By Ryan Maquiñana
Junior lightweight Ronny Rios kept his record unblemished with a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Andrew Cancio on Monday night at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion.
The bout, which was televised live on Fox Sports 1, featured furious action throughout, with both men having their moments to the point where it was anyone’s guess who led on the cards after the 10-round distance.
Rios (23-0, 10 KOs), from Santa Ana, Calif., pulled out the close battle by ultimately outslugging Cancio (15-3-2, 11 KOs), who hailed from Blythe, Calif. Though Cancio’s left hook landed with frequency, Rios’ sustained combinations and volume mattered more with the judges.
Down the stretch, Cancio tried to pressure Rios into the ropes, but seemed to tire to the point where his punches lacked enough steam to stop his foe in his tracks. On the other hand, Rios’ accuracy, especially with the double left hook, and his ability to slip under increasingly wide shots from Cancio allowed him to counter with slightly more precision in the final three rounds.
Judges Scott Dexter and Mauro Di Fiore scored the bout 97-93, while Mike Fitzgerald had it 96-94, all for Rios. BoxingScene.com’s tally was 96-94 in favor of Rios, who landed 330 of 646 (51%). Cancio’s final punch stats were 286 of 915 (31%).
Featherweight up-and-comer Julian Ramirez (11-0, 6 KOs) of Los Angeles outclassed a willing foe in Carlos Rodriguez (18-14-4, 10 KOs) in an eight-round unanimous decision.
It was tough for Ramirez to look impressive given the styles clash; Rodriguez, who darted in and out was not the ideal match for Ramirez, a calm operator who models himself after the legendary Ricardo “Finito” Lopez, except out of the southpaw stance.
Ramirez found a home for his right hook downstairs and stiff jab, but could not find the target with a left hand solid enough to hurt Rodriguez, who made the trip north from Los Mochis, Mexico. Scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.
The opening televised bout featured lightweight Jose Arambula (7-0, 3 KOs), who outpointed previously undefeated David Diaz (4-1-1, 2 KOs) over six frames.
It initially appeared that Arambula, from Harvey, Ill., would make quick work of the shorter Diaz after a right hand to the body followed by a swift left hook put the Milwaukee on the canvas. However, Diaz beat the count and jabbed his way out of trouble to hear the bell.
The second round was more of the same as another left hook rocked Diaz, who was briefly staggered but remained upright. To his credit, Diaz remained vertical for the duration of the bout, even doing enough to steal one or two rounds with some effective body work. However, Arambula’s power and combinations from various angles were the difference in an easy bout to score.
The judges’ cards read 58-55 twice and 60-53 for Arambula.
Follow Ryan Maquinana on Twitter @RMaq28.