Gabe Flores Jr. fought through Abraham Montoya’s relentless pressure Friday night to bounce back from his first professional defeat.
The 21-year-old junior lightweight ate a lot of Montoya’s punches, but he was the busier boxer and did enough to fend off the Mexican veteran in their 10-rounder on the Jose Ramirez-Jose Pedraza undercard at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. Judges David Sutherland (96-94) and Zachary Young (96-94) scored six rounds apiece for Flores, who won a majority decision because judge Steve Weisfeld had it a draw, 95-95.
Another tough Mexican, Luis Lopez, battered Flores throughout his previous 10-round fight. Lopez defeated a bruised, bloodied Flores by unanimous decision in their September 10 bout at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
Flores, of Stockton, California, improved to 20-1 (7 KOs) by overcoming Montoya. He told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel after their fight that he will move up to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for his next fight because he’ll feel stronger.
Mexicali’s Montoya dropped to 20-3-1 (14 KOs).
Their competitive contest seemed to be on the table as they headed toward the final round. Montoya drilled Flores with a right hand as soon as the 10th round started, but Flores fought back and landed numerous right hands of his own in this final three minutes.
Montoya came on during the ninth round, when he repeatedly landed right hands. Flores landed a left hook and then a right hand with approximately 30 seconds to go in the ninth round.
A right uppercut by Montoya in the final minute of the eighth round initiated a flurry from him, including an overhand right that connected. Flores fended off Montoya as best he could, but Montoya’s pressure bothered a fading Flores.
Montoya rocked Flores with a right uppercut toward the end of the seventh round. Flores was the busier fighter for most of the seventh round, though, and landed several clean right hands up top.
The fifth and sixth rounds were competitive, but there was a lot of holding in those rounds.
Montoya landed an overhand right just after the midway point of the fourth round. There was a lot of holding during that sloppy fourth round, though.
Flores hit Montoya with a right hand almost as soon as the third round began. Montoya was the aggressor throughout the third round, though, and landed a right uppercut with just under 40 seconds on the clock in the third round.
Flores’ right hand stopped Montoya from punching early in the second round. Montoya landed a hard jab and followed up with a right hand just before the midway mark of the second round.
Flores landed a left hook with just over 1:15 on the clock in the opening round. Montoya made Flores fight off his back foot for those first three minutes, but Flores fought effectively while moving backward.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.