In boxing, anything can happen. From a fifty to one heavyweight beating the “baddest man on earth” to a fighter earning more than one hundred million dollars for a single fight. That is why it is called the theatre of the unexpected. This Saturday night, we saw a little of that when Mexico City’s Julio “Pollito” Ceja captured the vacant WBC super bantamweight title with a comeback knockout of Hugo “Cuatito” Ruiz. The exciting fight was the semi-main event of the Premier Boxing Champions fight card held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Ceja strapped up the gloves as a professional as a sixteen year old in 2009 in his hometown of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, near the capital of the country. Obviously he began his career at a much lighter weight, making his debut in the straw weight of 108 pounds. As he got heavier, he got better and began to amass wins without a loss. Four years later after joining the bucks for punches trade, Ceja got his first opportunity for a title when he flew across the pond to face Jamie McDonnell for the IBF bantamweight title. Ceja came up short in the judges’ cards losing a majority decision in a scrap that many saw him perhaps pull it off.
In his next fight in late 2013 he captured the vacant WBC Silver bantamweight title with a tenth round technical knockout of veteran Juan Jose “Goofy” Montes. He stopped Jesus Acosta before defending his title against the likes of Ranel Suco and Lionel Mark Duran via a tenth and fifth round knockouts respectively. In his last fight, a non-title ten rounder, he scored a unanimous decision over the respectable Oscar Blanquet.
In his first time in the United States, Ceja might have stolen the show despite the main event between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares being considered as one of the fights of the year so far.
The shorter of the two, Ceja fought his way into the inside early but Ceja caught him with a left hook flush to the chin in the third and sent him down to the canvas. Ironically Ceja was always looking for spot for his own left hook. From the opening bell, he looked for an opening for his best punch but it wasn’t until the fifth round that Ceja could do something with it.
Ruiz looked confident in the fourth and early in the fifth as he took control of the action but a left hook from Ceja that he never saw coming erased any momentum he had as he crashed down to his backside and his head bounced off the canvas. He beat the count but Ceja was all over him. Ceja didn’t stop throwing punches until referee Raul Caiz Sr. jumped in between and stopped the fight and erased any hopes of Ruiz of surviving the round.
Is Ceja now the man to beat in the 122-pound weight class? Not if Rigondeaux has anything to say about it.