Alexis Rocha Stops Young, Wants Crawford Bout



Alexis Rocha Stops Young, Wants Crawford Bout
All images courtesy Golden Boy, pics by Cris Esqueda

In DAZN’s late-night feature, it was a battle of welterweights as Irvine, Alexis Rocha squared off against Anthony “Juice” Young on a Golden Boy Promotions card.

The fight that was originally scheduled to take place in January of this year before an injury to Young forced a late replacement.

The scheduled 12-rounder took place at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California with the southpaw, Rocha, defending his NABO welterweight title.

Rocha Made Grand Entrance

Music accompanied Alexis Rocha to the ring on May 27

The band played as Alexis Rocha readied for business

Accompanied by a full mariachi band, Cali based Rocha made his entrance in style and with the full support of the Indio crowd. The city is less than 2hrs from his home of Irvine.

Alexis Rocha came into the contest with four stoppage victories in his six-fight win streak.

He wanted to put on a show as he played host to the Atlantic City-born fighter that came in as an 8-1 dog on the sportsbooks.

Young Has Spoiler History

However, Young has played spoiler in previous outings and appeared to be confident in his fight week media obligations despite knowing his only supporters would be in his actual corner come fight night.

The entrance may have been festive, but Rocha was all business coming out of round 1.

Alexis Rocha lands on Anthony Young, May 27, 2023

“Juice” didn’t have enough of it to stop Rocha momentum

With a laser focus in his eyes, Rocha caught Young on the temple within the first 90 seconds of the fight and continued to pressure smart.

Young offered resistance by moving and circling the 25-year-old, and he was quick to whip up a combination that put more emphasis on speed than power.

Young wanted to counter, but Alexis Rocha refused to be reckless, and his punch selection was beneficial, especially to the body.

The left hand from Rocha seemed to come in as many flavors as Baskin Robins.

He landed it straight and behind the jab, looping to the head and body, and even doubled it up with success.

Body Attack Pays Dividends

It was key to his game, but it was the body attack that set the stage for what was to come.

The mandatory for Terence “Bud” Crawford’s WBO welterweight title had everything working. He was putting it all together, but it was the things he didn’t do that were just as impressive.

With all the hype surrounding Crawford-Spence being finalized, there were plenty of reasons for Rocha to want to come out and overperform.

However, that can sometimes have an adverse effect on a fighter. They can get overanxious and make mistakes or completely gas themselves the very first time they hurt their opponent.

Instead, he was able to stay calm and execute.

Alexis Rocha Hurts Young

Young was hurt to the body in the 4th, but it was late enough in the round that he was able to get back to his corner before Alexis Rocha could capitalize.

Then, during that break, Young’s cornerman warned their fighter that he needed to show him something in the upcoming round.

It is improbable to think that from their vantage point they could be oblivious to the effect the body shots were having.

In the 5th, you could see the writing on the wall as Rocha could sense his 35-year-old opponent was close to the end.

To his credit, Young continued to fight back, but even when he managed to land it offered nothing in the way of slowing down the determined Alexis Rocha.

Young was being broken down to the body with heavy shots that seemed to sap all his power.

Down Goes Young

With under a minute left in the 5th, Rocha landed a double left combo that sent his opponent into the ropes and down to the canvas.

Young beat the count, but Thomas Taylor, the third person in the ring, waved the fight off after assessing the wobbly-legged Young had enough.

Alexis Rocha jumps for joy

Taylor’s decision to stop the fight should also be hailed as a triumph considering some of the decisions made by refs and cornermen over the past several months that garnered criticism from fans and media.

Young appeared frustrated at first, but that’s the beauty of Taylor taking control in the ring—it allows Young to leave the ring with his chin up and faculties intact.

Rocha Grades Himself

Alexis Rocha was grateful during his post-fight victory, but he would grade his performance a “C”—-a harsh scoring criterion by any measure.

“I’m the WBO mandatory, and I want the winner [of Crawford-Spence] next, that’s it,” Rocha told DAZN’s Chris Mannix in his post-fight interview.

He got some pushback from Mannix, who reminded Rocha that Crawford-Spence would be tied up with each other for the rest of the year.

Rocha credited his team of promoters and managers as some of the best in the business, alluding to the idea that if anyone can get him that opportunity it is his current team.

It was a great night for Alexis Rocha. He did what he needed to do to keep his momentum.

But the rest of the year will be important for him, specifically regarding his decision to continue creating his own lane or remaining on the sidelines to eventually claim his mandatory title shot.

Crawford understands the position Rocha is in and it could be argued that the Nebraska fighter did more harm than good waiting for his shot at Pacquiao that never came.

Rocha would be smart to consider the path of the very fighter he wants to fight and whether he can learn from it.

During a ringside interview on DAZN, it was proposed to Rocha that he fight fellow Golden Boy stablemate Vergil Ortiz, to which Rocha seemed open.

A more interesting suggestion came from Sergio Mora who offered up Conor Benn as Rocha’s next foe.

There are many options for Alexis Rocha if he can keep his status as next in line for the WBO welterweight title.

He must navigate carefully and not get lost in the decision-making.

There are moments in a fighter’s career where he must take matters into his own hands.

But Rocha could be best served by focusing on his training and allowing his team to do their job.

Afterall, he isn’t wrong about his team being one of the best.

Of all the promotional outfits, Golden Boy certainly has experience with building their fighters up as viable products.

Alexis Rocha post-win

Guys like Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz, and Jamie Munguia are all products of the GB blueprint and even someone like Blair Cobbs was able to find more success than his skillset might’ve allowed elsewhere.

Rocha Wants Crawford

Regardless of his choices, Alexis Rocha knows that what he deserves and what he will get are likely two different things.

But he was insistent in every post-fight conversation that he wants the winner of Crawford-Spence.

The only way to achieve fighting the undisputed welterweight champion is to keep your name in the same conversation as them.

But if it comes at the expense of sitting back then it could be a deterrent.

After all, there is likely enough money and prestige in a fight with Vergil Ortiz.

That is, should he end up victorious in his July 8 fight with Eimantas Stanionis, it could entice Rocha to forgo getting caught up in the Crawford-Spence saga for the sake of writing his story.

After all, beating Crawford/Spence is not the only way to make history.