Eduardo Baez reaped the benefits of preparing with one of the best fighters in the world in coming up huge on the road.
The streaking junior featherweight from Mexicali picked up a dominant eight-round unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Abimael Ortiz in their NBC Sports Network-televised bout Thursday evening in at Plaza del Quinto Centenario in Old San Juan. Scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 79-73 in favor of Baez in the opener of a Ring City USA tripleheader.
Baez opened the bout forcing an aggressive pace. His relentless attack was well indicative of the time spent in camp with legendary former four-division champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, with Thursday’s bout marking Baez’s first under their shared trainer Marcos Caballero. Ortiz—an undefeated prospect from Cidra, Puerto Rico—was able to mix in the cleaner punches during their exchanges, not looking to necessarily match Baez’ output but rather focusing on effect.
Round two saw Baez dominate the action, overwhelmingly outworking his unbeaten foe and not showing any signs of slowing down. Ortiz fought behind a tight guard, protecting his body as Baez adjusted his attack in launching looping right hands and left hooks upstairs.
A similar pattern held true in round three before Ortiz opened up his own attack in round four. Both boxers had their say in the frame, with Ortiz outboxing the Mexicali native early in the frame before Baez picked up the attack in the back half of the round.
Ortiz was forced to contend with swelling under his left eye entering round five. Despite his best efforts to box, Baez pulled him into a firefight at close quarters as he seemingly piled up point on the scorecards.
The action did not let up down the stretch. Baez remained directly in front of Ortiz, who sought to turn the tide late in round seven. Baez took a rare step in reverse, giving Ortiz just enough room to launch an overhand right which landed on his opponent’s chin.
Neither boxer let up in the eighth and final round. Baez punched in combination while Ortiz looked for counter opportunities before taking the lead in the closing moments. It wasn’t enough to preserve his unbeaten record as he falls to 8-1-1 (4KOs). The bout was his first since Nov. 2019.
Baez improves to 19-1-2 (6KOs), extending his current 10-fight unbeaten streak. The lone loss of his career came versus countryman Mauricio Lara, who scored a massive upset win earlier this year with a knockout of former featherweight titlist Josh Warrington earlier this year.
Thursday’s win is Baez’s second straight on Ring City USA and versus unbeaten opposition. The 25-year old appeared on the series last December, outpointing Narek Abgaryan (14-0 at the time) at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California.
Ortiz-Baez opened a televised tripleheader topped by a featherweight title fight between defending WBC/WBO champ Amanda Serrano (39-1-1, 29KOs) and Daniela Bermudez (29-3-3, 10KOs). Also on the show is Baez’s twin brother Leonardo Baez (18-3, 9KOs), who faces unbeaten Carlos Caraballo (13-0, 13KOs). Eduardo Baez is now 10-0 (2KOs) when appearing on the same show as his twin.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox