By Francisco Salazar
Isaac Zarate wanted to build momentum from his upset victory over a former world title challenger. The junior featherweight will have to wait one more fight for that to happen.
Zarate fought to a technical draw against Christian Esquivel Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.
Zarate goes to 13-3-3, 2 knockouts, while Esquivel, a former world title challenger, goes to 30-12-1, 23 KOs.
In his previous fight on July 21, Zarate won a one-sided eight round decision over Carlos Carlson, who challenged Shinsuke Yamanaka on Mar. 2.
The victory snapped a three-bout winless streak for Zarate, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of San Pedro.
Esquivel entered Friday's bout having lost four of his previous six bouts.
Both fighters had their moments early in the fight as the southpaw Zarate attempted to work behind a jab. Esquivel looked to get on the inside of Zarate's guard and attack the head and body.
An accidental clash of heads late in round two produced a significant cut over the right eye of Esquivel. The bout was stopped at 2:18 and after a ringside physician examined the cut, the fight was waved off at 2:18.
Because the fight did not go the required four complete rounds to go to the scorecards, the fight was declared a technical draw.
Junior lightweight Mohamed Rodriguez won an eight round split decision over Cesar Villarraga.
It was a crossroads bout between Rodriguez, who defeated prospect Manuel Mendez in his previous fight, and Villarraga, who was winless in his previous three bouts.
Villarraga, a 2012 Olympian from Colombia, was the more-effective fighter, closing the distance and connecting with shorter and compact punches. Rodriguez pressed the action during the middle rounds, connecting more with right hands to the head.
Villarraga swung momentum back his way during the final two rounds of the fight. About midway through the eighth round, Villarraga dropped Rodriguez with a left hook to the head. Rodriguez was able to get up and weather the storm until the final bell sounded.
One judge scored the bout 78-73 for Villarraga, while the other two judges scored the bout 76-75 for Rodriguez.
Bantamweight Saul Sanchez scored a devastating first round knockout over Nestor Ramos in the opening round.
Sanchez (6-0, 4 KOs) landed a left hook to the body, dropping Ramos to the canvas. Referee Daniel Sandoval began to administer a standing eight count, but waved the fight over 2:06 when he realized Ramos was not going to get up.
In other bouts:
- Bantamweight Daniel Guzman (2-1, 1 KO) knocked out Jose Mora (1-5 1 NC) at 2:32 of the second round.
- Lightweight Brandon Trejo (3-0, 1 KO) overwhelmed Carlos Apodaca (0-6-2), stopping him at 1:21 of the third round
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at s[email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing