LAS VEGAS – Austin Williams brought the ‘Ammo’ for his latest performance.
There is a case to be made that Quatavious Cash was the victim of an early stoppage, as Williams awarded a second-round stoppage in their middleweight affair. Williams sent Cash to the canvas with a flurry of punches that began and ended with a left hand upstairs. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. deemed the sequence as fit to end the fight at 0:26 of round two Saturday afternoon at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The fight marked the first for Williams under the tutelage of renowned cornerman Kevin Cunningham, taking immediately to his instructions as he took the early lead. Cash was game for the occasion, eager to extend his five-fight unbeaten stretch while looking to dish out the first loss to Williams.
That dynamic changed in an instant.
A left hand by Williams left Cash wobbled and nearly defenseless early in round two. Williams wisely jumped on his wounded foe, connecting with a series of punches that ended with a left hand that sent Cash to the canvas. Cash was never given a chance to prove that he could continue, as Caiz decided that the Atlanta native was done for the night. The stoppage was met with a chorus of boos from the early arriving crowd on hand, though Cash was forced to deal with the defeat in falling to 14-3(8KOs).
Williams—a Milwaukee native based out of Houston—improves to 9-0 (7KOs), coming nine months after an eight-round decision win over Denis Douglin this past March in Dallas.
Alexis Espino delivered an entertaining performance for his local fans, though just not a winning one.
The 21-year-old Las Vegas product never stopped throwing power punches but was forced to go all eight rounds in a surprising majority decision draw with Mexico’s Rodolfo Gomez. Judges Eric Cheek (77-75) ruled in favor of Gomez, overruled by Lisa Giampa (76-76) and David Sutherland (76-76) who scored the action even in a spirited super middleweight bout.
Gomez (14-5-2, 10KOs) is best known for his stoppage win over badly faded former two-division titlist Ricardo Mayorga in 2018. Beyond that feat, the Mexican has carved out a reputation as a durable foe, as Espino learned—or was reminded—throughout their high-contact eight round affair.
Espino was dialed in with his left hook, landing early and often though unable to dent the chin of Gomez. The unbeaten Las Vegas product never shied from trading in the trenches, often beating Gomez to the punch and drawing a rise out of the early-arriving crowd with flush power shots upstairs.
Gomez was game in forcing the promising prospect to go all eight rounds, as he did in a prior defeat to unbeaten Diego Pacheco this past February 27 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The 32-year-old Mexican—now based out of Laredo, Texas—was able to greatly improve on that performance, frequently scoring with right hands though often at the expense of eating left hooks in return.
Still, the judges were impressed with the relentlessness of Gomez—either that, or they were underwhelmed by Espino’s inability to create enough separation between the two in a fight he was favored to win.
Espino is now 9-0-1 (6KOs), though remaining unbeaten in still enjoying a productive four-fight campaign in 2021 after having been benched by the pandemic and Covid for 52 weeks dating back to last February.
Amari Jones remains a knockout every time out.
The locally-based 19-year-old middleweight closed the show with mere seconds to spare in a sixth-round stoppage of Los Angeles’ Timothy Lee. Jones scored an opening round knockdown and spent the rest of the fight breaking down Lee (5-2, 4KOs) before referee Allen Huggins intervened at 2:40 of round six
Jones—who fights under the Devin Haney Promotions banner and is a stablemate of the reigning WBC lightweight titlist—floored Lee with a perfectly timed counter right uppercut late in the opening round, coming under Lee’s right hand to produce the bout’s first knockdown. Jones remained poised, patiently measuring up Lee while landing clean combinations upstairs and left hooks to the body.
The approach proved valuable. Just as the fight appeared destined to head to the scorecards, Jones closed the show with a flurry of punches as Lee was against the ropes and unable to defend himself.
Jones closes out his first year as a pro at a perfect 5-0 (5KOs). His pro debut took place this past April in Atlanta, a show which housed Lee’s previous bout prior to Saturday.
All three bouts served as part of a nine-fight card headlined by the lightweight title consolidation clash between Haney (26-0, 15KOs) as the reigning WBC World titlist, and WBC interim title claimant Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz (32-1-1, 15KOs). The scheduled 12-round main event airs live on DAZN.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox