By Michael Norby: Former featherweight world champion Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero said hello to the 135lb division in impressive fashion on Friday night after he punished veteran journeyman Efren Hinojosa until an eighth round injury forced an end to the one-sided contest at The HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, USA.
This evening’s bout was widely expected to be a comfortable lightweight debut for Guerrero 24-1-1 (17) and it was apparent from the opening bell that Hinojosa 30-6-1 (17) would be little match for the slick southpaw. Guerrero broke down the aging Mexican with damaging punches from the first round onwards until an apparent elbow injury forced a deflated Hinojosa to retire on his stool at the end of the eighth.
The taller Hinojosa took the fight on short notice and in the first round he was probably wishing he hadn’t answered the phone as Guerrero thumped him with left hands to the head throughout the frame. The experienced Mexican tried to make a fight of it but he was tagged consistently as he recklessly attacked the former champion – paying heavily for each failed assault.
It was more of the same in the second as Guerrero stepped back and unleashed a plethora of strong punches as his opponent rushed inside. Hinojosa managed to sneak in a couple of short right hands in the opening minute but he was all over the place in the second half of the frame as Guerrero’s powerful left hand found it’s target regularly.
To his credit, Hinojosa continued to attack in the third and he scored at times with straight right hands but the former champion was too quick and precise and he piled up points with both hands connecting to the body and head. He forced Hinojosa back in the final minute and unleashed a stunning left hand in the closing moments to punctuate another commanding round for the 26-year-old southpaw.
Guerrero continued his dominance in the middle rounds by landing the cleaner punches both from range and on the inside. He thumped Hinojosa with numerous straight left hands from distance in the fourth and fifth rounds – interrupted occasionally when the Mexican managed to jump inside to mix it up with the former featherweight champion.
Employing a measured and highly effective approach, Guerrero was in complete control but, as the fight entered the later stages, he stepped it up and began to hurt his opponent from the sixth round with tasty body punches. Referee Dan Stell was taking hard look at the 37-year-old and, in the seventh; Guerrero gave him more reason to by strafing his opponent with a slew of hard punches upstairs.
A clash of heads at the end of the round opened a cut at the corner of Guerrero’s left eye but he fought through it and continued to batter a weather damaged Hinojosa in the eighth. After that round, Hinojosa, who was in clear distress, complained of an arm injury and, after consulting the ringside doctor, Stell stopped the contest.
Time of stoppage: End of RD8
Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Danny Garcia enjoyed a short night’s work after he stopped overmatched Mexican Pavel Miranda in the second round of a scheduled eight.
Garcia 13-0 (7) began sharply and thundered both fists into the head and body of his opponent throughout the opening round. The highly regarded 21-year-old waited for Miranda 16-4 (8) to attack before unleashing terrific left hooks and combinations – each attack finding the hapless Miranda cleanly and effectively.
Miranda was sent to the deck after he walked into a huge counter left hook/right hand sequence in the opening moments of the second round. The Mexican got up but Garcia immediately trapped him in the corner and knocked him to the floor for the second time prompting referee Ray Balewicz to stop the contest.
Time of stoppage: 0:56 RD2
In heavyweight action, unbeaten local fighter Ashanti Jordan scored a six round majority decision victory over Andrae Carthron.
Jordan 10-0 (7) was able to take advantage of his opponent’s game but rather messy pressure tactics from the midway point of the first round onwards. Carthron 2-2-1 (1) forced his man into retreat early by punching his way forward but his strategy began to unravel before it ever really got going as Jordan began to time his approaches and scored regularly with both hands.
As the fight progressed, Jordan’s lead widened as he controlled his gritty opponent with clean, accurate punching that trumped his opponent’s brave efforts. The undefeated Californian planted heavy right hands against the jaw of Carthron in the second and third rounds and ended a sleepy fourth strongly with a round grabbing one-two.
Blood had begun to seep from the mouth of Carthron from the middle rounds and by the fifth it was leaking out steadily. Nevertheless, the 28-year-old enjoyed his best round of the contest throughout those three minutes as Jordan began to wilt. Jordan rebounded in the sixth and final frame, however, by landing consistently as Carthron again began to walk into leather on his way inside.
Scores: 57-57; 59-55; 59-55