LOS ANGELES – Diego De La Hoya shook off some ring rust and recorded a knockout Saturday in his first fight in 2½ years.
De La Hoya, a cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, stopped Mexican journeyman Enrique Bernache in the fourth round of a featherweight fight scheduled for 10 rounds on the Ryan Garcia-Javier Fortuna undercard at Crypto.com Arena. Bernache was hurt, but still on his feet when referee Ray Corona halted the action with nine seconds to go in the fourth round.
Before Saturday, the 27-year-old De La Hoya (23-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC) hadn’t fought since December 2019, when he defeated Renson Robles by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder in Mexicali, Mexico, De La Hoya’s hometown. Bernache (24-14, 12 KOs), whose April 2019 fight against De La Hoya resulted in a no-contest due to Bernache’s cut, lost by knockout or technical knockout for the fifth time in his 14-year pro career.
The beginning of the end came Saturday with just over 20 seconds to go in the fourth round, right after De La Hoya hurt Bernache with a left hook. Bernache tried to move away from De La Hoya, who unloaded power shots on him that caused Corona to step between them.
Bernache fell to the canvas late in the third round, but Corona ruled that he slipped. De La Hoya landed a solid left to Bernache’s body in the third round, but he didn’t hurt Bernache during that round the way he did during the first two rounds.
De La Hoya hurt Bernache with a right hand toward the end of the second round. He tried to finish him before the bell sounded, but Bernache took a flush left hook and the bell sounded to end that round.
De La Hoya moved Bernache backward with right hands several times in the first round, when Bernache seemed to have difficulty keeping his footing.
In the opening bout Saturday night, Miguel Gaona, a left-handed lightweight prospect from Los Angeles, stopped Puerto Rico’s Abdiel Padilla in the first round of a junior welterweight bout scheduled for four rounds.
Gaona (3-0, 2 KOs) needed only 1:20 to defeat Padilla (1-3, 1 KO), who went down twice from right hooks to the body.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.