By Jake Donovan
Luis "Panterita" Nery graduated from prospect to contender, forcing David Sanchez to retire on his stool after five rounds of largely one-sided action Saturday evening at Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana, California.
An onslaught of punches from the locally-bred Nery - capped by a knockdown late in round five - prompted the corner of Sanchez to disallow their fighter to come out prior to the start of round six.
The dangerous formula of a faded veteran moving up in weight to take on a rising young talent held true to form in this matchup, as Nery learned early on that Sanchez lacked the artillery to survive a firefight. Interestingly, the bout threatened to end early and in another manner, as the southpaw vs. orthodox pairing produced a bad clash of heads barely 90 seconds into the evening.
It never proved to be a factor, which was bad news for Sanchez who would go on to endure a vicious beating over the balance of the main event battle. He landed a few solid shots in the opening round, but none of which caught the attention of the local southpaw.
This much became apparent in round two, as Nery walked through Sanchez' offense to land heavy power punches of his own. A series of left hands and right hooks had the former contender in trouble but at the very least upright.
As much could not be said in round three, when Nery landed a flurry of punches that prompted Sanchez to stagger abound the ring, with only the ropes preventing his fall. The proper ruling would have been a knockdown, not to mention a chance for Sanchez to at least clear his head for the duration of what should have been a mandatory eight count.
Instead, the referee played the role of pedestrian and allowed the action to continue. For whatever reason, Nery coasted during the final 30 seconds of the round, allowing Sanchez to make it to the bell. The knockout victory would eventually come, even if a golden opportunity appeared to be missed.
That moment would come two rounds later, when Nery simply wore down Sanchez via attrition. A series of power punches upstairs was followed by at least four clean body shots landing and forcing the already faded 24-year old to the canvas for the bout's lone knockdown.
Sanchez beat the count and managed to survive the round, but was already running towards empty. His corner recognized his such and informed the referee that he was done for the night.
The official time was 3:00 of round five.
Nery advances to 20-0 (14KOs), picking up the most notable win of his young career. It's also his third victory of 2016, with this likely leading to a move towards title contention in the near future.
Those days are long gone for Sanchez, once a player in the super flyweight division but now just a name for up-and-coming fighters like Nery to add to their resume. The loss is his second within his past three starts - having suffered a two-knockdown 10th round stoppage at the lethal hands of two-division titlist Luis 'Nica' Concepcion last September - as he falls to 29-4-2 (22KOs).
The bantamweight clash headlined a televised tripleheader, airing live on beIN Sport Espanol in the United States and Azteca TV in Mexico.
Promising super welterweight prospect Jaime Munguia opened the telecast with a two-round blitzing of Oscar Mora.
The unbeaten local favorite enjoyed significant advantages in height, reach and overall talent. Mora was game and enjoyed moments of success with singular right hand shots, but was outgunned for the most part and - as evident by visible signs of "chicho" hanging from his frame - was in no way, shape or form up to the task at hand.
A fast-moving opening round quickly transitioned to a power-punching surge for Munguia in round two. A frightening number of left hooks to the body were able to land and break down Mora (5-2, 5KOs), who did his best to defend against the incoming punches upstairs but was unable to protect his soft midsection. Enough rib breakers landed to eventually force him to the canvas, at which point the referee immediately intervened, halting the contest without issuing a count.
The official time was 0:55 of round two.
Munguia cruises to 16-0 (13KOs), having now scored knockout wins in each of his past six starts. He also now owns a pair of 2nd round knockouts in each of his past two appearances at home in Tijuana, with Saturday's win coming on the heels of a similar ending versus Seth Carrillo just six weeks ago.
Sulem Urbina survived a tough pro debut, getting past Eloisa Martinez in a hard-fought four-round split decision victory. Scores of 40-36 and 39-37 landed in favor of Urbina (1-0, 0KOs), while the third judge had it for Martinez (1-4-1, 0KOs), whose lone win of her career came in eerily similar fashion just three weeks ago in Queretaro, Mexico.