Victor Morales asked for Diego De La Hoya by name.
The unbeaten featherweight did not at all squander the opportunity, twice flooring the familiar-named fringe contender en route to a second-round knockout. Morales bloodied and dropped De La Hoya seconds before a follow-up attack produced a full ten count at 1:08 of round two in their DAZN-televised co-feature Saturday evening at College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Mexicali’s De La Hoya—the younger cousin of Hall of Fame former six-division champ and current promoter Oscar De La Hoya—vowed to make Morales regret the moment he called for this showdown. He enjoyed a solid opening round, complete with several right hands. Morales—an unbeaten prospect from Vancouver, Washington—responded in kind but was briefly outworked by the fledgling Mexicali native who was badly in need of a redemptive performance.
Morales didn’t waste any time in round two, as he immediately raced across the ring to initiate the attack. De La Hoya was caught off guard and immediately bloodied by a left hook. Morales repeated the sequence, this time producing the bout’s first knockdown.
De La Hoya beat the count but foolishly attempted to trade with Morales to make up the difference. Morales connected with a final left hook that forced De La Hoya to touch both gloves to the canvas. He wound up dropping to the deck, where he remained for the full ten count.
Morales improved—in every sense of the word—to 18-0-1 (9KOs). The early ending marked his first knockout in nearly two years, having since gone the distance in each of his last three starts.
De La Hoya fell to 24-2 (11KOs) with the defeat. A three-fight win streak comes to a close, and the 28-year-old is once again at a pivotal point in his largely underwhelming career.
Headlining the show, unbeaten lightweight contender William Zepeda (27-0, 23KOs) faces Panama’s Jaime Arboleda (19-2, 14KOs) in a scheduled twelve-round regional title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox