Andres Cortes was given all that he could handle in a hometown fight that was anything but a showcase.
The unbeaten junior lightweight prospect turned away a stiff challenge from Mexicali’s Abraham Montoya, earning an eight-round, unanimous decision victory. Scores were 79-73 on all three scorecards in favor of Cortes, though more competitive within each round of their undercard bout Saturday evening on ESPN + from Resorts World Casino in Las Vegas.
Montoya has carved out a reputation as a prospect slayer, at the very least proving to be fits for any up-and-coming fighter in and around the lightweight division. That lesson was dealt to Cortes, who spent the entire fight trying to fend off an oncoming Montoya, who never stopped moving forward and had the Las Vegas native hurt on a number of occasions.
Cortes managed to surge ahead in round four after struggling early, catching Montoya with right hands over the top and doubling up the Mexican’s punch output. Montoya (20-4-1, 14KOs) rocked Cortes with a right hand in round six, which could have been ruled a knockdown as the ropes prevented Cortes from falling to the canvas.
It didn’t matter on the scorecards, nor did it discourage Cortes from biting down and closing strong to remain unbeaten (18-0, 10KOs).
Charlie Sheehy was forced to go the distance for the first time as a pro, pounding out a four-round unanimous decision win over Mexico City’s Juan Manuel Castaneda (2-1-2, 0KOs). Scores were 40-36 across the board in favor of Sheehy in the opening bout of the evening.
The battle of unbeaten lightweights was high contact throughout, with Sheehy a step ahead but constantly forced to fend off a relentless Castaneda. The brilliance of the 23-year-old Brisbane, California-based prospect was well served in the trenches, countering an onrushing Castaneda with left hooks and always mindful of the incoming.
Castaneda let his hands go in the fourth and final round, often catching air and leaving himself wide open for counter shots. Sheehy crashed home an uppercut that briefly rocked the Mexican, then following with a left hook upstairs. The sequence was enough to reestablish his desired pace, getting Castaneda to follow him around the ring.
Sheehy improves to 4-0 (3KOs), collecting his second straight win at Resorts World Casino after fighting twice in his home region of Fresno to begin his career. The 17-time amateur champion—who signed with manager Peter Kahn straight out of the 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials and with Top Rank upon turning pro last year—entered the fourth round twice in separate knockout wins before going the full distance on Saturday.
Omar Rosario was given all that he could handle in grinding out a six-round, unanimous decision victory over Esteban Munoz. Scores were 58-56 on all three scorecards in favor of Rosario (8-0, 2KOs), a former top amateur from Caguas, Puerto Rico who has now gone six rounds in each of his last three starts.
Munoz—a 27-year-old slugger from San Bernardino, California—came to bring the pain from the opening bell, but took his foot off the gas at the wrong times. He was given firm instructions by noted trainer Henry Ramirez, who constantly reminded Munoz (6-2, 4KOs) that the fight was there for the taking and how to go about pulling off the upset.
Rosario eventually exploited Munoz’s lapses, closing out the fight strong particularly in the final round to earn the clean sweep and avoid his first defeat. Munoz snaps a four-fight win streak with the setback.
Headlining the show, former lineal and unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KOs) faces Mexico’s Pedro Campa in a scheduled ten-round junior welterweight bout. Lopez fights for the first time since losing his championship to George Kambosos Jr. via split decision last November 27 in New York City, as he now campaigns in the 140-pound division.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox