Fringe light heavyweight contender Yunieski Gonzalez battered Alex Theran, dropping him multiple times before the fight was stopped in round 2 Friday night at The InterContinental Miami in Miami, Florida.
Gonzalez, who is originally from Cuba and now resides in Miami, improves to 20-3, 16 knockouts.
The 35-year-old fought five weeks ago in Merida, Mexico, stopping Guillermo Romero in the opening round. The win over Romero was Gonzalez’s first fight since losing by knockout to then-unbeaten Oleksandr Gvozdyk in April 2017.
At Thursday’s weigh-in, Theran weighed 189 pounds, 14 pounds more than the light heavyweight limit. He was not eligible for a vacant regional title belt that was on the line Friday.
The bigger and stronger Gonzalez imposed his will on Theran from the opening bell, walking him down and putting him on the defensive. Gonzalez scored the first knockdown, landing a series of punches to the body that dropped Theran in a corner. Theran beat the count, but was dropped again against the ropes, this time from a right to the stomach.
Theran was game, but his punch resistance failed him as he was dropped again in round 2 by a counter right cross to the head. Again, Theran beat the count and continued to engage with Gonzalez, but was dropped flat onto his back, prompting a stoppage at 2:51.
Gonzalez is best known for his disputed unanimous decision loss to Jean Pascal in July 2015. Less than five months later, Gonzalez by majority decision to Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Theran, who resides in Barranquilla, Colombia, falls to 22-5, 15 KOs and has lost three of his last five bouts, all by knockout.
In an upset, junior middleweight Damian Bonelli of Argentina defeated previously-unbeaten Derrieck Cuevas by split-decision.
One judge scored the bout 58-56 for Cuevas, but the other two judges scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Bonelli, who improves to 24-8, 20 KOs.
Bonelli entered Friday’s fight having lost his previous seven fights to modest opposition, most notably against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki in June 2017 and Steve Rolls of Canada in April of 2018. The 42-year-old Bonelli had not fought since a decision loss to Eric Walker on December 7 of last year.
Cuevas had not fought since stopping journeyman Javier Mercado in round 2 on November 30 of last year.
Bonelli was the more-active fighter, and while Cuevas utilized more technique, looked sluggish and rusty, never getting in any rhythm. Both fighters looked winded during the final round, but Bonelli did enough early on during the fight to get the win.
Cuevas, who resides in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, drops to 23-1-1, 15 KOs.
Featherweight prospect Neslan Machado, who also resides in Miami and is represented by MTK Global, defeated Mexico’s Angel Contreras (10-3-1, 6 KOs) by unanimous decision.
Scores were 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56 for Machado, who improves to 17-0 1 NC, 8 KOs.
In junior lightweight action, Luis Melendez of Miami improved to 9-1, 7 KOs, stopping Argentina’s Mario Sayal Lozano at 2:11 of the second round. Melendez has now won his last seven fights, five by knockout.
Hard-hitting middleweight Elvin Gambarov of Azerbaijan stopped Geronimo Nahuel Sacco (8-2-1, 1 KO) of Argentina at 17 seconds of round 3. Gambarov improves to 10-0, 9 KOs.
Promoter of the card was Henry Rivalta, who is a member of the Florida State Hall of Fame.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing