Most 18-year-olds are just getting out of high school and contemplating college.
Not featherweight Gabriel Ruelas of North Hollywood.
At 18, he is enrolled in the school of hard knocks. An honor student, Ruelas passed his toughest exam Tuesday night at The Country Club in Reseda by winning a unanimous six-round decision over Jorge Rodriguez of Bell.
Ruelas improved his record to 11-0 with six knockouts. All six knockouts were recorded in the first round.
He didn’t get one Tuesday. Didn’t expect to. But what he got may prove more valuable in the long run.
Ruelas’ handlers from the Ten Goose Boxing Club of Van Nuys wanted Rodriguez to serve as an instructor in a continuing ring education for their young prospect. That is why they pitted Ruelas against a man who, despite an 11-14-3 record, could show the youngster a few tricks after being in the ring with a former world champion (Kaokor Galaxy), a former Olympic gold medalist (Steve McCrory) and several other top-ranked fighters.
This time, Ruelas’ powerful right hand was not enough to put away his opponent. This time, Ruelas, 124 1/2, had to box and cover up and move around the ring, picking his spots against Rodriguez, 125.
Ruelas did that well enough to win convincingly on all three judges’ score cards. Dick Young and Larry Rozadilla scored it, 60-54. Kenneth Davis scored it 59-55.
Ruelas’ younger brother, Rafael, also unbeaten, remained that way as well Tuesday by knocking out Javier Lara (6-8-2) of Arleta at 2:28 of the third round of a scheduled six-round junior featherweight match. Ruelas is now 5-0 with three knockouts.
In other preliminary fights, junior middleweight Carlton Brooks (10-6-2) of Gardena won a unanimous six-round decision over Ron Wiswell (4-11-1) of Bakersfield, and lightweight John Almaguer (6-1, five knockouts) of Campo, Calif., stopped Tony Rivera (1-2-1) of North Hollywood at 2:10 of the second round.