NorCal Roundup: Donaire, Mendez, Khan KO foes

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NorCal Roundup: Donaire, Mendez, Khan KO foes

San Leandro’s Nonito Donaire might have locked up the Fighter of the Year after thrashing Jorge Arce in three rounds Saturday night at Houston’s Toyota Center to effectively defend his junior featherweight world title.

After a first round where he measured his foe, Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) dropped Arce as the two traded right hands in the second stanza.  From that point forward, Donaire dictated subsequent terms of the bout, and they would be one-sided.

In the final minute of the third round, Donaire sent Arce (61-7-2, 46 KOs) to the canvas once more with another right hand and two solid left hooks.  Although the warrior from Los Mochis, Mexico, would get up on shaky ground, the East Bay fighter would swiftly finish him off with another signature spectacular left hook.

As Arce lay on his back, referee Laurence Cole called a halt to the bout at 2:59—the same time when Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Donaire’s fellow Filipino, Manny Pacquiao, last week in the sixth round.  

“There were a lot of fans who were telling me, ‘You gotta get him for Filipino respect,’” said Donaire, who proudly sported a Filipino crest on his trunks and was accompanied into the ring by Filipino musician Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas.  “But I’m friends with a lot of Mexicans.  My trainer, Robert Garcia, is Mexican.”

National pride aside, Donaire’s performance was another stark reminder of how dominant he has been in 2012.  In his four victories, he floored each of his opponents, but he saved his most sensational one for last.  

“My career is over,” said Arce, who retired after the bout.  “I lost to the best man.”

Following the fight, Donaire revealed that he's not done cleaning out the 122-pound division, with the other two beltholders, Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux, waiting in the wings.

“I want to get Mares and he’s calling me out,” Donaire said.  “But if that doesn’t happen, we always have Guillermo Rigondeaux next.”

The pair of challengers will have to wait until 2013 to get their chance at the throne.  By then, they could probably be facing the reigning Fighter of the Year.

MENDEZ BLASTS GONZALEZ IN FIVE

In Salinas, middleweight Paul Mendez of Walnut Creek paralyzed Lester Gonzalez’s legs with a crippling body attack and eventually stopped him in the fifth round at the Storm House.

Mendez (11-2-1, 5 KOs), who appeared earlier this week on Chronicle Live, was fighting with a heavy heart.  His amateur trainer, Mike Dallas Sr., passed away due to leukemia last month.  In addition, Mendez was raising money to help pay for the medical bills of Sy Sherman, a 10-year-old boy from Salinas who is currently battling liver cancer.

With Sherman watching the fight from a balcony overlooking the ring, Mendez knocked Gonzalez (12-8-4, 6 KOs) down in the third round with a right and left to the ribcage.  Gonzalez, a Cuban who now resides in San Diego, would recover, but the end would come two frames later.

In the fifth, a thunderous left hook from Mendez exploded on Gonzalez’s midsection.  As Gonzalez gasped for air, Mendez took advantage and unleashed a series of power shots that had referee Ed Collantes stopping the fight with the Cuban still on his feet.  Official time was 2:35.

“It feels great to win it for them both.  I see you up there, Sy,” Mendez said, pointing to the area where a delighted Sherman lay in a makeshift bed.  “He said I would win by knockout and I had to follow through.”

KHAN TOO MUCH FOR MOLINA IN 11

Amir Khan made his maiden bout with new trainer Virgil Hunter a successful one, stopping a game Carlos Molina in the 11th round of their junior welterweight contest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

Khan (27-3, 19 KOs), who hails from Bolton, England, but now trains in Hayward, overwhelmed Molina (17-1, 7 KOs) with rapid-fire salvos and a high volume of punches.  Though the Rosemead, Calif., product amped up his output as the fight progressed, he lacked the power to make Khan respect his offense.  

After repeatedly getting tagged, blood began to stream down Molina’s left eye.  With his face a swollen mess, the fight was stopped before the 11th was under way.

With the victory, Khan broke a two-bout losing streak and is back in the mix with the big names at 140 and 147 pounds.

In the co-feature, junior middleweight Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs), who also moved his training camp to Hayward to work with Hunter, pounded out a competitive 10-round decision over upstart Jorge Silva (19-3, 15 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico, on the Khan-Molina undercard.  Scores were 97-93 across the board in a clash where Silva was outgunned but still managed to land several solid shots.

MORE RESULTS FROM SALINAS

• Look out for Jonathan Garcia (10-0, 8 KOs).  The junior welterweight from Watsonville impressed yet again, stopping the tough Rodolfo Armenta (12-8-1, 9 KOs) in one round on the Mendez-Gonzalez undercard.  Utilizing a variety of combinations, namely a triple left hook that he can aim in whichever direction he pleases, Garcia has established himself as one of the region’s top prospects.

• Former welterweight contender Jose Celaya of Salinas was unable to make a triumphant return to the ring after a three-year absence, falling by unanimous decision to Fresno’s Loren Myers (9-17-1, 2 KOs).  Now a light heavyweight, Celaya (31-7, 16 KOs) had his moments but was decked twice by Myers.  Scores were 39-35 and 38-36 twice for the Fresno fighter.

• Oscar Godoy (9-2, 4 KOs) has found moving down from 154 to 147 pounds to be the right choice, as the Watsonville welterweight earned a third-round technical knockout of Javier Gomez (13-10, 9 KOs).  After an even two rounds, Godoy let his hands go with a two-fisted attack and hurt Gomez, causing the Tijuana, Mexico, native to take a knee.  Moments later after Gomez ate another Godoy barrage, referee Marcos Rosales waved off the fight at 0:48.

• Welterweight Preston Freeman (3-0, 1 KO), a St. Louis native who now trains in Salinas with Garcia Boxing, remained unbeaten with a four-round unanimous decision win over Tulare’s Vicente Guzman (0-1), a former amateur standout who was making his pro debut.  Freeman controlled the pace in the center of the ring, coolly staying out of his foe’s range and then striking when necessary; he put Guzman down in the second with a counter left hook.  All three judges scored the bout 40-35.

• Rounding out the card, San Francisco junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas (8-1, 4 KOs) incurred his first defeat as he was stopped by Chico’s Moris Rodriguez (4-1, 3 KOs) in the third round.  Chicas was doing fine on the outside until he traded left hooks with the heavy-handed Rodriguez, whose shot landed first and sent Chicas to the canvas.  Chicas would beat the count, but his legs would ultimately give way and cause Ed Collantes to halt the bout at 1:00 of the stanza.

CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board.  E-mail him at rmaquinana@gmail.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.