AZTEC — It didn't take long for Joe Gomez's experience to shine through against a much younger fighter on Friday.
Gomez, 28, stopped 19-year-old Cristian Cabral during the main event of the Aztec Warriors boxing card at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Gomez (19-7-1, nine knockouts) won via technical knockout and handed Cabral (5-1-1, three KOs) the first loss of his career.
"The fight wasn't what I expected. I thought he would come out fast like a brawler and I thought he would hit a lot harder," Gomez said on Saturday after returning home to Aztec. "They hyped him up quite a bit. He boxed a lot more than I thought he would, and there was more chasing him around than just sitting there slugging it out."
Gomez hit Albuquerque's Cabral with a big right hand late in the third round and took advantage of his weakened opponent with a flurry of punches. The fight was stopped at the 2:45 mark of the fifth round of the six-round contest.
"I knew I had him hurt with the right. He staggered and I let loose and finished the fight right there," Gomez said. "I didn't want the fight to go to the judges. I wasn't too worried about it being (Cabral's) hometown and that helping him get the decision because I have fought a lot in Albuquerque and consider it almost my hometown, too, but I still didn't want it to go to the judges."
Gomez said he thought Cabral probably took the first round, but his patience paid off as the fight wore on.
"My experience and patience paid off. I like to study my opponent in the first round and see what they have. He threw a bomb in the first and it hit me in the arm. It didn't hurt that bad. When he threw that and it didn't hurt, I knew I had him," Gomez said. "From the second round on, it was pretty much me taking my time and picking him apart."
Gomez landed a few heavy punches in the second round, causing swelling to one of Cabral's eyes.
"I thought we were doing just fine (until the eye injury)," Cabral's trainer Ray Zamora told the Albuquerque Journal after the fight. "(Gomez) is a strong guy, but he's got some holes, and I thought we capitalized on those."
Gomez credited his trainers Larry and Lorenzo Whitey for helping him prepare for the fight.
"Everything from training camp came through in this fight. We have been working on so many different styles and we had a plan for everything," Gomez said. "Conditioning was the biggest part of it."
Gomez hopes to fight again soon and remain active throughout the rest of 2013.
"I have three or four fights presented to me right now. I will get with the team on Monday and decide what is best for my career right now," Gomez said. "I talked to the promoter in Albuquerque about possibly doing a fight in Farmington. That would be great."John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.