By Francisco Salazar
BURBANK, Calif. - Ricky Sismundo was brought in to be an opponent for Jose Felix. What he ended up doing was almost pulling off a major upset over the lightweight contender.
Felix held on and thwarted a late rally from Sismundo, winning a close 10 round split decision before an almost sold-out crowd at the Marriott Convention Center.
Felix entered the fight on Saturday having won five bouts in a row, while Sismundo was unbeaten in his previous five bouts.
It was Felix who controlled the first two rounds of the fight, but Sismundo began to close the distance, connecting with mostly left hooks to the head. Rather than Felix stand his ground, he chose to back up against the ropes, making it easier for Sismundo to connect.
Felix looked as though he won the fifth round, but ate a hard right hand to the head from Sismundo near the end of the round. Any momentum Sismundo built up during the sixth round was thrown out when referee Zac Young deducted a point from Sismundo for hitting Felix after the bell sounded to end the round.
Felix looked as though he was in control during the seventh and eighth round, but Sismundo rallied during the final two rounds, putting Felix on the defensive.
One judge scored the bout 95-94 in favor of Sismundo, while the other two judges scored the bout 96-93 and 95-94 for Felix.
Word is Top Rank is looking at Felix as a possible opponent for Felix Verdejo later in 2016 or in early 2017.
Felix improves to 33-1-1, 25 KOs, while Sismundo drops to 30-9-2, 13 KOs.
In a four round swing bout, lightweight Eric Altamirano won a unanimous decision over Rony Alvarado. Altamirano (7-0, 5 KOs) was dropped by a right hand from Alvarado midway through the first round. Both had their moments during the next two rounds before Altamirano dropped Alvarado (9-7, 5 KOs) early in the fourth round. Both had their moments at the end of the fight with solid exchanges until the final bell sounded. All three judges scored the bout 38-36 in favor of Altamirano.
In the opening 'Solo Boxeo' telecast, welterweight Arnold Barboza (10-0, 4 KOs) stopped Robbie Cannon at the end of the first round. Barboza went on the attack from the opening bell, landing repeatedly with left and right hands to the head. Cannon (15-12-2, 7 KOs) immediately went on the defensive, fighting off his back foot, but was not able to keep Barboza on him. The repeated punches Cannon received from Barboza produced blood from the nose. Near the end of the round, a right hand from Barboza shook Cannon, prompting Eddie Hernandez to stop the bout at 2:59.
Light heavyweight prospect Egor Mekhontsev (11-0, 7 KOs) won a one-sided eight round decision over Felipe Romero. Mekhontsev, who won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, dropped Romero (19-11-1, 14 KOs) within the first 10 seconds of the opening round. Mekhontsev had his hands full with the awkward fighter from Mexico, but settled into a groove by the third round. Mekhontsev dropped Romero a second time in the fifth round, but did not follow up, looking content to get rounds. All three judges scored the bout 80-70 in favor of Mekhontsev.
Live updates from tonight's 'Solo Boxeo Tecate' telecast from the Marriott Convention Center ..
In the opening bout of the Top Rank card, junior featherweight Miguel Alcantara dropped Julio Iwami Rodriguez (0-2) twice in the first round, prompting an immediate stoppage from referee Zac Young after the second knockdown. Time of the knockout was 2:26.
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 (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing