By Ponciano “John” Melo Jr.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — It was a masterclass from the defending Mexican champion.
Juan Miguel Elorde, the grandson of Filipino boxing legend Gabriel “The Flash” Elorde, hit a rough patch on his way towards boxing glory under the renowned Elorde name.
This after Emanuel Navarrete put on a show on Mexican Independence Weekend, breezing through the Filipino en route to a 4th round TKO at the T-Mobile Arena, Sunday Manila time.
Navarrete retained his WBO super-bantamweight agains the Pinoy challenger after a sweeping right hand that finally put an end to the onslaught.
The Mexican champ moves up to 29-1 with 25 KOs after referee Russell Mora stopped the bout 26 seconds into the fourth round of a fight that acted as a swift precursor between the heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Otto Wallin.
It was never meant to last.
Elorde, who stood toe-to-toe with Navarrete in the first round, stalked his opponent and waited for his foe to commit a mistake, only before the Mexican hit his stride in the second round after a left uppercut and a series of combinations.
It only went to the deciding fourth, however, when Elorde was saved by the bell after a technical knockdown before the 3rd round, leaning on the ropes to keep him up.
“Im happy that I put on a great performance,” said Navarrete after the bout.
“Hopefully my opponent is okay. But I’m proud to win in my first Las Vegas show, and to do it during Mexican Independence. Viva MExico!” he added.
Asked about the referee stoppage, the Mexican says that it was the right thing to do, this amid the Elorde’s corner was reportedly heard saying to the referee that if the Filipino was hurt further, they’re stopping the fight.
But even after a valiant stand from the younger Elorde, actually tagging Navarrete with a right in opening seconds of the fourth, the Mexican was too strong, too good and too much for the 32-year-old Pinoy.
“Most importantly it was a good performance, the ref did a good choice. At the end of the day, I came away with the hardfought victory,” said Navarrete in Spanish.