By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Andrea Kaus
Thompson Boxing Promotions brought us Path To Glory, held once again at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California. The house was full and the fans were loud. The main event brought us the big men, as LaRon Mitchell (15-0, 13 KOs) faced off against Scott Alexander (12-2-2, 6 KOs). This heavyweight bout was scheduled to go 10 rounds, and was for the vacant NABF Junior heavyweight title.
Some good body punching by these giants in the first three minutes. Alexander was the first to strike, while Mitchell was conservative with his gloves, waiting until he thought he has the right opening to land that big punch. This was the same in the second until right at the end of the round Scott was able to land a great shot on LaRon.
A quick little right / left combination by Mitchell put Alexander down early in the third, but he was right up and carried on. During the round the two had a good exchange of body punches. The pair rattled back and forth in the fourth, and it was a pretty even round.
Alexander was landing some good punches in the fifth that had his corner excited, but shortly after that he appeared to turn his ankle and fell to the canvas. Time was taken out while he walked it off and the fight continued. In the sixth there was a lot of holding and shoving.
Scott allowed Mitchell to put him on the ropes and keep him there for the majority of round seven. He would throw and land some punches, but had to work in close quarters off those ropes. That lasted the entire round. Because it worked so well in the round prior, LaRon shoved Scott to the ropes again and wouldn’t let him off. That tactic probably wasn’t scoring any points for Mitchell, but it certainly took all of the aggression away from Alexander.
Same thing, different round. But at least there were a few times when Scott could actually land some punches on LaRon while being stuck between the big man and the ropes. We moved into the final round, and Alexander was really trying to roll, jump, or do anything he could to get off the ropes. Most of the time it didn’t work, but every now and then he was able to get free and land punches.
As was the case most of the night in the other fights, we went to the scorecards. One judge saw the fight 97-92 and the other two had it 98-91, all for Mitchell. He remained undefeated and also took home that NABF Junior heavyweight title.
Welterweights were next when Juan Ruiz (17-0, 10 KOs) took on Wilberth Lopez (15-6, 10 KOs). This fight was to go a scheduled eight, and was the co-main event of the evening. There were very few punches thrown in the first three minutes, with the only one to really land happening at the 10-second warning. That was thrown by Ruiz.
Things picked up some in the second, but that wasn’t really hard to do. Unfortunately, we had already seen some very good and fast-paced bouts, so this one seemed particularly slow in the opening rounds. The third was much like the first two. Granted, there were more punches thrown, but the energy level just seemed flat and nothing of any consequence came close to landing.
Many more punches were thrown and landed in the fourth. Still, nothing to write home about, but the activity level was increasing. The fifth and sixth were more of the same, and the fans, who had been restless since the second round of the fight, were totally unimpressed by this time.
In the seventh round, the boos started. The fight most were expecting from Ruiz was not happening. Lopez was connecting with his punches, and Juan had been unable to land anything on his opponent. The same was true in the eighth and final. Ruiz did not look like a fighter with a 16-0 record at any time during this bout.
We went to the scorecards in this, a fight that proved to be the most lackluster one of the night. One judge saw it a draw at 76-76, while the other two had it 78-74, giving the majority victory to Ruiz. Still, I stand by what I said – he did not fight like an undefeated boxer on this night.
Ricardo Espinoza (10-1, 8 KOs) faced off against Francisco Lapizco (7-5, 2 KOs) in a fight scheduled for six rounds in the super flyweight division. Overhand right by Lapizco put Espinoza down in the first minute of the opening round. A few seconds later a barrage of punches put him down again. And just when you thought it was over, Ricardo put Francisco on the canvas. Three knockdowns in the round – nothing boring about this fight!
In the second, Espinoza went crazy on Lapizco and it looked as if he would finish him off at any time, but that never happened. While Francisco took a lot of punishment, he hung in there and was landing hard punches again when the round ended. In the third round, they settled down into just beating each other up for three minutes.
Lapizco was back firing on all cylinders in the fourth, snapping Espinoza’s head back several times during the round. Ricardo came back a bit in the fifth, but was not able to take back total control. We moved into the sixth and final round of this exciting fight.
Lapizco’s right hand was working for him all night, and he continued to find a home for it in the sixth. Despite three knockdowns, we went to the scorecards. One judge saw the fight 58-56, and the other two had it 57-56, giving the unanimous decision to Espinoza. This fight was a good one, and many felt it could have gone either way, or been a draw.
Lightweights came in next when Cesar Villarraga (9-3, 4 KOs) took on Juan Ramon Reyes (13-3-3, 2 KOs) in a fight scheduled to go six rounds. These two wasted no time in showing why they came, as each one went to work on the other from the opening bell. The trading of punches continued into the second, with both Villarraga and Reyes landing their punches.
At the end of the third and halfway through the fight, nobody seemed to have a clear advantage. They were just waging a war against each other, with both of them landing hard punches. Reyes applied a lot more pressure in the fourth, and even though he took some good hits, he landed many of his own as he pushed Cesar back.
Villarraga must not have liked what occurred in the previous round, because he came out strong in the fifth. Once again, these two gave us three minutes of constant action. This had been a good and hard-fought battle, and that did not change when they stepped in for the sixth and final round. Toe to toe, punch for punch, they were on fire.
In a super showing by two talented fighters, we went to the scorecards. The judges saw the fight 58-56, 59-55, and 60-54, giving the unanimous victory to Reyes.
Eredani Leon (4-2, 1 KO) faced off against Jacob Szilasi (4-2, 4 KOs) in a fight in the welterweight division. This bout was scheduled for four rounds. The first round was rather uneventful with no damage done by either man. It was a much more active second that saw Leon land some good body shots and Szilasi get in some on Eredani’s head.
Leon connected with some really hard punches in the third and seemed to take control. In the fourth, Jacob was really trying to come back, and this final round had become a slugfest. Both men were giving to their opponent. We went to the scorecards. All three judges saw the fight the same, 40-36, all for Leon.
In a bout scheduled for four rounds in the featherweight division, we saw Alex Solorio (3-2, 1 KO) going up against Alimkhan Jumakhonov (4-2, 3 KO). The first round was one in which both men had their moments, and it was pretty even. For the majority of the second round these two fought in a phone booth – they looked like they were glued together. Again, punches landed for each fighter.
The two stayed close again in the third, which took power away from each of them. When they did back up a bit they were able to land solid shots. In the fourth and final both men came out like wild animals. They continued to pound each other the entire three minutes, and we went to the scorecards. One judge saw the fight 39-37, while the other two had it 40-36, all for Jumakhonov.
To start off this seven fight card we saw Michael Dutchover making his professional debut against Cesar Partida (1-1-1). This fight was in the super featherweight division and was scheduled to go four rounds. Dutchover just smothered Partida in the first round, landing the more powerful punches of the two along the way.
The second round was more of the same, with Michael dishing out continuing punishment. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. was taking a close look at Cesar as he absorbed all those punches. A flurry of leather put Partida down early in the third round, but he got up and was able to make it to the end of the three minutes. Before the fourth however, the fight was stopped on the advice of the ringside physician. Dutchover was impresive in his pro debut.
Even though there were a lot of fights on the card and it was a late evening, for the most part we got to witness good competition and entertaining fights. The Villarraga and Reyes fight, as well as Espinoza against Lapizco were fun fights to watch, and Dutchover made people sit up and take notice in his pro debut. Jumakhonov looked good in victory as well.