Promising middleweight Hugo “The Boss” Centeno Jr., (21-0, 11 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., kept his “O” via a clear and unanimous 10-round decision over late-substitute Gerardo Ibarra, (14-1, 8 KOs), of Houston at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California on Friday.
Previously undefeated Eddie “E Boy” Gomez (16-1, 10 KOs), of Bronx, N.Y., wasn’t so fortunate, losing an upset 10-round decision to surging Francisco “Chia” Santana (20-3-1, 7 KOs), of Santa Barbara, Calif., who won his eighth consecutive fight in a crowd-pleasing co-feature, televised on Showtime.
Making his first start for new trainer Eric Brown, Centeno dominated, winning by the scores of 99-91 twice and 100-90. His uppercut in close range and jab from a distance were key to the triumph.
“It’s never easy,’’ Centeno said afterward. “He was a tough, durable guy who came to fight. He was a late replacement but I didn’t underestimate him. I take nothing from him.’’
As for the future, Centeno wasn’t sure if he was staying at middleweight, or moving down to his more natural 154.
“I have to sit down with my camp and figure out what division works for us,” Centeno said. “I felt sharp at this weight. And I felt a lot sharper after just one month with Eric Brown. We’ll see how much better we’ll be after a few fights.”
Ibarra, who took the fight on a week’s notice, said he wasn’t mentally ready. “I just didn’t have enough time to prepare,’’ he said. “No excuses, the better man won tonight. He was just a little bit more ready than I was. I don’t regret taking the fight. It was a learning experience. You learn from your mistakes.”
Utilizing a 2½-inch height advantage, the 5-9½ Santana, 27, was victorious in an excellent, fast-paced, two-way action welterweight fight by the scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. There were no knockdowns, but Santana dominated the last half of the fight. According to SHOSTATS, Santana out threw Gomez, 683-460, even though he was less accurate.
“After the fifth round, I saw he was getting tired and I knew I had the bigger heart,’’ said Santana, who was certain the decision would go his way. “He’s talented, but I knew how to put my skills to use.
“A fighter knows when he won and lost. I knew I won. It was an amazing feeling when I heard Jimmy Lennon Jr. call my name. I knew I had the bigger heart and the bigger guts. I knew he would try to get me out of my comfort zone but I wouldn’t let him.
“I pulled the upset. On paper, he was supposed to win, but I knew what I came here to do. I’ve faced the tougher guys. I’m older and I know I don’t have much time. This is my time. I want to be the first Santa Barbara fighter to win a world title.
“To beat a great counter puncher you have to beat him with pressure. I gave smart pressure, not careless pressure.”
The 21 year-old Gomez, said after losing : “I thought I did enough to win. He was a tough guy and there were some close rounds, but I thought I did enough. I have to take this loss like a man. That’s life. It’s part of the sport. For sure I didn’t take him lightly. This was only the second time I’d ever fought 10 full rounds like that. It is back to the drawing board. I’ll learn from this and I’ll be back.’’
All pics supplied by Esther Lin/Showtime
June 6, 2014