By Francisco Salazar
Fringe lightweight contender Antonio Moran stopped late-sub Alejandro Zuniga in round two Friday night at the Auditorio Blackberry in Mexico City.
It was Moran’s first fight since his close decision loss to current WBO lightweight titleholder Jose Pedraza on June 9.
Zuniga took the fight on Wednesday night after original opponent Edson Ramirez was not cleared to fight by the boxing commission in Mexico City due to a cold he contracted.
The 19-year-old Zuniga (19-3, 9 knockouts) came to fight, but Moran’s punches were the more-effective during the opening round.
After the midway point of the second round, a combination to the head dropped Zuniga to the canvas. Zuniga beat the count, but took several punches to the head, prompting referee Rafael Saldana to step in and stop the bout at 2:14.
Moran, who resides in the Mexico City area, improves to 24-3, 17 KOs.
“We didn’t know the opponent too well, so we couldn’t take that risk,” said Moran after the fight. “His punches mostly grazed me. Once we saw him hurt in the second round, we finished him.”
The win over Zuniga might put Moran back in the rankings at 135 pounds. Despite the setback against Pedraza, Moran believes he is worthy of a world title shot in the future.
“I’m going to rest for the holidays, but I’ll be back in the gym to start 2019. I’m waiting for that opportunity to fight for a world title.”
In flyweight action, Giovani Garcia won a six-round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Rene Santiago (6-2, 5 KOs).
Scores were 58-56, 58-56, and 59-56 for Garcia, who improves to 3-2-1.
Lightweight Silvano Hernandez (3-3-2, 1 KO) stopped Rogciano Guerrero, who was making his pro debut, at the end of the third round.
Middleweights Luis Miguel Reyes (0-1-1) and Daniel Navarro (0-1-1) fought to a majority decision draw. Scores were 38-38, 38-38, and 39-38 (Navarro).
Bantamweight Hector Garcia (4-2, 2 KOs) knocked out Carlos Daniel Garcia (2-3, 1 KO) in the opening round.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing