By Jake Donovan
Fighting in his birth town of Los Mochis, Mexico, Humberto Soto extended the rebirth of his career Saturday evening with a hard-fought decision win over previously unbeaten Juan Carlos Abreu.
Rare has been the moment when any given win comes easy for Soto, and Saturday's affair was no exception. Fighting in front of a partisan crowd of more than 4,000 in a bout that headlined on Televisa, the former two-division champ was given a stiff challenge from Abreu, fighting outside of the Dominican Republic for just the third time in his career.
The action was back and forth for much of the contest, with perhaps the deciding moment coming in a shocking sequence during the middle of the fight. A right hand put Abreu flat on his back for a mandatory eight count midway through round six. The hyper Dominican took the shot in stride, but failed to erase the damage done on the scorecards.
All that could be done was to fight his heart out to make things as interesting as possible for Soto. Abreu succeeded in that regard, though was perhaps a bit too wound up for his own good. The prospect had to be restrained at the end of the eighth round, far too eager to fight after the bell. The edge served well for the most part, though will need to be reined in if he plans to advance to the contender level.
Soto improves to 63-8-2 (35KO) with his fifth consecutive win, each one putting a little more distance from his last loss, a 5th round knockout at the hands of Lucas Matthysse in June '12. The defeat ended a 15-fight win streak at the time, and also any public belief that he could once again rise to championship status.
That part perhaps remains a stretch for Soto, who turns 34 in May. Upending a young, unbeaten fighter is a nice step in the right direction, however.
Abreu falls to 16-1-1 (15KO). Once a perfect fighter, the 26 year old is now winless in his last two contests, both of which have taken place on the road. Prior to Saturday's road trip, Abreu was held to a six-round draw versus unbeaten but unknown Puro Pairol last August in Oklahoma.
Also on the show:
Bantamweight contender Hugo Ruiz (34-2, 30KO) scored a 1st round knockout over Ramon Maas in their scheduled 10-round affair. The 27-year old has now scored three straight wins since a controversial split decision loss to Koki Kameda in his title bid more than 15 months ago.
Opening the telecast Mahonri Montes - whose last fight was a points loss to Soto - scored a unanimous decisoin over Juan Valenzuela.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox