Boxing By: Austin Killeen
Josh works on Dominic Martinez - Photo by: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing
DUKE CITY HOPEFUL JOSH PITBULL TORRES NOT DISCOURAGED THAT THE ROAD TO GLORY HAS MANY POTHOLES
By: Austin Killeen - December 7, 2013
After five years of intelligent matchups, Josh Torres was rewarded with a ten round bout in hallowed Madison Square Garden. At stake was the WBC Youth Welterweight World Championship against undefeated Dusty Harrison. A win against the highly decorated former amateur star and “Pitbull” would have put himself in the conversation with the leading prospects at 147 pounds in the world. But on November 2nd it was not to be, as Harrison was awarded a unanimous decision against the “Duke City” boxer. It was not the end of the world for Josh, as he displayed some impressive skills before an appreciative Garden crowd.
Josh & His Family - Photo By: Jose Castillo-BillyCBoxing
Torres first arrived on the scene 23 years ago, in a section of Albuquerque known as the South Valley. It’s safe to say the largest proportion of boxers in the “Duke City” come from this part of town. Concerned her son would migrate to the sport, she insisted “Pitbull” take up another activity. “I played basketball and became pretty good at it. But I loved boxing and followed my friend’s exploits in the square circle.”
In ninth grade Josh decided to try out for the varsity basketball team and thought his chances were good. “In spite of my size I was good at the give and go and was strong driving to the basket.” But fate would intervene and “Pitbull” never made it to his high school tryouts. In a heated debate with another student over monetary versus fiscal policy, he fractured his right hand. With his hand in a cast, he accepted an offer from his friend Vincent Mirabal to go to a local boxing gym. (Mirabal would have a short but successful pro career himself) To say that his basketball career was now in the rear view mirror would be an understatement. Josh’s mom realized her worst nightmare was happening and threw in the towel. Josh had approximately forty amateur bouts, winning the New Mexico Golden Gloves Championship at 152 pounds in 2008.
Throughout high school Josh was an excellent student and graduated with honors. As a result, he had no problem getting accepted by the University of New Mexico in the fall of 2008. “When I attended freshman orientation at UNM my heart wasn’t in it. The other students were egger and happy to be there, I wanted to go to the gym and train. I dropped out of college and went to the gym daily, while my mother happily thought I was attending school. I came home early from the gym one day and was surprised by my stepfather. My mother was fooled no more.
Shorty there after he turned pro, facing the usual early bout opponents that build a fighter’s confidence and develop their skills. I witness one of his early four round bouts. In typical fashion his inexperienced, overeager opponent punched himself out, while the poker faced “Pitbull” paced himself. He was rewarded with a fourth round TKO. Little more than a year later, Torres took a step up in competition facing Joel Vargas of Liberal, Kansas. As I’ve said in many of my columns, Josh is way above average in the strength department. In Vargas, he was facing someone just as strong. Both boxers threw punches at high volume, but the hometown boy had defense; and defense resulted in a unanimous decision win. Probably his toughest fight was a split decision victory over veteran Joe Gomez of Farmington, NM. Gomez is the complete package, causing Josh to say; “he hit me in places I never was hit before.”
In preparation for his big fight in New York, Josh did all the right things. “Pitbull” Spared with Albuquerque’s top pro, junior welterweight Fidel Maldonado Jr., 2013 GG’s champ at 152 lbs. Brian Mendoza, former world Junior middleweight champ Austin Trout and middleweight standout Abraham Han. I personally watched the hometown boy spar over 40 rounds in preparation for his trip to “Gotham City.” Except for the first two rounds when Josh appeared intimidated by his surrounding, he put on an exciting performance against the talented Dusty Harrison.
Pitbull in action - photo by: Jose Castillo-BillyCBoxing
Josh plans to get back in the ring in late January or early February but as a junior welterweight. I immediately pointed out that boxing fans in the “Duke City” would be clamoring for a Torres/ Maldonado Jr. showdown. Fidel Maldonado Sr. and Chris Chavez trainers of the boxers in questions, have no interest in a showdown at this time. They feel in is more beneficial to both fighters advancement at this time, to continue to spar with each other. Fidel Sr. stated “two or three years down the road, when both boxers are big names, make the fight.
This would make both fighters a lot more money than facing each other now. Chavez has one immediate goal; “get Josh a win on the road against anybody. All three of his loses have occurred out of town and we have to end the streak.”
By day, Josh is a barber at Jake’s Barber Shop and claims me as one of his clients. While sitting in the barber chair, customers can see many mementos of “Pitbull’s” boxing career on the walls and shelves in the shop. He is happily married to his lovely wife Ariana and is the proud father of an eighteen month old son Julian. (Fortunately Julian gets his looks from his mother; joke) This past spring the Josh and Ariana move into a new house on the west side of town. If Jose were to retire today he would already be a winner; he has a beautiful wife, a happy, healthy son, a new home and enjoys his job. By that standard he’s already a champ!
Arturo Crespin Ready To Roll - Photo by: Gerardo Martinez - BillyCBoxing.com
ARTURO CRESPIN AND ALEX HOLGUIN BOTH SCORE EXCITING WINS IN SOLID CARD AT THE PAL AUDITORIUM IN ALBUQUERQUE
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – November 16, 2013
On paper several of the boxers on Saturday’s card, had a lot of wear on their tires. But promoter Joe Chavez and matchmaker Martin Narro have a history of recognizing hidden value in less than glossy win loss records. As a result, once again they presented an entertaining evening of boxing for appreciative fans in the “Duke City.” All four bouts were highly contested, with Crespin and Holguin involve in thrillers for “fight of the night.”
In the main event, Arturo Crespin (11-3-1, 4 KO’s) 159.8 lbs. of Las Vegas, NM scored a split decision win over Julio Cesar Lanzas (8-19-6, 1 KO) 158.2 lbs. of Colorado Springs, CO in eight rounds. If you have never seen Crespin in action, think of a cyborg pounding dents in the side of a tank with his fists. He may not have one punch KO power but you don’t want him hitting you on your arms and shoulders for very long. That is exactly what Lanzas allowed him to do in the first three rounds. In addition he was finding Julio’s rib cage with solid right hands, from his southpaw stance.
The fourth round revealed Lanzas scheme; he hoped Crespin would punch himself out. Suddenly Julio was landing overhand rights to the exposed chin of his opponent to the delight of the fans. For his part “El Toro” was answering with solid lefts to the head. The fifth was a repeat of the previous round with the pace even faster. In the sixth Crespin started dropping his mitts after throwing, which was dangerous against the offensive minded Colorado import. These were difficult rounds to score, as the final tabulations would indicate.
In the seventh both fighters continued to trade homerun swings, with neither seeming to gain an advantage. This is where Arturo turned into a cutie, throwing pitter/patter punches which were finding their target. I’ve seen him employ this tactic in previous bouts and it steals close rounds. Fans were on their feet in the final stanza, as the combatants emptied their remaining arsenal of blows. Scores of 77-75 Lanzas and 79-73, 78-74 for Crespin gave the New Mexico boxer the verdict to the pleasure of his fans. I’d love to see Arturo drop ten pounds, as he would be a beast at welterweight. Although the match was action packed, the boxers were well behaved; making it an easy night for referee Rocky Burke.
In a battle of “Duke City” boxers, undefeated Matthew “Papitas” Esquibel (9-0-0, 4 KO’s) 141 lbs., won a unanimous six round decision over Julio Chavez (6-7-1, 2 KO’s) 141 lbs. The first round Esquibel worked off his jab from the outside, while Chavez held his own in close. Matthew landed a nice left hook in the second but was wild in throwing punches over his shorter opponent’s head. The referee penalized Chavez for . . .? “Papitas” started working well off his jab but five year layoff was affecting him. The ref continued to admonish Chavez in the third but I’m not clear why. Julio landed some nice combinations in forth to capture the round.
Esquibel answered the fifth with solid body shots by sitting down on his punches. Matthew allowed Chavez to fight inside where he probably captured the sixth with hard body shots. The scores were 58-55 (twice) and 57-56. I’d like to see Esquibel after he gets a couple of matches under his belt. He has some skills, including a hard left jab. In addition, he appears to have a solid fan base which will make him a favorite with any promoter.
In the evenings second bout, Michael Coca Gallegos (1-12-1, 1 KO) 163 lbs. of Albuquerque dropped a unanimous six round decision to Phillip Penson (7-0-1, 2 KO’s) 163.2 lbs. of Orlando, FL. Coca usually fights in the low forties but looked to be in great shape at the higher weight. Penson looked tired as a result of having to lose several pounds at the weigh in, but displayed some outstanding defensive skills. Gallegos pressed his opponent in the first two rounds but failed to throw many punches. A left/right by Penson dropped Michael early in the third. This seemed to wake Coca Gallegos up and he finally started unleashing and offense.
The fourth saw Phillip start switching back and forth between southpaw and orthodox. Additionally he was displaying a right uppercut as a means of holding off the pressing “Duke City” fighter. Michael was landing solid rights to the body and clearly having his best round. The Florida import showed little urgency in the fifth while Coca Gallegos continued to press the attack.
The sixth appeared to be Coca’s best round of the fight as he continued to find success on the inside. Penson looked good defensively but was lazy on offense. The scores were 59-54, 58-55 and 57-56 all for Penson. After the fight Coca Gallegos said “he hit harder than my previous opponents due to his size. However I felt stronger as well and plan to continue to fight at this weight.” Ray Chavez of California acted as third man for the contest.
Alex Holguin (right) in action - photo by: Gerardo Martinez - BillyCBoxing.com
In the opening bout of the evening, debuting Alex Holguin 129 lbs., defeated Brandon Salazar (1-3-1, 1 KO) 128.6 lbs., in four rounds; both boxers are from Albuquerque. These boys are old friends from their amateur days, with Holguin garnishing two decisions. Salazar was considered a live underdog and many were picking him to pull off the upset. Like Penson in the second bout, Holguin liked to switch back and forth between southpaw and orthodox.
I’ve seen all of Salazar’s pro fights and for the first time he was throwing a left jab. For his part the smooth boxing Holguin was effective unloading lefts and rights off his jab. It was a difficult round to score. In the second Alex exploded a right to the head, dropping Brandon hard to the canvas. Rising on unsteady legs, Salazar looked ready to go and took a lot of punishment for the remainder of the round. Minus the knockdown, the third was a repeat of the previous three minutes. Holguin was showing why he was this year’s state golden gloves champion at 132 pounds.
The final round Brandon exploded a right hand off the chin of Holguin; who found himself in the middle of Route 40 during five o’clock traffic. He wisely fell into a clinch which seemed to last forever. When the boxers were finally separated, the entire sequence was repeated again. The bell rang before Salazar could capitalize on his advantage. Scores of 39-36 (twice) and 40-35 resulted in a unanimous decision for Alex. Holguin looks to be a solid prospect, while Salazar would be a much improved boxer if his defense would catch up with his offense.
Once again the tandem of Chavez/Narro produced an exciting evening of boxing in the “Land of Enchantment.” Like the sun rising in the east, you can depend on these gentlemen giving value for the dollar at every show they promote. The PAL Auditorium is a great venue for the sport, including plenty of free parking for the fans. I look forward to their next show early in 2014!
L-R Josh "Pitbull" Torres, Fidel Maldonado Jr., Brian Mendoza - Photo by: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
FIDEL MALDONADO JR TKO’S LUIS RAMOS JR IN ACTION PACKED TELEVISED MAIN EVENT FROM SAN ANTONINO, TAXES
By: Austin Killeen - November 11, 2013
Boxing fans in the “Land of Enchantment” eagerly awaited the television appearance of “The Atrisco Kid” on Fox Sports Network. All week Fox Sports was promoting this matchup with thirty second ads, showing Maldonado and Ramos in action. Both boxers are southpaws, are called junior and love to throw punches in bunches. In addition, they share a common problem; they were blocking each other’s career path. Somebody had to step into the ditch, allowing the other to continue their journey on the road to the championship. It wouldn’t take long before fans would realize that reality would live up to the promotional hype.
At the opening bell Ramos (23-2-0, 10 KO's) 139.6 lbs. Santa Ana, California was on Maldonado (17-2-0, 14 KO's) 140 lbs. Albuquerque, New Mexico like glue on a stamp. Apparently Fidel doesn’t like to be sticky because he responded with uppercuts to create more space. If this was supposed to be a feeling out round, the fighters were not informed. Suddenly the harder punching Albuquerque boxer started landed five to seven punch combinations with serious intent. A right hook landed over the left eye of Ramos, inflecting a deep cut which would bleed for most of the fight. Another combination rocked Luis and it appeared to be just a matter of time before the Californian would be taking the canvas nap.
Rejuvenated by the sixty second rest, Ramos answered the second bell with renewed energy. Maldonado’s back was on the ropes and his rib cage was being marinated by his opponent’s two handed assault. Luis was getting leverage on his punches while Fidel’s punches were not, as a result of punching off his heels. To the surprise of many, myself included, the Santa Ana boxer was not going to be taking a siesta any time soon. This fight was all even.
The third was a repeat of the previous round as Ramos continued to have success going to the body. Trapping his rival in the corner, Luis appeared to lift Fidel off his feet. This resulted in referee Mark Calo-Oy immediately penalizing the Californian one point for his behavior. Calo-Oy’s actions surprised the ringside announcers, as there had been no previous warnings by the third man. Overall I thought the referee did a nice job but did agree with the ringside commentary regarding the point deduction.
Ramos continued to have success with his infighting in the fourth round. Additionally he was finding a home for his right jab and hooks and was the more active boxer. Fidel was spending too much time on the ropes; was this the result of his opponent’s technique or fatigue? The fast pace slowed a little in the fifth round allowing Maldonado more room to work. Clearly it was his best round since the opening stanza.
Maldonado was re-energized in the sixth, landing a right left combination early in the round. Ramos was clearly hurt and six punch combination followed by a left hook to the ribs dropped him for an eight count. Rising on unsteady legs, the West Coast boxer continued to eat combinations until he tasted the canvas for a second time. The bell came to his rescue but it only forestalled the inevitable. Never fully recovered, a multi-punch combination dropped the game Ramos at the start of the seventh. Referee Calo-Oy halted matters at seventeen seconds of the round. This was the biggest win in the “Duke City” boxer’s career and a disappointing setback for the talented Californian.
Fidel’s career defining win will open many doors in a talent rich junior welterweight division. But at just twenty two years of age, time is on his side. Hopefully Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov with not be on the bill of fare in 2014. Hopefully boxers like Luis Ramos, capable of taking “The Atrisco Kid” into the deep waters, will provide valuable experience in the upcoming twelve months. With this type of seasoning, Maldonado will be ready for the challenge of Garcia, Matthysse and Provodnikov in 2015. Fidel Maldonado Sr. has done an excellent job handling the affairs of his son, including dealing with disappointing setbacks. I’m sure he is up to the challenge of mapping a successful course over the next few years.
BOXING NOTES: Yesterday Chavez Promotions had a press conference to introduce the boxers on Saturday’s card at the PAL Auditorium located at 400 Wyoming NE. This is a solid program in my humble estimation and should provide a solid night of entertainment.
Headlining the card, fan favorite Arturo Crespin Las Vegas, NM faces Julio Cesar Lanzas of Colorado Springs in an eight round middleweight contest. The cagey, crowd pleasing Crespin loves to throw combinations while Lanzas is coming off a unanimous decision win in Colorado last month.
Undefeated Matthew Esquibe (8-0-0) after a five year layoff opposes Julio Chavez in a six round matchup of “Duke City” boxers. This begs the question; how has the five year layoff affected the skills of Esquibe. Fan favorite Michael Coca Gallegos of Albuquerque faces undefeated Phillip Penson (6-0-1) of Orlando, Florida at middleweight. This figures to be the fight of the night for as long as the matchup lasts.
Two four round contests round out the night. Debuting Tyler East of Los Lunas, NM will face the always challenging TBA in a heavyweight contest. Opening the evening Alex Holguin, 2013 New Mexico Golden Gloves Champion at 132 lbs. faces dangerous Brandon Salazar in a featherweight showdown. These boys are no strangers to each other having faced off twice as amateurs.
Augustine Benegas Makes His Pro Debut - Photo by Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
JOSE SALINAS AND COLBERT LOZOYA SCORES WINS IN AN ENTERTAINING FIGHT CARD IN LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO
By: Austin Killeen – Ringside – November 1, 2013
Every promoter’s dream is to have an entertaining evening of boxing, where the hometown warriors are victorious in front of a large audience. Monsivaiz Promotions must have felt joyous as hometown heroes Jose Salinas and Colbert Lozoya scored unanimous decisions before a near capacity crowd in action bouts. Lightweight prospect Salinas remained unbeaten while Lozoya continued to resuscitate his career which only a year ago was on life support.
In the main event scheduled for six rounds, Jose Salinas (4-0-0, 3 KO’s) 135 lbs. of Las Cruces scored a unanimous decision over Derrick Saenz (0-8-0) 132.2 lbs. of Tortugas, NM. On paper it appeared to be a complete mismatch as Saenz had been beaten more times than an antique rug. Apparently the Tortugas fighter must have drank a bottle of Dr. Moore’s wonder remedy on the way to the ring, because he was full of energy on this night.
The opening round was all action, with the heavy handed Salinas looking to end matters early. But Saenz was in remarkable shape, throwing punches with serious intentions. Although the undefeated prospect carried the round, it was clear this would be a fight for as long as it lasted. The second was a repeat of the first, but Derrick was proving to be a live underdog. The third belonged to Jose and it appeared just a matter of time before the bottle of Dr. Moore’s wonder remedy would be empty.
Suddenly in the fourth a cut appeared over the right eye of Salinas and it was leaking claret. I don’t know if it was caused by a butt or a punch but it seemed to give new hope to Saenz. The spectators were starting to realize this match might go the distance. The quick handed hometown boy didn’t seem to be hampered by the cut, as he threw combination after combination trying for the knockout. He continued to carry the action to his rival in the final two rounds. Derrick had a big hart and had no intention of being stopped, answering back when it appeared he might be finished.
The hometown boxer won on scores of 60-54 twice and 59-55. I’ve seen all of Salinas’ fights and he is always in great shape. Although he failed to stop his foe he shouldn’t be discouraged; the greatest punchers in the sport have all experienced nights when their power failed them. It was an easy night for referee Rocky Burke as there was very little clinching. These boys came to fight.
In the semi-final Colbert Lozoya (7-10-0,) 142.4 lbs continued his successful comeback winning a unanimous decision over Alam Lerma (0-1-0) 137.2 lbs. Both boxers are from Las Cruces. Although it was Lerma’s pro debut, he is an experienced cage fighter. It is my experience that cage fighters do well in boxing except for sitting down on their punches. In the cage, combatants keep their weight on the front of their foot. This is necessary as their legs can be attacked. It is very difficult to break this habit in the boxing ring.
The entire bout followed the same pattern, Lozoya’s body attack versus southpaw Lerma’s right jab. Alam showed a great deal of poise, facing Colbert’s persistent two handed assault to the body. All four rounds were competitive but clearly belonged to “Pitbull.” It came as no surprise that all three officials had identical scores of 40-36 in favor of Lozoya. Earlier this year, Colbert scored a big upset over Edgar Zubia in a six round clash. In both contests Lozoya was in excellent shape and displayed an outstanding body attack to score victories. I have no idea how long the Las Cruces native can maintain his winning ways, but it is evident he is serious about his comeback.
Tim Meeks - Photo by Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
Undefeated Tim Meeks (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) 165.8 lbs. of El Paso, Texas continued his winning ways stopping debuting Steven Ortega of Las Cruces at 2:40 of the fourth and final round. Working behind a strong left jab the taller Meeks controlled the opening stanza by keeping the action in the center of the ring. The powerfully built Ortega appeared tight, not throwing many punches. In the second, the El Paso native landed a powerful left hook to the head. The home town fighter continued to pursue his rival but did not move his hands.
The third was a continuation of the second with Meeks finding a home for his left hook and jabs. The muscular Ortega would land a solid punch, often trapping his opponent on the ropes, but then fall into a clinch. In the final round, the Texan drove the Las Cruces boxer into the ropes behind his powerful left and unloaded a solid combination. This forced the referee in intercede, saving the game Ortega from further punishment. I witnessed Meeks pro debut and he showed a great deal of improvement in just one month. He’s well over six feet, has a solid jab and beautiful footwork. He appears to have some upscale under the guidance of trainer Louie Burke.
The evenings third bout pitted debuting Adam Vasquez 148 lbs. against Frank Maruffo (1-0-0) 149 lbs. with both combatants from Las Cruces. Vasquez did not appear to have the usual first bout jitters, showing a great deal of poise. He flashed a nice left hook throughout the opening stanza, while Maruffo appeared to be hesitant which cost him the round. The second saw Frank score with some nice overhand rights while Adam responded with a solid body attack.
Maruffo hurt his opponent early in third with a solid left hook to the head. Vasquez finished the round strong with solid combinations to the head and body. The final stanza saw both boxers unload but it was clearly Vasquez’s round. Scores of 39-37 twice and 40-36 resulted in a unanimous decision for the debuting Vasquez. I witnessed the Las Cruces boxer spar with Josh “Pitbull” Torres of Albuquerque a few weeks ago and it obviously paid off.
Debuting pros faced off in the evenings second contest. Ronnie White 120.6 of Belen hooked up with Augustine Benegas 118 lbs. of San Isidro. Benegas answered the opening bell with solid overhand rights and a good jab against the southpaw White. White for his part was telegraphing his punches and his opponent took advantage of it. In the second the Belen import showed some power but lacked the polish to be effective. Benegas was gaining confidence and displayed heavy hands, landing telling blows to both the head and body.
In the third, Augustine drove his rival to the ropes, where he landed a left hand to the head followed by a right to the body. White dropped to the canvas causing the referee to stop the contest. The time of the stoppage was not given. Benegas is aggressive, hits with power and believes in himself. Training with Louie Burke, he appears to be somebody to watch.
The evenings opening bout was a heavyweight contest, which is rare in the “Land of Enchantment.” Newcomers Armando Quinones 231 lbs. of Las Cruces faced Albert Saucedo 229.6 lbs. of El Paso in a four rounder. Both boxers appeared to be considerably overweight but possessed some skills. Saucedo sat down on his punches, landing left hooks to the body and overhand rights to the head. He was clearly the aggressor out working his rival. Quinones had a nice jab but his defense was porous.
In the second round Armando continued to press the Texas lad, eventually dropping him with a left right to the body for an eight count. Rising on unsteady legs, Albert soon found himself back on the canvas. The referee had seen enough and wisely stopped the contest at 2:58 seconds of the round. If Armando got himself in better condition he could make some noise in the division.
For a small city, Las Cruces has several interesting boxers to draw from in producing interesting cards. El Paso, Texas is only forty minutes away adding to the pool of potential fighters. Louie Burke, trainer of leading middleweight contender Austin Trout, has played a major role in stimulating interest in the sport in the “City of the Crosses.” I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the excellent food available for spectators at the Las Cruces Convention Center.
Generally you don’t go to a sporting event in search of high quality cuisine. The Las Cruces Convention Center proves the exception to the rule; the food is excellent!
Josh Torres looking ready - photo by: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
JOSH “PITBULL” TORRES GOES FOR THE GOLD ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AGAINST UNDEFEATED DUSTY HARRISON
By: Austin Killeen - October 29, 2013
In the biggest fight of his career, Josh Torres travels to the Big Apple to face undefeated Dusty Harrison in hallowed Madison Square Garden over ten rounds. This is a coming out party for the highly decorated former amateur star Harrison. Apparently “Pitbull” will serve as the appetizer for this gala event. But the “Duke City” pugilist never received the memo and plans on taking the “0” off the DC fighter’s record. At stake is one of the many alphabet title belts that the WBC seems to produce on an assembly line. To be specific the WBC Youth Welterweight World Champion will be up for grabs.
Although their styles are very different, their maturation process was identical; careful match making against a steady diet of ever increasingly more difficult opposition. Both welterweights are gym rats and are in excellent shape. If they do have a problem it is getting them to leave the gym; given a choice they probably would sleep there. If their weak at anything it is trash talking, as both young men are gentlemen outside of the square circle. Although they both believe in their abilities, you will never hear either boxer put down an opponent. It is just not in their DNA.
Harrison is tall and lean with an amazing reach which he utilizes to his advantage. Watching videos of the D.C. boxer reminds older fans of Bobby Dykes, welterweight standout of the 50’s. Like Dykes, Dusty might appear fragile but he has a solid chin and holds up well when encountering an unrelenting body attack. He uses the entire ring surface to frustrate his opponents on defense. But a boring grab and hold style is not his approach to success. Quite the contrary, operating behind an excellent left jab, the beltway fighter throws solid combinations, which have resulted in over half his fights ending early.
His exciting style was developed as a result of having nearly 200 amateur bouts, resulting in a trophy case filled to capacity. But unlike many amateurs with pedigree, Harrison decided to forgo dreams of gold in the Olympics, turning pro at seventeen years of age. The good looking youngster is of Irish/Puerto Rican heritage and his fan base is made up of both ethnic groups. Leaving the ring, Dusty is swamped by admiring females who often pass along hand written notes including their phone numbers. But none of this adulation seems to affect Harrison, as he is focused on one thing; winning a World Championship.
There is little doubt that the fan favorite this weekend will be Harrison, but nobody was ever knocked out by cheers. As a result Torres’ fan base from the “Land of Enchantment” is very optimistic. Amazingly, a large number of fans from the “Duke City” are flying to “Gotham City” to cheer on their hero in person. They won’t be as loud as Harrison’s supporters but just as enthusiastic on Saturday night. And there is reason for their passion, as “Pitbull” has shown steady improvement in building a solid twelve two and one record since turning pro.
When “Pitbull” takes off his robe before the first bell on Saturday, spectators will see one of the best physiques in boxing. But Josh is no lumbering oaf; quite the opposite, as he seamlessly switches from defense to offense. He keeps his elbows close to his body and is very difficult to hit. Torres is a prototype boxer/puncher who will destroy anyone, whose defense he can penetrate. In addition, he is adapt at cutting off the ring and should test Harrison’s skills when pinned on the ropes.
One thing both fighters share is a solid corner. Dusty is handled by his father Buddy who clearly has done an excellent job so far in directing his boy’s career. Too often father/son combinations in boxing are a disaster with the father trying to live vicariously through his offspring. Buddy Harrison seems confident in his own body and does not need Rusty to define who he is. Torres’ career is guided by Chris Chavez brother-in-law of the late Johnny Tapia. So far the sum appears to be greater than it parts. In addition Sergio Chavez, one of the best cut men in the country, is in Josh’s corner. Not that the Albuquerque import has ever had a problem with cuts, but better safe than sorry.
This shapes up to be an excellent match in which both boxers will be going the full ten rounds for the first time in their careers. As both boxers have solid chins, are aerobically fit and posses tight defenses I expect the bout to go the distance. When the bell rings both combatants will be facing the best opponent they have ever met in the ring. The boxer with the best discipline and maturity should prevail in a crowd pleasing match. This is old school boxing in which both contestants will leave the ring wiser than when they entered it. Torres/Harrison could steal the evening and looks to be a solid test for both fighters.
MAY THE BETTER MAN WIN!
Abie Han - Photo by: Brandon Pina
ABIE AND JENNIFER HAN SCORE WINS BEFORE EXCITED SELLOUT CROWD AT THE SOCORRO ENTERTAINMENT CENTER IN TEXAS
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – October 5, 2013
In my first trip to the greater El Paso region, I witnessed a solid pro card before an appreciative sellout crowd. The show was delayed for the better part of an hour due to the absence of an ambulance, glass bottles in the audience, placement of officials and media at ringside and ring lighting. In spite of all the prefight delays most spectators felt the show was worth the wait. Boxing trainer Louie Burke had to be pleased, as his charges went four for four in the win column by night’s end.
In the main event, Abie Han (20-1-0, 13 KO's) 159.5 lbs. El Paso stopped Bernardo Guereca (17-20-1, 4 KO’s) 161.5 lbs. El Paso at 10 seconds of the 3rd round. The veteran southpaw Guereca has an awkward style and relies on an assortment of tricks, some of which are in the rule books, to survive. It didn’t take long for him to land punches when it appeared he was out of range. For his part Han fought with no particular urgency, but did appear to land some punishing overhand rights to the head of his opponent. I gave the round to the hustling Bernardo.
In the second round Abie stepped up the pace, countering Bernardo’s lefts with solid right hand shots. He was clearly the aggressor and starting to find his rhythm. The shorter, stockier Guereca continued to lunge in, tying up Han when hit. Clearly the younger Han took the second and seemed to be in control. I was eager to see what magic the cagey veteran would employ in the third. At the sound of the bell I got my answer; he remained on his stool, sighting an injured knuckle on his left hand. In preparation for the Bernardo Guereca, Han had trained with another southpaw Austin “No Doubt” Trout. You might have heard of him; he’s a decent fighter in his own right.
Speaking at ringside after his victory, Abie said he was pleased with his performance. He looked forward to getting back in the ring as soon as possible, and hoped he eventually could have a rematch with Glen Tapia. Han suffered a ninth round TKO defeat to Tapia in Las Vegas last July. The bout was on ESPN Friday Night Fights. Abie had Glen in serious trouble in the fifth round, but his corner was unable to stop the flow of blood over his eye caused by an accidental head butt. Han was the recipient of high phrase from ringside commentator Teddy Atlas that evening.
The semi-final was a shootout between Siju Shabazz (3-1-0, 3 KO's) 170 lbs. Las Cruces, NM and Jose Ramirez (11-13-0, 6 KO’s) 167 lbs. Albuquerque, NM. Like most shootouts in the old west, they don’t tend to last long, and this fight was no different. Ramirez came out bombing and appeared to catch Shabazz by surprise. Suddenly Siju exploded an overhand right to the exposed head of the “Duke City” native, dropping him for an eight count. Shabazz continued to attack his opponent with vicious combinations for the remainder of the round. At the bell Jose was pinned in his own corner and ready to go.
Shabazz continued his attack in the second, once again pinning his defenseless foe in his own corner where the referee stopped proceedings at 1:47 of the round. "The City of the Crosses" native appears to have some serious upscale as a result of his impressive offense. Having Louie Burke as his trainer should help him maximize his skills. Shabazz stated after the fight he would be having minor surgery on his left elbow, but expected to be back in the ring before the end of the year.
In was family night for the Hans’ family when sister Jennifer (10-2-1, 1 KO) 127 lbs. El Paso decisioned Lesly Morales (3-3-1, 0 KO’s) 130 lbs. Juarez, Mexico in six rounds. It was a clinic by Han over the entire distance of the bout. Jennifer has a beautiful left jab, nice footwork and remains calm when trapped on the ropes. As for the shorter Morales, she was strong and never stopped coming forward. Two judges awarded Han all six rounds. The third arbitrator amazingly gave two rounds to the game Morales. What fight was he watching?
Like most boxers with a background in Martial Arts, Jennifer appears to have a problem sitting down on her punches; a problem her brother Abie has overcome. If Louie Burke can solve that hitch in her style, he’ll have a beast on his hands. Speaking of the MMA, they recognize that woman competitors possess skills the same as their male counterparts and feature them regularly on TV. As for the boxing community, they seem to be in the “Dark Ages” regarding female competitors on the screen.
The evening’s third bout proved to the fight of the night. Oscar Valenzuela (4-0-0, 2 KO's) 141 lbs. Juarez, Mexico fought to a four round draw with Carlos Villa (4-1-1, 2 KO’s) 142¼ El Paso, TX. Valenzuela was the busier boxer in the opening round with overhand rights, left hooks and uppercuts. Villa landed the cleaner punches but was not active enough. In the second Villa discovered his left hook much to the displeasure of Valenzuela who had no answer for it.
In round three Carlos continued to land hooks, giving Oscar a bloody nose. It looked like his round until he ran into a left uppercut by Valenzuela. Encouraged he continued to press the attack, making it a close round. The fourth round both boxers unloaded their arsenals in an effort to seal the deal. I’m glad I didn’t have to turn in a score card. It was a majority draw with one judge scoring the bout for Valenzuela 39-37 and two scores of 38-38. These ruggedly built pugilists were in great shape and could easily have fought two more rounds.
