ESPN Diego De La Hoya vs Erik Ruiz & D'Mitrius Ballard vs Adrian Luna Flores
BY KID HERSH
Golden Boy Promotions boxing on ESPN from Tucson, Arizona, on a Thursday night featured a card of prospects. First up on the card was D'Mitrius Ballard (16-0, 12KO's) vs Adrian Luna Flores (20-4-1, 13KO's). I missed the majority of the fight due to baseball programming running over by almost a half hour. The announcers summed up the fight as Luna going down in the second round but controlling a good majority of the rounds until recently (late in the fight) when Ballard was coming on strong with powerful blows. Despite what they were saying I saw Ballard getting beaten around the ring in the ninth round, with Flores completely controlling every second of it as Ballard looked completely exhausted and spent while also getting hurt numerous times. Too bad we missed what seemed like a great fight though because Ballard would battle back in the tenth round and take control of the fight by hurting Flores, completely shifting the momentum from the previous round. The cards would come in to boos as Ballard won on all three cards 97-92. Bernard Hopkins said that his card was much closer - but likely not a bad decision by any means.
Next was the main event featuring Diego De La Hoya (17-0, 9KO's) vs Erik Ruiz (16-6-1, 6KO's). Diego is the young cousin of HOF'er Oscar De La Hoya. In the first round Ruiz showed that he is cagey and came to fight and win, but it was still Hoya that established himself as slightly superior by putting together his punches and landing the cleaner blows. Ruiz then was getting beat to the punch in the second round as Hoya was using excellent footwork and quicker hands to get off first - clean and accurate. Ruiz was still very game though and showing his skills as a fighter by landing good shots periodically to get Hoya's attention and the attention of the fans - such as the left hook a minute into the fourth round that snapped Hoya's head and caused him to take a step back and reset himself. Hoya really got into rhythm in the fifth round, noticeably taking control of the fight by a wide margin for the first time. He was bouncing on his toes, balanced, using distance, getting his shots off first, and very accurate with a snappy jab that was constantly being stuck in Ruiz's face. Hoya continued being the ring general round after round, with Ruiz going nowhere and showing why he is one of those fighters where you pretty much have to ignore his record because he has never been down in his career and is skilled but has lost fights to top level guys that fans are familiar with. The cards came in a wide UD win for Hoya - as deserved - but it was a good learning fight for him as well to go against a guy like Ruiz that is skilled and tough.