WORCESTER, Mass. – Fighting for the first time in seven years, former World Boxing Association welterweight and super welterweight champion Jose Antonio Rivera stopped Larry Smith of Dallas in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-round middleweight bout on Friday, Aug. 7 at the Palladium.
The 45-year-old Rivera ended the fight after landed a right to the head. Smith turned his back, headed toward his corner and took a knee. Smith’s corner signaled to referee Bob Benoit to stop the fight at 1:04.
Rivera’s body attack wore Smith down throughout the fight. Smith (10-38-1) complained about injuring his right hand when he landed a shot to Rivera’s head in the fifth.
“There was a lot of rust,” Rivera said. “Absolutely, I’m still tough. I’m a 12-round fighter. I’m used to fighting 12 and was ready for whatever he had.”
Since his last fight, Rivera founded a promotional company with his son, A.J. A.J., a standout amateur boxer, was scheduled to make his pro debut on this card, but his fight was cancelled.
Rivera is open to fighting again.
“I’d like one more tougher test,” he said. “I’ll talk it over with my family.”
In the sixth, Smith turned his back after Rivera landed a left hook to the body. Smith weathered the storm and moved around the ring with Rivera following him. Rivera landed a few more solid shots but Smith finished the round.
Rivera last fought on July 29, 2011, winning a unanimous decision against Paul Mpendo.
Kendrick Ball of Worcester, Mass. stopped Fabean Valdez of Cananea, Sonora, Mexico in the first round of a scheduled six at super middleweight. Ball (10-1-2 dropped Valdez twice before referee Steve Clark stopped the fight midway through the count at 2:21. Ball ended the fight with a right uppercut that sent Valdez to the canvas face-first. The first knockdown followed an overhand right that landed on the top of Valdez’s head. Valdez left the ring at 2-4.
Khiary Gray of Worcester, Mass. stopped Antonio Chaves Fernandez of Brockton, Mass. in the first round of a scheduled six at junior middleweight. Gray (15-4, 12 KO s dropped Fernandez with a right hand. Fernandez (9-34 4 KO s) beat the count, but referee Bob Benoit stopped the fight at 2:27.
Junior middleweight Wilfredo Pagan of Southbridge, Mass. dropped Engelberto Valenzuela of Agua Prieta, Mexico in the third round of a scheduled four. Pagan (5-0, 3 KO s) dropped Valanezuela twice in the second with body shots. The first was a delayed reaction when Valenzuela took a knee seconds after Pagan landed a left hook. Pagan dropped him again with another left hook just before the end of the round. In the third, Pagan landed another hard body shot with Valenzuela on the ropes. Referee Stephen Clark stepped in to the stop the fight at 1:29. Valenzuela dropped to 11-15 (3).
In his pro debut, Joshua Orta of Springfield, Mass. picked up a stoppage victory when Edwin Rosado of Worcester, Mass. did not come out for the fourth and final round of their junior lightweight bout. Rosado dropped to 1-8-1 (1).
Debuting welterweight Eslih Owusu of Worcester, Mass. outpointed Bryan Abraham of Schenectady, N.Y in a four-round bout. The scores were 40-36, 40-35 and 40-34. Owusu dropped Abraham twice in the third round. Abraham dropped to 6-31-2 (6).
Jose Angel Ortiz of Springfield, Mass. stopped Patrick Leal of Somerville, Mass. in the second round of a scheduled four at middleweight. Ortiz dropped Leal twice in the first and once in the second before referee Bob Benoit stopped the fight at 1:03. Ortiz is now 5-13-1 (2); Leal is 0-5