By Cliff Rold
In a fifteen-year career defined by a slick defense and canny reflexes, 31-year old former WBA bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno (36-6-1, 12 KO), 120 ½, of San Miguelito, Panama, appears not to have enough of either anymore. One fight after losing an absolute war against Japan’s Shinsuke Yamanaka, Moreno appeared to have very little war left in him.
Dropped in the third by 24-year old former WBC super bantamweight titlist Julio Ceja (31-2, 28 KO), 121 ¾, of Atizapan de Zaragoza, Mexico, Moreno took the count from a knee and headed back to his corner, maybe into retirement.
The referee was Jesse Reyes.
While slower than he was at the peak of his six-plus year title reign, Moreno showed off some of his tricks in the first two rounds, slipping shots and working his jab while Ceja pressed. There wasn’t much intensity on his face but he was working well enough. The younger man, also coming off a stoppage loss in his last outing, was the aggressor throughout and it paid dividends in the third.
Back towards the corner, Moreno was caught with a snapping uppercut underneath, dropping to a knee in a delayed reaction. Waiting almost passively for Reyes to finish his count, Moreno rose only between the counts of nine and ten, walking to his corner with head bowed. It was much the same worn expression he wore when he took the ending count last September, the look of a fighter without much fight left in him.
If it is the end for Moreno, he can look back on an excellent career that included a ten-year unbeaten run, twelve title defenses, title fights in six countries, and memorable battles with Vic Darchinyan, Abner Mares, and Yamanaka. He suffers his second consecutive, and second career, knockout loss.
For Ceja, the win is a career kickstart after spending over a year on the shelf. In February 2016, he was dropped in the first round and injured his leg, attempting to fight on only to be stopped under a barrage in a rematch with Hugo Ruiz, losing his title. He had defeated Ruiz by technical knockout for that title in August 2015.
Ceja now moves on as a mandatory for current WBC titlist Rey Vargas (29-0, 22 KO).
The fight was televised in the US on TyC, promoted by Laguna Boxing.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]