SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – Roman Morales was on cruise control in his bout against Roberto Castaneda. He was easily outboxing Castaneda during most of the exchanges and had dropped him in the fifth round.
Then, Castaneda dropped the hammer and that easy fight and unbeaten record almost went away.
Luckily for Morales, he was able to survive the round and fight, but the knockdown might make people assess whether he is ready for the next level of opposition.
Morales was able to survive a knockdown to win a 10 round unanimous decision over Castaneda at the Chumash Casino Resort.
The bout headlined a six-bout “Central Coast Championship Boxing” card presented by Gary Shaw Productions.
Morales has looked like a solid pro early in his professional career. He does have modest victories over Jonathan Arrellano and Jesus Antonio Hernandez. However, he has not been tested when he beat journeymen fighters like Jose Iniguez and in his most recent outing, against Lorenzo Trejo.
Morales had his way with Castaneda from the opening bell. He would beat Castaneda to the punch, not allowing him to get off any combinations and keeping him on the defensive.
Castaneda, who had lost three previous fights in a row by knockout, looked vulnerable to anything flush Morales landed. He would occasionally land a hook or counter, keeping Morales honest. The punches Castaneda landed suggests that Morales gets hit too easy, especially when he has his hands down.
Morales was able to drop Castaneda with a barrage of punches in the fifth round. While it looked as though it was a matter of time Morales would finish Castaneda, he, nor the near-sellout crowd in attendance, expected the following sequence two rounds later.
Near the end of the seven round, Castaneda landed a well-timed left hook to the head, sending Morales flat onto his back. Morales got up on wobbly legs, but Castaneda was not able to land that decisive punch to end the fight.
Morales was able to get his legs under him, boxing and keeping Castaneda at arms length. Castaneda tried to press the action in the final round, but would get stunned by a right hand from Morales. Castaneda also got cut over his right eye by a punch, further hindering his long-shot chance of hurting Morales again.
All three judges, including RingTV.com, scored the bout 97-91 in favor of Morales, who goes to 17-0, 9 knockouts. Castaneda dropped to 20-5-1, 15 KOs.
In the co-feature bout, junior lightweights Gabriel Tolmajyan and Edwin Solis fought to an eight-round majority decision draw.
Tolmajyan, who has fought numerous televised bouts in recent years, was in control of the fight during the first half of the fight. Tolmajyan landed repeated counter and lead left hands to the head of Solis.
Solis would land one punch, but dropped his hands or did not keep his hands up enough to defend himself as Tolmajyan easily countered repeatedly to the head.
Solis came on in the second half of the fight, closing the distance between himself and Tolmajyan. During the fifth and sixth rounds, Tolmajyan landed some of his better punches to the Solis’ head.
Solis came on in the final two rounds. Solis landed right uppercuts to the head of Tolmajyan and threw everything he could in the final round, even though his punches lost steam in the final moments of the fight.
One judge scored the bout 77-75 in favor of Tolmajyam, but the other two judges scored the bout 76-76. RingTV.com scored the bout 78-74 in favor of Tolmajyan from ringside.
The Armenian-born Tolmajyan goes to 13-3-2, 3 KOs, while Solis, from Pomona, Calif., goes to 5-2-2, 3 KOs.
In other action:
- Featherweight Rufino Serrano (14-5, 1 KO) survived a first-round knockdown to stop Pablo Batres (4-8-1, 1 KO) in the fourth round of a scheduled six round bout. Serrano dropped Batres to one knee with a barrage of punches, prompting referee Dr. Lou Moret to wave the fight over at 2:37. It was Serrano’s first win by knockout as a professional.
- Light heavyweight and Russian-born Il’shat Khusnulgatin (11-0, 6 KOs) stopped
Arsenio Terrazas after the fourth round of a scheduled six round bout. Terrazas (9-6, 8 KOs) was deducted a point in the third round for holding, but could not overcome a swollen eye that was shut by the end of the fourth round, prompting the bout to be stopped.
- Lightweight Daniel Franco (5-0-2, 3 KOs), who trains in Oxnard, Calif., stopped Manuel Romero in the fourth round of a scheduled four round bout. Romero, from Santa Maria, Calif., drops to 0-2.
- Junior middleweight Julian Cruz (2-2) won a hard-fought four round unanimous decision over Eric Prado (2-4-1). All three judges scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Cruz.