The evening’s second bout featured debuting fighters, Tim Meeks 167 lbs. of Canutillo, TX against Brian Nevarez 173 lbs. of Las Cruces, NM. Both boxers train at the PAL gym in Las Cruces but Nevarez was a late substitute. The rangy Meeks, a former GG’s Champion, spent the first two rounds breaking down his shorter opponent with solid jabs, head and shoulder faints and solid body shots. The third round was a clinic by Tim, with Brian only fighting back when hurt. The fourth round saw the referee stop matters at 2:37 seconds with Nevarez trapped in his own corner. It appeared that Nevarez could easily drop twenty pounds and might enjoy some success at a lower weight.
The fans were treated to an exciting opening bout between debuting boxers Arturo Ortega 129 lbs. (residence?) against David Munoz 127 lbs. of El Paso. Ortega jumped on Munoz in the opening round with combinations to the body and a nice left jab. David responded with left hooks but it wasn’t enough. The second round saw the taller Munoz take control by cutting off the ring and landing some impressive three punch combinations. This resulted in claret flowing from the nose of Ortega. Arturo continued to throw combinations to the body but not with the intensity of the first round.
Ortega continued his body attack in the third but Munoz took his foot off the gas, giving the round away. The fourth was a beauty with both boxers unloading solid combinations. Munoz was impressive dropping overhand rights off his jab. All three judges were in agreement with identical scores of 38-38. Both boxers should improve with additional experience.
Escalante Promotions, headed by former featherweight contender, Antonio Escalante put on a quality card. The matches were entertaining and a second program is planned for December.
Felipe Castanada - Photo By: Chris Corzone
CASTANADA STUNS SANTE FE FANS STOPPING VALDEZ IN FINAL ROUND BEFORE A SELLOUT CROUD AT BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT & CASINO
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – September 6, 2013
Counter punchers usually don’t win decisions in the other guy’s back yard. Friday night with three minutes to go Felipe Castanada (9-4-1, 4 KO’s) 114.6 lbs. of San Antonio, TX was about to experience “a teachable moment.” Even Castanada’s immediately family must have had him far behind on the points, entering the eighth round. Fortunately for “El Silencioco” (The Silent One), Tony Valdez (7-4-3, 7 KO’s) 114.6 lbs. of Espanola, NM decided to live up to his nickname “The Warrior.”
Valdez opened the fight with a strong body attack, while Castanada seemed satisfied with counter punching. Although quicker, Tony was carrying his hands low while attacking the body of the visitor. Felipe did land one solid right to the head during the first stanza but it appeared to have no effect. The second and third rounds were replays of the first, with “El Silencioco” showing a little more fire power. But his increase in punches did not match the volume of Espanola resident. Valdez appeared to have a solid lead, while Castanada was digging a deep hole for himself.
Rounds four and five the visitor from Texas started throwing straight rights off a solid left jab. With his opponent still carrying his hands low, Castanada was finding his target with a degree of success. Valdez for his part was still working the body with powerful punches. He also opened each round strong before his opponent started fighting back. You could make a case for Felipe winning both rounds, but really…
The sixth was a replay of the first three rounds, with “The Warrior” clearly in control. Once again his body punches were finding a home and he was the aggressor. Felipe is a solid counter puncher but his offensive output did not match that of the local favorite. In the seventh, Castanada once again allowed Valdez to open strong before closing with some solid rights to his opponent’s head. If you could justify giving rounds four, five and seven to “El Silencioco” they would be by the narrowest of margins. Valdez had a clear lead entering the final round and only a knockout by Castanada could change the outcome.
Seconds after the start of the eighth round, a right by Felipe landed on the exposed chin of Tony. Suddenly Valdez appeared to be walking across the deck of the Titanic. His offense appeared to be that of a Tango instructor; as he held his opponent very close. Apparently they don’t tango in Texas because visitor started beating on Valdez with every punch in his arsenal. Referee Rocky Burke gave the gallant warrior from Espanola ample time to show him something, before halting matters at 1:34 of the final round.
This did not win the approval of the partisan hometown crowd but sometimes a fighter can be to brave for his own good. With well over a full minute left in the round, did we need a repeat of the second Valdez/Hollewood Montes fight? Referee Burke made the correct call. Tony Valdez is a solid, exciting fighter who can justifiably ask for a rematch.
In the semi-final Brandon Holmes (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) 130 lbs. of Santa Fe, NM knocked out debuting Daniel Salinas of Albuquerque. The more I see of Holmes the more I like his style. In the opening round he displayed a solid defense and nice jab against his aggressive opponent. Despite having the shorter reach, Brandon was able to out jab the taller Salinas. He allowed Daniel to throw his left first, would parry the punch and then land his own jab.
In the second Holmes displayed a solid arsenal of body punching and head shots against his game foe. A left hook to the head dropped Salinas for a mandatory eight count. Surprisingly the “Duke City” boxer carried the attack to Holmes upon rising but could not penetrate his opponent’s defense. Brandon exploded a left uppercut, right cross to the head to score a knockout at 1:15 of the round. I feel the Santa Fe belter is a solid prospect, who has power in either hand, and is a good judge of distance. I’m not looking to rush him but I’d like to see him against an upgrade in competition.
In a battle of “Duke City” boxers, Angelo Leo (3-0-0) 121.4 lbs. won a majority decision over Brian Garcia (7-21-0, 2 KO’s) 122 lbs. Scores of 40-36 twice and 38-38 were announced at the end of four hard fought rounds. I must have been in a different arena than the judge with the 38-38 card. For the first three rounds Leo put on a clinic; body punching, bob & weave, jabs and solid defense, he showed it all. Garcia’s face was covered in blood.
I was surprised his corner sent him out for the final round. Amazingly it was Brian’s best effort. If it had been a weight lifting contest the muscular Garcia would have won hands down. He was able to pin Angelo on the ropes throwing some heavy punches. Under some pressure for the first time in the fight, Leo showed some slick defensive moves. He reminds me of Chico Vejar, smooth moving welterweight of the 50’s. Like Brandon Holmes, I consider Angelo Leo someone to keep an eye on.
In a bout most people thought was a big risk, debuting Pat Homes Jr. 133.8 was KO’d by Brandon Salazar (1-2-0, 1 KO) 132.8 lbs. Both boxers live in Albuquerque but Pat’s dad and his brother Brandon (see above) both live in Santa Fe, thus he was the audience choice. Pat is an excellent athlete, having played college basketball. The concern in most circles; how would that transfer to a boxing ring against an opponent considered a dangerous hard luck loser in his first two bouts.
Carrying his hands low, Patrick was rocked by a hard left hook to the head in the first. With seconds remaining in the round Holmes connected with a beautiful overhand right dropping Salazar flat on his back. Brandon got to his feet seconds before the bell rang. In the second Holmes continued to carry his right low and had no head movement. This resulted in Salazar landing some hard left hooks and nice combinations. Defensively he continued to eat powerful right hands from Holmes.
In the third round, Salazar appeared more relaxed than his opponent, and continued to land left hooks and right crosses upstairs. Holmes’ face was showing the effects of his rivals attack, bleeding from the nose and mouth. Pinned in a natural corner Patrick was taking a great deal of punishment without a return, prompting the referee to stop the bout. The third man’s action was not well received by the audience, as they were clearly pulling for their adopted home town favorite. It was a nice win for the hard working Salazar, but he needs to add a left jab to his repertoire if he hopes to advance in the sport.
In the evenings opening bout Matthew Baca (3-1-1, 2 KO’s) 138.4 lbs. of Albuquerque fought to a draw against Antonio Martinez (1-2-3, 1 KO) 137.4 lbs. of Espanola. The scores were 39-37 for each fighter and 38-38 for a draw. I’ve seen every one of Baca’s fights and this was not his best performance, but I still had him conformably head at the end of the fight. I could not find one person at ringside who did not share my feelings. This is not meant to discredit Martinez who fought just as hard as his opponent but punches thrown and landed fall into two different categories.
Baca opened the fight as if he were promised bonus money for winning by a first round knockout. He appeared to outpunch his opponent by a three to one margin. Martinez has a heart as big as a watermelon and wasn’t about to let that happen. The second round Antonio increased his punch volume but Matthew matched his output and clearly had the superior defense.
Rounds three and four the “Duke City” boxer abandon his defense entirely, turning the fight into a pier six brawl. This got the pro Martinez crowd into the fight, cheering every time Antonio threw a punch. At times both boxers got a little sloppy but for the most part fought at a furious pace. I’ve witnessed the Espanola boxer on several occasions and his bouts always guarantee action!
Driving to the Buffalo Thunder, I felt this would be a solid card with good matchups and it was. Felipe Castanada is a tough dude but he has to get his MoJo going a lot sooner or he will not be as fortunate as he was on Friday night. For Tony Valdez it had to be a difficult pill to swallow but he still has a lot fight left in him. Not only does Brandon Holmes look to have some upscale, but he is clearly a crowd darling. Angelo Leo appears to be a classy boxer who fights a lot tougher than his baby face would indicate.
Veteran southpaw middleweight Joaquin Zamora of Santa Fe worked the corner of Antonio Martinez on Friday night. Zamora one of the best boxers in the “Land of Enchantment” is a cutie who has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. If he could pass half of what he knows to any fighter he works with, he’ll make a solid trainer. In closing, Holmes Promotions deserve credit for matching the local talent with rough competition; there we’re no “gimme opponents” on this card. The house fighters finished the evening with 2 wins, 2 loses and a draw. Apparently that’s the kind of match making that the fans wanted, as the card was a complete sellout. I’m looking forward to the next Holmes Promotion.
Tony Valdez (left) with Brandon Holmes - photo by: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
TONY VALDEZ AND THE HOLMES BROTHERS TOP SOLID FIVE BOUT CARD AT THE BUFFALO THUNDER ON SEPTEMBER 6TH
By: Austin Killeen - September 2, 2013
Tony “The Warrior” Valdez shocked the local boxing community last year when he made a comeback after a six year layoff. Facing one of the top P4P fighters in the “Land of Enchantment” in “Hollewood” Montes, Valdez scored a surprise 6 round draw. Few people gave the fighter from Espanola a chance, with me being one of the biggest skeptics. In a rematch he stopped Hollewood in 7 rounds, ending Montes’ career in the process. Both fights were thrillers and candidates for fight of the year.
On Friday he takes on Felipe Castaneda of San Antonio, Texas in an 8 round bout. Once again Valdez finds himself the underdog, but don’t tell that to the local fans. Castaneda record is loaded with some bad dudes and yet he has compiled a record of 8 (3 KO’s) wins 4 loses and 1 draw. Did I mention that Felipe’s chin is made of cast iron? All of Tony’s wins have come by KO so something has to give when these boys meet. I’ve watched Castaneda on TV and this boy can fight.
The semi-final pits Brandon Homes of Santa Fe against debuting Daniel Salinas also from the Capital city. Homes made his pro debut in a bout televised on ESPN in January. To say he fought a smart fight that night would be an understatement. I was amazed at how poised he was in front of a national TV audience. Each round he stepped up the pace a little more than the previous stanza. In the fourth he unloaded his full arsenal on his overwhelmed opponent to score an impressive knockout.
Against Salinas, Brandon figures to have a more difficult time in controlling the pace of the fight. Daniel will pressure Holmes and he has a dangerous punch. He’s a tough kid who will fight back if under pressure. If you think Holmes is being fed a cupcake for his second pro fight, think again; Salinas can scrap!
Pat Holmes Jr. makes his pro debut against Brandon Salazar of the “Duke City.” Pat the older brother of Brandon was an outstanding college basketball player and has been away from boxing for several years. There is no doubt that Pat is a talented athlete but how does dribbling a basketball translate to a boxing ring.
Don’t be fooled by Salazar’s 0 and 2 record, Brandon knows his way around a ring. I’ve seen both his pro bouts and either one could have been a voted a draw. He’s all action all the time, providing the fans with their money’s worth of entertainment. The feeling around the local boxing community; Pat Senior doesn’t like Pat Junior. Why else would he be matching him so tough in his pro debut?
Matthew Baca is facing Antonio Martinez in what many are calling the fight of the night. Josh “Pitbull” Torres, one of the top fighters in the state has been sparring with both pugilist and thinks “it should be a fan favorite.” When I pressed him for a prediction he just smiled. Apparently Torres plans to enter politics someday and doesn’t want to offend any voters. Both boxers like to work on the inside because their good at it. I’ve seen both boxers in action and have always come away impress. Hobbs lightweight Edgar Zubia also thinks this is a terrific matchup, predicting Baca will pull out a close decision win. Apparently Zubia, unlike another pro in this story, is not afraid to step out on a limb.
Opening the card is bantamweight Angelo Leo against Brian Garcia. This is Leo’s third opponent in the last eight days and for good reason; Leo is a solid prospect. Angelo spends one week a month in California, training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym. I visited with Roach in May and he said he was very impressed with Leo’s work ethic. Moving from side-to-side, Angelo is effective at throwing punches from all angles. Although an underdog Garcia is an entertaining boxer who is capable of giving his opponent some pressure. Brian won’t be impressed by Leo’s pedigree and this will be an entertaining fight.
Friday’s fights figure to be a sellout, as there only a few tickets left. Fans vote with their wallets and their actions indicate this should be a solid night of action. Pat Holmes Sr. is taking a risk in placing all three of his boxers in tough bouts. If he comes away with three wins it will be quite an accomplishment, as he could just as easily go 0 for 3.
Gerardo Quintana - Photo by: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
JOSH CHAVEZ IMPRESSIVE IN LOSING SPLIT DECISION TO GERARDO QUINTANA IN A BATTLE OF UNBEATENS IN HOBBS, NEW MEXICO
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – July 27, 2013
Making the five hour drive from Albuquerque to Hobbs, NM I felt there was a good chance the hard hitting Gerardo Quintana would stop Robert Josh Chavez in the very first round. Trainer Ray Zamora, of Albuquerque, saw an entirely different outcome; Chavez by decision behind a solid left jab. On the ride back to the “Duke City” later that night, I realized I would have to listen to “modest Ray” talk about his prophecy for the better part of the next week. Is it mid August yet?
Headlining the five bout card, Quintana (4-0-1, 3 KO's) 164 lbs. of Hobbs decisioned Chavez (2-1-0, 0 KO’s) 162.2 lbs. Albuquerque. The Hobbs boxer received two scores of 39-37, while the third arbitrator had it 39-37 for the visiting fighter. Chavez had a solid left jab, which seemed to disrupt Quintana’s rhythm the entire fight. The Hobbs boxer rarely used his jab, electing to go for the homerun with powerful left hooks and overhand rights.
The first round Josh used his left jab to control the action and lateral movement to avoid Quintana’s aggression. But late in the round Gerardo bounced an overhand right off the side of the Josh’s head. Suddenly Chavez looked like a passenger on the deck of the Titanic, trying to figure out why the ship was taking on water. Unfortunately the hometown boy hesitated a second before following up his advantage. This allowed the visitor time to mount his bicycle, riding out the round until the bell sounded. My prediction would have to wait until the next stanza.
Chavez started the second warily but Quintana could not take advantage of the situation. With his head clearing, Josh started landing his annoying jab and destroying my prediction in the process. The fan favorite would cut off the ring but when he trapped his opponent on the ropes seemingly could not follow up. I was surprised how relaxed Chavez was when pinned, easily moving back to the center of the ring. The third was a repeat of the second with Quintana landing single shots, but mostly chasing Josh around the ring; eating jabs in the process. The out of Towner was showing a nice left but little else on offense.
I felt Gerardo had his best round in the fourth, finding his target. But even than it was one punch at a time, seemingly unable to land any combinations. Chavez continued to land his pesky jab, while backing up. Did the local boxer’s heaver punches and aggression have more value than the visitor’s jabs and solid footwork? I certainly wouldn’t call it a terrible decision, but felt the Albuquerque visitor did enough to merit the win. I like both boxers personally, having seen both fighters since the beginning of their careers. Chavez has lost over 50 pounds in the last six months and his abs resembled a six pack as he moved around the ring. But his offense is a one-trick pony; jab, jab, jab. I felt Quintana was a solid prospect the first time I saw him and still feel that way, in spite of last night’s performance.
