Coachella’s Randy Caballero toughed it out to win the NABO bantamweight title against Mexico’s Jose Luis Araiza and Indio’s Omar Figueroa beat Ramon Ayala Friday in a lightweight bout that should have won him a regional title had he made weight.
Caballero (14-0, 7 KOs) expected a tough night, but was surprised by Araiza’s (32-6-1, 23 KOs) experience during the main event of the card at Fantasy Springs Casino before a crowd of more than 1,200 people that included Oscar De La Hoya and James “Buster” Douglas.
Coachella’s Caballero won the fight by unanimous decision but was not satisfied with the victory.
“I wasn’t myself,” said Caballero, 21. “I kept getting caught with those overhand rights.”
A counter right hand followed by a left hook stunned Araiza a bit in round two as the action began to heat up. Caballero seemed more comfortable with his distance and timing.
Araiza landed a few clean shots on the fast approaching Caballero in round three. A left-right combination landed squarely, followed by a short crisp left hook to the jaw in a rather slow round.
The fourth round saw a few good exchanges with a right uppercut sneaking in for Caballero and a four punch combination for Araiza to the body. A long counter right by Caballero was the last clean scoring blow of the round.
Araiza turned things around in rounds six and seven by landing big shots and mixing in blows to the body. Caballero stopped the rally by resorting to the jab in round seven. He also used more distance forcing Araiza to walk in to more punches.
Caballero became slicker with his punches and began to sharpshoot the Araiza. But the last two rounds saw both engage with Araiza landing the overhand rights and Caballero the shorter uppercuts inside.
All three judges scored it for Caballero 97-93 and 98-92 twice, giving the Coachella fighter the vacant NABO bantamweight title.
“It feels good my name is right there now,” Caballero said about winning the title. “But I got to make sure I never make those mistakes again.”
BY DAVID A. AVILA