By Jake Donovan
Rocky Juarez capped a Saturday loaded with upsets by scoring his biggest win in years with a shocking eighth round stoppage of Antonio Escalante at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas.
The Telefutura-televised main event was unofficially billed as a loser-leaves-town match. Escalante was still barely afloat but also badly in need of a big win. The El Paso had won four straight following back-to-back losses to Daniel Ponce de Leon and Alejandro Perez, though nothing that suggested he was still in the mix as a viable contender.
The outcome of Saturday's contest could prove to be the final nail in the coffin, while Juarez momentarily brings his own career back from the dead.
Both fighters let the leather fly early on, but it was Juarez who provided the heavy artillery. The first sign of something memorable occurring was in round three, when Escalante found himself on the seat of his pants after leaving himself wide open in the midst of an exchange.
The Mexican slugger attempted to brawl his way back into the fight, but the effort wasn't convincing enough to discourage the suddenly reborn Juarez.
An action-filled eighth round saw Escalante once again on the canvas after getting caught with a combination along the ropes. A mandatory eight-count was issued but was stopped - along with the fight - as the referee correctly deemed Escalante unift to continue.
The official time was 1:29 of round eight.
Juarez emphatically slams the brakes on a seven-fight winless streak, as the 32-year old advances to 29-10-1 (21KO). The 2000 U.S. Olympic boxer has forever been deemed an underachiever - or at the very least, a major letdown. On this particular evening, his flailing career avoids the embarrassment of coming to a humbling close.
On the flip side of that equation, some serious decisions have to be made in Escalante's camp. A career filled with in-ring wars and vicious knockout losses leaves him looking much older than his 27 years of age. The loss snaps a four-fight win streak as he falls to 28-5 (19KO).
The televised opener saw unbeaten featherweight newcomer Julian Ramirez stop Steve Gutierrez (4-2-1, 2KO) in the fifth round of their scheduled six-round supporting bout. Ramirez (5-0, 4KO) was in control every step of the way before forcing the stoppage at 0:16 of round five.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: