Unbeaten lightweight hope Gabriel Flores Jr. impressed in his first assignment as the headline attraction, cruising to a 10-round decision win over rugged Honduran Josec Ruiz at the MGM Grand Conference Center -Grand Ballroom on Thursday night.
The 20-year-old Flores (18-0, 6 KOs) was elevated to main event status after Mikkel LesPierre’s manager tested positive for Covid-19 postponing his headline contest with Jose Pedraza.
Flores flew out of the blocks, scoring a second round knockdown with a heavy left hook that momentarily separated Ruiz (21-3-3, 14 KOs) from his senses.
Though Ruiz gamely dragged himself back to his feet and survived the full course, he did so without ever threatening the scorecards. All three cards were 100-89, halting a seven fight winning streak for Ruiz.
“[Ruiz] was a tough guy, but he was not on my level. Going 10 rounds for the first time in my career was a valuable learning experience,” said Flores, of Stockton, California.
“I see a world title in the next 12 months. That’s my goal, but we have to see what’s out there first. I’m training in Vegas now, and the sparring and training out here has helped elevate my game.”
Elsewhere on the card, former UFC lightweight ‘Cassius’ Clay Collard spoiled yet another undefeated record, pipping David Kaminsky in a highly physical super-middleweight affair.
Collard (7-2-3, 2 KOs) mauled and roughhoused ‘The Lion of Zion’ Kaminsky (6-1, 3 KOs) over six rounds to pick up a hard-fought split decision. Scores were 58-56 (twice) overruling a 58-56 card for Kaminsky. The victory was Collard’s third in a row (in as many weight classes) with each win coming against unbeaten prospects sporting a combined record of 20-0, 14 KOs.
“I honestly thought [Kaminsky] would hit harder. But once I felt his power, I pressed the action,” said the 27-year-old Collard.
“I didn’t know if the cut came from a punch or a headbutt at first, but I knew being aggressive would be the key to victory. I was nervous when the cards were being read, but I felt I’d done more than enough to earn the decision.”
In other action, super-lightweight prospect Victor Rodriguez (3-0, 1 KO) scored a four-round shutout victory over Justin Horsley (0-2) to continue his promising start as a professional. All scores were 40-36.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rican super-featherweight Frevian Gonzalez (3-0, 1 KO) outworked California’s Jose Martinez (2-1, 1 KO) to claim a unanimous decision in a battle of unbeatens. Scores were 39-37 (twice) and 40-36.
But Californian southpaw Robert Rodriguez (8-0-1, 4 KOs) produced arguably the performance of the evening, halting Adrian Servin (9-1-1, 3 KOs) in the second of their bantamweight show-opener.
Though Servin claimed the first round on the judges’ scorecards, Rodriguez utilised his size and power advantage in the second, dropping his foe with a short right hook before forcing the referee’s intervention shortly afterwards.