Lightweight Edwin De Los Santos, on standby and pressed into service during fight week, stopped hot prospect Jose Valenzuela in the third round of a wild shootout in which both men were knocked down on Sunday night on the undercard of Andy Ruis-Luis Ortiz heavyweight showdown at Crypto Arena in Los Angeles.
De Los Santos (15-1, 14 KOs), 22, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic, was on site in case he was needed and he was when Valenzuela’s original foe, former junior lightweight titlist Jezreel Corrales, also a southpaw, was denied a visa to come to the United States due to legal issues.
De Los Santos took advantage of the opportunity.
“Valenzuela is a fighter who I feel has been protected and I wanted to show everyone what I’m capable of,” De Los Santos said. “The plan wasn’t to come forward so much, but when I saw how he was fighting, I was ready to go toe to toe. The Mexican fighters love to fight like that, but he was open for me to attack.”
De Los Santos came out very aggressive and hurt Valenzuela (12-1, 8 KOs), 23, of Seattle, with a stiff jab in the opening round. He was beating Valenzuela up in the second round when Valenzuela suddenly dropped him to his knees with a left hand.
De Los Santos quickly rebounded to drop Valenzuela moments later but he also hit Valenzuela while he was down and referee Ray Corona docked him a point.
Then in the third round, De Los Santos against dropped Valenzuela early in the third round and when another powerful left hand staggered Valenzuela again moments later, Corona waved it off at 1 minute, 8 seconds.
“I came in against a ranked fighter tonight and I was up for the task,” De Los Santos said. “Now I want the same name that everyone wants. I want Gervonta Davis.”
Said Valenzuela: “I didn’t expect De Los Santos to be as aggressive as he was in the fight,” Valenzuela said. “He gave it out as he good as he took. I just want to focus on getting back in the ring and redeeming myself.”
Spencer cruises past Salgado
Junior middleweight Joey Spencer handily outpointed Kevin Salgado in a preliminary bout that aired on Fox just before the start of the pay-per-view. Spencer (16-0, 10 KOs), 22, of Fenton, Michigan, handed Salgado (14-1-1, 9 KOs), 24, of San Antonio, his first defeat via scores of 100-90, 99-91, 99-91.
“He’s a hard-hitting counter puncher, so we wanted to control the distance,” Spencer said. “I feel really strong. I’m really proud of the work that we put into my conditioning and I think it showed in the fight.
“I’m improving as I get more experience, and that helps me stay more composed in these fights. I’m going to keep adding to my game as I get more comfortable. I’m definitely working towards improving as an offensive fighter.”
Spencer said he is looking for much bigger names in the near future.
“I have a couple ideas of who I want to fight next,” he said. “Tony Harrison, Tim Tszyu, Erickson Lubin and Sebastian Fundora are all guys I want to fight. I want to face the best. There’s one champion in the division (undisputed champion Jermell Charlo) and we have to fight each other to get to him.”
Aleem routs Plania
Junior featherweight contender Ra’eese Aleem scored a second-round knockdown en route to a shutout decision over Mike Plania in a preliminary bout that aired on FS1.
Aleem (20-0, 12 KOs), 32, of Las Vegas had no trouble with Plania (26-2, 13 KOs), 25, of the Philippines, winning 100-89 on all three scorecards.
“The fight was everything that I expected,” Aleem said. “He’s a very tough fighter and a great competitor. I just wanted to fight a smart fight because we know he’s dangerous. Although I didn’t feel his power, I know that he can hit. I just wanted to take my time and let everything fall into place.
“My defense was on another level and my offense was also strong. I kept my poise and took my time. I’m that type of fighter where I don’t care if it’s the first round or the last round or if I’m up on the cards. I want to stop you. I want to get you out of there. It was probably around the seventh round where I tried to turn up the volume, but I didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances.”
Aleem’s biggest moment was the knockdown early in the second round when he touched Plania with a right hand to the body that caused Plania to stumble and touch his glove to the canvas.
“I caught him slipping in round two. I could have jumped on him then, but I wanted to show growth as a fighter and keep taking my time,” Aleem said.
He wants a title shot now, specifically against unified titlist and fellow PBC fighter Stephen Fulton. Jr.
“It’s time for ‘scared boy’ Stephen Fulton Jr. to come out of hiding and sign the contract,” Aleem said. “Let’s get in there so I can give him his first loss. It would be a closer fight than tonight, but I still expect to dominate and get the win.”
Aleem-Plania was originally scheduled for Jun 18 on the undercard of WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo’s bout with Maciej Sulecki, but the card was canceled when Charlo hurt his back.
Martin stops Vargas
Former heavyweight titlist Charles Martin stopped for journeyman Devin Vargas in the fourth round of a scheduled eight-rounder with an accumulation of punches.
Martin (29-3-1, 26 KOs), 36, of Carson, California, dominated the fight and after forcing Vargas to the ropes continued to land stiff punches that caused referee Jerry Cantu to stop it 1 minute of the fourth.
Martin rebounded from a sixth-round knockout loss to Luis Ortiz in a shootout in which he dropped Ortiz in the first and fourth rounds before Ortiz knocked him down twice in the sixth round.
Vargas (22-8, 9 KOs), 40, who was a 2004 U.S. Olympian, dropped to 2-4 in his last six fights.