Commentator Tim Bradley was impressed with the fourth-round knockout victory by WBO featherweight champion Rafael Espinoza (25-0, 21 KOs) over challenger Sergio Chirino (22-2, 13 KOs) on Friday night at the BleauLive Theater at Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

(Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

After the bout, Bradley told the media that he believes the 6’1″ Espinoza might be the best fighter in the featherweight division, but he still wants to see him accomplish that task by beating all the killers.

Tonight, Espinosa looked like pure 24k gold, knocking down Chirino three times in the contest, once in rounds one, three, and four. In the first round, Espinoza set the tone for the fight, nailing Chirino with a short left uppercut that he never saw coming to send him to the canvas.

Although Chirino was smiling and looking embarrassed when he returned to his feet, Espinoza nailed him with a similar left uppercut that hurt him as the first round ended. That punch made it clear that Chirino could not get out of the way of Espinoza’s shots and would keep getting hurt.

Espinoza’s Potential as the Best Featherweight

“He might well be but you still have got to prove it inside that ring. There are some killers at 126. He gets hit cleanly, but he can take it,” said commentator Tim Bradley to the media, talking about WBO featherweight champion Rafael Espinoza potentially being the best at 126 following his fourth-round knockout win over Sergio Chirino on Friday night.

For Espinoza to prove he’s the #1 fighter at featherweight, he’s going to need to beat these fighters:

– Bruce Carrington
– Rey Vargas
– Nick Ball
– Luis Lopez
– Robeisy Ramirez
– Otabek Kholmatov

Carrington would be a tough opponent for Rafael Espinoza because he has more power and size than many of the fighters in the featherweight division.

Bradley feels that Espinoza would need to work on his defense to beat guys like Carrington because he’s too easy to hit.

Espinoza has gotten away with having poor defensive skills thus far because none of his opponents are big punchers, but that would change if he fought Carrington, Kholmatov, or Luis Lopez.

Espinoza’s Size Advantage over Inoue

“He’s too big,” Bradley said when asked whether Espinoza is too big for Naoya Inoue, who holds all four belts at super bantamweight. “They’re trying to put the boogeyman on Inoue.

Espinoza might be too big for Naoya Inoue, but we might not ever get a chance because the Japanese star is taking his time about moving up in weight. Inoue might be worried about what would happen if he took on fighters like Espinoza, Lopez, Vargas, Robeisy and Carrington.

“I think Shu-Shu [Carrington] does well against Rafael [Espinoza]. It’s a tough out because you have to worry about so many dimensions and versatility. he [Espinoza] turned up that uppercut [in round one against Chirino],” said Bradley. “It’s so smooth. He twisted his head and got his head out of the way [of Chirino’s right-hand shot that he threw at the same time].”

Before Espinoza fights Carrington, he’s likely to have a rematch with Robeisy Ramirez and other champions at 126. There are a lot of fighters that could end Espinoza’s reign long before Carrington or Inoue get to him.

“Robeisy is a world-class fighter, a champion, and was considered for Inoue, and he [Espinoza] defeated him. I knew it wasn’t a fluke. The way that he [Espinoza] got off the canvas [in round five] and fought with that much conviction and tenacity,” said Bradley.

“I knew he was going to stop him tonight. I told him on the call. He was going to be too much for Chirino. He’s a great fighter. I wouldn’t say world-class. He hasn’t proven himself yet. A great amateur pedigree. He has a couple of wins over Robeisy Ramirez, so he ain’t no slouch, but he made it look easy tonight,” said Bradley about Espinoza.

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