In the semi-final Ricardo Urquizo of Clovis (1-0-1, 1 KO) 178 lbs. stopped Dustin Ray Lafon of Texas (0-1-0) 179 lbs. Rico is a cutie and a solid left hook to the head dropped his opponent in the opening round; a round that otherwise would have been very close. The second was a replay of the first with Urquizo landing a left hook/right cross to drop his adversary once again. It was like watching the same movie over and over again as a right hand to the head dropped Lafon once more. The referee had seen enough stopping the proceedings at 1:55 of the third. Urquizo protects his midriff with a solid role of cellulite but his opponent could not find out how protective it was. I enjoy watching Rico as he is a very entertaining pugilist.
In a rematch from last year, Jose Salinas of Las Cruces (3-0-0, 3 KO’s) 134.6 lbs. stopped Victor Silva of Socorro (1-3-0, 1 KO) 138 lbs. in the second round. Silva came to fight and the first was very entertaining but left hooks to the body and chin dropped him twice. A second left hook to the chin dropped Victor for a third time in the second. The referee realized Silva was too brave for his own good and stopped matters at 1:12 of that round. Although Salinas looks like a prospect to watch, Silva landed some solid rights to his rivals face. That’s something that “Shorty” should address before his next bout.
In a very entertaining match up, Jeremiah “Jet” Torres of Albuquerque (8-23-0, 1 KO) 143.2 lbs. was decisioned by Jason “Young Guns” Davis of Vancouver, WA (12-9-1, 3 KO’s) 147.2 lbs in four rounds. The “Jet” was a last minute substitute but put up a spirited fight against his opponent. Davis used a solid offense, switching from the head to the body and back again to capture a unanimous decision. Give the late sub his credit, as Torres employed a solid body attack to keep things interesting. Score cards of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37 made it official. Davis is a bit of an anomaly having started his career with an 11-1-1 record. Last night was his first win in five years.
The opening bout of the night proved to be the “fight of the night”, as it was all action, all the time. In a match between two “Duke City” boxers, Jesus Pacheco (1-3-0) won a majority decision over Brandon Salazar (0-2-0) by scores of 39-37 (2) and 38-38. This was a war of attrition that could have been fought in a phone booth. (Do they make them anymore? I better ask Superman.)
Three factors probably put the win in Pacheco’s column; a nice left jab and switching his attack from the head to the body and nice head movement. Salazar acted as if the jab had been outlawed, because he never threw one. When Brandon got inside he had a solid body attack but he would be much more effective if he used a jab to get in close. The bout was fought at a fast pace, obviously both boxers were in good shape.
This was another solid card presented by promoter Isidro Castillo, which makes it three for three on my score card. I only have one complaint; the annoying blasting of deafening music at every fight card I attend. You have to shout to the person sitting next to you. I couldn’t find one individual who liked going deaf, but then maybe they couldn’t hear my question. Isidro is also the trainer/manager of Quintana, fearing a conflict of interest, he did not work Gerardo’s corner. This might have had an adverse effect on his charges performance. Also, having only one local attraction on the card probably had a negative effect on ticket sales.
Edgar Zubia Sighting: Ticket seller Edgar Zubia was in attendance and spoke with me at ringside. The popular local attraction would certainly have helped activity at the box office. Edgar cited family business and demands of his job at Wind Steam Communications as factors in his absence from the ring. He plans to start light training and running and hopes to be back in competition early next year. I certainly hope so, as life is not a dress rehearsal. At 27 he’s not getting any younger and it would be a shame to waste his talent.
Gerado Quintana (left) Gets A First Round KO
UNDEFEATEDS GERARDO QUINTANA AND ROBERT JOSH CHAVEZ HEADLINE HOBBS, NM CARD BILLED AS SOMEBODY’S “O” GOTTA GO
By: Austin Killeen - July 19, 2013
Last month the “Duke City” played host to a main event which clearly was a question of age versus youth. Next Saturday in the “Land of Enchantment” the main event seeks the answer to the age old question who’s better; the puncher or the boxer. Quintana has thunder in either hand while Chavez possesses the classic left jab. If you want the answer to the question how they both are undefeated, read the previous sentence.
Although their styles are different, their attitude is identical; grade “A” excellent. You don’t have to look for either middleweight, they live in the gym. If they do have a problem it is getting them to leave the gym, given a choice they probably sleep there. If their weak at anything it is trash talking but trash talking never won a fight. Although they both believe in their abilities, you will never hear either boxer put down an opponent. It is just not in either fighters DNA.
In their pro debuts both boxers were over anxious but determination carried the day. Quintana threw a million punches with most of them missing. Finally he was able to find the chin of his adversary and the match was quickly over. In his second fight it appeared he was worried that he would be taxed for each punch he threw. Cutting off the ring on his rival, his punch accuracy was greatly improved. A single left hook to the jaw ended matters in the first round.
Chavez used left jabs to control the action in his debut but nothing else. I was afraid his left arm would fall off. He had no idea how to keep the action in the center of the ring, where he had a clear advantage. But it was enough to capture a unanimous decision. In his second bout he displayed new found skills; landing uppercuts and hooks off his jab. In addition lateral movement, not on display in his first fight, keep the action in ring center. He was rewarded with his second undisputed verdict.
The winner on the 27th will be the boxer who is better able to stick to his game plan. I have no idea if Gerardo has a left jab, as he didn’t need it in scoring three stoppages. Against the taller visitor he might need one, as it won’t be easy to get on the inside. As long as Jose stays off the ropes he has a good chance of victory. But even the great Muhammad Ali found his back against the ropes from time to time. Can he stand up to the pressure the Hobbs banger will be bringing? Styles make fights and this should be a good one. As the poster says; somebody’s “O” gotta go.
The semi-final at 170 lbs. pits cutie Ricardo “Rico” Urquizo of Clovis, NM against Manuel Eastman of Los Lunas, NM. If this was a tug-of-war Eastman would win hands down. I’ve seen him fight on several occasions and he seems to gain energy every time he’s hit. He just keeps coming which makes me appreciate the fact that I’ll be outside the ring next Saturday night. In his pro debut last year, “Rico” participated in the round of the year. Pined on the ropes for over a minute, it appeared Urquizo was finished. Suddenly he drove his opponent across the ring and only the bell saved his rival. I love this matchup.
In a rematch undefeated Jose “Shorty” Salinas of Las Cruses, NM faces Victor Silva of Socorro, NM at 135 lbs. Although Salinas is clearly the favorite, Silva is a live underdog having scored a KO in his last fight. If “Shorty” enters the ring thinking the fight is already won, he could be in for a surprise. Victor has showed improvement in each of his bouts and many ringsiders felt his stoppage to Jose was premature.
At welterweight, debuting Adam Vasquez of Las Cruses faces Michael Herrera of Roswell. Vasquez has an extensive amateur background and a crowd pleasing style. Adam is rugged, and constantly coming forward in a brawling fashion. The question in this match is which Michael Herrera shows up; the exciting puncher who had undefeated Cristian Cabral hurt badly before being stopped on cuts or the lifeless body who showed up in his last fight.
In what could be the fight of the night, bantamweight Jesus Pacheco of Albuquerque faces featherweight Brandon Salazar also of the “Duke City.” I’ve seen Jesus fight both in the amateurs and pros and he is the complete package. His pro record is an anomaly to me, as he is solid both on offense and defense. I witnessed Salazar’s pro debut and felt he deserve a draw. He is naturally the bigger boxer and I feel has the heaver hands. This could prove to be the difference in the fight. Not that it will help him in the ring, but Pacheco has an amazing resemblance to Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame.
Promoter Isidro Castillo has put together a solid show top to bottom and if it is like his other cards should prove to be a great night of entertainment. Tickets can be purchased by calling 575-263-9443. General admission is $30 and $60 for ringside.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
JOE GOMEZ TAKES CHRISTIAN CABRAL TO SCHOOL AND THE LESSON WAS AGE VERSUS YOUTH
By: Austin Killeen – Ringside – June 28, 2013
The great light heavyweight champion Billy Conn once said “show me an undefeated challenger fighting for a title and I’ll show you a boxer who’s going to lose.” For Christian Cabral’s sake, I hope Conn’s quote proves true. Before approximately 900 screaming fans, the “Duke City” youth was the recipient of a painful lesson in the finer points of the sweet science. Professor Gomez conducted the class, letting his hands do the talking.
The Aztec, NM import Joe Gomez (19-7-1, 9 KO’s) 147.6 lbs scored a TKO at 2:45 of the 5th round over the hometown Cabral (5-1-1, 3 KO’s). Christian opened the fight behind a strong left jab and sweeping overhand rights, forcing Joe to move back. But the veteran seemed relaxed and never lost his composure. The second opened much like the first but a minute into the round Joe started finding a home for his jab. It was unmistakably clear that Gomez was starting find his grove and “El Puma” would have a fight on his hands. This was a difficult round to score and might have gone into Christian’s column.
Cabral answered the third with a partially closed right eye. The veteran Gomez started landing hooks to the body off his jab, forcing Cabral into the ropes. In past bouts he has been surprisingly effective off the ropes but not tonight. With nothing coming back at him, the visitor started throwing in numbers. Christian caught a break when one of his shoes came untied and he was allowed to return to his corner to have the problem fixed.
The fourth was a repeat of the third and Gomez was obviously in complete control. Cabral opened strong and fought in spurts but he was starting to take some heavy punishment. He would get trapped on ropes for fifteen to twenty seconds at a time and not throw any punches while there. In the fifth Joe started adding hooks and rights to the head. A left hook to the jaw appeared to set up the final flurry of punches. With nothing come back from Cabral, there was little the referee could due but halt the proceedings.
Gomez has spent much of his career fighting bigger opponents, he looks dangerous at welterweight. He was very gracious in victory saying his opponent had a lot of heart. Gomez is a quality fighter right now, and with careful guidance could make some noise in the division. In defeat, Cabral made no excuses saying “Gomez’s body shots got to me but it was a learning experience.” Trainer Ray Zamora and his fighter took a risk in taking this bout and lost. But I feel Christian left the ring a better boxer. Now he has to take a step back and gain some valuable experience. But he’s fighting with the big boys now and there will be no more soft touches on his dance card. I feel a rematch with Michael Coca Gallegos or bouts with veterans Hector Munoz or Bernardo Guereca would be a good starting point for “El Puma”.
Arturo “El Toro” Crespin (10-2-1, 4 KO’s) 160.2 lbs of Las Vegas scored a unanimous decision over Jose Cruz Garcia (3-6-1, 2 KO’s) of Albuquerque. This was a rematch with the same result. “El Toro” started fast capturing the first two rounds on sheer volume of punches. Garcia’s defense was satisfactory but he was throwing little in return.
Arturo appeared to be a little overweight and started to take some deep breaths in the third. Jose started throwing back with intent. Here is where young fighters could learn a little watching the Las Vegas import. When Garcia would land a solid punch Crespin would always throw something back in return, even if it wasn’t effective. This can confuse judges and might make a loss round ever or an even round a win.
It was an entertaining bout, with a lot of leather outgoing for the remainder of the six rounds. The final scores were 60-54 and 59-55 twice for Arturo. The tires on the Garcia wagon appear to be a little worn, but he always provides the fans with an entertaining fight. If Crespin would drop ten pounds he would be a beast at welterweight. He is very strong and throws beautiful five punch combinations in his sleep. I’m just guessing, but I feel Arturo’s biggest problem is the fork at the side of his plate.
In a battle of gate keepers, Albuquerque’s Victoria “La Reina de Guerra” Cisneros (10-14-2, 3 KO’s) 139.8 lbs scored a unanimous decision over Kita Watkins (7-11-1, 1 KO) 137.8 lbs of Tyler, Texas. Watkins opened the bout with quick feet and quicker hands that were finding their target. It appeared it would be a long night for slower “La Reina de Guerra.” But the veteran Victoria gave a clinic the rest of the evening on how to cut off the ring when fighting a faster opponent.
For the remainder of the fight Cisneros would walk her opponent down, trapping her on the ropes or in a corner. Once she had the fleet footed Watkins where she wanted her, Victoria started hitting anything that moved. It took a few rounds but the body punches started taking their toll. Kita made a valiant effort in the 6th and final round to stay in the middle of the ring, where her quicker hands and feet would be effective. Even then Cisneros continued to throw leather.
The final scores were 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56 for Victoria. Don’t look now but “The Queen of War” has quietly won five of her last six bouts. Like Jose Cruz Garcia, Victoria is a very entertaining boxer who always shows up in shape. Cisneros recently opened her own gym and has an impressive stable of amateur boxers. It appears her work ethic rubs off on those around her.
In the evenings opening bout was a rematch between “Duke City” boxers. Josh Chavez (2-0-0, 0 KO’s) 160.2 lbs scored a unanimous decision over Mike Quezada (0-2-0) 161.1 lbs. Chavez should improvement over their first fight as he could now throw something off his left jab. Quezada displayed the ability to cut off the ring, which he couldn’t do in their first meeting.
The first two rounds, Josh relied mainly on his left jab, which is pretty good. Mike would cut off the ring but then throw nothing after trapping his opponent on the ropes. Quezada would voluntarily back away even though the referee was allowing them to fight on the inside. In the third and fourth rounds Chavez started throwing right uppercuts and left hooks off his jab; hooks and jabs that were finding a home.
To the surprise of no one, all three cards were 40-36 for Chavez. He’s a work in progress, but clearly displayed skills missing in his first bout. Quezada will be sick when he sees video of the bout. Throwing his left jab, he continually turned his head to the right. When Mike threw rights, he would be off balance due to his foot placement. They’re both young hard working boxers and will improve because of positive attitudes.
Once again promoter Joe Chavez and match maker Martin Narro put on an entertaining card. On Wednesday one of the fighters pulled out, making it difficult to find a replacement on such short notice. Such is the business of promoting boxing. Chavez indicated he would like to promote again in August. If there were more risk takers like Chavez/Narro around the country, boxing would be in a better state.
Jose Garcia Hopes to even score vs. Arturo Crespin - Photo by: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
UNDEFEATED CHRISTIAN CABRAL FACES JOE GOMEZ ON JUNE 28 AT THE CONVENTION CENTER IN ALBUQUERQUE ON A FIVE BOUT CARD
By: Austin Killeen - June 18, 2013
On Friday the 28th “Duke City” prospect Christian Cabral steps into the deep end of the pool for the first time when he faces Joe Gomez. To say that the Farmington veteran has been in the ring with at least ten boxers with better Resumes than Christian would be an understatement. With the exception of Josh Torrez, Albuquerque fighters have avoided Gomez as if he’s a poison ivy plant. Gomez lost a close split decision to Torrez last year which many fans felt he won.
In March “El Puma” surprised local fans, when he upset undefeated Donald Sanchez by unanimous decision. But tough Sanchez is not in the class of Gomez, who won’t make the mistake of chasing Cabral in a big circle around the ring. Christian is a slick boxer, but Joe has faced many smoothies in his nine year pro career. The “Duke City” fighter has an excellent left jab but the quick Farmington import has good head movement and can counter punch with either hand. Cabral showed he can deal with adversity in his draw with Michael Coca Gallegos but Gomez will be setting traps for his younger opponent every round. Simply put, Christian will be walking in a mine field on the 28th compared to his previous ring experience.
The home town boy is a live underdog but Gomez is clearly the favorite in this bout. Ray Zamora has done a nice job advancing Cabral’s career and the risk/reward factor is worth the gamble. A win by “El Puma” will send his stock value rising on the pugilistic market. A loss would be a minor setback and gain the Albuquerque boxer valuable experience. Regardless of the outcome, the fans will be the big winners in this intriguing matchup.
In another faceoff of youth versus age, the odds favor Arturo Crespin against Jose Garcia. This is a rematch of an interesting bout held last October. Crespin got off to a fast start in that one but Garcia started coming on in the fifth. Crespin responded with a nice combination in the sixth and the referee surprised many by stopping the bout. Jose’s supporter’s supports felt he was entitled to a standing eight count before the referee acted. I watched Jose spar with Cabral at Warriors Gym last week and he stated “I plan to start faster this time, putting more pressure on Crespin.”
