Unbeaten featherweight prospect Mark Magsayo has spent all of his eight-year pro career looking up to his idol, Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao. Fighting on his hero's pay-per-view undercard on Saturday, Magsayo delivered a finish worthy of the eight-division champion.
Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs), a native of the Philippines, got up off the canvas in Round 5 before rallying to finish former world title challenger Julio Ceja (32-5-1, 28 KOs) with a vicious two-punch combo in Round 10. The fight was waved off without a count by referee Kenny Bayless at 0:50 with Ceja out cold inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Both fighters hit the canvas in this 126-pound duel that featured strong ebbs and flows, along with pockets of two-way action. The 26-year-old Magsayo, who is trained by Pacquiao mentor Freddie Roach, unleashed a backflip in celebration following the finish of an exciting fight that tested his toughness.
Ceja, who went on to outland Magsayo by a margin of 163 to 158, according to CompuBox, proved to be the aggressor throughout. But his forward pressure got him into trouble at times, including Round 1 when Magsayo floored him with a clean left hook to the chin.
A native of Mexico, the 28-year-old Ceja clawed his way back in by targeting the body and constantly pinning Magsayo to the ropes. The two fighters traded surges of momentum from there, typically dictated by whether Magsayo was able to use his jab and counter right hand to prevent Ceja from getting inside.
The momentum shifted once more in Round 5 when a left hook to the body dropped Magsayo. But the younger fighter showed good recuperative abilities as he strategically held at times and avoided imploding within heavy pressure.
Magsayo began to regain the momentum in the final two rounds and he came out of the corner in Round 10 with visible purpose as he turned the tables of pressure onto Ceja. A lead left hook missed from Magsayo but he followed through with a straight right that knocked Ceja out on his feet and saw him bounce off of the ropes.
Ceja got caught with one more short right hand before Bayless could get there to jump in. The punch sent him flat on his back as the fight was called.
The loss sent Ceja to a mark of just 0-3-1 in his last four fights, which included a loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux and a draw to Brandon Figueroa.
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