The “Path to Glory” main event was over before it had a chance to begin. In the second round, an accidental clash of heads between super bantamweights Isaac Zarate (13-3-3, 2 KOs) and Christian Esquivel (29-12-1, 22 KOs) played the part of spoiler.
Zarate, a southpaw, bumped heads with Esquivel more than half way through the second round and created a nasty gash above Esquivel’s right eye. The ringside physician ruled him unable to continue, officially declaring the bout a technical draw at the 2:18 mark.
It was an unfortunate turn of events, as both boxers prior to the stoppage engaged in a thrilling back and forth display that had the crowd amped.
“We were going after it just before it happened,” Zarate said. “The fans were going to get a great fight. The crowd understood what happened though. They weren’t too upset about it.”
In the co-feature, junior welterweight Mohammed Rodgriguez (11-4, 4 KOs) of Mexico survived an eighth round knockdown to win by split decision against Colombian Cesar Villarraga (9-4-1, 4 KOs).
Rodriguez, who had a distinct size and reach advantage, appeared to control the early rounds with Villarraga coming on strong down the stretch. Indeed, the routine action produced a fan friendly fight, but one that was difficult to score.
Rodriguez excelled with his right hand, while Villarraga scored with his counter punching ability. In the eighth round, Villarraga landed a counter left uppercut that downed Rodriguez. In the end, it was too little too late as Rodriguez earned the win with scores 76-75 twice, while one judge had it for Villarraga, 78-73.
Bantamweight Saul Sanchez (6-0, 4 KOs) of Indio, Calif., looked every bit like a top prospect after his brutal, one-punch knockout of Nestor Ramos (7-7-1, 3 KOs) of Mexico.
Sanchez, trained by Joel Diaz, landed a crushing left hook to the midsection that left Ramos rolling on the canvas in agony. Referee Jerry Cantu waived off the fight at the 2:06 mark of the opening round.
Bantamweight Daniel Guzman (2-1, 1 KO) of Los Angeles overwhelmed Mexico’s Jose Mora (1-5) to win by second round knockout. Guzman came out hungry from the outset, landing strong body shots and showcasing excellent side-to-side movement.
A left hook to the body dropped Mora halfway through the second round and an equally punishing left ended his night at the 2:32 mark.
Napa’s Brandon Trejo (3-0, 1 KO) notched his first knockout victory over the still winless Carlos Apodaca (0-6-1) in the “Path to Glory” show opener. Trejo, a lightweight, advanced on Apodaca behind an accurate left jab and timely body punching.
By the third round, Trejo had Apodaca worn out and quickly closed the deal with his steady attack at the 1:21 mark.