In the Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz pay-per-view telecast opener, Isaac Cruz labeled himself ‘The New Mike Tyson from Mexico.’
Cruz (20-1-1, 15 KOs) wasted no time in getting the fans on their feet, scoring a stunning first-round knockout of Diego Magdaleno (32-4, 13 KOs) just 53 seconds into the night’s action.
The diminutive but powerful Cruz came out swinging immediately after hearing the opening bell, using his vicious uppercut to knock down the 34-year-old Magdaleno for the 11th time in his career inside of 30 seconds.
Just 20 seconds after Magdaleno got to his feet, Cruz again unleashed a barrage of punches with Magdaleno against the ropes, finishing him off with back-to-back right uppercuts. In a short night of work, Cruz managed to land 21 of 31 punches, 20 of which were power shots.
With the win in the IBF Title Eliminator, Cruz puts himself in a position to challenge lightweight world champion, Teofimo Lopez down the line.
“The new Mike Tyson from Mexico was born tonight,” said the 22-year-old Cruz. “I thought it would go longer. But my instinct is always to go for it in the first round.
“I have confidence that I could win the world title right now. I thought it was a statement win. From now on, hopefully, everyone will know my name, and I’ll get the big fights.
“I would love a Teofimo Lopez fight. I’m very motivated right now. If he’s tough enough to take it, bring it on.”
In the co-feature, San Antonio’s hometown favorite Mario Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact and retained his WBA Super Lightweight title with a sixth-round KO over a game and bloodied Ryan Karl (18-3, 12 KOs) on Halloween night.
The fight broke open in the sixth round when Barrios landed a straight right hand that sent Karl down for just the third time in his career.
Karl’s problems were further exasperated after an accidental clash of heads created a brutal cut on his forehead, which proved to be too much to cope with.
The 25-year-old Barrios smelled blood and emphatically closed the show, landing a left hook that sent Karl down and out at 2:23 of the sixth round.
At the stoppage, Barrios was ahead on all three scorecards (48-47 and 49-46 twice).
In the all-important sixth round, Barrios landed 29 of his 58 power punches against a very tough Karl, who threw 60 punches per round but landed just 18 percent of those punches.
“This fight is for everybody who came out here in San Antonio tonight,” said Barrios, following the win. “I told them we’d get this first title defense. And I hope everyone enjoyed it.
“I was just being patient and picking my shots. So I started to really land them and got him out of there. I was ready to go a hard 12 rounds. But my patience helped me get him out of there.
“I listened to what Virgil [Hunter] was telling me in the corner. It was great to get the job done here at home.”
“I feel fine, but it was a hard shot that I got hit with,” said Milano, Texas’ “Cowboy” Karl. “It was a tough, good, close fight. It was a good headbutt.
“I was bleeding pretty good, but overall I feel fine. I’m not a sore loser. I come to fight. That’s what I expected. So congratulations to Mario on the win.
“Furthermore, we’ll move on from here.”