I’ve seen the southpaw Arturo fights on several occasions and he is an excellent combination puncher. He always seems ready to punch in bunches and is never out of position. When people talk of the young Lions in the “Land of Enchantment” they often seem to forget Trudy has only lost twice in thirteen bouts. He hasn’t lost since 2011 and if he continues to win, people won’t be able to overlook him anymore. Arturo is handled by his father Carlos, who is quietly moving his son in the right direction.
In a battle of gate keepers, Albuquerque’s Victoria “La Reina de Guerra” Cisneros faces Kita Watkins of Tyler, Texas. If you want to see a list of tough female boxers, check out the opponents these girls have faced. In the world of woman boxing if you hope to get to the top, the road passes by the houses of Cisneros and Watkins; a road that many an opponent has found very bumpy. This should be a war!
In still another rematch, light heavyweight Josh Chavez faces Mike Quezada in a four rounder. Chavez won a decision over Quezada in Las Cruces last April behind an excellent left jab. For his part, Mike had his moments forcing his taller opponent into the ropes where he worked effectively. Exciting young boxers, they both know what needs to be done if they hope to be victorious.
Opening the card, Duke City” boxers Anthony Jones and Ricky Villafuerte clash. They share a common opponent in hot prospect Siju Shabazz with the same outcome. Anthony has been sparring with the above mentioned Josh Chavez, which should get him in solid condition. But Villafuerte is a southpaw and it won’t be a left jab he’ll be throwing at Jones.
Promoter Joe Chavez and Matchmaker Martin Narro have become synonymous with exciting fight cards. Why would you expect anything different on the 28th of June?
Aaron Perez - Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
In amateur news 106 pounder, Aaron Perez of Albuquerque advanced to the national Junior Olympics Tournament to be held in Mobile, Alabama from June 26th-29th. I watched Aaron spar at the Warriors Gym last week and his skills are truly amazing. Most young fighters are lucky if they have a plan A, Perez seems to be working on plan D. He has already chalked up over 90 amateur bouts and looks like he could turn pro now. He assures one and all that won’t happen, as he hopes to win a spot on the 2016 Olympic team and win some gold.
Photo by: Jose Castillo
Torres, Zamora, Crespin and Lopez all win at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albuquerque to keep their dreams alive
By: Austin Killeen (with Yoruba Moreu) May 31, 2013
While a five bout card was held at the Crowne Plaza on Friday night, I was laying in bed with a back injury. As a result I relied on the eyes of boxing pundit, Yoruba Moreu to get a feel for the action. The main event featured Albuquerque’s Josh “Pitbull” Torres (12-2-1, 5 KO’s) 146 3/4 lbs against Marcus Brashears (9-16-1, 2 KO’s) 144 1/2 lbs from Amarillo, TX. At Thursday’s weigh in Brashears talked “a lot of smack” but on Friday night he was remarkably quite. It takes two to make a fight and the “Duke City” native couldn’t do it alone. Although Josh unloaded against his defensive minded opponent, he could not break through Marcus’s safety first style. All three score cards were identical 80-72.
The victory was Torres’s fifth in a row and clearly he needs to step up the level of competition. A matchup with fellow Albuquerque pugilist Cristian Cabral is at least six months to a year away. Either “Pitbull” takes his show on the road or somebody puts some serious $$ on the table to lure a big name opponent to come here. Josh is a solid boxer/puncher with a strong defense, if he keeps facing this level of competition he’ll get stale. That would be a shame as he clearly has shown the ability to face stronger competition.
In the co-main event Santa Fe’s Joaquin Zamora (20-4-1, 12 KO’s) 158.2 lbs. scored a unanimous decision over Bernardo Guereca (17-18-1, 4 KO’s) 158 lbs. from El Paso, TX. This was a rematch, as they faced each other last November with the same result. “I felt much sharper this time” stated Zamora “as I was coming off a seventeen month layoff in our first fight.” All three cards were identical 79-72 (3). “I’m bigger than Bernardo; he probably should be fighting at 147 lbs. I would like to have three or four more fights by the end of the year.” In addition to his boxing career and working full time for the city of Santa Fe, Joaquin is in his final year at the University of Phoenix.
Guereca stated “I would like to fight at welterweight from now on. I want a rematch with “Pitbull.” I love training with Fidel Maldonado Sr. I like the way he wraps hands and how he runs his corner. When he sees something wrong he makes corrections immediately. I’m spending a week in El Paso with family and friends, just relaxing. Then it’s back to Albuquerque to train with Fidel and Carlos. (Arturo’s father)’
‘In the third bout of the evening, Arturo Crespin scored TKO victory over game Charles Alderete when his corner threw in the towel in the final round of a six round bout. This was a rematch of a bout between Arturo and Charles held two and a half years ago. Crespin throws beautiful combinations and fights at a higher level than his opponent. Every time Alderete got in trouble he would fight back in an effort to turn the tide of battle. After the match Crespin’s father stated “we would like Arturo to campaign at 147 pounds from now on. That division is loaded and there are some interesting matches for El Toro at welterweight.”
In another rematch Socorro’s Adrian Lopez (5-1-1 (1 KO) 174.6 lbs decisioned Albuquerque’s Ricky Villafuerte 177.2 lbs (0-3-0) in a hard fought four rounder. Lopez is a gym rat and I figured he would stop Villafuerte this time. Shame on me, Ricky came to fight and landed some heavy artillery on his foe. Commenting on his opponent Adrian stated “he hurt me a couple of times with overhand lefts. He’s a southpaw and was effective from time to time.” Lopez is trained by Chris Chavez and has quietly scored four wins in a row. Adrian commented “I would love to fight a six rounder as I think I’m getting better.
Making his pro debut, Brandon Munoz 113.4 lbs fought to a majority four round draw with Julio Gomez (1-1-1) 115.2 lbs. The first was a feeling out round but the second clearly belonged to Gomez. The third was fought like the first with both fighters leaving it up to the judges. Sensing he had fallen behind in the scoring, Munoz closed strong. The scores were 39-37 and 38-38 twice for a majority draw. Ray Zamora, the trainer for Munoz felt his fighter won, while Yoruba felt Julio did enough to win. Listening to feedback from my friends got the feeling this was probably the fight of the night.
Some of the websites were pretty tough on the card in general. I’d rather attend a poor card than no card at all. A promoter takes a big risk every time he put on a show. Its fifteen to twenty thousand out of pocket before one ticket is sold. The reason boxing is so strong in New Mexico compared to other parts of the country, is because monthly shows build up a fan base. Torres, Zamora, Crespin and Lopez all have impressive records and appear ready to challenge at the next level. That would not be true if boxing cards were run twice a year.
If Arturo Crespin and Bernardo Guereca drop down to 147 pounds as they indicated, the welterweight division will be loaded with exciting matchups. In addition to Crespin and Bernardo there would be, “Pitbull”, Cabral, Shaun Henson, Brian “El Torito” Romero, Hector Munoz, Michael Coca Gallegos and Joe Gomez. Torres would obviously be at the top of any list, but after that it would be a match maker’s dream.
Once again, thank you Yoruba Moreu for your help.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
HOLLY HOLM GIVES VIRTUOSO PERFORMANCE IN DEFEATING MARY McGEE ON SENSATIONAL FIGHT CARD AT ROUTE 66 CASINO AND HOTEL
By: Austin Killeen – Ringside – May 11, 2013
In her final boxing match, Holly Holm (33-2-3, 9 KO’s) 139.2 lbs might have given her best performance as a pro in winning a unanimous decision over Mary McGee (20-2-0, 11 KO’s) 137 lbs. before a sellout crowd. Although I never wrote it in my column, I felt “The Preacher’s Daughter” last three bouts clearly showed she was past her prime. As a result, it was my gut feeling that she would be stopped by “The Merciless One.” Thank God I never put my feelings on paper; otherwise I would look pretty foolish right now. On rare occasions athletes give unforgettable displays of talent and Holm was clearly in the zone tonight. I’ve never seen her so aggressive, using head and shoulder fakes, sitting down on her punches and throwing combination to both the head and body of her challenger. For her part, McGee never stopped trying but could not find the answer to Holly’s attack.
Holm opened the fight aggressively, and clearly had more snap to her punches than I can ever remember her throwing. McGee landed a few good blows off her jab but the “Duke City” girl clearly was landing the higher volume of punches. The second was a repeat of the first, with Holly throwing right hooks and overhand lefts. Her hand speed was breaking thru the defense of the Challenger. By the end of the round, it appeared she had landed more punches than in her last two fights.
The champ continued her offensive assault, landing right hooks and overhand lefts in the next round. Holly was schooling McGee and it was becoming obvious that the challenger was in a big hole. The fourth round Holm started landing right and left hooks to the body, at times seemingly knocking the wind out of the Indiana girl. A left to the body in the fifth seemed to hurt McGee. Holly was putting on a clinic and Mary obviously needed a miracle if she hoped to turn things around.
In the sixth, Holm started using head and shoulder fakes, causing her opponent to commit. This allowed hometown girl to land heavy shots to the head and body of McGee when she moved. The seventh might have been Mary’s best round of the fight as she landed several overhand lefts. This resulted in a small abrasion appearing under Holly’s left eye. But the defending champ still seemed to be in control. The final three rounds were a repeat of the first seven. At times Mary seemed to be winded as a result of Holly’s relentless body attack. The decision was unanimous with all three judges having identical scores of 100-90 for the queen of boxing. Give McGee her due, she never stopped trying and was in excellent shape.
In the semi-final Matthew Baca (3-1-0, 2 KO’s) 135.6 lbs got back on the winning side of the ledger scoring a unanimous decision over Armando Gonzales (2-3-0, 1 KO) 134.6 lbs. If Gonzales was supposed to be a handpicked opponent for Baca, he never received the memo. From the opening bell he stood toe-to-toe with “The Champ” displaying an excellent short right hand. Matthew would start every one of his combination off a jab and then throw hooks and overhand rights to both the head and body. I gave the first three rounds to Matthew but they were all contested and he had a bloody nose which flowed claret all through the fight.
In the fourth, the Tucson native had his best round. Armando was now flashing his own jab and scoring with rights and left hooks off it. He was backing Baca up and clearly won the round. The fifth saw Matthew get back into the fight, but Armando was still utilizing his new found jab and scoring with combinations. Both fighters were landing heavy leather but also showing some solid defensive skills. This was a close round but might have gone to the Arizona boxer.
The home town boy appeared to carry the sixth but it was hotly contested. Baca controlled the action early but Gonzales came to life midway through the round. From that point to the final bell it was toe-to-toe, with each boy having his moments. There was little clinching and the fight was fought at a very fast pace. All three judges had identical scores of 58-56 for Baca. Matthew appears to have shaken off any ill effects of his April fight and displayed solid skills tonight.
The Romero/Coca Gallegos matchup was being billed as the fight of the night and it did not disappoint. Both boxers are from the “Duke City” and they put eight rounds of action into a four round bout. It was the infighting of Rocky “Torito” Romero (3-0-0, 2 KO’s) 146 lbs versus the long range bombs of Michael Coca Gallegos (1-11-1, 1 KO) 147 lbs. If you only watched one round of their fight you saw all four of them. The stocky Romero continually tried to force the action into the ropes where he would rip vicious combinations to the head and body of his opponent. Coca Gallegos never panicked when trapped there, showing solid defense and nice counter punching. When he got “Torito” in the middle of the ring, he became the matador. Michael has a nice left jab and excellent lateral movement. The ebb and flow continued all night.
Some boxers will smile when they get hit by a good shot, Coca Gallegos smiles because he enjoys being in the middle of a vicious exchanges with his opponent. That habit of his, alone, would psych me out. The first time I met the personable Rocky, he expressed an interest in fighting either Josh “Pitbull” Torres or Cristian Cabral. I thought that was mighty big talk for somebody who hadn’t been in a boxing ring for ten years. After last night, it is abundantly clear “Torito” was just stating the facts.
The judges had Romero the winner by unanimous decision on scores of 40-36 and 39-37 twice. Michael’s happiness at fighting off the ropes ultimately proved to be his downfall. If he kept the action in the middle of the ring there might have been a different outcome. Both boxers are college graduates, so their next match might take place over a chess board.
Making their pro debuts, “Duke City” battlers Gabe Gabaldon 129.8 lbs faced Brandon Salazar 129.2 lbs. Gabaldon controlled the first two rounds with a powerful left jab. As he relaxed, he started landing nice rights off his left to Salazar’s head and body. Brandon would retaliate with good body shots but not enough to turn things around. In the third Gabe stopped using his jab (?) and started looking to land the home run shot. Salazar was now switching his attack back and forth between the body and head. It also appeared that he borrowed Gabaldon’s left jab and was using it effectively. The fourth was a repeat of the third and I felt Salazar had closed the gap in what was an exciting fight.
The judges had Gabaldon the winner by majority decision on scores of 38-38 and 39-37 twice. Gabe is very tall (5’ 11”) and would be tough to beat if he worked off his powerful left. When he abandons his jab, he makes it easy for his opponent to get inside and work effectively. Both fighters showed some skills and I would love to see them in action again.
In still another “Duke City” shootout between debuting boxers, 48 year old Flory Olguin Jr. 178.6 lbs faced Manny Rocha 175 lbs. To say this bout had a lot of drama, would be an understatement. Flory had lost over 40 pounds in preparation for this match and fans wanted to see if he could turn back the clock. The first was a feeling out round. Olguin was probing with jabs and right hand body shots while the much younger Rocha was content to throw punches to the head. Flory opened the second with a body attack, while Manny was content to stay on the defensive. Late in the round the younger boxer started throwing hooks off his jab. The slower pace seemed to be to the advantage of Olguin.
In the third, the fight came to a sudden conclusion. Manny exploded an over hand right to the exposed face of his rival. Just like that Flory’s dreams came to a sudden end, as he landed on the canvas. Olguin has dedicated the fight to his late father. If his dad was looking down on the match, he’s must have been proud of his son. Although time had robbed Flory of his speed, you could tell he had some skills from his amateur days. Flory threw a nice right to the body and was a fox in controlling the pace of the fight.
In a state were good fight cards are the norm, this evenings bouts were great! I have never seen Holly Holm’s look better, Matthew Baca righted his career, Rocky Romero not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. I felt bad for Flory Olguin but I don’t know why, because he was a proud man who honored the memory of his father. Of all the ladies who have faced Holly in the ring, none have impressed me more than Mary McGee. Dropping down to 135 pounds should make her a force to be dealt with.
Walking to my car after a great night of boxing at the Route 66 Casino and Hotel, I realized how much I enjoy what I do. Every bout has a drama of its own. Fighters, trainers and promoters all have their own personal dreams. Boxing is alive and well in the “Land of Enchantment” and promoter Lenny Fresquez and his right hand girl Doris Robinson play a big part in rebirth of the sport in New Mexico.
Matthew & Cathleen - Photo by Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing
CAN MATTHEW THE “CHAMP” PUT THE DERAILED “BACA EXPRESS” BACK ON THE TRACKS SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE ROUTE 66 CASINO AND HOTEL
By: Austin Killeen - May 9, 2013
Eight months ago, I wrote an article about one of the “Duke Cities” rising young stars; Matthew “Champ” Baca. It was a story that has been written over a thousand times by a hundred different writers in a dozen different decades. Said boxer has an outstanding amateur career, has a successful pro debut and dreams of winning a championship. Just fill in the blank with the name of the fighter of the month. Save the story because you can use it over and over again; just remember to put the name of the new fighter of the month in the blank space.
Matthew had a rich amateur background, participating in over fifty bouts for trophies. His resume showed four state regional Junior Olympics Titles and reaching the finals New Mexico State Golden Gloves Championships. Turning pro in December of 2011 at the Route 66 Casino and Hotel, “Champ” scored an impressive first round knockout. During the short bout Matthew displayed an uncanny ability to judge distance, as his opponent’s punches always seemed to fall just short of the mark. He ended the evening by countering his opponents left hook to the body with a right hook to the head. The ten count was just a formality, as the third man could have counted to a hundred and said pugilist would have maintained his position on the canvas. His second pro bout was a repeat of the first, solid defense, combinations and counter punching leading to another stoppage. The “Baca Express” was hugging the rails and headed to title town USA.
In early April of this year, Matthew along with two other undefeated young prospects took fights with much more experienced opponents. Surprisingly, only one of the fighters was given much of a chance of scoring a victory. He took a bad beating and failed to finish his bout. Baca and the other fighter received little love in the local gyms and were expected to lose. They split in their respective bouts with the other hopeful scoring an upset decision win. For the “Champ” it was a long and painful night.
The weigh in the day before their match was a preview of what was in store for the fans. Although both participants were in great shape, Yordan Hernandez had the body of a man. In his late twenties, the Cuban native appeared to be made out of concrete. Baca at age nineteen, looked like a teenager. There was no love lost between the combatants during their stair down, a stair down that probably sold an additional hundred tickets in eight seconds. I’ve seen stair downs before that had a lot of tension but these guys appeared to be ready to fight for free; using the scale for a ring.
The following night at the Wool Warehouse, Matthew put forth a display of guts and pride but had no answers for Yordan’s attack. Standing toe to toe against his more powerful adversary, it was like watching a car in a head on collision with an eighteen wheeler. Each round was worse than the one before it, as Baca was absorbing a terrible beating. It appeared Hernandez would score a knockout in the fifth, as he landed bombs to Baca’s head and body. Amazingly with thirty seconds left in the round, Matthew staged a rally driving his surprised opponent into the ropes.
Both fighters appeared tired in the final round, as they had fought at a furious pace all night. In spite of the bad blood leading up to the fight, both combatants embraced and the final bell. It is not surprising when a boxer shows pride and courage when winning, Matthew showed both attributes in what had to be a nightmare for the young prospect. You can learn a lot about a young pugilist in a winning effort, you can learn a lot more in a losing effort. Matthew had the special something on display in the fifth round, when most combatants would have folded their proverbial tent!
When I asked the “Champ” what happened to the boxer with the uncanny ability to judge distance, he replied that he failed to follow the plan. Slugging toe-to-toe with Hercules is a battle of attrition and has little to do with skill. Matthew had no excuses saying “the better man won.” When I asked who was responsible for making this match, he replied; “I see him every morning when I look in the mirror. It’s refreshing to talk with such an honest boxer; no excuses just the facts. He also expressed pride in the support that his parents and sister give him. “Win or lose they always have my back,” The boxing landscape is loaded with fighters who switch trainers every time they lose a fight. It certainly not their fault they lost, it must be the trainer.
On Saturday night Matthew faces Armando Gonzales, who is probably not in the same class as Hernandez. However he has had his hand raised as many times as Baca and will be looking to hand the “Duke City” native his second loss. If the hometown boy thinks his mere presence at the Casino will get him a win, it is going to be a sad weekend. Matthew is saying all the right things about his last fight. The question to be answered this weekend; is he just another overhyped nothing, or does he posses the mental and physical abilities to overcome adversity? I hope it is the latter because he is a likeable young man, a person you would be proud to call your son.
HOLLY HOLM FACES MARY McGEE ON MAY 11 WHILE CECILIA BRAEKHUS HOWLS AT THE MOON
By: Austin Killeen – May 1, 2013
On December 7 of last year, after Holly Holm successfully defended her title against Diana Prazak, the real drama started. Two giant close circuit screens unrolled showing the image of undefeated Cecilia Braekhus of Norway. Braekhus called Holm out, suggesting that they meet in Las Vegas in July. Although Holly showed little interest in Cecilia’s challenge, the fans were buzzing about the international throw down. “The Preacher’s Daughter” was more concerned in celebrating Christmas with her family and showing respect to Prazak at the post fight press conference.
While this was going on, I was thinking about a young girl from Gary, Indiana who gave an impressive performance on the undercard. I called Mary “Merciless” McGee the total package, both on offense and defense. In my opinion, the challenger for Holm wasn’t across the Atlantic but standing inside the Route 66 Casino and Hotel. Not only did she possess power on both hands, but a dangerous counter puncher while fighting off the ropes. Be as it may, there seemed to be little chance of a title fight in the immediate future for McGee.
Following the Holm/Prazak match, serious negotiations between Lenny Fresquez and Nisse Sauerland (Team Braekhus) began. As with all bouts, the usual issues had to be decided; purses, location, officials, rematch clauses, etc. Progress seemed to be made as one by one each obstacle to the match was being overcome. In February, Braekhus announced she would be fighting Mia St. John in defense of her welterweight title. This match would take place on April 13 in Denmark. (Boxing is illegal in Norway where Cecilia lives) Unexpectedly facing a delay in a proposed Braekhus bout, team Holm moved on. Suddenly Mary McGee’s face appeared on the radar screen.
At a media luncheon held at Los Cuates Restaurant Tuesday April 16, a sometimes emotional Holly Holm announced her retirement from the sport of boxing. The bout would be Holly’s last as a professional boxer. “It’s a hard decision, but I need to keep that spark and passion, and MMA is where it’s at for me now” stated “the Preacher’s Daughter.”
Realizing that she had effectively eliminated herself from the mega fight and opened the door for McGee, Braekhus wasted little time in responding. “I am very disappointed. A fight against Holly would have been the biggest thing in woman’s boxing, the one fight every fan wants to see. It’s a shame that it will not happen – but it’s not our fault. We’ve done all we could. I have always said that I was willing to fight her; I have always been ready for her. My team has worked very hard to organize the fight. We removed all the stumbling blocks. We were even willing to go to her backyard. And when she has a chance to give the fans what they want to see, she retires. Really, I don’t know what to say. It’s a pity and I’m disappointed. I will now shift my focus to other challenges; there are a lot of other interesting options for me. One thing I know for sure – true champions do not run away from mega-fights.”
I interviewed Mary McGee last week and she wasted little time weighing in with her own opinion of the Holm/Braekhus non fight. The stuff she’s (Braekhus) said about Holly is kind of rude. If she (Holm) doesn’t want to do boxing anymore and her heart is in MMA, she should follow her heart. If she wants to follow MMA - let her go.” The “Merciless” one has been very polite regarding “The Preacher’s Daughter.” Although she obviously plans to win, she feels Holly has been a great champion who has always faced her top challengers.
Billy C, who I write for asked if he could weigh in on the Holm/McGee story I was writing. How could I refuse; he pays me so much money. “I think Holly is going to win by a knockout, she has too much talent. Her team of promoter Lenny Fresquez and trainer Mike Winkeljohn has more experience than team McGee. I think McGee is good, but she lacks the experience to make the adjustments necessary to survive against Holm. In addition, Holly is a beast when it comes to training. I’m not sure Mary has that same commitment. Billy feels my assessment of the “Merciless” one is way overboard and thus his prediction is one of a Holly Holm stoppage!
To sum up the drama leading up to this fight; we have one lady very happy to be following her dreams, one challenger very happy to be getting her dream fight and one very unhappy challenger who appears to have out foxed herself on the road to a dream fight. Stayed tuned for the next chapter in this soap opera, “as the ring turns” on May 11 at the Route 66 Casino and Hotel.
HOLLY HOLM: TURNSTILE QUEEN OF THE DUKE CITY RETIRES FROM BOXING TO CONCENTRATE ON MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
By: Austin Killeen – April 17, 2013
At a media luncheon held at Los Cuates Restaurant Tuesday, a sometimes emotional Holly Holm announced her retirement from the sport of boxing. On May 11th she faces top challenger “Merciless” Mary McGee of Gary, Indiana. The bout will be held at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque and Holly’s last as a professional boxer. “It’s a hard decision, but I need to keep that spark and passion, MMA is where it’s at for me now” stated the “Preacher’s Daughter.”
Although fans will still be able to see Holly compete in the cage, she leaves a void to be filled in the boxing community. Without question, Holm is the top ticket seller in this part of the state. Every time she enters the ring it means work for eight to ten fighters performing on her undercard. Her ability to put fans in the seats makes her a cash cow, and that is just as important as her ability to fight. Boxing is a business and the sport has a history of good boxers who couldn’t fill the seats even if admission was free. Holly Holm could always pack an arena. People would pay to see her fight a hamster.
Holly’s success was a team effort, an alliance with trainer Mike Winkeljohn and promoter Lenny Fresquez. Their successful association has existed for over nine years and will continue in the MMA. When Anne Sophie Mathis shocked Holm two years ago, Winkeljohn didn’t throw his fighter under the bus. He created a new blue print which aloud Holly to win a rematch; a rematch which many people thought was foolish, myself included. As her promoter, Fresquez created opportunities; opportunities such as the above mentioned rematch with Mathis. Fresquez was very clear where Holly’s place is in woman’s boxing; she’s number one! If the great Charlie Burley had people like Winkeljohn and Fresquez backing him, people wouldn’t be asking “who’s Charlie Burley.”
When the subject of Cecilia Braekhus was broached, Holly was very direct. “I wish much success to Cecilia but not fighting her does not, by any means, define my boxing career. I know there’s a lot of talk about that but what does that say about all the women I’ve already fought?” Having defeated Christy Martin, Mia St John, Mary Jo Sanders, Chevelle Hallback and Anne Sophie Mathis among others, Holm has some impressive arguments regarding her place in the hierarchy of the sport. Like all great boxers, if she fights for another ten years there will always be somebody calling her out.
As for May 11th, Holly assured those in attendance she is not looking beyond McGee. That’s a good thing because the Gary, Indiana boxer/puncher appears to be every bit as talented as the aforementioned Cecilia Braekhus. In stopping Victoria Cisneros last year, on the undercard of the Holm/Prazak fight, Mary displayed amazing offensive and defensive skills. This girl can bang with either hand and is unlikely to be confused by Holly’s southpaw style. I see this bout as a very big risk. Historically great boxers in similar circumstances have often selected foes whose punching power was comparable to a bag of marshmallows.
You judge a fighter by the quality of their opposition and their success against them. Looking at the record of Holm’s, shows a boxer who scores high on both counts. In closing out her pugilistic career, “The Preacher’s Daughter” might have selected her greatest challenge to date. This young lady has brought class, entertainment and talent to the fight world. I will miss hearing her bagpipe music when entering the ring and her signature back flips after each victory. My all her future endeavors be blessed with success.
Ref Rocky Burke Had His Hands Full In Las Cruces
LAZOYA STUNS ZUBIA IN UPSET AT THE LAS CRUCES CONVENTION CENTER BEFORE DELIGHTED HOMETOWN FANS
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – April 5, 2013
After an absence of over fifteen months, live boxing returned to Las Cruces Friday night at the Convention Center. A near capacity crowd of enthusiastic fans witnessed seven bouts, including four boxers from "The City of the Crosses." The main event saw a live underdog, hometown boy Colbert Lazoya, upset highly touted favorite Edgar Zubia.
In the main event, Colbert “Pitbull” Lozoya (6-10-1 NC, 0 KO's) 139 lbs. Las Cruces decision favorite Edgar Zubia (4-2-1, 2 KO’s) 143.6 lbs. Hobbs. Going into the match, there was talk of Zubia fighting Albuquerque’s Yordan Hernandez if he was victories. There seemed little doubt about the outcome of the main event, except in the mind of Lozoya. At the opening bell, both boxers blasted from their corners indicating a great fight for as long as it lasted.
The much taller Zubia was flashing a sharp left jab and uppercuts in his smooth style. In response “Pitbull” was trying to disrupt his opponent’s technique with body shots and use of his head. Things quickly turned ugly, making it a long night for referee Rocky Burke. Burke, one of the better referees around, quickly expressed his displeasure to both boxers.
In the second Rocky had seen enough and deducted a point from Colbert for use of his head. This might have hurt him on the score cards, but it was also having an effect on Edgar’s style. Instead of dancing across the canvas, the Hobbs visitor drew a line in the sand and started trading blow for blow with his opponent. This delighted “Pitbull” and his fans but appeared to give ulcers to Isidro Castillo, Zubia’s corner man. Good tall boxers usually can handle themselves ok on the inside but that doesn’t mean they fight there exclusively; Edgar was.
From my viewpoint Colbert seemed to have a big round in the third, landing punishing hooks to the body with both hands. Zubia was having difficulty keeping his stocky opponent off, depriving him of the room needed to land his jab. The fourth was closer but amazingly the shorter “Pitbull” was now scoring with his jab. He also confused his opponent by switching to southpaw for a while. Additionally the Las Cruces pugilist was performing plastic surgery on the visitor’s face. I don’t know if this was covered under Obama Care, but Zubia’s right eye was rapidly closing and his chin was getting lumpy from colliding with the top of his opponent’s head. For his part Edgar appeared to be checking Colbert for a hernia as he keep landing uppercuts to the area where his opponent’s legs met the trunk of his body.
By now everybody in the building knew the Hobbs invader needed to have a big finish in the final two rounds, if he hoped to pull this one out of the fire. Lozoya continued to pour lefts and rights to Zubia’s body, which appeared to be having an effect on his energy level. His jab no longer had to force it did in the earlier rounds. In the sixth, Colbert landed a straight right to the body of Edgar as he was lunging in. Off balance, it appeared his left glove touched the canvas. At the final bell the verdict appeared to be a foregone conclusion.
The judge’s score cards read 59-54 and 58-55 twice making it official in favor of the hometown boxer. I find it amazing that Lozoya has never stopped an opponent in seventeen professional fights, as this boy carries a big wallop to the body. Zubia fought the entire fight as if Isidro Castillo was giving instructions in Mandarin Chinese. Regarding a possible Edgar Zubia/Yordan Hernandez showdown in the near future. . .
In the semi-final Gabriel Lopez of Las Cruces (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) 160 lbs. stopped Edwardo Rios of Los Lunas (0-1-0) 159.4 lbs. I’ve seen both of Gabriel’s fights and he comes to fight. He overwhelmed his opponent with overhand lefts and rights, pinning him on the ropes. The referee came to the rescue at 1:10 of the first round. Rios appeared to want to continue; he should have taken a knee so he could have mentally regrouped.
In the only female bout of the evening Victoria Cisneros of Albuquerque (9-14-2, 3 KO’s) decision DJ Morrison of Billings, Montana (3-18-0, 2 KO’s) in five 2 minute rounds. This was a rematch of last year, when Cisneros stopped her opponent in four. Using a body attack, Victoria controlled the action most of the night. However she had little head movement and took some unnecessary blows to the face. JD deserves credit for her improvement, showing a lot more offense than in their first bout. Cisneros has a bout tentatively scheduled for April 19th in Pennsylvania against undefeated Althea Saunders. La Reina de Guerra (the queen of war) is one dangerous lady, willing to face anyone, any place at any time.
In a battle of unbeatens, Jose Salinas of Las Cruces (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) 134.2 lbs. stopped Joshua Flynn of Farmington (2-1-0, 1 KO) 136.2 lbs. in the first round. Like Gabriel, I’ve seen both of Salinas’s fights. This boy is explosive, providing plenty of action. Flynn is a solid boxer but got caught cold by Salinas; getting dropped by a left hook early in the first. It didn’t take long for Jose to find Joshua with an overhand right, sending him to the canvas a second time. A left hook overhand right combination resulted in a third knockdown, prompting the third man to end proceedings at 2:42 seconds of the stanza. Salinas appears to have some upscale, I would like to see him in with stronger competition next time.
In a very entertaining bout, Jeremiah Torres of Albuquerque (8-21-0, 1 KO) 142.2 lbs. decision Derrick Saenz Lopez of Las Cruces (0-6-0) 138.2 lbs in four rounds. Lopez was the fan favorite and his supporters were very vocal. Out of town spectators seemed to adopt the “Duke City” boxer, making it a very raucous audience. Apparently left jabs were outlawed because I don’t remember any being thrown. This was toe-to-toe infighting; rarely did either boxer take a backward step. In thirty six fights between them, there was only one knockout recorded. Neither boxer appeared aware of this fact, because it was bombs away from the opening bell.
I thought Torres won the first two rounds due to a higher punch rate. Lopez certainly had his moments but mainly fought in flurries. Jeremiah also had the better head movement which helped on defense. Derrick had a strong first minute in the third but after that it was all Torres. The visitor had a big fourth to close the show. The decision proved to be almost as exciting at the fight itself. There were two scores of 40-36 for Torres and a dissenting scorecard of 39-37 for Lopez. I have no idea what fight that judge was watching.
