By Jake Donovan
Julian Rodriguez continues to knock out opponents at an alarming rate. The unbeaten 20-year old tore through Raul Tovar, dropping him three times en route to a 1st round stoppage at USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.
The threat of an early night surfaced no sooner than the opening bell. Rodriguez sent Tovar to the canvas barely ten seconds into the contest courtesy of a straight right hand.
Things only got worse for the visiting Texan, who offered nothing in return as Rodriguez was free to unload. The second knockdown of the contest came roughly one minute later, this time courtesy of a combination capped by a left hook.
Tovar once again beat the count, but was dropped for a third time moments later, this time with the referee halting the contest on the spot.
The official time was 1:59 of round one.
Rodriguez cruises to 9-0 (8KOs). The Jersey boy has scored knockouts in each of his past seven starts, including four in the span of less than five months.
The show was originally intended as a showcase for rising lightweight prospect Felix Verdejo. The 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian was forced to withdraw from the show after suffering an untimely injury.
Neslan Machado (9-0, 7KOs) was extended six rounds for the first time in his career, but had no issues in turning back the challenge of Ernesto Garza (5-1, 3KOs) in a six-round battle of unbeaten featherweights. The 18-year old Cuban boxer prevailed in a unanimous decision, winning by scores of 58-55 (twice) and 59-54.
Local favorite Clarence Booth needed less than a round to get rid of Osenohan Vazquez in their chief support.
Booth, who hails from nearby St. Petersburg, fought with all of the patience of a double-parked limo driver. A swarm of punches had Vazquez in trouble early on, with a perfectly placed left hooker-cut dropping the Jersey-based Boricua to the canvas.
Vazquez (8-3-1, 3KOs) would have been better off staying down and taking the count, but believed there was more fighting to be had. Booth made him pay, unloading on his hapless foe until the referee was forced to intervene.
The official time was 2:26 of round one.
Booth improves to 10-1 (6KOs), having now won seven straight.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox