By Keith Idec
Diego De La Hoya was dominant Thursday night in what amounted to a showcase fight.
The 22-year-old cousin of Oscar De La Hoya thoroughly out-boxed Erik Ruiz in their 10-round super bantamweight bout at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. De La Hoya, of Mexicali, Mexico, was better than Ruiz in every aspect and the developing prospect produced a shutout on two of three scorecards to win by unanimous decision (100-90, 100-90, 99-91).
De La Hoya’s victory was televised by ESPN as a main event for the “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” series. Oscar De La Hoya, whose company promotes his cousin, watched the fight from ringside.
De La Hoya improved to 18-0. The 26-year-old Ruiz, of Oxnard, California, dropped to 16-7-1.
Ruiz also lost a unanimous decision to former WBA world super bantamweight champion Rico Ramos (27-5, 13 KOs) in his last fight, March 11 in Las Vegas. He is 1-3-1 in his past five fights.
After thoroughly out-boxing Ruiz during the first three rounds, De La Hoya began exchanging from close distances with Ruiz in the fourth round. De La Hoya, whose jab and combinations bothered Ruiz in the first three rounds, took a hard right uppercut and a flush left hook from Ruiz during those exchanges.
De La Hoya went back to boxing in the fifth round and it served him well. De La Hoya continued to stick and move, and occasionally landed a combination in the sixth round.
Rounds seven through 10 resembled the fifth and sixth rounds. De La Hoya mostly moved from side to side to slip Ruiz’s punches and landed enough combinations to win those rounds convincingly.
Ruiz, who hasn’t been stopped during his pro career, took De La Hoya’s flushest punches well and didn’t appear hurt at any point in the fight. De La Hoya has nine knockouts in 18 professional fights.
In the co-featured fight Thursday night, super middleweight prospect D’Mitrius Ballard remained undefeated by beating Adrian Luna by unanimous decision in a very competitive 10-rounder.
Mexico’s Luna, who took the fight on 10 days’ notice, overcame a second-round knockdown to hurt Ballard in the fourth and ninth rounds. Ballard tired in the later rounds as well, but still won on all three scorecards (97-92, 95-94, 95-94).
The second-round knockdown turned out to be the difference between a win for Ballard and a majority draw, as two judges scored five rounds apiece for both boxers. Ballard (17-0, 12 KOs), of Temple Hills, Maryland, caught Luna with a short left hook to the chin that knocked Luna flat on his back just before the midway mark of the second round.
Ballard tried to finish him, but Luna (20-5-1, 13 KOs) managed to survive. By the end of the fourth round, Luna was inflicting punishment on Ballard.
He drilled Ballard with a straight right hand and followed it up with a left hook to the body and a right uppercut that buzzed Ballard. Neither fighter appeared hurt again until late in the ninth round, when Luna hit Ballard with another right hand that made him move backward.
The 24-year-old Ballard again made it to the end of the round and finished strong in the 10th round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.