The second bout of the evening pitted two boxers from Belen. Shaun “The Warrior” Henson (2-1-0, 2 KO’s) 145.4 lbs. stopped Derek Perez (0-2-0) 142.8 lbs. in the second round. Perez started fast, displaying some impressive offense. It appeared Henson needed the first minute to warm up but then he started finding his own weapons. This was an action packed round. The second was all Shaun as he started landing hooks and uppercuts off a powerful left jab. Perez, a southpaw, started to realize this would not be his night. The referee awarded the bout to “The Warrior” at 1:12 of the round. Henson seems to be flying under the radar, but he won’t be a secret much longer with impressive performances like this. His only loss was to undefeated Christian Cabal by a majority decision. In a loaded welterweight division in the “Land of Enchantment”, Shaun is quietly establishing himself as one of the players.
The evening opened with two debuting boxers, both from Albuquerque. Josh Chavez (1-0-0) 171.4 lbs. decision Mike Quezada (0-1-0) 172 lbs. in four rounds. Chavez has had an extensive amateur background while Quezada’s experience was in cage fighting and it showed. In addition, Quezada was a last minute sub, getting the assignment on Monday. Much of the four rounds Josh would step in behind a nice jab with an overhand right. When Mike landed his jab he always appeared to be pulling away, which made it almost impossible to land follow up punches. To his credit when he did move in, Mike sometimes was able to pin his opponent on the ropes landing blows to the body.
Given a solid month of training, Quezada looks like he could have some potential. I watched Chavez train for the past two months. Eight weeks ago he weighed in at 220 pounds, so that is a significant drop in weight. He works hard and always is willing to improve on his technique. I expect both boxers will do better their next time out.
Honestly, when I drove from Albuquerque to Las Cruces I felt this was a pretty crummy fight card. I’m glad I made the trip because I was dead wrong. Promoter Art Monsivaiz and matchmaker Robert Padilla did an excellent job putting together a very exciting night of entertainment!
NOW THAT THE DUST HAS SETTLED IN THE DUKE CITY: THE WINNERS AND LOOSER FROM LAST WEEKENDS TWIN FIGHT CARDS
By: Austin Killeen - All Photos By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com - April 4, 2013
Albuquerque played host to a pair of exciting fight cards this past weekend at the Wool Warehouse and Crown Plaza. There were three highly anticipated matchups that were generating much buzz and a main event that looked to be a fore gone conclusion. By the end of the evening on Saturday, the food chain of boxing had seen a major shakeup in the “Duke City.”; a shakeup that even affected the careers of pugilist who did not participate in the double header.
Last Friday, at the Wool Warehouse Josh “Pitbull” Torres faced Jose “Guero” Sanchez in an eight round main event. A surprising number of people felt the 2 and 0 Sanchez would upset the veteran Torres and do it in three rounds or less. I will have to admit I was starting to buy into the upset prognostication myself. “Pitbull” used the fight as a glorified sparring session, stopping “Guero” in the seventh round. In the process he dropped his opponent twice, showed an amazing defense and administered a sound beat down on his rival. With the exception of Fidel Maldonado Jr. there is little doubt that Josh is the best P4P boxer in Albuquerque, whose stock is climbing faster than the Standard and Poor’s Industrial Average.
The semi-final that evening Matthew Baca faced Yordan Hernandez in a six round bout. Overwhelmingly Hernandez was everybody’s pick in the local boxing gyms. Surprisingly, the general public was buying into Baca’s chances of scoring an impressive victory. At the weigh in, it appeared the boxers would fight for free. Once the bell rang it was all Yordan; punching, boxing, faints, working on the inside or out it was a clinic by Hernandez. The Cuban native is an enigma at the age of twenty nine, having only three fights in three years. He is a hot commodity and would generate a lot of interest in a fight with Archie Ray Marquez at 135 lbs.
The third highly anticipated bout was a six-round grudge match between cage fighter Donald Sanchez and Cristian Cabral the following night. Not only was there little love for Cabral in the gyms, the general public felt the same way. For the first five rounds it was all Cristian, flashing a pinpoint jab, a dazzling display of footwork and solid defense off the ropes. However the match was scheduled for six rounds and Donald landed a paralyzing right to the solar plexus in the final stanza. It was a big round for Sanchez, and only outstanding defense by “el Puma” keep him on his feet. No one could blame Cristian if he feels like the late comic Rodney Dangerfield because he doesn’t get any respect. All I’ve heard since the match is what Sanchez didn’t do, not what Cabral was able to accomplish. Regardless “el Puma” has made a rapid assent up the food chain, allowing him greater earning opportunities and choice of opponents.
No one would have laughed at Hector Munoz prior to the weekend if he had proclaimed he could beat anybody in greater Albuquerque, less than 160 lbs. I’ve seen him spar the above mentioned Torres and Cabral among others and he is a beast. But less than three minutes after the opening bell of his main event on Saturday night, the referee had stopped his bout against light hitting Bernardo Guereca. To say this was a huge setback for “The Hurricane” would be an understatement. In his early thirties, does he have enough time to rebuild his career?
Both Matthew “Champ” Baca and Jose “Guero” Sanchez were clearly in over their heads. Both boxers took a lot of punishment in their fights. Both pugilist also showed a lot of heart and never stopped trying to fight back in the face of adversity. They’re both still in their teens unlike Munoz and have plenty of time to resurrect their careers. The question to be answered regarding both young men; can they bounce back from such devastating losses. Although he clearly suffered a setback, Donald Sanchez was out boxed in a competitive bout. He hurt his opponent in the final round and displayed outstanding endurance. There is already talk of a Sanchez virus Sanchez match, though unsubstantiated. Styles make matches and this hookup would be a war!
Although Archie Ray Marquez and Joaquin Zamora did not fight this weekend one fighter’s career appeared to benefit while the others took a slight setback. Marquez’s pugilistic value might have suffered a bit due to his inactivity; but could be easily corrected with a win over the above mentioned Yordan Hernandez. Joaquin Zamora (from Santa Fe) might have received a little career boost, as he scored a decision over Bernardo Guereca just a few months ago. Not to be overlooked is Adrian Lopez of Socorro, NM who turned in another solid performance on Saturday’s undercard. On a three fight win streak, he’s a solid infighter with quick hands who deserves a chance at bigger game.
In was a good weekend of boxing in the “Duke City” where prospects met prospects and careers headed in different directions as a result. It has been an exciting year in 2013 and there is still nine months to go.
Christian Cabral (left) & Donald Sanchez at weig-in - Phot By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
GUERECA STUNS MUNOZ AND CABRAL TOPS SANCHEZ AT CROWNE PLAZA IN ALBUQUERQUE’S SECOND NIGHT OF BOXING
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – March 30, 2013
The second fight card held in the “Duke City” in 24 hours had a shocker, fight of the year candidate and an underdog who become a top dog. Before what appeared to be a near capacity crowd, the second in two nights, fans were treated to an excellent show. This was the third Johnny Tapia Presents card and like the previous evening provided the audience with lots of action.
In the main event El Paso’s Bernardo Guereca (17-17-1, 4 KO’s) 152.8 lbs. left everyone in the building speechless stopping Albuquerque’s Hector Munoz (21-10-1, 14 KO’s) 147.6 lbs. at 2:59 of the first round. The light hitting Guereca used an assortment of tricks to frustrate his opponent. Throughout the round, the El Paso southpaw would grab Hector’s right glove while working with his own left on the inside. Additionally Bernardo would place his head on the chest of his opponent. From this position he would throw overhand punches at his adversary’s head.
Near the end of the round he exploded a left uppercut off the chin of Munoz, dropping him flat on his back. Although the “Hurricane” beat the count, referee Rocky Burke ruled the hometown favorite unfit to continue. This is the second time Hector has been stopped by the Texan in a single round; having the lights go out nine years ago, also in Albuquerque. This is a huge setback for Munoz and snaps a 7 bout losing streak for Guereca. Needless to say this left those in attendance speechless, as no one saw this coming!
In one of the most highly awaited matchups of the weekend, hometown rivals Christian Cabral (5-0-1, 3 KO’s) 143.8 lbs. squared off against Donald Sanchez (2-1, 1 KO) 148.6 lbs. in a six rounder. Sanchez, a veteran cage fighter in addition to boxing, was a huge favorite in this bitter neighborhood rivalry. At the weigh in the previous day, it looked like the boxers would fight for free. Although local boxing experts liked Cabral personally, they feared for his health when talking about the match. Meeting in center ring for the referee’s instructions, indicated that no friendship had developed between the pair in the previous 24 hours.
Looking more like a contestant on Dancing with the Stars than a pugilist, Cabral appeared to confuse his flat footed opponent. Creating angles with his lateral movement, allowed Christian find a home for his left jab; which left Donald off balance and out of range. In the second, El Puma started dropping overhand rights over Sanchez’s left which he was carrying low. Donald was able to open a cut on his opponent’s left eye. Cabral supporters claimed it was the result of a head butt, but I could not confirm that sitting at ringside.
Sanchez continued to pressure Cabral, often trapping his allusive foe on the ropes. Christian appeared very relaxed there, flashing a defense reminiscent of Holly Mims the great middleweight of the 50’s and 60’s. Cabral’s movements seemed to deflect much of the power of Donald’s punches. Despite being in control most of the first five rounds, the fight had much drama and Christian still had three minutes to go. Sanchez’s persistence was finally rewarded in the final round. Donald exploded a hard right cross to his opponent’s body; suddenly Cabral looked more like a mannequin in a store window display, than dance contestant on a TV show.
It took some in the audience a few seconds to realize “El Puma” was hurt as he had been successful fighting off the ropes the entire evening. Fans of both boxers were working themselves into lather, hoping the end was near. Depending on whom you were cheering for; the sound of a bell or the noise a body makes when it lands on canvas. The bell rang first!
Waiting for the verdict at center ring, it appeared Sanchez told his rival he had won. The verdict was 59-55 twice and 58-56 a unanimous decision in favor of Cabral. The boxers embraced in mid-ring; bitterness had turned to sportsmanship and mutual respect. Immediately fans started speculating; what if the fight had been scheduled for eight rounds; would Christian have regained control or Sanchez finished off his elusive foe?
The evenings second bout had Socorro’s Adrian Lopez (4-1-1, 1 KO) 174.8 lbs. facing “Duke City” Ricky Villafuerte (0-2-0) 172.4 lbs. in a four rounder. Both boxers opened the fight as southpaws, but Lopez reverted to his normal orthodox style when Villafuerte had early success. Both boxers were tentative in a feeling out round, which seemed to work in Villafuerte’s favor. The next three rounds Lopez used his greater experience to take control of the match. His quick handed infighting was superior, forcing his opponent to seek the perceived safety of boxing at long range. Ricky showed much improvement over his pro debut but he needs more experience before facing someone of Adrian’s background.
It was Santa Fe virus Albuquerque when Paul Castillo (3-0-0, 1 KO) 134.8 lbs. squared off against hometown Diego Batista (0-2-0) 134.8 in a scheduled four rounder. At the previous day’s weigh-in these boys seemed to genially seem to like each other; joking and laughing at each other’s antics. At the opening bell both boxers turned into Mr. Hyde. Castillo fought the first round as if he had been promised bonus money for ending the bout in less than three minutes. He came at his opponent with his entire arsenal, finally dropping “The Sandman” with an overhand right to the head. I felt an accidental trip had as great an influence in the resulting knockdown.
Apparently Diego consumed a can of Popeye’s spinach between rounds because the second was a complete reversal of the first. Now Batista was Mr. Hyde as he was driving Castillo around the ring, dropping bombs along the way. Diego exploding a multi punch combination on his opponent which resulted in Castillo working on the canvas. Some spectators felt the knockdown was the result of a punch to the back of the head. Whatever the cause, the fans were going crazy yelling encouragement to both boxers. The referee warned Castillo, who was trapped against the ropes, if he didn’t punch back that he would stop the bout. The bell solved that problem.
An exhausted sandman answered the bell for the third. Instead of going for the knockout, Diego was content to follow Paul around the ring. The action that did take place was rightly credited to Castillo. With his head cleared, the Santa Fe boxer carried the final round with some sharp punching to both the head and body. The verdict was 38-36 on all score cards in favor of Castillo. This bout is an early candidate for fight of the year.
Castillo has a secret that I am going to share with the readers. When he signs a contract for a fight, he goes to the gym every day and trains. What an original idea.
It was an exciting night of boxing, which raised some questions and answered some others.
In other boxing news Roswell’s John “Smiley” Herrera (4-6-1, 2 KO’s) 122.8 lbs, fought on the undercard of the Brandon Rios/Mike Alvarado card at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. His opponent Tremaine Williams (6-0-0, 2 KO’s), who looks like smaller version of former champ Parnell Whitaker and fights like him, won a unanimous decision over “Smiley.” John had a solid defense, blocking many of his opponent’s punches. Unfortunately Herrera could not penetrate the southpaw William’s defense, losing a unanimous four round decision.
Matthew Bacca (left) & Yorden Hernandez Square Off At Weigh-in - Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
TORRES AND HERNANDEZ OVERCOME YOUTHFUL OPPONENTS AT WOOL WAREHOUSE IN ALBUQUERQUE ON EXCITING CARD
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – March 29, 2013
In the main event Josh “Pitbull” Torres (11-2-1, 5 KO) 149.6 lbs. stopped a live underdog in Jose “Guero” Sanchez (2-1, 1 KO) 148.2 lbs. at 2:01 of the seventh round. Going into the match, Sanchez was finding a lot of love in the local gyms. Many veteran boxing people were predicting an upset by stoppage for the “Duke City” Sanchez. This belief seemed to be based on “Guero’s” impressive sparing with undefeated Abie Han of El Paso, Texas.
At the opening bell it was obvious that the middle Sanchez brother was not intimidated by Torres. He came out throwing but “Pitbull” has an excellent defense and blocked most of the bombs thrown his way. Additionally he started timing his opponents attack, answering with impressive counter punching. Sanchez seemed to throw more blows and might have captured the round. The second was a repeat of the first with Sanchez looking for a homerun, while Torres was content to block punches and look to counter. The final 15 seconds of the stanza, “Guero” was pinned in a natural corner, trying to avoid his opponent’s attack.
In the third Sanchez continued to be the aggressor, but Torres seemed to be biding his time and started taunting his younger rival. The fourth saw the elder Josh land some heavy blows, firing hooks and crosses off an impressive left jab. Trapped near his own corner, “Guero” eat a left hook to the head resulting in the bouts first knockdown. It was obvious that the live underdog would need something new if he hoped to stem the tide of his opponent’s assault.
Rounds five and six Torres was content to defend and counter punch, while a game Sanchez continued to attack. This was new territory for the upstart as he had never been past the fourth round before. He was throwing more punches but expanding a lot of energy in the process. A left hook followed by an overhand right dropped the game Sanchez for the second time in the seventh. Torres drove his opponent into a natural corner where the referee stopped the contest. Sanchez rolled the dice and came up with snake eyes. In a bout where he had little to gain and everything to lose, “Pitbull” was very impressive. He proved tonight that he is ready to move up to the next level!
The co-feature had the same story line as the main event but with a different expectation; knowledgeable gym veterans were showing little love for Matthew Baca’s (2-1, 2 KO’s) 138 lbs. chances against Yorden Hernandez (3-0, 1 KO) 140 lbs. Both boxers were undefeated but Yorden was ten years older in a match-up of “Duke City” junior welterweights. Prior to the bout, there was little love lost between the rivals; resulting in a near punch-out on the scales the previous day.
The first two rounds saw both participants throw brutal body punches that would have dropped most rivals. It was obvious the boxing pundits had underestimated the durability of “Champ” (Baca’s nickname). The difference appeared to be Hernandez’s ability to also land to his rival’s head. With age comes wisdom and Yorden was demonstrating his greater experience.
Hernandez opened the third with a brutal right hand uppercut. Using head and shoulder faints Yorden controlled most of the round. For his part, Baca continued to fire with both hands to the body. This patterned continued in the fourth with Hernandez clearly showing the greater ring generalship. By not also going to the head more “Champ” was becoming predictable and his opponent was taking advantage of it. Also it appeared Matthew might mix things up by employing a left jab, but that was not part of his attack.
