All photos credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
Omar Figueroa (15-0-1, 12ko) overwhelmed Ramon Ayala (22-3-1, 11ko) with brutal body shots to score a second-round TKO in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation, March 16. In the co-feature, Randy Caballero (14-0, 7ko) kept his perfect record intact with a tough unanimous decision victory over veteran Jose Luis Araiza (32-6-1, 23ko) by the scores of 98-92 twice and 97-93 from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
Figueroa returned to ShoBox for his second appearance on the series and earned another stoppage. In his usual style, the all-action pressure fighter from Weslaco, Texas dominated Ayala with power shots for nearly two full rounds before the fight was halted. Ayala, of Morelos, Mexico, seemed to deal with the head shots, but the body blows proved too much.
Figueroa landed a left to the gut in the first that staggered his opponent but it was the left hook to the liver in round two that spelled the beginning of the end. Figueroa, who threw more body punches than his opponent by a tally of 19 to 2, followed the liver shot with a barrage of shots to finish the taller Mexican. Ayala attempted to hold but Figueroa let him drop to the canvas and referee Lou Moret began the count. Ayala returned to his feet by the count of nine but wobbled backwards and Moret ended the contest at 2:53.
“It surprised me when he didn’t try to box because he is a pretty tall guy,” said Figueroa. “Once he started throwing power shots with me, I knew it wouldn’t last long. He had decent power so I was careful of his wild shots but I never thought the fight would make it past the third or fourth round.”
In the opening bout of the night, Caballero, of Coachella, Calif., added another win to his perfect record but it didn’t come easy. The charismatic 21-year-old enjoyed the comforts of fighting amidst the cheers from his hometown crowd and won the first several rounds over a tentative Araiza, of Tecate, Mexico.
Poise and good hand speed carried Caballero until Araiza picked up his pace, aggression and punch output in the sixth round. Araiza tagged Caballero with many hard shots in the second half of the bout and took Caballero to the tenth round for the first time in his young career. The late surge by Araiza brought excitement to the fans but not enough rounds to come back against Caballero. The victory earned Caballero the vacant NABO bantamweight title in his 118-pound debut.
“This was more of a learning experience for me,” said Caballero after the bout. “We knew he was going to try to do a couple of things in the ring and I let him do them a couple of times. That’s my mistake so we’re going to go back to the gym and keep working so we can come out even better next time.”
On The Beak – Admin
Randy Caballero’s manager Cameron Dunkin feels his fighter is at the top of a long list of talented Coachella Valley boxers who are ready to contend for multiple world championships: “He’s a terrific talent and had a fantastic amateur career,” said Dunkin, who also manages Nonito Donaire, Kelly Pavlik and Brandon Rios. “He’s just part of this really good group of fighters from that Indio area that is really hot. Randy sells tickets and the crowd loves him. He’s an exciting, energetic fighter who I think will be a world champion someday.”
Caballero (13-0-0, 7ko) will make his ShoBox debut in what will be the toughest test of his career against Tecate, Mexico’s Jose Luis Araiza (29-5-1, 20ko) in a ten-round bantamweight co-featured bout on March 16. In the main event, undefeated prospect Omar Figueroa Jr. (14-0-1, 11ko), of Weslaco, Texas, will take on Morelos, Mexico’s Ramon “Nino De Oro” Ayala (23-2-1, 11ko) in a ten-round lightweight fight.
The ShoBox doubleheader, which is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T, will be televised live at 11 pm. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) on Showtime.
Trained by his father Marcos and brother Robert, Caballero has won his last seven consecutive bouts – and eight overall – at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The 21-year-old prospect answered six questions just days before the fight.
More than half of your pro fights have been in Indio. Are you on a first-name basis with most of the employees at Fantasy Springs?
Caballero: “Oh, yeah. They’re all like family to me. I see them and they say good luck and they wish me well. The boxing fans in Indio are very knowledgeable and have been so great to me and I thank them for that. When I start my ring walk and I hear the crowd I get so pumped because I know they are all rooting for me. It’s a real advantage and something I’m thankful for.”
What does it mean for you get the call from Showtime and to appear on ShoBox?
Caballero: “When I got the call from Showtime I just couldn’t believe it. I know it’s the next step for me and that my career is on the right path. This fight will just get my name out there even more and show that I’m capable of being one of the greatest boxers out there. We do have a good crop of fighters from this area and we want to showcase that. There’s no better place to do that than on Showtime.”
You’ve been boxing for more than half your life. Did you ever have dreams of doing anything else?
Caballero: “No, not really. I just love the feeling that I get when I step into the ring. I’ve been fighting since I was eight-years-old. It’s what I know and what I love.”
Do you follow the sport and consider yourself a fan of the game?
Caballero: “No, I wouldn’t call myself a huge boxing fan. I mean, I watch all the big fights on Showtime and follow the guys I’ve come up with, but that’s about it.”
You have fought some tough fighters in your first 13 pro fights. Do you think you’ve matched up well against each of them?
Caballero: “I’m happy with the opponents I’ve faced and beaten. Regardless of who they put in front of me, everyone is dangerous. You get caught with a left hook and it can end your career so I don’t take anyone lightly. Everybody who steps into that ring is going to get hit and I believe this guy I’m fighting on Friday is a big step up for me. He’s a veteran and he knows all the tricks inside the ring.”
Can you describe your personality?
Caballero: “I’m a real family guy. I like to hang with family, that’s about it. I’m pretty low-key. I like to go out with friends here and there but I’m kind of a reserved guy. I’m a quiet guy but very respectful and very friendly. I don’t like to talk too much smack. I would say I’m a fun guy to be around.”