Junior lightweight Vicente Escobedo, of Woodland, Calif., dropped Rocky Juarez in the third round on the way to a 10-round unanimous decision over the Houston native on Friday at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.
Escobedo (24-3, 14 KOs), who was badly rocked at the end the sixth round, won by scores of 98-91, 97-92 and 96-93. However, the scorecards do not indicate the competitive nature of the fast-paced boxing match.
Juarez (28-9-1, 20 KOs), who was off balance when he was dropped by a pushing jab from Escobedo, was never hurt during the fight. Escobedo was clearly hurt at the end of the sixth when a big hook staggered him into the ropes. But the 29-year-old veteran resumed his stick-and-move game plan in the seventh round and held off Juarez's late charge by being the faster and busier puncher of the two U.S. Olympians.
Juarez, a silver medalist in the 2000 Games, was the more accurate and harder puncher. The 31-year-old Texan started faster than usual and applied hard pressure throughout the bout. However, Escobedo's speed enabled him to get the better of most exchanges, of which there were many.
After the fight, Escobedo, who earned his second straight decision victory since losing a unanimous decision to Robert Guerrero last November, was challenged by unbeaten junior lightweight standout Eloy Perez, who is also promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and resides in Northern California. Escobedo accepted the challenge.
The future is no so clear for Juarez, who lost his fifth straight bout. In what has been a hard-luck career, all nine of his losses have come by decision, with six of those and a draw being over the course of 12 rounds against world champions in title fights.
Juarez's initial loss was a failed bid to win the WBC's interim featherweight title against Humberto Soto in August of 2005. Then there were Juarez's consecutive setbacks to then-WBC super featherweight beltholder Marco Antonio Barrera in May and September of 2006.
Juarez unsuccessfully challenged then-WBC junior lightweight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez in November of 2007.
Juarez battled to a disputed draw against Indonesia's WBA featherweight beltholder Chris John in February of 2009, and then lost a rematch in September of the same year.
There was also the seven-round, technical decision loss to Jason Litzau, and then a 10-round decision setback against ex-titleholder Jogre Linares, in April and July of last year, respectively, before losing over 12 rounds to Alexandro Sanabria in Feburary.