Mexico’s Ricardo “Hindu” Espinoza (21-2, 18 KOs) made the most of his Telemundo appearance in the main event of “Rumble at the Rock III,” tonight (Friday, Nov. 30), at Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., by destroying previously undefeated Yeison Vargas (17-1, 12 KOs) of Colombia in two rounds
After an uneventful first round, Espinoza impressively opened up and dropped Vargas three times in the second. In the process, Espinoza, the streaking WBO #2 contender, picked up a TKO 2 and the WBO Latino Bantamweight Championship. Having never left his homeland for a fight before, Vargas seemed unprepared for the brutal power of Espinoza’s hooks and right hands. The time was 1:19.
In the 10-round welterweight co-main event, Puerto Rican prospect Derrieck Cuevas (19-0-1, 14 KOs) scored an impressive unanimous 10-round decision over Miami via Barranquilla, Colombia veteran Breidis “Khanqueror” Prescott (31-15, 22 KOs).
Cuevas is a wicked puncher. Prescott was down in round one from a thudding left hook and was saved by the bell from a quick KO loss. What followed over the next nine rounds was a clinic from the surprisingly elusive 24-year-old Cuevas on hitting, hard, and not getting hit back.
Always a warrior, the battle-proven Prescott tried for the entire fight, but simply couldn’t reach Cuevas with anything consequential. Cuevas looks to have the goods to continue to climb the 147-lb ladder into contender status. The scores were not announced.
Popular Miami light heavyweight Ulysses Diaz (7-0, 6 KOs) was too much for Sonora, Mexico’s Fabian Valdez (3-5), as he stopped him in two rounds of a scheduled four. “The Monster” Diaz, a serious crowd favorite in South Florida, clubbed Valdez with his trademarked sledgehammers, sending the hapless Mexican reeling around the ring until the slaughter was mercifully waved off at 49 seconds. Valdez was down from a body shot in round one.
Miami lightweight Manuel Correa (3-0, 2 KOs) pounded out a brutal unanimous (40-36 x 3) four-round decision over Dustin Arnold (6-2, 1 KOs) of Coral Springs, Florida.
Lacking the power to get the relentlessly energized fists of Correa away from him, Arnold did well to survive the onslaught. His face didn’t feel so lucky though, as he was reduced to a bloody mask during the carnage. Correa is a pitbull worth having another look at. The normally capable Arnold will have to improve his power to compete with savagery of the type that fighters like Correa can generate.
Miami welterweight Livan Navarro (10-0, 6 KOs) scored an entertaining fourth-round knockout (54 seconds) over Colombian veteran Wilfrido Buelvas (19-11, 13 KOs). The pair of sluggers traded free-swinging haymakers throughout. Buelvas even looked to have hurt Navarro in the second, but, eventually, Navarro’s superior power took over and that was it for the Colombian from Barranquilla.
Buelvas went down twice in round three and twice more in round four, the final time for the full 10 count.
In an eight-round super featherweight bout, former top-ranked veteran Mike “Machine Gun” Oliver (26-10-1, 8 KOs) of Hartford showed the ravages of time, as he flopped twice and quit in the first round against Miami’s undefeated featherweight Hairon “El Maja” Socarras (20-0-3, 12 KOs). What would have been an entertaining scrap a few years ago was more of a sad exhibition as Oliver dropped from the two punches he caught and elected to quit after the second “knockdown.” The time was 50 seconds.
All-action Miami featherweight Jessy Cruz (15-7-1, 6 KOs) continued his winning streak with a four-round beatdown of Mexican veteran Isaias Martin Cardona (25-15, 17 KOs). Cardona, a showboating type, was down in round, one, three and four. After the fourth, saner heads prevailed, and he was prevented from coming out for the fifth. The official verdict was a TKO 5 (0:01).
Miami via Cuba’s hard-punching super middleweight Irosvani Duvergel (5-0, 3 KOs) stayed undefeated by making quick work of Miami’s Yendris Rodriguez Valdez (2-3, 2 KOs) by way of TKO 1 (1:46). The exciting Cuban was too strong for Valdez and after going down from a right hand, Valdez’s corner signaled their man’s surrender.
A four-round featherweight contest ended early when Puerto Rico’s Luis “Chucho” Melendez (3-1, 2 KOs) scored a TKO 2 (2:13) over debuting local Jonathan Conde. After a routine first round, Melendez had Conde down three times, the first with a counter left hook and then twice more with big right hands.
In the four-round heavyweight opener between two Miami-based sluggers, Hector “Ready for War” Hodge (3-3, 1 KO) spoiled the pro debut of Jairus Gladney (0-1) by knockout at 1:43 of round two. The pair of big men traded wild shots until Hodge found pay dirt with a southpaw left hand, dropping Gladney. Gladney rose but was in no condition and another roundhouse left finished things.
“Rumble at the Rock III” was presented by Kris Lawrence and The Heavyweight Factory, in association with Tuto Zabala of All Star Boxing.