All-action welterweight Jesus Soto Karass has had a tough 16-year career filled with many grinding, physical battles. Lately, he has struggled to make weight, and at 35, he's no youngster in boxing.
He came into his fight with Juan Carlos Abreu talking about being tired of making weight, tired of the battles and saying Thursday night's main event of the "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN" card might be the last of his career.
The way Soto Karass looked, maybe it should be, as Abreu soundly outboxed him, outpunched him and knocked him out in the eighth round of a one-sided bout at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
Soto Karass, who has taken tremendous punishment throughout his career, looked nothing like the offensive fighter who typically would throw 100 punches per round. He came nowhere near that level of activity and his four-year winless streak continued. He scored the biggest victory of his career when he stopped former two-time welterweight world titleholder Andre Berto in the 12th round of an upset in July 2013, but he has not won since, going 0-5-1.
"I'm gonna talk it over with my team, and we'll make that final call," said Soto Karass, who has lost to top opponents such as Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander. "My wife will have a lot of say. I want to say goodbye to boxing, but if this was my farewell then I go with my head held high."
While Soto Karass marched forward and pressed the action as he always does, he was not very effective and wide open to be hit. Abreu jabbed, moved and snapped the stationary Soto Karass' head back with clean jabs and uppercuts.
Soto Karass (28-13-4, 18 KOs), of Mexico, showed signs of life later in the fight, including in the final moments of the seventh round when he and Abreu traded toe-to-toe but it was short-lived.
Forty-five seconds into the eighth round, Abreu hurt Soto Karass with a right uppercut. He landed a couple of more punches and then blasted him with an overhand right to the head that sent Soto Karass to the canvas.
Soto Karass beat the count, but Abreu (20-3-1, 19 KOs) was on him immediately. He landed another right hand to the head, and as Soto Karass was falling to the mat along the ropes, referee Rocky Burke waved off the fight at 1 minute, 7 seconds.
Abreu was ahead 69-64 on two scorecards at the time of the stoppage, but Soto Karass was shockingly ahead 67-66 on the third scorecard.
Abreu, 30, of the Dominican Republic, came into the fight having lost two of his past three bouts and was coming off an eight-round split decision to Alex Martin in June 2016 but rebounded in fine fashion.
Prospect Ryan Garcia shines
In the co-feature, junior lightweight Ryan Garcia (12-0, 11 KOs), a 19-year-old from Victorville, California, who is perhaps Golden Boy's top prospect, manhandled Cesar Valenzuela (14-6-1, 5 KOs), 27, of Phoenix, en route to a third-round knockout.
Garcia, who was a top amateur and has also gained experience sparring with fighters such as lightweight world champion Jorge Linares and junior lightweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko, was coming off a 30-second knockout of Miguel Carrizoza on Sept. 15. Although he was forced to go deeper into the scheduled eight-round bout Thursday, he still dominated.
With 20 seconds left in the opening round, Garcia scored a knockdown with a counter left hand to the head.
In the third round, Garcia nailed Valenzuela with a left hand that bounced him off the ropes and dropped him to his knees, again with 20 seconds left. Valenzuela beat the count, but moments later Garcia hurt him with a left hook and had him reeling into the ropes when referee Tony Zaino stopped it with one second left in the round.
"I knew I had him and that he would come down sooner or later," Garcia said. "I feel great. He was moving a lot, but I was able to keep putting the pressure and hunt him down. I knew I would catch him. It was just a matter of time."
In the televised opener, junior lightweight prospect Hector Tanajara Jr. (11-0, 4 KOs), 20, of San Antonio dominated Jesus Serrano (17-5-2, 12 KOs), 25, of Mexico, en route to a near shutout decision. Tanajara won 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73 on the scorecards in a fight in which he landed nearly double the punches of Serrano. According to CompuBox, Tanajara landed 113 of 390 punches (29 percent) and Serrano connected with 66 of 274 (24 percent).