By Jake Donovan
Considering the fierce action on Top Rank's "other" card on HBO at the same time, it's doubtful that Robert Marroquin's name or performance will stand out by night's end.
Still, a win is a win and the Dallas native did his job in scoring a third-round knockout of faded Antonio Escalante in their UniMas-televised main event Saturday evening in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Marroquin had no problem with Escalante, who has reached a point in his career where the ability to withstand no longer matches his willingness to engage. That very fighting heart and tender chin (and body) led to the first of two knockdowns, when Marroquin scored with a savage body shot late in round two.
Escalante managed to beat the count and survive the round, but already appeared to be damaged goods. Marroquin applied the finishing touch in round three, scoring with a left hook to the body and a straight shot upstairs to force Escalante to the canvas for the full ten-count.
The official time was 0:39 of round three.
Marroquin scores big in his first fight since last September's failed title bid against Guillermo Rigondeaux. The still-promising contender improves to 23-2 (16KO).
Escalante continues to creep closer towards a much needed retirement. The night marks his second straight knockout loss, having suffered a shocking upset against badly faded Rocky Juarez last October. The writing on the wall is a mural-sized graphic for Escalante, who falls to 28-6 (19KO).
Local favorite Bo Gibbs Jr. made quick work of Ritchie Cherry, scoring three knockdowns en route to 2nd rounds stoppage.
Gibbs Jr. (8-0, 5KO) dominated from the outset, with the second round a visual depiction of the vast difference in skill level. The beginning of the end came early in the round, when a pair of left hooks forced Cherry (3-7, 1KO) to a knee.
Two more knockdowns followed, though Cherry vehemently protested that the final blow was a rabbit punch. Referee Jay Nady would have none of it, waving off the bout at 1:40 of round two.
Barely older than the prospect preceding him, 19-year old Jose Antonio 'Tony' Lopez pitched a four-round shutout over Manuel Rubalcava (1-3, 0KO). Scores were 40-36 across the board for Lopez, (3-0, 1KO), who only turned pro less than four months ago.
In the televised opener, 18-year old Oklahoma City native Alex Saucedo added a violent entry to the Knockout of the Year category with a 2nd round stoppage of Norman Allen (6-8, 3KO).
A counter left hook separated Allen from his senses, to where he spent the entire eight count attempting to regain his legs. The referee saw the glazed look in the fighters eyes, waving off the fight immediately after the mandatory eight count. The official time was 1:30 of round two, as Saucedo (8-0, 6KO) scores his third straight knockout.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: