By Jake Donovan
Ronny Rios picked up the most significant win of his young career, working hard for his 10-round decision over Rico Ramos in their Showtime-televised main event Friday evening at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Scores of 97-93 and 96-94 in favor of Rios were indicative of the close nature of the grueling fight. The 100-90 scorecard turned in was indicative that judge Fritz Werner is long overdue for a new line of work.
Rios came in to the contested touted as an aggressive body puncher, while Ramos is known as a boxer and mover. The two styles didn't mesh well, as action was sparing and the crowd was restless for the most part.
The early rounds were close, with neither fighter truly enjoying momentum until Rios put together a sustained attack in the fourth round. The trouble was that he wound up all but giving away the fifth round (on the scorecards of the two judges who were paying attention, anyway). The unbeaten prospect came back strong in round six, though was also breathing heavy by the end of the frame.
Ramos' strategy of circling on the outside, waiting for openings and offering the occasional round-ending shoeshine hardly served well in this battle. The former 122 lb. titlist - who moved up in weight for this contest - showed the younger Rios too much respect early on, before deciding to dig deep and let his hands go down the stretch.
The general feel by fight's end was that Rios did enough to edge out a decision. Ramos seemed to give away enough rounds to prevent an upset, but still managed to test the fellow Californian.
Rios improves to 20-0 (9KO) with the win, fighting for the first time since a stoppage win over David Rodela last summer.
Ramos falls to 21-2 (11KO), with both losses coming within his last three bouts. The 25-year old is three fights removed from a dramatic, come-from-behind knockout win over Akifumi Shimoda to claim an alphabet belt in July '11. The reign was short-live, as he was humiliated by unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux in his lone title defense nearly one year ago.
Daquan Arnett topped a second straight fellow unbeaten opponent, this time outlasting Brandon Quarles en route to a unanimous decision in their eight-round televised co-feature. Scores were 78-73, 77-74 and 76-75 for Arnett (10-0, 6KO), who was stunned early on but rallied in the second half to put plenty of separation between the two on the scorecards.
Quarles (9-1-1, 2KO) - from Alexandria, VA - came out with mean intentions early on, but appeared to slow down after three rounds of effective aggression. A questionable point deduction in round seven ultimately sealed his fate as he suffered his first pro loss.
Arnett, who hails from Winter Park, FL and is trained by Tony Morgan (who also trains Andre Berto), suffered his first career knockdown in his previous ring appearance, a 4th round knockout of previously unbeaten Jeremiah Wiggins. The bout took place in this very same venue last November.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: