LAS VEGAS – Gabriel Flores Jr. came up aces in his biggest test to date.

The presence of former featherweight title challenger Jayson Velez did little to discourage the unbeaten Flores, who made a major statement in a 6th round knockout win.

Flores scored two knockdowns in round six, the latter which prompted an immediate stoppage in their ESPN/ESPN+ aired junior lightweight chief support Saturday evening from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I sent a statement that I’m ready for a world title,” Flores told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna after his emphatic knockout victory.

Velez was open during fight week in the belief that Flores would look to box early before the veteran contender would apply pressure as the bout progressed. The boxing part proved true in the opening round, as Flores—a Stockton, California native now based out of Las Vegas—was consistent with his jab while Velez didn’t offer anything which posed a threat.

Velez attempted a jab-right hand combo at the start of round two, with Flores picking off both shots. Flores hooked off the jab, catching Velez’s attention before returning to the stick while inviting his foe to fight on the inside. Velez—a former title challenger from Juncos, Puerto Rico—didn’t take the bait, instead cutting off the ring and countering with right hands though with minimal effect.

Flores continued to work his way around the ring in round three, circling to Velez’s right and connecting with right hands and left hooks from the outside. Velez took the lead late in the frame, landing a left hook upstairs and a right hand to the body underneath Flores’ guard while Flores scored with left hooks upstairs.

Velez picked up where he left off to begin round four, finding success with the right hand downstairs. Flores upped his own attack, committing more to his power shots though unable to fend off his more experienced foe. The same pattern held true in round five, Velez keying in on Flores’ midsection while the unbeaten prospect used lateral movement to position himself into effective punching range.

Flores found his desired distance in a big way in round six. Velez sought to press the action and dearly paid the price. Flores caught Velez coming in with a left hook, sending the Puerto Rican crashing to the canvas.

Velez was on wobbly legs in barely beating the count, only for another left hook to send him back on the deck. This time was it enough to end the night, handing Velez (29-8-1, 22KOs) his third straight defeat.

Flores led 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46 at the time of the stoppage.

“I hit him, and he didn’t see the punch coming. That’s why he was so hurt,” noted Flores, who advances to 20-0 (7KOs) with the statement making win, with a divisional title in the main event. “I could’ve done it earlier. I was playing with my food. [Father/head trainer Gabriel Flores Sr.] told me I just gotta press it. Nothing was really going on those first five rounds, to be honest. I was just feeling him out.”

Flores-Velez served as the ESPN/ESPN+ aired chief support to the WBC junior lightweight titlist Miguel Berchelt versus former featherweight beltholder Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22KOs).  

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox