"They're rookies," some one said about the promoters as the DJ fudged Ronny Rios's entrance song twice before finally hitting the only track that would coax young Ronny out from his warm up room and into the ring. Born and raised in Santa Ana, 19-year-old Ronny missed the Olympic team by a hair in late 2007, and went pro late last year.
There was nothing remotely Olympian or drab last night as the sun set over the grassy Woodstock terrace at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. It was all light show, Guns N' Roses and hip-hop as crisp Ed Hardy-wearing types enjoyed bottle service in their ringside cabanas while the Laker's game played on flat screens behind them. Ronny, in a hooded blue and white satin robe, emerged with white gloves tied around his fists to cheers from the audience. It seemed he would have to battle Kobe for attention, but when the bell rang for the beginning of round one, those surrounding the ringside outside, dropped to a hush, and only Ronny's measured, forceful stomach-tight breaths punctuated the air.
Ronny lunged from his corner with confidence and grew quicker and more aggressive with each jab. From a section of seats near the back of the terrace, his family and TKO Boxing club fans screamed encouragement. "That's it, Ronny. Work the body...Give it to that Cabrón!"
Between torrential combination, Ronny's eyes flashed with pleasure. He was dominating the space with punches and easily evading the slight, short-lived charges that his opponent Alvaro Muro attempted against him.
(Watch for yourself here):
The end came after all of two rounds. The skimpy patent leather dressed card girls were just getting their stillettos warmed up when Ronny finished the super bantam weight match by knocking his Mexican opponent down to the mat.
Wobbly beneath the stadium lit punches, Muro, who had traveled from Durango, Mexico, grimaced, crouched and kneeled in submission. Drunk with excitement--because who can afford to be drunk on $10 Hard Rock drinks--people stood up from their chairs, photographers climbed to the ringside's edge, and Rios corner began to celebrate. Soon TKO gym coach Hector Lopez cut the blue and white gloves off Ronny's fists and the announcer bellowed out, "Winner by way of technical knock out... Ronny Rios." Last night's keeps his record undefeated at 5-0, with two knockouts.