Diego De La Hoya had to settle for a lopsided points win on a night where he was well on his way to a knockout finish.
An accidental clash of heads left journeyman Jose Santos Gonzalez with a gruesome cut over his right eye, prompting an immediate stoppage in their DAZN-aired co-feature. The foul forced the contest to go to the scorecards, where De La Hoya won on the scorecards of Jerry Cantu (80-70), Rudy Barragan (80-70) and David Soliven (80-70) to claim a technical unanimous decision Saturday evening at Commerce Casino & Hotel in Commerce, California.
De La Hoya entered the ring at a career-heaviest 131 pounds but seemed to carry the extra weight well. Gonzalez was far too easy to hunt down, standing directly in front of the legacy boxer, the nephew of promoter and Hall of Fame former six-division champ Oscar De La Hoya.
The strategy—or lack thereof—led to the bout’s first knockdown. De La Hoya was able to walk Gonzalez directly into a right hand, sending the Guadalajara native to the canvas. Gonzalez beat the count but was unable to defend against a swarm of right hands upstairs for the remainder of the round.
Gonzalez wisely worked behind his jab in round four, also offering a more defensively responsible approach as he sought to clear his head. De La Hoya went on the hunt but clearly hoped to catch lightning in a bottle as he ignored the body while in search of an opening for a fight-ending right hand upstairs.
It wasn’t a knockout blow, but De La Hoya found success with the shot early in round five. An overhand right cracked Gonzalez on the chin, sending him to the canvas in the first minute of the round. De La Hoya was calm as his countryman beat the count, this time going to the body and as he methodically picked apart and bloodied Gonzalez.
Time was called in between rounds by referee Thomas Taylor, who summoned the ringside physician to examine Gonzalez. An all-clear was given, though Gonzalez was unable to fend off De La Hoya for much of rounds six and seven.
De La Hoya fully hit his offensive stride in round eight, jabbing to the body and landing crisp power punches upstairs. Gonzalez was forced to retreat and play defense as De La Hoya landed a four-punch combination. An attempted follow-up attack instead resulted in a clash of heads at close quarters. Gonzalez (23-11-1, 13KOs) turned away in pain as time was called, though the exam conducted by the ringside doctor lasted mere seconds before the bout was brought to a halt.
De La Hoya advanced to 24-1 (11KOs) with the win, his third in a row since his lone career defeat more than three years ago.
Headlining the show, Guadalajara’s Raul Curiel (11-0, 9KOs) faces fringe welterweight contender Brad Solomon (29-5, 9KOs) of Douglasville, Georgia in a scheduled ten-round bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox