Gabriel Flores Jr. is aiming for a fresh start in Fresno. The 21-year-old junior lightweight hopes to bounce back from his first career defeat in a 10-round bout against Mexican veteran Abraham Montoya on Friday, March 4 at Save Mart Center.
Flores and Montoya will do battle underneath the junior welterweight main event between former unified champion Jose Ramirez and two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza. The entire Ramirez-Pedraza card will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+.
“The mission I’m on is personal, and I will be a world champion,” Flores said. “I am more motivated than ever, and I will have answers for whatever Montoya brings.”
Flores (20-1, 7 KOs), who hails from Stockton, California, will have a sizable cheering section make the roughly two-hour drive to Fresno. Last September in Tucson, Arizona, he suffered his first career defeat, a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez. Flores showed his mettle over 10 rounds, fighting back in the face of Lopez’s relentless onslaught. Signed by Top Rank as a 16-year-old, Flores was flawless throughout the first four-plus years of his pro career. In February 2020, he became only the second man to knock out Puerto Rican contender Jayson Velez.
Montoya (20-2-1, 14 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, is an eight-year pro with a knack for upsetting undefeated prospects. In March 2018, he bested Luis Alberto Lopez (12-0 at the time) by split decision. Last February, he upset undefeated prospect Alejandro Guerrero by majority decision. He has won two fights since a November 2019 decision defeat to top contender Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov.
Flores Jr. vs. Montoya joins a packed undercard that includes featherweight contender Joet Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) against Jeo Santisima (21-3, 18 KOs) in a 10-rounder, the six-round heavyweight professional debut of U.S. Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr., rising junior lightweight Karlos Balderas (11-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-rounder, lightweight prospect Charlie Sheehy (1-0, 1 KO) in a four-rounder, 6’9 heavyweight Antonio “El Gigante” Mireles (2-0, 2 KOs) in a four-rounder, and middleweight prospect Javier “Milwaukee Made” Martinez (5-0, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.