GLENDALE, Arizona – Yoelvis Gomez went more rounds on Saturday night than he had in his entire pro career prior to this point.
The end of his red-hot knockout streak wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the Las Vegas-based Cuban dominated veteran fringe contender Jorge Cota over ten rounds to take a landslide unanimous decision win. Scores were 100-90 across the board in favor of Gomez in their Showtime-televised co-feature evening at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Gomez has fought just seven rounds through five pro fights and opened the bout with Cota in search of another early night. The unbeaten Cuban southpaw connected with a left hand to start the contest, with Cota attempting to move side to side but immediately running out of real estate. Gomez was warned for hitting Cota behind the head, the lone hiccup in a round where he made the ring a much smaller place in a hurry.
Cota effectively slipped power shots while pinned against the ropes at the end of the round, with Gomez not hearing the bell as he continued to throw. The unbeaten 24-year-old settled down in round two, fighting through clinches to land right hooks to the body. Cota covered up along the ropes as Gomez dug to the body with a right hook and a left hand.
Gomez entered uncharted territory as round three crept past the 0:31 mark. Cota was in trouble immediately thereafter, as Gomez connected with an overhand left along the ropes. Cota was in trouble but spared additional danger as he was thrown to the canvas, which forced referee Wes Melton to call time. Gomez regained his composure and continued to land power shots throughout the round.
Cota’s lone moment of glory came after the bell and aimed for the wrong target when he clipped the referee with a right hand. The Mexican trialhorse let his hands go to begin round four, with Gomez either slipping the shots or shaking off anything that landed to come back with heavy right hooks. Cota was trapped in his own corner, where Gomez landed a right hook but was too wide with an overhand left.
A brief momentum shift came in round five, by far Cota’s best round of the fight. The 34-year-old kept his hands low, a dangerous proposition against a knockout puncher like Gomez but managing to make it work with flicking upward jabs and left hands.
Gomez struggled to recalibrate his offense in round six, allowing Cota to move around the ring while slinging left hands from his waist. Gomez picked up the pace in the closing seconds, landing a jab but missing the mark with an ensuing left hand.
Cota was in trouble at the start of round seven, as Gomez connected with a stiff jab through the guard followed by an overland left. Cota managed to remain on his feet but quickly cornered moments later, though Gomez was unable to make him pay.
A purposeful jab by Gomez forced Cota to slightly stagger at the start of round eight. Cota was able to find his desired space to slow down the attack of Gomez, but was forced to absorb a ripping right hook to the body in the final minute. A volley of power shots by Gomez had Cota slowing walking to his corner at the end of the round, prompting a visit from the referee.
Cota played keep away for much of round nine. Gomez continued to stalk, though unable to set his feet long enough to capitalize on the later power surge at the end of the preceding round. Cota was clipped with a straight left hand and a right hook before the bell, his offense all but shut down as concerns grew for his long-term health.
Gomez opened the tenth and final round with little desire to hear the scorecards. Cota was driven to the ropes by a power shot upstairs, quickly covering up to avoid further damage. Gomez backed off just enough to allow Cota to move around the ring, his only intention at this point to go the full ten-round distance.
Cota was successful only in that regard but suffers his second straight defeat in the process. He falls to 30-6 (27KOs). His previous defeats came against a crop of top junior middleweights, including undisputed champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19KOs), former title challenger Erickson Lubin and current interim WBC titlist Sebastian Fundora in his most recent outing last May.
Gomez (6-0, 5KOs) is now in good company following by far his most significant win to date, even in going the distance for the first time as a pro.
Headlining the televised tripleheader, two-time WBC super middleweight titlist David Benavidez (25-0, 22KOs) from nearby Phoenix faces former IBF middleweight titlist David Lemieux (43-4, 36KOs) for the interim WBC super middleweight title.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox