The hard-punching prospect scored the only knock down of the match with a straight right to the chin early in the first round, but Villa beat the 10-count with a second to spare. Dunne, who’s 22, then proceeded to outclass his heavier and more experienced opponent, winning all four rounds on the three judges’ cards.
Thrilled with his performance in front of his promoter, Sugar Ray Leonard, and film stars William Shatner and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the fundraiser at the Marconi Automotive Museum, Dunne gave himself an A-plus.
“I boxed really well. For me it was my best performance to date,” he said after upping his record in the paid ranks to 5-0 (4 KOs). “It was good for me to go four rounds. I hadn’t gone past two before and I felt strong at the end.”
Trainer Freddie Roach, back from resurrecting Mike Tyson’s career against Clifford “The Black Rhine” Etienne recently, was as pleased as punch, too, according to Dunne.
“Freddie was over the mill,” the fighter said. “He was happy with the way I boxed and my defense. I didn’t take any shots.”
On Villa, Dunne said the Mexican, who fell to 2-12-1 (win, loss, draw) was “as solid as a rock.”
“He came in at 136 1/2 pounds; I was 128,” he added.
Far from being disappointed at having his KO streak ended, the man many regard as Ireland’s best boxing prospect said he was relieved.
“The pressure would have kept getting bigger and bigger if I’d knocked him out,” he said. “Everything is going according to plan.”
Dunne’s fight was the co-feature at the Fifth Annual “Fight Night” fundraiser, a black-tie event that attracted some 500 guests at $300 a seat.
Proceeds went to the Marconi Foundation for Kids and the Drug Use is Life Abuse program, which benefit local children’s charities in Orange County.
“A good crowd, good atmosphere and good win,” Dunne summed up.
By press time, plans were still afoot to throw the Los Angeles-based Dubliner back into the ring on St. Patrick’s Day, in Riverside, Calif.
The youngster has been fighting once a month since January.
Meanwhile, Dorchester-based heavyweight Kevin McBride will make a St. Patrick’s Day appearance in Boston next Monday when he headlines against Brockton’s Najee Shaheed in a non-title match at the Roxy.
The “Clones Colossus” was last seen capturing the IBC Americas belt via a brutal third round stoppage of Craig Tomlinson in Revere, Mass., last November.
McBride, who stands 6-foot-6, is to 28-4-1 (23 KOs).
For ticket information for the McBride-Shaheed fight, call 1 (888) 491-2900.