Photos: Rocha destroys Cobbs; McKinson beats Martin

Los Angeles boxing fans were treated to a night of action at USC’s Galen Center tonight, as two top welterweight contenders, Orange County’s Alexis “Lex” Rocha (19-1, 13 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (15-1-1, 10 KOs) delivered a lively boxing event, live worldwide on DAZN.

Cobbs brought “The Flair” walking out with a Lucha libre-inspired outfit and a luchador, paying homage to his childhood growing up in Jalisco, Mexico.

The fighters were very active in the first round as they each took turns trying to establish dominance. An effective right jab from Cobbs opened up a cut on top of Rocha’s right eye in the third round, but that did not stop Rocha from pursuing Cobbs and landing some power punches that shook Cobbs.

In the fifth round, Rocha caught Cobbs with a combination that visibly hurt him as he retreated to avoid a continued attack from Rocha.

By the sixth round, Cobbs had recovered as he tried to distance himself and use a jab to set up his shots.

But Rocha was relentless and continued his attack, dropping Cobbs to the canvas in the eighth round and overwhelming him at the 44-second count of the ninth, winning the fight by knockout in a 10-round welterweight main event.

“I got the knockout, but I know I could’ve done better,” said Alexis Rocha. “It took me quite a while to adjust. He was running, very awkward at first.

This is what I need so I can develop as an all-around fighter. It took me a while since I wasn’t listening to my coach. I was careless, only throwing one shot, not cutting the ring, and not throwing my combinations.

I want to give a big shoutout to everyone from Santa Ana. I could have gotten him out of there sooner. The only round that I actually let my hands go, I followed him up.

That’s what put him down, me throwing combinations. I want to give Blair credit. He was a formidable opponent, he was awkward, and he did a lot of trash-talking, but you don’t play with Mexico. Viva Mexico!”

“He was just a good fighter today,” said Blair Cobbs. “I was impressed by the way he came out. He got me with some pretty good shots. He got me in the later rounds very good, so shout-out to him and his team.

I was throwing shots, but I wasn’t following up with them. I couldn’t recover and figure it out in time to take over the fight. He did a tremendous job. I just wanted to give a shout-out to everyone that came out, and I promise that Blair ‘The Flair.’”

In the co-main event of the night, Michael “The Problem” McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) of Portsmouth, GBR and Alex “Chi-Heat” Martin (17-4, 6 KOs) of Chicago, IL, participated in a 10-round welterweight fight.

Martin used his reach to his advantage by using his jab to set up effective counter-punches. McKinson was not afraid to take on the role of chaser, coming forward landing some effective right hooks while using his jab as a guide to his attack.

The fight went the distance, with the judges’ ruling the battle in favor of Mckinson via unanimous decision with scores of 97-93, 99-91, and 98-92.

“It was basically a clash of styles,” said Michael McKinson. Two tricky southpaws, which I expected. “I didn’t feel like I was losing too many rounds.

I fought someone so negative I didn’t look my best which wasn’t as exciting to the crowd. I had to stick to the game plan and be patient. I kept my distance, and I had to make them count.”

“I think he’s average,” said Alex Martin. “If we fight again in a rematch, I’ll stop him. I’m not being arrogant. My timing just wasn’t there; I couldn’t click. He had a reasonable distance, which surprised me because I usually kept my distance. I was fighting myself.

In the second fight of the DAZN live stream, Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev (9-1, 7 KOs) of Indio, CA, faced seasoned veteran David “La Pantera” Zegarra (34-8, 21 KOs) of Lima, Peru, in a scheduled 10-round light heavyweight fight.

Bek established early dominance and proved why he is a power puncher by finishing the fight in the second round at the 30-second mark, adding another KO victory to his record.

“Everything feels good, and this went like I expected it to go,” said Bektemir Melikuziev. “The only thing on my mind is a re-match with Gabe Rosado.”

Opening up the DAZN live stream, Evan Sanchez (11-0, 6 KOs) of Parlier, CA, took on Alejandro Munera (6-5-4, 5 KOs) from Medellin, Colombia, in a 6-round super welterweight fight. The fighters started the action early in the first round as both come-forward fighters made an effort to establish early dominance.

