Welterweight contender Alexis ‘Lex’ Rocha (22-1, 14 KOs) was forced to labor hard before finally knocking out his replacement opponent George Ashie (33-6-1, 25 KOs) in the seventh round on Saturday night at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
Rocha dropped Ashie twice in the contest, once in the third and a final time in the seventh, resulting in the fight being stopped. Ashie was nailed by a big right hand from Rocha in the seventh, sent him down face first on the canvas, out cold in a highlight reel knockout.
The referee Thomas Taylor didn’t even bother to count, as Ashie was unconscious and wasn’t moving a muscle. Taylor halted the fight at 2:08 of the seventh.
In the third round, Rocha knocked Ashie down with a nice right hook to the head that he never saw coming. To his credit, Ashie made it out of the round, and fought tooth & nail in rounds 4, 5, and 6 & up until the knockout in the 7th.
Rocha suffered a cut over his left eye in the sixth round from a clash of heads. Ashie took advantage of the blood dripping into Rocha’s left eye by landing numerous right hands on the spot of the cut for the remainder of the round.
The 38-year-old Ashie, who campaigns at 140, was badly outsized by the much bigger & younger 25-year-old Rocha in this fight. The size and power differences between them were significant.
Moments after the fight, #3 WBO Rocha called out WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, saying he wants him next. There’s talk that Rocha’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions are on the verge of signing the free agent Crawford, which will open the door to a fight between the two.
“That he wasn’t going to hang with me,” said Rocha after the fight. “I’m ready for the big names. I want Crawford next. Not at all,” said Rocha when asked if Ashie’s punches hurt.
Rocha showed good power against Ashie, but his defense was nonexistent, and he was hit a lot in the fight by his much older opponent.
It’s fair to say that if Rocha were fighting a welterweight with power like Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, Crawford, Errol Spence Jr or Vergil Ortiz Jr, he wouldn’t have lasted long with them. He’s too easy to hit.
You can’t blame Golden Boy if they choose to throw Rocha in with Crawford next because the money will be good, and he wouldn’t have to worry about getting beaten along the way by one of the contenders in the division.
The way Rocha looked tonight, he wouldn’t win a title eliminator against one of the good welterweights like Boots Ennis.
In undercard action, undefeated lightweight fringe contender Floyd Schofield (13-0, 10 KOs) defeated Alberto Mercado (17-5-1, 4 KOs) by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 100-89, 100-89, and 100-89. Schofield knocked Mercardo down in the tenth.
Super middleweight Bektemir “The Bully” Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KOs) destroyed Ulises Sierra (17-3-2, 10 KOs) by a third round knockout. Bektemir dropped Sierra two times in the third with shots to the midsection.
The time of the stoppage was at 2:59. The win for the 26-year-old Bektemir was his fourth straight since being knocked out cold by Gabriel Rosado in 2021.
Oscar Collazo (6-0, 4 KOs) stopped Yudel Reyes (15-2, 5 KOs) in the fifth round in a WBO minimumweight eliminator. Reyes was down twice in the fifth round. The time of the stoppage was 2:59.