By Jake Donovan
Diego Magdaleno continues to live on the edge.
For the second straight fight, the unbeaten prospect was forced to climb off the canvas to otherwise dominate his opponent. This time it was Fernando Beltran who awoke a sleeping giant as Magdaleno survived a 4th round knockdown to resume control and stop the former title challenger in the 7th round of their Showtime-televised main event Friday evening at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
Magdaleno was the aggressor and much busier fighter in the early going, not showing any hesitance in taking the lead against his far more experienced foe. A rapid-fire jab repeatedly found its way to Beltran’s chin, opening up opportunities for Magdaleno to land in combination, scoring with right uppercuts and straight lefts while absorbing very little punishment in return.
The early success convinced Magdaleno to ramp up the attack in the third, connecting with right hooks but forgetting what allowed him to take the lead – his jab. The Las Vegas native grew a bit too comfortable as the 4th round began and paid the price when Beltran put him on the deck courtesy of a counter left hand.
It was the lone moment of success for Beltran, who accepted the fight on late notice after original opponent Eduardo Lazcano pulled up lame with a shoulder injury. Magdaleno resumed control the moment he rose from the canvas, which was seconds into the mandatory eight count. Magdaleno had Beltran in trouble moments later when an uppercut sent the veteran into the ropes.
Action was briefly halted in the fifth round when Beltran doubled over after getting caught with a borderline shot that was ruled a low blow. Magdaleno properly adjusted, bringing his punches up and repeatedly scoring with power shots in the sixth. A series of left hands once again had Beltran in trouble, to which his corner urged him in between rounds to let his hands go in order to turn the tide.
The advice was sound but just not well-timed. Beltran clearly had next to nothing left as the fight entered the 7th round. Magdaleno sensed it and went in for the close, twice rocking Beltran only for incompetent and oversensitive referee Rocky Burke to step in and separate the fighters while their hands were still free to fight.
Magdaleno finally took matters into his own hands, drilling Beltran to the point of having the Mexican southpaw out on his feet. A knockdown was correctly ruled when Beltran was sent reeling backwards, only for the ropes to break his fall. Magdaleno offered a follow-up attack the moment action resumed, landing at will until Beltran’s corner literally threw in the towel in search of a mercy stoppage.
The official time was 2:28 of round seven.
While younger brother Jesse Magdaleno was the more established amateur, the 20-year old is only just beginning to cut his teeth in the pro ranks. Meanwhile, 25-year old Diego continues his rapid ascension towards title contention as he advances to 22-0 (8KO).
Beltran falls to 36-8-1 (20KO). The 30-year old had fallen on hard times lately – the bout marks the fifth loss in his past seven fights – but had never been stopped in his 12-year career. That streak comes to an end, though against a potential future star of the sport.
The bout marked Magdaleno’s first ring appearance this year following an eye-opening 2011 campaign that included four dominant wins, each coming against gatekeeper-level opposition. The lone scare along the way came last summer, when Magdaleno was dropped in the opening round of his Shobox-televised main event with Alejandro Perez but went on to score a lopsided points win.
In the televised co-feature, Juan "Johnny" Garcia overcame a 5th round knockdown to outwork Yordenis Ugas en route to a disputed split decision in a battle of unbeaten welterweights. Garcia won 76-75 on two cards, with Ugas winning by the same score on the third judge's tally. en welterweights against one another, Yordenis Ugas (11-0, 5KO)
Garcia was the busier fighter throughout, with such workrate being rewarded on the scorecards. Ugas was the more accurate of the two, but perhaps a bit too patient for his own good.
The difference in the nip-and-tuck affair appeared to come when Ugas dropped Garcia courtesy of a right hand midway through the 5th round. To his credit, Garcia dusted himself off and fought back hard for the remainder of the round and fight.
Garcia heads back to Holland, MI with his unbeaten record still intact as he improves to 12-0 (9KO). The win marks the second time in his past three fights in which he bumped off a previously unbeaten opponent, outpointing William Johnson on the road in Cincinnati last November.
Ugas, who won the bronze medal while serving on the 2008 Cuba Olympic boxing squad, falls for the first time as a pro as his record dips to 11-1 (5KO).
Andy Ruiz (14-0, 8KO) pitched a shutout over Homero Fonseca (9-5-3, 2KO) in their eight-round heavyweight bout. Scores were 80-72 across the board.
Unbeaten super flyweight prospect Hanzel Martinez (16-0, 12KO) resumed his knockout ways with an emphatic blitzing of Miguel Tamayo (12-4-2, 11KO), who was fighting outside of his native Mexico for the first time. Martinez is the brother-in-law of former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, who was at ringside.
Abraham Han (16-0, 10KO) continues to transition into a promising middleweight prospect, as evidenced in a dominant six-round decision win over Rahman Yusubov (8-6, 6KO).