SAN ANTONIO – Seeing a neighbor don gloves and swap blows in a prizefighting ring is often thrilling enough for any fan to go home from a night at the fights fully satisfied. Performing before his hometown, though, Ivan Najera decided to provide local fans a bit of an extra thrill.
After showing poise and superiority of class in the opening half of the opening round of Saturday’s Leija-Battah Promotions main event, San Antonio’s Najera (8-0, 8 KOs) started a left hook-lead at fellow Texas junior welterweight Gerardo Dominguez (1-15, 6 KOs) an instant after Dominguez started to throw a left hook of his own. Dominguez’s landed first, and down went Najera in front of a surprised Cowboys Dancehall crowd.
Unfazed by what was obviously a flash knockdown, Najera rose, reestablished his poise and efficiently took his outmatched opponent apart. The end began with a left uppercut-lead in the opening minute of the second round, and the end ended with a quick combination that dropped Dominguez and rendered him unable to continue – at 1:06 of round 2 – despite Dominguez’s rising before the referee’s count reached 10.
It was a good win and a better lesson for one of this city’s most talked-about young prospects.
JAVIER RODRIGUEZ VS. THEO JOHNSON
Saturday’s most competitive match came in its co-main event, a four-round junior featherweight battle between two San Antonians, Javier “Pitbull” Rodriguez (2-1, 1 KO) and Theo “Thriller” Johnson (0-1). Each threw every punch in his arsenal multiple times, with Rodriguez early establishing himself as the better-balanced and -leveraged puncher, and with Johnson making several chin-jarring right crosses count late in his pro debut.
The official scorecards were fair, with all three scoring the match 39-37, three rounds to one, for Rodriguez. Well as they matched up and hard as they fought, if Rodriguez and Johnson continue to improve as professionals, they might just see one another on a blue mat in their hometown again.
Local favorite Steve Hall (5-2, 5 KOs) brought the San Antonio crowd to its feet early in his welterweight match with southpaw Texan Alberto Espinoza (2-1), assaulting him with right crosses and even mimicking his southpaw stance for a bit in the middle of the first round. After that, though, the British-born San Antonio prospect got down to business, stretching Espinoza with a picturesque right cross and stopping him at 2:52 of round 1.
Before that, in one of Saturday’s two best displays of class and power, Arizona light heavyweight Trevor McCumby (5-0, 5 KOs) went directly through Georgian Perseus Givens (1-2), stopping him at 2:55 of round 1. Givens was never truly in the fight, as McCumby assaulted him with left hook-right cross combinations from the opening bell. Finally, it was a McCumby right cross to Givens’ belly that ended Givens’ night.
Austin junior welterweight and Ann Wolfe charge John Arellano (7-1, 7 KOs) then made a violent and ultimately satisfying six-minute show against Mexican veteran Julian Rodriguez (19-21-4, 13 KOs), stopping him at 0:31 of round 3.
Saturday’s second match featured one of the card’s two most highly regarded prospects, Boston’s Ronald Ellis (3-0, 3 KOs), in a super middleweight fight scheduled for four rounds against Texan Delvery Wofford (0-3). Whatever was scheduled, the match was doomed to end quickly soon as Wofford got a first taste of Ellis’ impressive power. The match lasted fewer than 75 seconds, with Ellis attaining his career’s third knockout at 1:14 of the first round.
The evening’s opening bout, a four-round featherweight tilt between southpaw Texan Kermit Hendricks (1-2, 1 KO) and South Carolinian Chris Nicolosi (0-1), ended at 1:31 of round 3 when Nicolosi, after fading for a round and a half in his pro debut, succumbed to a barrage of left crosses from Hendricks – who got his first professional win.
Opening bell rang on the bullring of a semi-full Cowboys Dancehall at 6:32 PM local time.