Randy “El Matador” Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) got his career back on track with a unanimous-decision win over the very game Jesus Ruiz (36-8-5, 25 KOs) on Thursday night in the co-main event televised on ESPN2. Caballero, the former IBF Bantamweight World Champion, as you can expect after a 13 month layoff did show some ring rust early on.
As a fact, you arguably can say Ruiz won the first two rounds as he was busier and was working the body with well placed body shots.
El Matador started getting things going early in Round 5 as he landed two overhand rights in a matter of seconds and was starting to get his feet under him. Ringside commentator Teddy Atlas mentioned in the fifth that in the previous round you could put an asterisk in front of it as the fight was turning around in Caballero’s favor.
As the next couple of rounds unfolded, Ruiz’s gameplan of fighting inside led to multiple clashes of the head. Ruiz had his moments late in Rounds 6 and 7 bringing the fight to Caballero and making the Coachella Valley resident work.
In Round 9 you started to see glimpses of what Caballero can be with his boxing skills unfolding in flashes. Caballero’s skill set was coming alive landing a beautiful counter right uppercut. Like ringside commentator Bernard Hopkins mentioned in the round, it made you wonder if the fight would be going the distance if Caballero decided to throw more combinations and box more.
The fans gave the two fighters a much appreciated standing ovation as the fight came to an end. Going to the scorecards, the judges scored the bout 97-93, 96-94 and 96-94 as Randy Caballero stayed undefeated and became the new NABF Super Bantamweight Champion.
“It was amazing. I felt good, I felt light, I was able to outbox him, and I just felt great through the whole fight,” said Caballero.
“Some people may say there was ring rust, and at times there probably was,” said Caballero. “But you know what? I think this fight was a great test for me, to come back after a year off with the opponent they gave me,” said Caballero.
You can say Caballero’s camp is happy having their first fight back go the distance after a layoff that lasted a little more than a calendar year.
One thing is for certain, you’ll likely see Randy “El Matador” Caballero back and be a fixture on Golden Boy cards in the near future.