In the Ruiz vs Ortiz co-main event, top lightweight contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz (24-2-1, 17 KOs) delivered a highlight-reel knockout over veteran contender Eduardo Ramirez (27-3-3, 12 KOs) in the second round of their showdown.
Already a fan favorite after giving three-division world champion Gervonta Davis all he could handle in defeat at this same arena last December, Mexico City’s Cruz entered the ring to roaring approval as he looked for another statement victory.
“I was ready to win at all costs, for my family, and what better way to win than here in front of all the great fans in Los Angeles,” said Cruz.”
Midway through round two, Davis showed his fight-changing power, which has helped make him a fan favorite in Los Angeles and beyond. Cruz first connected flush with a big left hook around a Ramirez jab, sending Ramirez to the mat hard.
While Ramirez could reach his feet, Cruz pushed forward, sensing his moment to end the fight.
Using a feint right hand, Ramirez caught Cruz cleanly with another left hook and followed up with a solid right hand to score a second knockdown.
This time referee Jack Reiss jumped in immediately and halted the bout 2:27 into the round.
“I lost, and I have to accept that,” said Ramirez. “I’ll get better and move forward. I felt like I was fighting well, and then everything suddenly turned.
“That’s just boxing. Now I’m going to rest, recover and plan my next moves. But I’ll be back. You can count on that.”
In his post-fight interview with FOX Sports’ Heidi Androl, Cruz declared his intention to rematch WBA Lightweight Champion Gervonta Davis, who was seated ringside.
“We want the rematch with Gervonta Davis,” said Cruz. “That’s what these fans want. I promised the knockout tonight, and we got it done.”
Abner Mares vs Miguel Flores
In his first fight over four years, former three-division world champion Abner Mares (31-3-2, 15 KOs) fought Miguel Flores (25-4-1, 12 KOs) to an exciting majority draw after 10-rounds in their lightweight duel.
Mares had a hot start to his ring return, landing a series of sharp right hands early in round two that brought his hometown Southern California crowd to its feet as their hometown hero landed 42 blows in the frame.
A world champion at bantamweight, super bantamweight, and featherweight throughout his career, Mares believed he had done enough to win the fight.
“It had been over four years, so I was a little off with my timing and sluggish,” said Mares. “But I felt good and thought I was landing the more powerful shots throughout.”
Although Mares held a 151 to 124 edge in punches, the two combatants were even at 90 to 90 in punches landed throughout rounds three through 10. His improvement in the fight’s second half was enough for the victory in Flores’ eyes.
“It was a good fight, and obviously, I thought I pulled it off,” said Flores. “I know we’re in his hometown, and he’s a veteran, so it is what it is.
“He was trying to pot-shot me, but I was catching most of it. He gave me a couple of good shots early on, but I felt I was in control after the fourth round.”
Flores had his best rounds in the final two frames, sweeping the ninth and 10th on all three cards to clinch the draw.
The raucous 10th round left the fans on their feet with both fighters raising their hand in victory before the scores of 95-95 twice, and 96-94 for Mares were read.
“It was a great atmosphere,” said Flores. “It’s hard not to let the crowd get you carried away. I know they were cheering for me, too, by the end.
“This leaves me in a great position. We got a draw against a three-division world champion, so it leaves a good taste in your mouth.”
“After four years away, I did enough to beat a young kid and an active fighter,” said Mares.
“My performance speaks for itself. The crowd was happy, and it felt good to be home. I felt like I won, but it is what it is. The judges saw a draw.”