after so many clean punches being landed.
The eighth round saw the first knockdown of the fight as Muratalla sent him to the canvas though Torres beat the count referee had seen enough and halted the bout, much to the dismay of a blood-thirsty Tahoe crowd.
The stoppage came at 1:48 of the eighth round
After the fight, Muratalla called for a world title shot in the lightweight division.
"I hope my next fight is a title bout," said Muratalla in the ring.