Blue-chip junior featherweight prospect Diego De La Hoya passed yet another test with flying colors as he easily outpointed Erik Ruiz in the main event of “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” at the Casino Del Sol Resort in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday night.
With his famous first cousin — International Boxing Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya, the former six-division world champion and his promoter — at ringside, Diego De La Hoya boxed circles around the game Ruiz in an entertaining but one-sided fight.
Two judges scored the fight a 100-90 shutout in favor or De La Hoya, and the third judge gave Ruiz one round on a 99-91 scorecard.
“The sparring [partners] during camp [were] much heavier and bigger than Ruiz, so my opponent did not hurt me at all tonight,” De La Hoya said through an interpreter. “When I got hit, it woke me up and gave me the confidence to do my thing. I didn’t give Ruiz the opportunity to slow me down with anything he threw at me.”
Going into the fight, Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said that if De La Hoya handled Ruiz easily, the company would seriously consider moving him up a level to face a top contender at 122 pounds next with the possibility of a world-title fight later in the year or early next year.
Indeed, De La Hoya, fighting for the first time since the birth of his first child, Diego Jr., on April 21, handled Ruiz with ease. He had quicker hands, threw many combinations, pumped his jab throughout the fight and landed 40 percent of his power shots (175-of-440). While De La Hoya (18-0, 9 KOs) was firing away and also quick on his feet, the slower Ruiz was limited to throwing one punch at a time. He got through with a few solid uppercuts, but nothing that put De La Hoya in serious harm’s way.
Ruiz (16-7-1, 6 KOs), 26, of Oxnard, California, came forward throughout the fight, but De La Hoya, 22, of Mexico, was better in every aspect imaginable. Now he is looking ahead to a bigger fight.
“I want to take advantage of these opportunities to grow and build my career,” De La Hoya said. “I’m very motivated because of my newborn son. I’ll sit down soon with Oscar and Eric at Golden Boy to figure out what comes next. Thank you to [trainer] Joel Diaz for the amazing camp that he had for me.”
Oscar De La Hoya liked what he saw from his cousin and wants to see him continue to carry the family name well.
“I get anxious for him to go for the knockout and impress the crowd and keep the legacy name going,” he said.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, De La Hoya landed 219 of 673 punches overall (33 percent) and Ruiz connected with 119 of 514 blows (23 percent). Ruiz dropped to 3-6-1 in his last 10 fights but suffered defeats against tough competition, including decisions to Jessie Magdaleno, who went on to win a junior featherweight world title and former junior featherweight world titleholder Rico Ramos.
“Diego is a good fighter,” Ruiz said. “I respect him and give him props. I didn’t expect him to box as much as he did. I thought it was closer than the judges saw it, but the last name says it all. I felt his power here and there but not as much as I expected. I thought my power hurt him more than he hurt me. I don’t think Diego showed enough of his skills today. He ran more than he showed his skills.”