The action continued through rounds 2-4, with Sanchez cornering Munera on the ropes in the third and knocking him down to the canvas in the fourth. Sanchez also hit the canvas in the fourth round, but that was ruled a slip by the referee.

The crowd-pleasing fight went the distance, with both fighters giving it their all in the sixth round, exchanging power shot after power shot. Ultimately the judges ruled a unanimous victory to Evan Sanchez with scores of 60-53.

“My plan was to outbox him,” said Evan Sanchez. “In the first two rounds, I got a little wild, and he caught me with some shots. I fixed myself after the third round and did way better. He could take a shot. I went to the body, and he was taking them. Hopefully, you will see me next month. I want to get the prospect of the year.”

Also on the card, but featured as part of the Golden Boy Fight Night live stream on YouTube,

A fan favorite, Alex Rincon (10-0, 7KOs) of Dallas, Texas, stopped Puerto Rico’s Luis Sanchez (9-3, 6 KOs) in the second round of an 8-round middleweight fight. Rincon won via KO with a time of 1:44 of the round, as mentioned above.

Los Angeles’ undefeated fighter John “Scrappy” Ramirez (9-0,7 KOs) kept his undefeated record when he faced Roberto “Escorpion” Pucheta (10-21-3, 6 KOa) of Jalisco, Mexico. The scheduled 6-round bantamweight bout went the distance, with judges awarding the unanimous decision victory to Ramirez with scores of 60-54.

“I knew he would be a tough fighter going into the fight,” said John Ramirez. “He’s only been stopped once, he’s strong, but he also took a beating.

But that was good for me; I am up for a challenge; it elevates me. This is the second time I am going the distance, I mean, I have only been fighting for five years, and I am only getting better. The sky’s the limit for me.”

Westside boxing’s Alejandro “Pin-Pon” Reyes (7-0, 4KOs) took on Daniel Evangelista Jr. (20-13-2, 16 KOs) of Mexico City in a 6-round super lightweight fight.

The crowd-pleasing fight had the fighters going back and forth as Reyes dominated the action with precise jabs and head movement.

Evangelista has deducted points for head butting in the second round and holding/grabbing in the fourth round. The fight went the distance with scores of 60-51 from all three judges for a unanimous decision victory for Reyes.

“It was a great experience,” said Alejandro Reyes. “It was a tough fight, and we knew that coming in. I had to listen to my corner. We made the adjustments that we needed to as the fight progressed. He was a tough fighter. He had a lot of experience. It was a great learning experience, and I thanked God we got the job done.”

Los Angeles’ Miguel “El Hijo de El Sereno” Gaona (2-0,1 KO) scored an early first-round knockout against Mexico City’s Gilberto Aguilar (0-5). The fight was initially scheduled to be a 4-round, super lightweight fight.

“I am not surprised by the early knockout,” said Miguel Gaona. “This is what we trained for, just happy we could get it done early.”

In the night’s second fight, Dalis Kaleiopu (2-0, 2 KOs) of Waianae, HI defeated Tamaulipas, Mexico’s Manuel Lara (2-8) via TKO in the fourth round at the 2:15 marker in a 4-round lightweight fight.

“I felt good,” said Dalis Kaleiopu. “I could’ve stopped it in the first round, but I decided not to. Hopefully, I get to fight in a couple of months.”

Opening up fight night, London’s Ramla Ali (5-0, 1KO) gave another stellar performance as she knocked out Toronto’s Shelly Barnett (5-7-2) in the second round of their scheduled 8-round featherweight fight. Ali won with a time of 1:23 of the round, as mentioned above.

“I felt excellent, very relaxed,” said Ramla Ali. “I took my time, which is a testimony to training with Manny Robles. He’s always saying I don’t rush your shots, and everything else will follow. My opponent was adamant. She wanted to keep going. It’s nice to get my first stoppage. It’s all paying off a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”

Rocha vs. Cobbs was a 10-round welterweight fight presented by Golden Boy associated with Matchroom Boxing. On Saturday, March 19, the battle took place at Galen Center in Los Angeles and will be streamed live worldwide on DAZN. Hennessy sponsored the event “Never Stop. Never Settle” and “BetOnline – Your Online Sportsbook Experts.”