The US contender wants to test himself against the best names in the welterweight division
Alexis Rocha knew George Ashie would not be an easy fight and he wasn't wrong. The replacement opponent came to fight on Saturday night at the YouTube Theatre but still ended up going down in seven rounds by knockout.
Rocha - currently ranked number four welter by the WBO - anticipated that this fight would work as preparation to go later in the year for a world title shot and he may not have been wrong, as the Ghanaian fighter kept pushing and complicating the picture.
It took a couple of rounds to adjust styles and guards, but when they found the rhythm they began to throw heavy punches, especially with hooks to the side.
"That was what I had to do. A statement. Come on. I'm ready for the big names," he said after improving his record to 22-1, 14 KOs.
In the sixth round, there was an unintentional headbutt that caused a deep cut over the left eyebrow of Rocha that put the fight in jeopardy for a bit. But Alexis wasn't to let that stand in his way and for the next round he finished the Ghanaian with a right hook to the face while his guard was down.
"I'm here to fight, four fights in 12 months. I knew he wasn't coming to hang with me... but I took the s*** out of him. But now I'm here for the big names. I want Crawford now. Everybody's telling me if I'm ready, I'll know when I'm in the ring.... VIVA MEXICO CABRONES": Alexis Rocha
Rocha goes forward, takes Ashie to the ropes. Double overhand right hook from Rocha, Ashie knows how to take the punishment. A right hand that catches Ashie completely off guard sends him to dreamland. It's over!
Unintentional low blow by Rocha, Ashie is given time to recover. There was a headbutt and Rocha is cut on the eyebrow. It's a bad cut. Ashie unleashes his best weapons to make the cut bigger. Rocha raises his guard and keeps the job to the body.
A left hook loosened Ashie's legs, but he drew strength. Ashie clinches to buy time. Rocha continued to work with hooks, mostly to the body. Ashie to the canvas with a right hook with less than 10 seconds left in the round and the bell saved him.
"We sent the contract back and are waiting for a response. I'm very optimistic that on April 15 we'll see Tank Davis vs. Ryan Garcia... We have future plans for (Terence) Crawford. I told him we could make the fight with (Errol) Spence. Tank vs. Garcia will open a lot of doors for us. We are confident that Crawford vs. Spence will happen", declared the Golden Boy during the broadcast.
Hours before the show, Crawford went to Oscar de la Hoya's office.
Melikuziev bullied Sierra. Despite he was cut at the end of the left eyebrow in the second round, by the third round with a body shot Sierra visit the canvas, and seconds before the end of the round with another body shot Melikuziev ended the fight.
Taking advantage of Reyes' lack of defence, the Puerto Rican Collazo managed to overpower Yudel Reyes to win the world title eliminator. Reyes visits the canvas two times in the fifth round before the referee stopped the fight.