Ramon Cardenas delighted his hometown San Antonio crowd by knocking out previously unbeaten Rafael Pedroza in the second round of a ShoBox main event on Saturday night.
Super bantamweight Cardenas (23-1, 12 KOs) was the aggressor in the opening round, taking the fight to the taller Panamanian, but really exploded in the second. A short left hook dropped Pedroza, who climbed quickly to his feet, only for Cardenas to swiftly land another hook that folded Pedroza (15-1, 11 KOs) onto the canvas again, prompting referee Rafael Ramos to stop the contest at 1:23 of the round.
In the co-main event, Rudy Garcia started well in a battle of unbeaten featherweights, attacking Mirco Cuello in the first round, snapping back the Argentine fighter’s head with a sharp jab and marking him under the eye. And Garcia (13-1-1, 2 KOs) maintained his effort throughout the 10-rounder; but his lack of power proved an unsurpassable impediment, as Cuello walked through his punches, ripped him to the body and cut him on the nose and under the eye en route to a unanimous decision win that moved him to 13-0 (11 KOs).
Cuello’s cause was aided by a knockdown called in his favor in round 5, even though it appeared Garcia dropped to his knees from a push, but even without the extra point, Cuello was a clear winner, the judges returning scores of 99-90 across the board.
The punch stats suggested a fairly close contest: Cuello landed 71 of 209 jabs, compared to 50 of 318 for Garcia, and 90 of 233 power shots, against Garcia’s 74 of 212. Had Garcia had more weight behind his power punches, the outcome might have been different, and Cuello will need to tighten up his defense and not swing for the fences with every shot when he faces stiffer opposition.
In the opener, welterweight Freudis Rojas was taken the distance for the first time in his young career, but won a wide unanimous decision over Saul Bustos to remain unbeaten.
The taller Rojas (12-0, 11 KOs) controlled the fight from the start with a stiff southpaw jab that prevented Bustos (15-2-1, 8 KOs) from getting within punching range, working in power punches to body and head before sliding out to one side and resetting as Bustos sought to corner him.
Through five of the eight rounds, Bustos seemed frustrated and unable to land anything of note; in the sixth, he began to close the distance a little and to become slightly more effective as he committed more to throwing an overhand right, only for him to roll his left ankle just when he was gathering momentum.
After a timeout, he was able to walk off the pain and was more aggressive over the final couple of rounds, but still struggled to leave an impression on the judges, who scored for Rojas 79-73 (twice) and 80-72.