Venezuelan power-puncher Ismael "El Tigre" Barroso knocked out Fidel Maldonado Jr. in the sixth round of a junior welterweight bout at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The 34-year-old Barroso (20-1-2, 19 KOs) stalked the backpeddling Maldonado (24-4-1, 19 KOs) from the opening bell of the scheduled 10-rounder. Maldonado stayed out of trouble the first two rounds, but was tagged with a pair of hard lefts to the head in the third that knocked him into the ropes and onto the floor.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico, boxer beat the count but never completely recovered from the knockdown. He managed to keep going by clinching every time Barroso got close. After several warnings, referee Raul Caiz penalized the 26-year-old Maldonado a point in the fourth round for excessive holding.
Maldonado was cut under his right eye in the fifth but was allowed to continue after the ringside doctor inspected the wound.
"El Tigre" finished the fight at 2:23 of the sixth with a left to the body that put Maldonado down for the 10-count.
Both fought out of a southpaw stance.
It was Barroso's first fight in 17 months, which followed his only loss, to WBA junior welterweight titleholder Anthony Crolla. He hopes the impressive showing against Maldonado will be the first step toward another title shot.
In the junior welterweight co-feature, Argentina's Marcelino "Nino" Lopez stopped Mexico's Pablo Cesar Cano at the 2:27 mark of the second round of a scheduled 10-rounder.
The 28-year-old Cano was in charge in the first round, moving forward and pounding Lopez's body and opening a cut near his opponent's left eye. Lopez hardly threw a punch.
Everything changed in the second round when Lopez connected with an overhand right that landed flush on Cano's jaw. A left hook grazed him as he fell, but it was the right that did the damage.
Cano (30-7-2, 1 NC, 21 KOs) struggled up inside the count but was too dazed to continue. Lopez, 31, improved his record to 33-2-1, 18 KOs.