MIAMI (February 27, 2021) — In the opening bouts of Matchroom Boxing’s unified Super Middleweight title defense featuring Saul “Canelo” Alvarez versus WBC mandatory opponent Avni Yildirim the promotional company featured some of its younger talent.
Super Middleweight Diego Pacheco (11-0, 8 KOs) stepped up against Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-5-1, 10 KOs) for a bout scheduled for eight rounds. At 31-years old Gomez was 12 years the senior of the 6-foot 4-inch Los Angeleno. Pacheco had stopped 7 of his last 8 opponents. But, Gomez came into the fight with all of his previous bouts going the distance.
Gomez made Pacheco work for everything, but the young teenager remained composed – despite a career rounds differential of 24 to 81. The fight was competitive through the first half of the bout, but Pacheco gained and an edge in rounds.
Pacheco landed his most effective punches of the near the end of Round 5. Gomez fought cautiously and with a very low work-rate. Pacheco often looked to set up his uppercut, in the rare moments Gomez would walk to him. He anticipated Gomez punches well and rolled underneath them well for a taller fighter.
Pacheco fought aggressively throughout the eighth round, and connected with a couple solid lead right hands. But he never established his jab as a means to lead to some combination punching. The 19-year old worked well from distance, took some clean shots well from Gomez, and went on to win all three cards 79-73. The unanimous decision improved Pacheco to 11-0, and he can return to gym to add some other tools to go along with his power.
Marc Castro (2-0, 2 KOs) immediately scored a knockdown against opponent John Moraga (1-3, 1 KO) in the opening round of their four-round Super Featherweight bout. Moraga, a 36-year old MMA veteran, got up and made through a rugged three minutes of action.
Moraga was down again in Round 2 with under a minute to go – dropped by a double left jab and right hook to the body. He got back up again, but seconds later Castro moved in to finish off Moraga. Following Castro’s third knockdown, caused by flurry finished by a left uppercut, the referee waved off the fight, awarding Castro with a technical knockout at 2:29.
Castro, a 21-year old from Fresno, Calif., opened the DAZN stream of unified Super Middleweight championship title fight between Canelo Alvarez and WBC mandatory Avni Yildirim. He made his debut December 19, on DAZN, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas when Alvarez soundly defeated former WBA Super Middleweight champion Callum Smith, and also claimed the vacant WBC title.
Also In Action
Earlier in the evening on the portion of the card that wasn’t broadcast, former USA Boxing standout Keyshawn Davis picked up a second round technical knockout of Lester Brown in his debut. Undefeated Super Middleweight Alexis Espino (7-0, 5 KOs) stopped Ashton Sykes (5-4, 1 KO) in Round 5 of their bout scheduled for six rounds.
All photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom