ANAHEIM — It wasn't much of a tuneup, but welterweight Oba Carr moved a step closer to a big money fight with Oscar De La Hoya with a fourth-round knockout of Jesus Gutierrez Monday night before an announced crowd of 3,541 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.
Gutierrez (10-4-1) of Juarez, Mexico, was an easy target for Carr and didn't throw many punches with authority. He hung around for four rounds because Carr (44-2-1) rarely used his powerful right. It was Carr's right hand that knocked down Gutierrez at the end of the Round 1 and finished him off at 2 minutes 36 seconds of the fourth.
"I'm waiting for De La Hoya," Carr said. "That's my new year's resolution. It's my right time now."
Carr also showed he can throw a devastating body punch when he needs to. His left hook to the ribs nearly put Gutierrez down in the third round.
"I felt my hand almost go through him," Carr said.
Early in the fourth round, Gutierrez went down for a second time after being hit on the jaw with a double left hook. Thirty seconds later, Gutierrez stayed down after getting hit with a short, quick right uppercut.
"I feel like I'm on top of my game, but this is not even half of Oba Carr," said Carr, ranked fourth by the World Boxing Assn.
Tom Loeffler, Carr's manager, said he hopes to sign Carr of Detroit to a promotional contract with Bob Arum and Top Rank Inc. in the next week. Loeffler said that contract is predicated on Carr getting a fight with De La Hoya in 1998.
After a one-round feeling out process in which he landed only a few glancing blows, junior bantamweight Joel Zarate of Mexico City unleashed a left hook that spun Victor Hernandez of Culiacan, Mexico around and knocked him cold 50 seconds into round two.
Zarate (32-2-1) and Hernandez (20-14-1) heard boos throughout the uneventful first round. But the crowd sprung to its feet just as Hernandez was landing face first on the canvas.
The victory moves Zarate, 30, into a mandatory title fight on March 21 in the Philippines against World Boxing Council champion Gerry Penalosa. Zarate, the nephew of former bantamweight champion Carlos Zarate, lost two previous fights that would have put him in line for a title shot.
In another junior batamweight bout, Charles Madrigal (8-11) of Oxnard stopped Ivan Salazar (13-10) of Mexico with his second knockdown of the first round.
Oba Carr, 150 3/4, Detroit, KO (4), Jesus Gutierrez, 151, Juarez, Mexico; Carlos Bojorquez, 157 1/2, Mira Loma, KO (1), Manuel Coronado, 156, Bell; Charles Madrigal, 115, Oxnard, KO (1), Ivan Salazar, 114, Mexico; Joel Zarate, 115, Mexico City, KO (2), Victor Hernandez, 114 1/2, Culiacan, Mexico; Benito Sanchez, 141, Westminster, unan. dec. (4), Concepcion Gutierrez, 145, Los Angeles. Attendance--3,541.