LAS VEGAS — Junior featherweight world titlist Emanuel Navarrete retained his belt for the second time in a month as he stopped Juan Miguel Elorde in the fourth round on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Fighting in the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ co-feature of lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s bout against Otto Wallin, Mexico’s Navarrete took the fight on short notice for the opportunity to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend, and he took care of Elorde in fine fashion.
Navarrete (29-1, 25 KOs), 24, who retained his 122-pound world title for the third time — each defense since May — had a slow first round, then unloaded repeatedly on Elorde, scoring a knockdown in the third round and eventually forcing the stoppage.
“I’m happy because I think I put on a great performance,” Navarrete said through a translator. “Fortunately, my opponent is OK, and I came out here to put on a show. I hope the fans enjoyed it on my very first Las Vegas show on Mexican Independence Day weekend. ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete is here to stay.”
Navarrete was fighting less than a month after his last defense. On Aug. 17, Navarrete headlined a Top Rank card in Los Angeles and retained his title by third-round knockout of Francisco De Vaca. In the ring after the fight, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, wanting to put a fight involving a Mexican world titleholder on Fury’s undercard on the Mexican holiday weekend, asked Navarrete if he wanted to come back a month later, and Navarrete gleefully accepted.
Elorde had a good first round, landing a series of sharp punches; but Navarrete came back strong in the second round, as he got his potent left hook going and never let up.
Navarrete stopped Elorde in his tracks with a clean right hand in the third round and continued to attack him. Moments later, Navarrete rocked Elorde with a thudding left hand to the face that might have broken Elorde’s nose. Navarrete was in total control by the end of the round when he drilled Elorde into the ropes with a left and a right that counted as a knockdown because the ropes held him up.
Referee Russell Mora took a long look at Elorde in the corner after the third round, but the fight was allowed to continue. However, Navarrete hurt his opponent early in the round with a tremendous right hand that buckled him, and Mora jumped in and waved it off at 26 seconds.
“The most important thing here was that it was a good performance for me,” Navarrete said. “I think the referee did the right thing. He’s going to go home to his family and everything is going to be OK. It was a good performance on my behalf, and he gave what he could. At the end of the day, I came away with the hard-fought victory.”
According to CompuBox, Navarrete landed 88 of 220 punches (40%), and Elorde landed just 28 of 101 (28%).
Elorde (28-2, 15 KOs), 32, of the Philippines — who is the grandson of Filipino legend and International Boxing Hall of Famer Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, the longtime 1960s junior lightweight world champion — also happily accepted the fight on three weeks’ notice. He was boxing in the United States — and for a world title — for the first time.