By Francisco Salazar
LOS ANGELES - Middleweight Antonio Gutierrez found himself on the canvas at the hands of Jorge Melendez in round two.
Despite the knockdown, Gutierrez managed to rally back to win a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision before a sold-out crowd at the Belasco Theatre.
Gutierrez improves to 21-2-1, 9 KOs, while Melendez falls to 28-7-1, 26 KOs.
Both fighters were in need of a victory as they were coming off a loss in their previous fight. Gutierrez had lost a close 10 round decision to Gabriel Rosado on June 4, while Melendez was stopped in the second round at the hands of Steven Martinez on December 19.
In the opening moments of the second round, Melendez dropped Gutierrez with a right hand to the head. Gutierrez was not visibly hurt and fought on.
Gutierrez began walking Melendez down from the third round on. The tactic worked as Gutierrez was able to connect more and put Melendez on the defensive. Melendez exuded a lot of energy, as was evident in the second half of the fight when his punch output dropped considerably.
Melendez was able to occasionally connect with a hook or a cross, but was not able to keep up with Gutierrez's punch output.
Sensing he was down in the fight, Melendez went for broke, providing good two-way exchanges between hims and Gutierrez. It was too little, too late as Gutierrez won on the judges' scorecards, 97-92, 97-92, and 96-93.
In the co-feature bout, hard-hitting Christian Gonzalez stopped Jonathan Corrales in the second round. Gonzalez (15-0, 13 KOs) dropped Corrales near the end of the opening round with a left uppercut to the chin, followed by a left hook. While Corrales made it out of the round and hung in with Gonzalez, he was dropped again in round two by a three-punch combination. Corrales laid sprawled on the canvas, referee Wayne Hedgpeth stopped the bout at 1:57.
Lightweight Oscar Duarte (7-0-1, 3 KOs) won a four round unanimous decision over Rafael Reyes. The action was back and forth between the two fighters, with Reyes (6-9, 5 KOs) doing the best work to the body. Duarte found more success scoring to head. The difference in the fight was in the second round when Duarte clipped Reyes with a left hook, dropping him to the canvas. All three judges scored the bout 38-37 in favor of Duarte.
Junior lightweight Tenochtitlan Nava (3-0, 1 KO) stopped Juan Bryand in the third round. Nava pinned (1-5-1) against a corner, landing punches at will until referee Zac Young stopped the bout at 1:47.
Lightweight Lamont Roach made short work of Mario Macias, stopping him at seven seconds of the third round. Roach (12-0, 4 KOs) stunned Macias multiple times in the first round, eventually dropping him near the end of the first round. Things did not get better for Macias near the end of the second round as he was dropped again, this time by a counter left hook to the head. While Macias (26-20, 14 KOs) was able to make it out of the round, he was dropped a third time in the opening moments of the third round, courtesy of a combination. Referee Zac Young immediately waved the fight over.
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, featherweight Edgar Valerio (8-0, 4 KOs) won a fifth round technical decision over Emmanuel Castro 2-3, 2 KOs. Both fighters had their moments in the fight, with Valerio (8-0, 4 KOs) landing the more effective punches. An inadvertent head-butt opened a cut over Valerio's left eye, prompting the fight to be stopped at 2:54. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Valerio, 50-45, 50-45, and 49-46.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing