LOS ANGELES — Former bantamweight world champion Juan Carlos Payano came out guns blazing, scoring a first-round knockdown of Raymond Tabugon just as the bell sounded off to close the first round. 

Tabugon beat referee Edward Collantes ten count, but that was arguably the only moral victory of his night in the 118-pound fight. A rejuvenated Payano tattered Tabugon for four more rounds until the match was stopped as the Filipino fighter walked back to his corner after the fifth round. 

Collantes asked Tabugon if he wanted to continue, and the ultimate answer from the corner was a no. 

The Dominican Payano (23-5, 11  KOs) with the moniker of “The Machine” took the fight to Tabugon (22-13-1, 11 KOs) from the opening bell. 

Payano's right eye was cut open midway through the second round but didn’t appear to give him any problems. His corner admirably tended to the laceration, and the blood was stopped by the beginning of round three, and never reopened.  

The 37-year-old southpaw Payano was primed to make it a slugfest from the beginning, marching forward from the first round and landing a very lively left hand seemingly at will. 

Primarily depending on a power-packed left hand, Payano picked apart Tabugon in rounds three and four and picked up the pace in the fifth, and you began to wonder how much longer Tabugon could take the damage. Tabugon did as well, and the fight was waved off before the beginning of round six. 

Payano was a world titlist beginning in 2014 when he beat Anselmo Moreno for the 118-pound WBA belt. He defended it once against Rau'shee Warren before losing it to Warren in a 2016 rematch. 

After suffering three straight losses to the likes of Luis Nery, Daniel Roman, Gary Antonio Russell from 2019 and 2020, Payano has now hit paydirt with wins in back-to-back fights.

Tabugon suffered his third straight loss, with the previous two coming at the hands of Angel Acosta and Ricardo Sandoval. 

The fight took place Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The non-televised bout took place on the Showtime card headlined by WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero and challenger Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com