Another fight, another knockout win for junior welterweight prospect Ernesto "Tito" Mercado.
The unbeaten Mercado stopped Carlos Portillo late Saturday night at the LumColor ‘Phoenix’ Center in Ontario, California. Mercado, who resides in nearby Pomona, improved to 12-0, 11 knockouts.
From the opening bell, Mercado utilized a stiff jab to the head and body of Portillo. Moments into the round, a lead left hook sent Portillo into the ropes and down onto the canvas.
Portillo beat the count and was able to fight back, even backing up Mercado. Moments later, Mercado landed a two-punch combination, staggering Portillo and eventually dropping him to the canvas. Referee Thomas Taylor waved the fight off at 1:36.
“We practiced counter-punching in the gym and it worked out very well,” said Mercado after the fight. “I want to fight the top guys; Arnold Barboza and Jose Ramirez. I’m more than willing to fight William Zepeda right now. If he’s interested, I’m ready to fight him.
“It feels great to fight back at home and have the support of my family and fans. I always want to give the fans who bought a ticket a great show.”
In his previous fight on July 8 in Managua, Nicaragua, where his father grew up, the 22-year-old Mercado defeated Xolisani Ndongeni of South Africa by unanimous decision. Ndongeni is best known for losing by decision to Devin Haney in January 2019.
On April 15, which also took place in Ontario, Mercado knocked out former world junior welterweight title challenger Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy in the first round.
Portillo, who resides in Asuncion, Paraguay, falls to 23-5, 17 KOs. The 30-year-old has been stopped by Omar Aguilar, Jean Carlos Torres, and Eduard Troyanovsky.
Junior welterweight Jesus Ivan Delgado snapped a three-fight losing streak by defeating Jose Zaragoza by majority decision.
One judge scored the bout 57-57, while the other two judges scored the bout 59-55 and 58-56 for Delgado, who improved to 14-4-2, 6 KOs.
Zaragoza, who is originally from Jalisco, Mexico and now resides in Sedalia, Missouri, falls to 9-9-1, 3 KOs. The 35-year-old has now lost six of his last seven bouts.
Heavyweight Jack May knocked out Jerell Nettles (3-6, 1 KO) of Denver, Colorado at 1:35 of the second round. The 42-year-old May, who resides in Whittier, California, improved to 7-0, 6 KOs.
In junior flyweight action, Armando Castillo (1-1, 1 KO) of nearby Palm Springs knocked out Houston’s Fernando Ramirez at 1:26 of the second round. Ramirez was making his professional debut.
Junior middleweight Terrell Adams of Los Angeles improved to 7-0, 3 KOs, defeating Yelm, Washington’s Bobby McIntyre (1-4) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Adams.
In the opening bout of the card, cruiserweight Gabriel Rodriguez of San Elizario, Texas defeated Jonathan Pliego by majority decision. One judge scored the bout 38-38, while the other two judges scored the bout 39-37 for Rodriguez, who improved to 1-2.
Pliego, who resides in nearby Baldwin Park, was making his pro debut.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing