By Steve Kim Updated on January 26, 2023

Rocha Caught Up in Traffic

Picture for Rocha Caught Up in Traffic

With Errol Spence and Terence Crawford unable to come to an agreement to face one another for the undisputed championship at welterweight, there are a group of fighters in that same division who are now caught up in that traffic jam.

One of them is Alexis Rocha (21-1, 13 KOs), who faces late replacement George 'Red Tiger' Ashie this weekend from the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.

Currently, Spence has three of the major titles at 147 (the WBC, WBA and IBF), while Crawford has possession of the WBO. Which means that boxers like Rocha -- who is rated third in the WBO and 12 in the IBF -- are forced to wait as those two make up their minds on their future. The likes of Jaron 'Boots' Ennis and Vergil Ortiz, who are rated even higher than Rocha, are in the same predicament.

Picture for Rocha Caught Up in TrafficCris Esqueda/GBP 

Rocha admits to getting antsy, "Yeah, we are (getting held back), because we don't know what's going on with the mega-fight with Spence and Crawford. We didn't know what's going on right now, so we just have to be on the back foot and just wait for them to leave the belts, or move up, vacate, or whatever." 

2022 was a productive one for the 25 year old native of Santa Ana, as he notched three decisive victories over Blair Cobbs (KO9), Luis Alberto Veron (W10) and Jesus Perez (W10). His lone loss remains a 12 round decision loss to Rashidi Ellis in 2020.

Picture for Rocha Caught Up in TrafficGolden Boy Promotions

On that night inside the Golden Boy Promotions 'bubble' in Indio, the well-schooled southpaw was just a shade slow off the trigger versus the athletic Ellis.

"Hesitant,'' was the way he described his performance to "I was very hesitant, I was in a shell the whole night, and I feel like I let the pressure get the best of me As a young fighter you don't want to get that 'O' go. Floyd Mayweather basically killed it for everybody saying, 'Your 'O' can't go, or else you're written off." 

Ironically, this loss in many ways freed Rocha.

"It releases alllllll the pressure," he explained. "It was like, 'is it that bad?' No, not really, sometimes losses don't hurt you, they help you."

Rocha has gained valuable seasoning since that defeat, his progress has pleased his trainer, Hector Lopez. "We're at the door, I'd like for him to finish some of these fights where he should've finished the guy out sooner. We probably would've crept up in the rating a little bit more."

Regardless of what the landscape at welterweight will look like later this year, Lopez, will not hesitate to accept a title shot in their next bout.

Picture for Rocha Caught Up in TrafficSteve Kim Photography

"Absolutely not, these opportunities don't come around often we're fighters we're not YouTube fighters -- even though were at the YouTube Theater -- we're not TikTokers, we're here to fight," he stated. "We're not looking for fame on social media, (Alexis) really wants to become a world champion, and unfortunately nowadays when these guys are fighting once-a-year, it's just not going to get it done."

There's no doubt in Rocha's mind that he's ready to compete at the upper levels of this division.

"I'm right up there with the top contenders," he states."I know I haven't beaten a big full-fledged household name, and I feel like that's what I need. But it all starts January 28."



Located inside the SoFi Stadium, the YouTube Theater (which opened its doors in 2021) is hosting it's first boxing event on Saturday night. And it may be the first of many, as promoters are always looking for venues in the LA area to put their cards.
"There's no question," said Jason Gannon, the Managing Director of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. "This venue holds 6,000 seats in terms of being able to transform from a lot of the different seating manifestos. The sight lines are incredible, the acoustics are incredible."

Picture for Rocha Caught Up in TrafficCris Esqueda/GBP

Rocha is making history of sorts here as the initial headliner.

"I'm very excited, it's a big privilege to be here, the first boxing event at the YouTube Theater. I'm looking to put on a good show."

In a region where it can be difficult to find buildings to host boxing, this could be a logical destination.

"We always thought of boxing as being important  to our content story at YouTube Theater," said Gannon.



Before that card on DAZN kicks off, earlier on Saturday afternoon (3:30 pm, ET/12:30 pm, PT) from the OVO Arena Wembley in England, ESPN+ has coverage of unified light heavyweight champion, Artur Beterbiev's bout versus Anthony Yarde. 

"I had a good camp. I had good sparring. I will try to do my best," said Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs). In his last outing back in June, Beterbiev bludgeoned Joe Smith in two rounds. To which he stated, ""I can't compare {Yarde} to Joe Smith. It's a different fight. Joe Smith had a belt at that time. It's not comparable."

Picture for Rocha Caught Up in TrafficQueensbury Promotions***) 

Should he win, the focus will turn to a full-fledged undisputed bout against WBA belt-holder, Dmitry Bivol.

"Right now, it's Saturday night. I only think about Saturday night."

Yes, Beterbiev is a man of few words.



On Feb. 18, at the Fox Theater in Pomona, California, the WBC bantamweight elimination bout between Luis Nery and Azat Hovannisyan will take place on DAZN. This was formally announced by Golden Boy Promotions....PBC has made it official, the highly anticipated super middleweight contest between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant will be held at the MGM Grand on March 25. This event will be on Showtime PPV.....The highly touted Floyd Schofield is on the DAZN broadcast this Saturday. Looking forward to seeing him in person...I can be reached at




About Author
Rocha Caught Up in Traffic
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.