The writing was on the wall even before Alexis Rocha stepped into the ring for his latest bout.
A win would leave the streaking contender on the short list of realistic—read: available—options for three-division and reigning WBO welterweight titlist Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford. Rocha did his part with a highlight-reel, seventh-round knockout of late replacement George Ashie (33-6-2, 25KOs) atop a DAZN show this past Saturday from YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
The feat extended Rocha’s current six-fight win streak, with his last five victories coming in Southern California and all within the past fourteen months. If the 25-year-old southpaw from nearby Santa Ana has any say in the matter, it will mark his last fight without a major title at stake.
“[Crawford] is the fight that I want next, let’s go,” Rocha insisted to DAZN’s Chris Mannix during his post-fight, in-ring interview. “Everyone always asks me if I’m ready. I won’t know until I’m in there with him. I’m ready for the big names. I know whoever I fight, I’m gonna take it up every level, every step.”
Rocha (22-1, 14KOs) has emerged as a top-ten contender with his current run, all since an October 2020 defeat to Rashidi Ellis. Among his six consecutive victories that followed is a ninth-round knockout of unbeaten Blair Cobbs last March 19 at USC Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Two more wins followed in a productive three-fight 2022 campaign. Saturday’s headliner was due to come versus Atlantic City’s Anthony ‘Juice’ Young, who suffered an injury late in training camp and had to withdraw. Ghana’s Ashie accepted the fight on short notice, for an assignment Rocha accepted just six weeks ago when unbeaten lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19KOs) opted against returning to the ring ahead of a looming superfight with Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (27-0, 25KOs).
Golden Boy Promotions founder and chairman Oscar De La Hoya made it work for the promotion. A now-viral photo was released by Golden Boy Promotions and 'The Golden Boy' himself, who was featured with business partner and fellow Hall of Fame entrant Bernard Hopkins and Crawford, teasing the possibility of the unbeaten three-division champ and pound-for-pound entrant joining the company.
At the minimum, Rocha is prepared to welcome Crawford to a future Golden Boy-promoted main event.
“I'm ready for the big names,” Rocha said. “Errol Spence doesn't want to fight Crawford for some reason. He's fighting [former unified WBC/WBA welterweight titlist Keith] Thurman. I'm next in the WBO, I want Crawford next."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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