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Arnold Barboza Jr. continued his climb toward a title shot at 140 pounds.
The 30-year-old from Los Angeles outboxed and outworked previously unbeaten Danielito Zorrilla to win a wide decision in a 10-round bout Saturday in Temecula, California.
The official scores were 98-92, 97-93 and 97-93 in favor of Barboza.
The CompuBox statistics told the story. Barboza (27-0, 10 KOs) landed 171 of 600 (29%) total punches compared to 66 of 352 (19%) for Zorrilla, who is from Puerto Rico.
Zorrilla (16-1, 12 KOs) was a tricky counterpuncher at times; he landed some eye-catching rights. However, he wasn’t busy enough to be competitive.
The last round was action packed, as Barboza decided not to sit on his lead. Zorrilla hurt him with a right hand about a minute into round, which led to some toe-to-toe exchanges, but Zorrilla didn’t have the wherewithal pull off a miracle.
If there was a flaw in Barboza’s performance, it was that he couldn’t take out a fighter he dominated. However, he’ll take a convincing victory over a good opponent.
Barboza was ranked by two of the four major sanctioning bodies going into the fight, No. 8 by the WBO and No. 11 by the WBC. He mostly likely will inch higher after Saturday’s fight.
In preliminary fights, lightweight prospect Raymond Muratalla (15-0, 12 KOs) defeated Jair Valtierra (16-2, 8 KOs0 by a unanimous decision in an eight-round bout.
And 2020 Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Roberto Zavala Jr. (2-2-1, 2 KOs) 58 seconds into their scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.