Alexis Rocha continued his ascent in the welterweight division with another knockout victory Saturday night.
The strong southpaw stopped Anthony Young in the fifth round of their 12-round main event at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Rocha drilled Young with a left hand that knocked Young into the ropes and down with about 55 seconds to go in the fifth round.
Young got up, but he stumbled before referee Thomas Taylor determined that he shouldn’t continue. Taylor officially halted a fight DAZN streamed at 2:15 of the fifth round.
The 25-year-old Rocha (23-1, 15 KOs) ended Young’s 13-fight winning streak. Prior to Saturday night, Atlantic City’s Young (24-3, 8 KOs) hadn’t lost since Skender Halili beat him by fifth-round technical knockout in February 2019 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Rocha, of Santa Ana, California, also extended his winning streak to seven since Rashidi Ellis beat him unanimously on points in their 12-rounder in October 2020 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
Rocha and Young were supposed to fight January 28, but Young suffered a broken nose while training. Rocha instead knocked out Ghana’s George Ashie in the seventh round of a main event of another Golden Boy Promotions card at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
Rocha remains the number one contender for Terence Crawford’s WBO welterweight championship.
Rocha will have to wait for his title shot, of course, because Crawford will fight undefeated IBF/WBA/WBC champ Errol Spence Jr. on July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Crawford and Spence also have immediate rematch clauses in their contracts, which must be activated within 30 days of their fight.
The emerging Rocha spent much of their four-plus rounds catching Young with flush left hands Saturday night. He wobbled Young several times and caused his opponent to hold on numerous occasions.
Rocha finally floored him in another one-sided fifth round. Taylor called for a break in the action early in the fifth round after Rocha accidentally head-butted Young to the mouth.
Rocha buzzed Young with another left hand when there was just under 40 seconds on the clock in the fourth round. Young managed to survive to the fifth round, but not before he took several more punishing punches from Rocha.
With Young backed into a corner, Rocha drilled him with a straight left just after the midway mark of the fourth round.
Rocha buckled Young’s legs with a left hand just about two minutes into the third round. Young held immediately to temporarily keep Rocha from punching.
Rocha rocked Young with two left hands in the opening minute of the third round.
Young held after Rocha drilled him with a left to the body late in the third round. A left up top by Rocha backed Young into a corner with 1:10 on the clock in the second round.
Rocha caught Young with a left hand that buzzed him a little more than a minute into their fight. Young tried to tie up Rocha after taking that punch.
Rocha connected with a similar shot a little more than 40 seconds later, which also affected Young.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.