By Jake Donovan
Austin Trout helped kick off the inaugural installment of
Premier Boxing Champions'
'PBC on Fox Sports 1: Toe to Toe' series in style, knocking out Joey Hernandez in the 6th round of their main event Tuesday evening at the famed Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California.
Body shots forced Hernandez to the canvas, with referee Jack Reiss counting him out at 3:00 of round six.
The ending made up for a bit that jumped out to a slow start and grew ugly in spots.
Hernandez needed three tries to make the 156 lb. catchweight limit, and claimed to have put on 19 lbs. in the 30 hours leading up to fight night. The only time he put his size advantage to use was in round four, when the Miami-based southpaw physically lifted and bodyslammed Trout to the canvas.
Despite Reiss acknowledging the foul as "malicious and intentional," Hernandez was only docked one point for the sequence. It proved inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, as Trout went on to have a big round in what proved to be the beginning of the end.
At no point was Hernandez able to figure out how to get past Trout's jab, but a body attack was his ultimate demise. Trout planted his feet and banged Hernandez' midsection like a drum in forcing the lone clean knockdown of the night.
Hernandez was doubled over in pain for the remainder of the fight, save for a half-hearted attempt to rise to his feet and sell the idea that he wanted to continue. Reiss knew better and stopped the fight.
Trout improves to 30-2 (17KOs) with the win. He has now scored three straight stoppages, but by his own admission is done with this level of competition.
Next up for the former super welterweight champion isn't entirely clear at this moment. While Trout would love a second crack at a major title, he's fine with taking on one of the division's fastest rising contenders.
"That's a statement to you, Julian Williams, J-Rock," Trout exclaimed after the fight. "This is how you do it son."
Williams (20-0-1, 12KOs) pitched a 10-round shutout over Hernandez (now 24-4-1, 14KOs) in their CBS-televised clash in April, and has spent the past several months going back and forth with Trout through the press and on social media.
For at least one night, Trout did the bulk of his talking in the ring—first with his fists and then with actual words.
"I showed you how to do it, son. I knocked (Hernandez) out, you went in there and played with him," Trout pointed out before dropping a challenge. "If (Williams) wants it, he can come get it next."
Opening the telecast, a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup between Jorge Lara and Jesus Rojas resulted in a technical unanimous draw.
The bout was cut short after six rounds, when Lara could no longer see out of his right eye due to an accidental headbutt from earlier in the fight.
Lara was controlling the action early, but never to the point of putting any fear in the heart of Rojas. Quite the contrary, as Rojas weathered the early storm and began to dig in versus the unbeaten crowd favorite.
A clash of heads produced a cut over Lara's right eye in round three, as well as bruising around his eye. Rojas came on soon thereafter, while Lara struggled to contend with the wounds.
The ringside doctor gave Lara a thorough examination after the end of round six. It was at that point when the unbeaten featherweight declared he could no longer see out of his eye, thus bringing a halt to a contest that had dramatically swung in Rojas' favor.
Because the fight ended due to an accidental foul and had exceeded four rounds, the fate of the fighters were officially in the hands of the three judges. The officials were in agreement, scoring 57-57 across the board for a rare unanimous draw.
Lara remains unbeaten, though carries an asterisk on his new ring record of 27-0-2 (19KOs). Rojas is now 21-1-2 (15KOs).
The early ending in the evening's chief support provided time for Ahmed Elbiali to showcase his skills. The Egyptian light heavyweight—based out of Miami—needed just 75 seconds to prove his worth, taking out Fabiano Peña in the openin round.
A left hook to the body set up a big right hand upstairs for Elbiali, with Peña falling straight back to the canvas. There is a legitimate debate as to whether or not the fallen boxer from Brazil—who now lives and trains in the SoCal area—should have been granted more time to continue, as he wasn't even afforded a mandatory eight count with the fight stopped on the spot.
The official time was 1:15 of round one. Elbiali improves to 12-0 (11KOs), picking up the seventh 1st round knockout of his young and promising career. Peña falls to 12-3-1 (8KOs), with all three career losses coming in his last four fights.
Alexis Santiago finally scored a win in California, coming on his third try as he outpointed Javier Gallo (21-12-1) over six rounds. Scores were 60-53 (twice) and 59-54 in favor of Santiago (19-3-1, 8KOs), a 24-year old prospect from Phoenix who has won eight straight since an eight-round loss to then-unbeaten Roman Morales more than three years ago.
Kevin Watts (9-0, 3KOs) remains unbeaten following a 3rd round knockout of southpaw Darnell Jiles Jr (9-4-2). The local prospect from Lancaster scored two knockdowns in forcing the stoppage at 1:39 of round three.
Local lightweight Maurice Lee picked up his first knockout in more than two years, stopping Shaun Lee Henson in three rounds. A body shot put Henson (2-2, 2KOs) down for the count at 0:35 of round three. Prior to the fight, Lee (5-0, 3KOs) was out of the ring since last April.
Vegas-based super lightweight Charvis Holified (4-1, 3KOs) pummeled Jose Mejia (1-4) for as long as their fight lasted, all of 36 seconds until referee Eddie Hernandez decided to stop the onslaught. The win is the third straight for the 30-year old Holifield, all by knockout.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com