Golden Boy Productions' Oscar De La Hoya continued his "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN" series, which featured his younger cousin, rising Super Bantamweight Diego De La Hoya, easily battering challenger Erik Ruiz of California for the entirety of the 10 round fight at the Casino Del Sol in Tuscon, AZ.
The night was filled with hard hitting action and exciting fights, however the budding family member of one of the greatest boxers of all time completely outclassed his foe in order to win a lopsided decision, wiping the cards clean with two scores of 100-90 and one generous soul who managed to score a single round for Ruiz, 99-91.
De La Hoya (18-0, 9 KO), fighting at featherweight, displayed a vast array of skills and different techniques throughout the entire bout. While Ruiz (16-7-1, 6 KO) continued his trend of never being on the canvas. the younger De La Hoya managed to do everything one could inside the ring without getting a knockdown or TKO.
Starting in the opening stanza, De La Hoya mauled his challenger with a plethora of thudding combinations, mixing in good left hands with a vicious right uppercut and hook. Ruiz finally started to land some shots starting towards the 3rd and 4th round, however for every shot he could land, the young prospect had a 3-4 punch combination waiting for him. This trend continued like clockwork for the rest of the route. Ruiz did his part to make the bout interesting, as he never seemed severely hurt or unwilling to engage, however it was quite obvious De La Hoya is on a different level at this point.
It appears Oscar has big plans for Diego, and his most recent showcase at the Casino Del Sol is a good indicator of how special the younger De La Hoya could be. Diego showed incredible hand speed and a wide variety of punches that he can use from a multitude of angles. It will be interesting to see him work on his footwork and defense a little more before taking on some of the best in the division.
On the co-feature, the crowd in Tuscon was treated to a gem of a fight, when relatively untested American prospect D'Mitrius Ballard (17-0, 12 KO) managed to squeak out an incredibly tough unanimous decision against always game foe Adrian "Tyson" Luna from Mexico. The bout started out a little slow, with Luna having taking the fight on only 10 days notice. Ballard seemed to proceed with caution until Luna began the second round by throwing haymakers and huge looking shots. Pinned against the ropes halfway through the frame, Ballard connected with a right uppercut and followed it up with a massive left hook that left Luna (20-5-1, 13 KO) laying flat on the mat. "Tyson" did not look good at all, however he managed to gather himself to his feet and the referee allowed the bout to continue. Ballard pounced, however Luna was able to regain his wits and miraculously saw the bell.
The knockdown seemed to wake Luna up, as he pressured the more highly touted prospect for the entirety of the next 8 rounds. It was not the first time Luna has been in the ring with a tough opponent and refused to quit. In 2014, Luna lost a unanimous decision to current rising star Ryota Murata. He showed exactly why he was able to last the full time in that fight, as the underdog pressed the action for the entire fight, walking Ballard down and throwing wild shots over and over.
The fight was a very difficult one to score, as Luna was the aggressor while also getting consistently countered and having little substance to the punches he was flailing. Between rounds 8 and 9, knowing the fight was insanely close, Ballard's trainer stood yelling at his fighter that "pain is temporary, but losing is forever". Ballard seemed to take the advice to heart, as he came out swinging for the fences in round 9. With about 30 second remaining in the round, Luna caught D'Mitrius with a combo that left him shook very badly on his feet. He somehow managed to not only refrain from going down while looking out on his feet and eating a plethora of shots, he also came back out in the 10th and won a solid round that saw both men trading leather.
The judges scored the bout 97-92, and two cards of 95-94 in favor of D'Mitrius Ballard.. Fightful.com had the fight scored 96-93 for Ballard as well, who showed tons of heart and solid potential as well, however it was very clear Ballard needs to work on his movement and punch selection before he is able to seriously contend in the Super Middleweight division.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN returns on 6/17/17, featuring Fidel Maldonado Jr. (23-3-1, 19 KO) and Pablo Cesar Cano (30-5-1, 21 KO) in a Super Lighweight title bout.