By Jake Donovan
Frankie Gomez made a successful ring return following an 11-month absence, scoring a third-round knockout over Manuel Leyva in their welterweight bout Saturday evening in in Anaheim, California.
Three knockdowns in the third round was enough to prompt a stoppage win for Gomez, whose 2012 campaign was on hold due to legal troubles.
Gomez showed no signs of ring rust at any point in the fight, though also worth noting that Leyva has suffered five knockout losses in his past seven fights. Still, Gomez knew what was at stake – redemption – and fought accordingly.
The 20-year old welterweight prospect looked sharp early on, carrying forth the game plan of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. Leyva was never given a chance to rest, much less get off any meaningful punches. The journeyman was hurt in each of the opening two rounds, but managed to remain upright.
That statement no longer proved true in a wipeout third round. Gomez struck early and continued on the attack. Leyva managed to rise to his feet after twice hitting the canvas, but wasn’t given the opportunity to continue after being dropped to all fours midway through the round.
The official time was 1:15 of round three.
Gomez improves to 13-0 (10KO), scoring his first win since last December, yet another third round knockout which took place in Anaheim. On that particular night, Gomez’ win over James Hope merely appeared on the non-televised portion of a card headlined by Abner Mares’ rematch win over Joseph Agbeko, which headlined on Showtime.
A Showtime appearance of his own was in the works for Gomez earlier this year, but a lack of self-discipline in and out of the ring forced him off the show. Legal troubles soon followed, as he was arrested twice in the span of less than a week, eventually serving jail time for outstanding warrants.
Gomez appears to have his life turned around. The East LA talent remains one of the brightest young prospects in the sport today, though the burden of proof to justify the hype rests squarely on his broad shoulders.
Leyva has now lost seven of his past eight bouts as he falls to 21-9 (12KO).
Unbeaten lightweight prospect Jamie Kavanagh scored a unanimous decision over Ramon Valadez (11-2, 6KO) in the evening's televised co-feature.
80-72, 79-73 and 78-74 hardly reflected the in-ring action, which featured several fever-pitched exchanges that saw both fighters rocked at different moments in the fight.
Cavanagh appeared to have the fight in cruise control before Valadez opted to make a fight of it midway through. A combination upstairs had Cavanagh reeling, only to score with a right hand and left hook to stagger Valadez mere seconds later.
The balance of the fight featured similar back and forth action, though Cavanagh getting the better of each exchange to explain the wide scoring.
Cavanagh improves to 12-0-1 (5KO). Valadez drops to 11-3 (6KO), though the 22-year old watches his stock go up in defeat.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: