By Jake Donovan
Cristian Mijares kept hope alive for a potential summer showdown with pound-for-pound entrant Nonito Donaire after stopping Eddy Julio in their fourth round of their main event Saturday evening in Morelia, Mexico.
Mijares was no nonsense from the opening bell, taking the fight to the overmatched Julio. Though hopelessly overmatched, Julio never fought as if he was brought in to pose as little threat to Mijares as possible, given what was at stake.
Rather, Mijares simply made a statement. The former super flyweight champ came out firing from the opening bell, firing combinations from the southpaw stance. Julio struggled to maintain pace, forced to play catchup from the start of the fight.
The offense was well spread out, as Mijares was equally effective to the body and upstairs. Bodypunching was key in preventing Julio from getting on his bike, but it was a one-two combination to the chin the Colombian crashing to the canvas late in the fourth.
A count was initially administered but was soon waved off once it was realized that Julio had no intention - or capability - of getting up.
The official time was 2:47 of round four.
Mijares advances to 45-6-2 (21KO) with the win, his ninth straight. The Mexican southpaw picks up a fringe title, though far more was at stake in this bout as he remains the front runner to land a long-desired crack at Donaire as both now campaign in the super bantamweight division.
Julio heads to Colombia with his second straight defeat as he falls to 13-4-1 (11KO). All four losses have come by knockout and on the road. The most recent prior to Saturday was a Dec. 09 defeat to David de la Mora, who spent his Saturday evening catching a beating at the hands of Anselmo Moreno in their Showtime-televised title fight in El Paso, Texas.
For Mijares, a showdown with Donaire would also mean a long-sought HBO debut. The southpaw has twice appeared on pay-per-view undercards distributed by the American cable giant, scoring notable decisions over Jorge Arce and Jose Navarro.
A Showtime appearance went far more disastrous, as Mijares had his ass handed to him in a career-redefining performance delivered by Vic Darchinyan in Nov. 08.
Mijares stumbled on hard times following the career-worst defeat, suffering back-to-back decision losses to Nehomar Cermeno in 2009. He has since won nine straight, including a second title reign at 115 lb. spawned from a Dec. 10 unanimous decision over Juan Alberto Rosas.
In the televised co-feature, Marvin Quintero scored the biggest win of his career in upsetting previously unbeaten Al Sapauban via ninth round stoppage.
Quintero had fallen miserably short in three fights on the gatekeeper level, suffering knockout losses on all three occasion. This time around, it was the Mexican southpaw who took his undefeated but untested into deep waters before drowning him. A spirited fight eventually turned into a rout for Quintero, who punished Sapauban (18-1-1, 13KO) - whose facial structure eerily resembles countryman Manny Pacquiao - before forcing a referee stoppage.
With the win, Quintero (25-3, 21KO) now becomes the mandatory challenger to lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez.
Both bouts aired live on TV Azteca.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com