By Jake Donovan
Blair Cobbs had to work harder than ever to preserve his unbeaten record.
Also required was his recovering from the first knockdown of his career, as the charismatic southpaw scored a spectacular 9th round stoppage over previously unbeaten SteveVillalobos in theirRingTV.com-streamed chief support Thursday evening at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif
Cobbs (12-0-1, 8KOs) scored two knockdowns in the fateful ninth round, the latter courtesy of an uppercut which sent Villalobos (11-1-1, 9KOs) reeling in forcing the stoppage.
Action was furious throughout the chief support, with nothing less expected whenever Cobbs enters the ring. The Philadelphia (Pa.)-born, Las Vegas-based southpaw fought with his usual high energy, but was in a real fight as Villalobos—a 28-year old slugger from Washington state—never stopped coming forward.
A relatively even fight through five rounds took a near-disastrous turn for Cobbs in round six. A right hand shot by Villalobos had the southpaw reeling, with an ensuing volley sending Cobbs to the canvas for the first time in his career. He beat the count but spent the rest of the frame trying to regain his senses.
He did just that, and with it control of the bout.
Villalobos was no longer able to effectively impose his will, providing a major momentum shift as Cobbs connected with wide-armed punches in rounds seven and eight. Villalobos took the shots well but his punch resistance ran out in round nine. A series of uppercuts had him on unsteady legs, with Cobbs connecting with one final right hand which sent Villalobos flailing into the ropes and eventually onto the canvas.
It was enough to prompt referee Edward Hernandez Sr. to stop the contest at 1:26 of round nine.
The bout served as a terrific primer to the evening's main event, with Luis Feliciano trumping Genaro Gamez over 10 rounds in their clash of unbeaten super lightweight prospects.