Indio, Ca. — An electrified crowd roared and stomped their feet as The Rooster’s rat tail swung back-and-forth to the rhythm of every punch thrown and landed. In his main event bout against fight veteran Jesus Soto-Karass, they threw over 3,350 punches combined in what turned into a bloody toe-to-toe battle. After a scheduled 10 rounds, Soto-Karass defeated Neeco Macias by way of split decision with the judges scoring the bout 95-95, 97-93, and 96-94.
Before the opening bell, both corners locked eyes as they shook their gloves in anticipation to exchange punches. Immediately after the sound of the bell, both fighters charged at each other like rabid dogs ready to kill their prey.
Initially, it seemed the fight would turn out like Macias’ last fight at Fantasy Spring as he immediately forced Karass into his corner overwhelming him with continuous shots. Soto-Karass responded with heavy counters that had Macias’ nose bleeding by the end of the first round.
The second round picked up right where the first round left off as Macias (17-1, 10 KOs) rushed Soto-Karass (29-13-4, 18 KOs) in what would turn to be his assigned corner for the majority of the bout. Though blood continued to pour from the nose of Macias, he persisted coming forward aggressively like a wind-up doll as Soto-Karass popped his head back with effective counters.
The Mexican warrior fighting out of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, seemed to break free from Macias momentarily, only to be captured against the ropes in the adjacent corner shortly after. By the end of the third assault, his once-white shorts were now stained crimson with The Rooster’s blood.
Not much changed in the fourth round as red marks began to appear in Soto-Karass back from the constant pressure against the ropes. Back in the initial corner, Soto-Karass caught Macias with a tremendous shot that seemed to wobble his legs. In the fifth, Macias threw Soto-Karass into the adjacent corner once again, both swinging lightly, clearly fatigued from the non-stop action.
The later rounds consisted of some booing from the crowd as both fighters slowed down as blood decorated their bodies. Though Soto-Karass had little room to breathe, he took the opportunity to land uppercuts that sent snot flying out of out Macias’ nose. Regardless of the punishment received, Macias returned to his corner round after round with a smile on his bloody face.
In the final round, both fighters resembled sock-em bop-em robots leaving their heart and souls in the ring as the clock counted down the remaining time. After the bout-ending bell, Macias and Soto-Karass displayed amazing sportsmanship congratulating each other and strolling around the ring arm in arm for the fans to cheer their fight.
In the post-fight interview, Soto-Karass said he felt happy win-or-lose as long as the fans left satisfied. Though most people associate Macias with his record-breaking amount of punches thrown per fight, it is safe to say he also sets records for most smiles inside the ring.
In the co-main event, Manny “El Chato” Robles Jr. III made his first NABF Featherweight Title defense against tough Mexican contender Jose Santos Gonzalez. Admired by the fans for taking on challenging opposition instead of easy fights to showcase his skills, Robles managed to score another victory and remain undefeated by way of unanimous decision to retain his NABF title.
In the first round, Gonzalez (23-7, 12 KOs) came out the aggressor throwing the majority of the punches as Robles Jr. (17-0, 8 KOs) occasionally countered and remained patient studying his opponent’s style and getting a feel of the power behind his shots.
Maintaining his cautious approach in the second round, Robles Jr. appeared to become more comfortable effectively countering Gonzalez as he threw wide, wild punches. A portion of the crowd began to boo and yell “Boring!” from the stands as the round ended with little action.
Gonzalez greeted Robles Jr. with a clean right hand after the third-round opening bell, but the young NABF champion seemed unbothered as he moved forward to land some shots of his own. Robles had success landing punches more frequently in the fourth round as he cornered Gonzalez against the ropes on several occasions and took off some of Gonzalez’s punches with his gloves as he countered.
In the early fifth round, it was Gonzalez who was on the back-foot as Robles Jr. came forward landing jabs and straight rights to the face and body of his tough opponent. By the middle of the round, however, Gonzalez assaulted Robles Jr. against the ropes landing hooks to the body. Gonzalez taunted Robles Jr. by putting both his arms up and challenging Robles Jr. to come forward and exchange.
The crowd went from boos to cheers as both fighters traded leather in the middle of the ring in the sixth round. In the last seconds of the round, Robles Jr. cornered Gonzalez against the ropes and pummeled him with tremendous shots before the bell to close the round.
As the seventh round commenced, “Manny! Manny! Manny!” echoed across the venue as the fans chanted the champions name to show their support. Gonzalez popped Robles’ head back with a vicious shot, but Robles returned the favor by landing his own later in the round.
Both boxers seemed fatigued in the eighth round as they exchanged punches in the middle of the ring. The ninth round was more action-packed as Manny jabbed to maintain his distance and Gonzalez counted with body shots.
In the final round, Gonzalez’s corner yelled at him to not throw wild punches and urged him to move to avoid more punishment from Robles Jr. Both Mexican warriors fought hard, determined to rise as the clear winner in such a competitive bout. After the bell, Gonzalez raised his hands as to believe he had won the match; however, the judges had it 96-94 for Robles Jr., 96-94 for Gonzalez, and 97-93 for Robles Jr. to rule the bout a split decision win for the young featherweight.
Golden Boy Promotions treated the fans to a post-main event swing bout featuring undefeated Irish welterweight prospect Aaron McKenna (5-0, 3 KOs) who demolished his opponent Abel Reyes (4-1, 4 KOs) in the second round with tremendous left hooks to the body that sent the Mexican contender to the canvas on two separate occasions. The bout ended in minute 2:27 of the second round, with Mckenna winning by way of KO.