Blue-chip lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. continued his development with a one-sided unanimous decision triumph over Josec Ruiz on Thursday at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
All three judges scored it 100-89 for Flores (18-0, 6 KOs), who started quickly and outboxed Ruiz (21-3-3, 14 KOs) the rest of the way.
In the second round, Flores, 20, stunned Ruiz with a counter left hook and followed with a right cross that sent him down. It looked as though Flores might score an eye-opening knockout, but he eventually had to settle for a decision victory.
While Flores dominated every round, it was a solid learning experience for him. He got some quality rounds while facing a veteran who had never been knocked down coming into this contest.
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Flores, who recently relocated to Las Vegas from his hometown of Stockton, California, is a young fighter with a high boxing IQ and has a keen understanding of ring generalship.
Blessed with quick hands and great footwork, he is relying on his skills from the outside to win fights. Now he is waiting for some physical maturity so he can finish fights more emphatically.
After Thursday’s victory, Flores, coming off a 117-day layoff, exposed that he had suffered a lower back injury during a training session.
“It happened in my last sparring [session],” Flores said. “My lower back, it hurts severely. I feel probably 50 percent, with the punches I could’ve thrown tonight. I wasn’t tired, at all.”
Despite the victory, Flores wasn’t totally satisfied with his effort.
“Tonight was the night to show everybody what a great performance was, and I didn’t get to show them,” Flores said. “Fifty percent of me, that’s what I showed tonight.”
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