Diego Pacheco got a gut check, but overcome the adversity to knock out Marcelo Coceres late in the ninth round in tonight’s DAZN main event from Inglewood, Calif.
Pacheco (20-0, 17 KO) started the fight well, boxing nicely and staying patient in the early rounds, but the veteran Coceres did find some real success starting in the fourth round, and had a fifth round where his left hook just couldn’t miss.
Coceres (32-6-1, 18 KO) kept the pressure up in the next couple of rounds, getting the 22-year-old prospect to fight more his preferred style, but Pacheco also started making some adjustments, leading to a big surge in round eight.
The eighth round saw Pacheco bite down and throw power punches, and it was clear quickly that he got the 32-year-old Argentine’s respect in that frame. In the ninth, Pacheco found openings for an uppercut, and landed two late, including a big one that put Coceres on the canvas.
It was a shot Coceres didn’t see coming, and though he seemed well enough to understand the count was on, he very purposely took the full 10-count, wanting no more of the Pacheco power, even with just seven seconds left in the ninth round had the fight continued.
“I wanted to get him out of there. He was taking some good shots, but I knew I had him a little hurt, so I just stepped it up a little bit and got him out of there,” Pacheco said. “I thought he was gonna get up, but only he knows how hard those punches came in. If he would have gotten up, he would have gotten hurt a lot more.”
Asked what he can take from the night, Pacheco said, “The experience of being in there with a guy who’s been in world championship fights. None of them were able to get him out of there like I did.”
Pacheco has his sights set on even bigger steps up next year.
“I feel I’m one of the top guys in the division,” he said. “I’m 22 years old. I’m not a real big, vocal guy who comes out and says it, but everyone around me says it, Eddie Hearn thinks the same thing, a lot of the boxing experts think I’m ready for the big fights. Let’s get it on. 2024, I’m ready for whoever.”
Undercard highlights and results
- Erika Cruz MD-10 Mayerlin Rivas (95-95, 97-93, 98-92): Think the specific scores for Cruz are pretty hideous and give Rivas no credit for doing really well in this fight, but I’m over it. It’s life. It’s boxing. It all goes on to another weekend. With the win, Cruz (17-2, 3 KO) takes the WBA 122 lb title from Rivas (17-5-3, 11 KO).
- Jonathan Rodriguez TKO-1 Khalid Yafai (2:17): Not to kick a man when he’s down, but Yafai (27-2, 15 KO) had nothing here. He announced he’s retired after the fight. He’s 34, had a solid career, just doesn’t look like he wants to be in there, at least not if it’s gonna be difficult. And Rodriguez (17-1-1, 7 KO) might have sniffed that out fast and just put it on the veteran, dropping him and then getting the stoppage. Yafai made zero excuses, saying he felt good and had a good camp, but he just didn’t have it in there anymore. It was an honest, class interview from him. For Rodriguez, this is a huge win — look, you can only take so much in-ring from it, because Yafai had so little to offer, but it will give Rodriguez opportunities.
- Marc Castro TKO-7 Gonzalo Fuenzalida (2:31): Castro hadn’t fought in seven months, which he’ll hope to not repeat in 2024, probably. Probably! Castro goes to 11-0 (8 KO) with a pretty dominant win, as he was just too good for Fuenzalida (12-3, 3 KO), who came to fight and all that. Didn’t roll over. Got rolled over, mostly.