LAS VEGAS – Junior welterweight prospect Antonio Orozco took another developmental step toward contender status with a seventh-round TKO of fellow Southern Californian and one-time sparring partner Jose Reynoso in the main event of a Fox Sports Net-televised card at the Cosmopolitan.
Orozco (17-0, 13 knockouts) dropped Reynoso with a body shot in the fifth round and finished the gutsy southpaw with a right hand during an exchange in the seventh. The San Diego resident boxed a controlled fight, moving and punching at the right times during the fight, but also stepping up the tempo whenever he had Reynoso (16-4-1, 3 KOs) in trouble.
Orozco, who is managed by Frank Espinoza, exhibited competent footwork, good body punching and decent power.
The Golden Boy Promotions/Mayweather Promotions production also featured the comeback of former super middleweight contender Anthony Dirrell, who was out of the ring all last year due to serious injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident last May.
If Dirrell wanted an opponent who would test his resolve and help him knock off ring rust after spending a year out of the ring, he picked the right guy in Houston’s tough-as-nails Don Mouton, who gave him sheer hell for eight rounds in the co-featured bout of the Fox Sports broadcast.
Dirrell was in control during most of the rounds and he landed the harder, more accurate punches throughout to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision by scores of 78-74 and 77-75 (twice), but Mouton had his moments (as the close scorecards indicate) in a punishing, fan-friendly fight.
Mouton was able to outwork Dirrell (25-0, 21 KOs) for long stretches when the tall and talented switch-hitter covered up on the ropes, but the younger brother of 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell always came back with sharp combinations – as well as a fair amount of smack talk.
Mouton (11-7-1, 9 KOs) talked back as the two often stood head-to-head in the middle of the ring, banging each others’ bodies with bad intentions. The bout probably featured more body punching that clean head shots although both fighters landed upstairs as well as evidenced by Mouton’s swollen eye sockets and Dirrell’s bloody nose.
It was a tough, grueling fight and it was exactly what Dirrell wanted.
“I needed work,” Dirrell told boxing writers after the fight. “I knew that he hadn’t been knocked out. I knew that he could stand up to the power that I had, and he was giving it back to me. I knew what I was getting into. He’s a heck of a fighter and I knew that he had been robbed a lot of times. So I knew he was a good fighter. Big ups to him.”
Dirrell, who was out of the ring in 2007 while he battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a form of cancer, said he could barely contain his emotion before the fight.
“I wanted to get the crowd up for the main event,” he said. “I was in the back waiting and getting pumped up. I wanted the crowd to get loud. I wanted to give the crowd something to see. I could have boxed more. I boxed a little, but maybe not as much as I should have. The next time I will. This is my first fight in about 16 months. I’ll be back even stronger the next time.”
On the televised portion of the undercard, Errol Spence Jr., a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Dallas, Texas, made short work of Brandon Hoskins, stopping the outgunned Missouri journeyman at 2:35 of the first round of their scheduled six-round junior middleweight bout.
Spence (5-0, 4 KOs), an athletic southpaw, dropped Hoskins (16-5-1, 8 KOs) with body shots early in the round before finishing the club fighter with a left uppercut. Referee Tony Weeks waved the bout off without a count.
“I started out just using my jab, finding the range with my jab. I saw that he was squared up a lot when I came in,” said Spence, who trained in Las Vegas, where he served as a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather.
“Whenever I threw my jab he would duck, so I would come up under with my uppercut. He was squared up, so it was easy to hit him. It was the uppercut to the body and the uppercut to the head (that stopped him).”
Joseph Diaz Jr., a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, Calif., stopped Puerto Rico’s Eric Gotay (3-2, 1 KO) in the third round of a scheduled six-round junior featherweight bout. Diaz (4-0, 2 KOs), an economical southpaw, dropped the game journeyman with a straight left, prompting referee Vic Draculich wave the bout off at 2:13 of the round.
In the walkout bout of the evening, Dominic Breazeale (5-0, 5 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Alhambra, Calif., stopped flabby but game Missouri journeyman Lance Gauch (3-7-2, 3 KOs) in the second round of a blatant mismatch.
In the opening bout of the card, Joet Gonzalez (4-0, 1 KO), of Los Angeles, won a one-sided decision over Alex Chavez (1-1), of San Francisco, in a junior four-round featherweight bout.