The fifth was a big round for the older boxer, hurting Baca with a blistering attack to both the head and body. For over a half minute the youngster was rocked all-over the ring and had claret running from his nose. Having expanded so much energy seeking a knockout, Hernandez appeared tired taking deep breaths near Baca’s corner. This gave Matthew new optimism and he launched an attack of his own. Hernandez continued to outbox his rival in the final round, once again drawing blood from Baca’s nose. Scores of 59-55, 60-54 and 60-56 resulted in a unanimous decision for Hernandez.
Amanda Crespin (7-5-1, 2 KO’S) 126.2 lbs. a local favorite from Las Vegas, NM faced old time rival Nohime Dennison (5-2-2) 123.4 lbs. of Albuquerque. This was their third meeting, the “Duke City” native having won the first two confrontations. The first round both girls had plenty of energy, but neither could establish an attack. Dennison had the superior speed and lateral movement but Crespin appeared capable of cutting off the ring. The second saw both girls start to find the range. Nohime was landing sneak overhand rights while Amanda was flashing a nice left hook. The action had clearly picked up.
The third saw “Boom Boom” land nice jabs and straight rights on several occasions when Dennison was moving in. Crespin landed a nice combination early in the round that caught her opponent’s attention. Unfortunately she failed to follow up her advantage, remaining stationary. Nohime had a strong finish, repeatedly beating his opponent to the punch. The final two rounds, the Albuquerque girl used her superior hand and foot speed to impress the judges. Amanda landed some solid punches both stanzas but just stood there admiring her work. Scores of 57-57, 59-55 and 60-56 gave the Dennison a majority decision which seemed popular with the crowd.
Jason Sanchez (2-0, 1 KO) 127.6 lbs. faced Suanitu Hogue (0-2) 127 lbs. in the opening bout of the evening. The youngest Sanchez brother is considered an excellent prospect and quickly showed why in the opening round. Throwing a right hand to the body off a left jab, Jason dropped his opponent in front of his rival’s corner. Hogue appeared to be in a lot of pain but somehow beat the count. Amazingly he brought the attack to Sanchez, landing several body punches.
The taller Jason is a beast and landed several body punches of a nice jab. Hogue is one tough hombre and moved in on his opponent on several occasions. Rounds three and four Sanchez continued his blistering attack but the game Hogue continued to fight back. I’ve seen Suanitu before and he just keeps coming forward. Call me crazy but I think the Farmington boxer has some upscale. Jason Sanchez is the real deal and captured a unanimous decision on identical scores of 40-35.
Once again promoter Joe Chavez and match maker Martin Narro delivered an excellent show to the delight of the fans. Torres and Hernandez were very polished in finding the winners circle. Where has Yordan been hiding, this boy is ready for some big time matches right now! “Guero” Sanchez and Matthew Baca gambled and lost but their careers are far from over. They both showed the fans something and have large followings. The above mentioned Torres has lost twice and his future is very much in front of him. All Sanchez and Baca have to do is look at Torres’s Resume and know that their careers are far from over.
Brian Mendoza (left) & Ronald Jones (right) - Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPS CROWNED IN ALBUQUERQUE BEFORE CAPACITY CROWD
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – March 23, 2013
Saturday, at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center five Golden Gloves champions were crowned in the open division. Along with four other champs who were the recipients of walkover wins, these boxers will travel to Denver, CO. for the regional championships in April. No one will be representing New Mexico in the 201 pound class.
The first open division title was at 123 lbs. Jose Osrio (Duke City Brawlers) Won-RSC against Isaac Bustillo (Unattached) in the opening round. The solidly built Osrio dropped Bustillo with a hard right to the body. Isaac was deemed in no condition to continue.
Jesus Holguin (Abq Pal) faced Mario Gonzales (School of Hard Knocks) in the second open bout of the evening in the 132 pound Division. Gonzales used a nice jab and good timing to control the opening round. The Hobbs fighter started throwing rights off his jab to open the second. For his part Holguin landed a solid right to his opponent’s head and a nice left hook to the body. It appeared for a brief moment the Hobbs fighter was hurt. Gonzales appeared to throw more punches but Holguin was definitely landing the harder ones. Holguin continued to pick up the pace in the final round when he exploded a right hand to the head of Gonzales, dropping him to the canvas.
Mario got to his feet before the ten count and wanted to continue. The referee had different ideas and the bout was over. Without question Gonzales’s had the most difficult road to the finals of anyone in the tournament; but the Hobbs boxer was making no excuses for his loss.
The third open bout of the evening involved Able Mendoza (School of Hard Knocks) and Edwin Acosta (Las Cruces Pal) in the 141 lb. Division. I saw the taller Acosta win on Thursday night and knew he was a solid competitor, comfortable fighting on the inside. This was Mendoza’s first fight of the tournament but he seemed loose at the opening bell. Able appeared to carry the opening frame with hard hooks to the body. The fact that Edwin failed to use his reach advantage made it easy for the Hobbs boxer to get inside.
In the second, Acosta started throwing uppercuts which affected Mendoza’s rhythm. Suddenly a left hook drove the Hard Knocks boxer into the ropes, where he was administered a standing eight count. Able appeared composed and was allowed to continue. Mendoza appeared to land the harder punches in the third but Acosta might have thrown more. I felt it was a very close fight and not sure how it would be scored. The verdict was in favor of Mendoza, and a trip to Denver for next month regional’s.
In the open division’s fourth bout of the evening at 165 lbs., Pedro Martinez (NMMI) Won-RSC when Daniel Terrazas (Terrazas) suffered his second knockdown of the first round. It appeared Terrazas a southpaw walked into a hard right hand to the body causing the first knockdown. From my seat at ringside, I felt a trip sent, not a punch, put Daniel on his back hard for the second knockdown. The referee felt it was a punch and would not allow the bout to continue. Referees have a difficult job and are often second guessed, I’m not going to argue with his call.
Brian Mendoza (Atrisco) defeated Ronald Jones (Abq Pal) when the referee stopped the contest (RSC) in the first round. This was the final open bout of the evening, fought at 152 lbs. Jones, who has blazing speed, of hand and foot, was bothering his opponent early in the first. Ronald was creating angles, allowing him to land clean punches to Brian’s head and body. The Atrisco boxer was determined, not discouraged and keep applying pressure. He exploded a left hook off the midsection of the Pal boxer, sending him reeling into the ropes. Jones appeared paralyzed, as if bitten by a venomous snake. A left hook to the head spilled the game boxer onto his back.
Most years, someone with the ability of Jones would be champion but he was facing a special fighter in Mendoza. Brian has incredible hitting power in either hand as well as amazing accuracy. Mendoza has the ability to go all the way in GG’s competition and it will take a special talent to stop his advancement.
The evening’s program opened with a pair of exhibition matches. Felix Rodarte (Boot Camp) boxed Jacob Mckeehin a teammate at 94 lbs. 8 yr age division. Both youngsters displayed solid defense and nice footwork in entertaining the audience. Angelo Valencia (Henry’s Golden Gloves) faced Matthew Griego (Mirabal Boxing). Both boxers received walkover wins and will represent New Mexico in Denver; Angelo at 108 pounds and Matthew representing the team at 114 lbs.
In the third bout of the evening Santiago Giron (Power & Glory) decision Jose Lares (TNT) at 77 lbs. age 11 Div. Lares displayed a nice jab overhand right combination and was the aggressor in the first. Giron opened the second with some impressive counter punching but the TNT boxer was still more aggressive. Santiago appeared to control the final round as he landed more punches.
It was bombs away when Arturo Garcia (USA Elite) faced Michael Pavelko (Team Tapia) at 89 lbs. age 11 Div. The fighters were insulted if their opponent missed in the opening round. It looked like two game cocks in the second with Pavelko having a slight edge. Michael employed defense in the final round to catch the judge’s eyes and win the decision.
In the evenings sixth bout Marissa Torres (Team Tapia) Win-RSC Jacqueline Jacquez (Martinez Boxing) at 130 lbs. open division. Marissa overwhelmed the game Jacqueline with jabs and overhand rights. I saw Torres a few months age and her improvement is remarkable.
In bout number seven James Rodriguez (unattached) W-Dec over Isaiah Perez (MVP) at 77 lbs. 11 age division, in an exciting bout. James is the son of Victoria Cisneros, veteran pro from the Duke City. Watching his fights, the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Rodriguez controlled the match behind a strong left jab and being a good judge of distance. Perez was tough but had total disregard for defense, which hurt him in the end.
Santiago Amaro (Power & Glory) W-Dec over Luis Maldonado (TNT) at 110 lbs. 14 age division. Maldonado is a slick boxer with a nice jab. Amaro, for his part, is good on the inside. This was a close bout and I would have been OK with Luis getting the verdict.
Lorenzo Resendiz (Terrazas) Won when the RSC against Jose Vialpando (Team Tapia) at 120 lbs in the novice division. Moments after the opening bell rang; Vialpando fell to the canvas in pain. It was determined he dislocated his right shoulder.
The evening’s tenth bout was a thriller between Walter Sienkiewicz (NMMI) and Tony Galento look-a-like Lorenzo Benavidez (South San Jose). Sienkiewicz won by decision at 194 lbs. in the novice division. Benavidez appeared to be a foot shorter than his NMMI opponent. But you can’t judge a size of a person’s heart by looking at him and Lorenzo’s is as large as the Grand Canyon.
For the first two rounds Walter used his enormous reach advantage and uppercuts to keep his opponent at bay. There was no denying Benavidez who just kept charging. In the final round a few well placed over hand rights caused Sienkiewicz to have a bloody nose. The verdict was correct but the fans loved the underdog. The NMNI’s boxer has some potential, learning lateral movement would allow him to be more efficient in the ring. If you look up the word perseverance in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Benavidez next to it.
In the 150 lb open class Vanessa Herrera (USA Elite) won by decision over Desiree Duran (TNT). Herrera used a body attack to overwhelm her opponent. Vanessa, a southpaw, had too much ring savvy for the game Duran.
Bout number fourteen ended almost before it started. Sergio Madrid (Martinez Boxing) won when the referee stopped the contest in the first round against Isaac Perez (MVP) in the 110 lb. 14 year division. A southpaw, Madrid caught the surprised Perez with a solid overhand left. Isaac dropped to the canvas ending the proceedings.
In the 130 lb open class, Brianna Herrera (USA Elite) decision Dacia Jacquez (Jacquez) in a display of infighting. Herrera used hooks and crosses to dominate all three rounds against Jacquez. To her credit, Dacia landed her jab often against her aggressive opponent. If she could work on her lateral movement, she would be a more difficult target to hit. I’ve seen Herrera box on several occasions, she needs to improve on her defense if she wants to become an elite boxer.
The sixteenth bout of the evening was a beauty between Marcus Ewing (TNT) and Adam Reyes (Martinez Boxing) in the 150 lb. open division. Ewing was the victim of a rare double disqualification on Thursday in and exciting bout. Reyes was not entered in the GG’s competition but is one talent dude. I have no idea why he did not enter the competition. I’ve seen his brother Jonathan box in the past, this boy comes from solid blood lines.
These boys wasted little time getting down to business, turning the ring into a Fourth of July celebration in the first round. Both boxers landed some hard shots, but Adam appeared to win the round with some heavy hooks to the body. Ewing seemed to get off first in the next stanza, while the bomb throwing Reyes seemed to be looking for the homerun. Marcus dropped Adam with a left/right combination in the third, in what was an exciting fight. Reyes captured the decision in a bout that could have gone either way.
In the final show bout of the evening Gabriel Gurrola (MVP) decision Brian Andrade (Atrisco) at 120 lbs in the 13 age division. Andrade was a solid infighter but the quicker hands of Gurrola allowed him to get off first. If Brian had applied more pressure Gabriel might not have had the time to fire his patented one-twos.
It was a great three days of action, but disturbing that only five of the ten spots on the team were filled in the ring. Four boxers are going to Denver as walkovers and the 201 pound spot was not filled. This week the schools are administration state wide testing and several boxers skipped the GG’s due to testing on Thursday. Also many amateurs are turning pro in New Mexico at eighteen, eliminating some of the boxers in the open division fighter pool. One thing is for certain; Brian Mendoza is a blue chip prospect and has an excellent chance of going all the way.
This year’s NM State GG’s team is comprised of Angelo Valencia 108 lbs., Matthew Griego 114 lbs., Jose Osrio 123 lbs., Jesus Holguin 132 lbs., Able Mendoza 141 lbs., Brian Mendoza 152 lbs., Pedro Martinez 165 lbs., Omar Farajado 178 lbs., 201 lbs. not filled and Zayn Bin-Bilal 201 plus lbs.
Finally, the presents of a large contingent of boxers from the New Mexico Military Institute proved to be a nice addition to the Golden Gloves tournament. Pedro Martinez of NMMI qualified for a spot on the team going to Denver. They also brought a color guard on Friday and Saturday nights to perform the National Anthem. Both inside and out of the ring the fans appreciated the NMMI students. It should be noted that referee Rocky Burke is a proud graduate of the New Mexico Military Institute and often speaks proudly of his days there. Let’s hope NMMI makes participation in the GG’s a tradition in future years.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
GOLDEN GLOVES NIGHT TWO IN ALBUQUERQUE: CASTRO AND JONES IN WAR
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – March 22, 2013
Friday the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center hosted the second night of Golden Gloves action in the open division. There were a total of eight bouts, three in the open class. Considering that New Mexico is a hotbed for the sport, I was surprised by the small number of open bouts.
The first of the open division competition at 132 lbs. Jesus Holguin (Alb Pal) decision Eddie Givens (Unattached) in a one sided contest. Both boxers were tall and thin but that’s where the similarities ended. Holguin came to win, Givens came to survive. Eddie had a defensive style similar to that of Floyd Mayweather, using his left shoulder to block rights to his head. But Floyd also has an attack, Eddie had none. The switch hitting Holguin quickly lost any concern about getting hurt and boldly went after his opponent.
In the second Givens started throwing some leather but not too much. The lanky Holguin was firing straight rights and left hooks off a crisp left jab. When he switched to southpaw he was just as effective. The third was a repeat of the first two rounds. There was little suspense, while the boxers awaited the verdict. As expected, Jesus Holguin was awarded the decision and a shot at the title on Saturday night.
Sergio Quintana (Martinez Boxing) faced Mario Gonzales (School of Hard Knocks) in the second open bout of the evening at 132 pound Division. The shorter Quintana used rushing tactics to get inside his taller opponent. Sergio would then start throwing hard shots to the body of Gonzales. For his part Gonzales seemed comfortable fighting on the inside. The aggressive Quintana might have edged his opponent in the first.
This was Gonzales’s second bout in two nights, having won a difficult decision over a talented David Duchaussche in an action packed fight. I thought he would need distance if he was to have success, but Mario had different ideas. In the second he met Sergio’s lunging offense with hard right hand uppercuts. This broke his opponent’s rhythm and created room for follow-up left hooks. When Quintana would step back he had deal with Gonzales left jab. The third was a repeat of the second with Quintana getting caught coming in with uppercuts and hooks. Mario was awarded the decision and a trip to the finals. My only caveat concerning Gonzales; how much is left in the tank after two tough fights in two nights. I like the way Gonzales makes adjustments depending on how his opponent fights. This is a sign of a good boxer.
The final open bout of the evening turned out to be the fight of the night. Edgar Castro (Martinez) faced Ronald Jones (Alb Pal) in the 152 pound division. This division is loaded and Castro and Jones were about to show why. The previous evening Jones overwhelmed his opponent in a first round stoppage.
Answering the first bell it appeared RJ was going to duplicate his performance of the opening night. Jones has speed to spear and quickly landed jabs and left hooks to his confused opponent’s head and body. Castro appeared hesitant and confused with no idea what to do.
The second opened liked the first had ended, with Jones in total command. Castro’s evening was heading south and quickly if he didn’t do something fast. Edgar just started throwing and surprisingly his punches started finding a home. Suddenly Jones’s body was made of Velcro and Castro couldn’t miss. Encouraged by his success, Edgar was throwing to both the head and body and it was his opponent who was bewildered. This prompted the referee to issue a standing eight count to the overwhelmed Ronald.
Castro exploded out of his corner to start the third but Jones answered with his greatest gift—speed. Creating angles RJ was now confusing his opponent and finding openings at the same time. Landing his trade mark looping hooks and crosses, Ronald was backing Edgar up. This resulted in the referee issuing a standing eight count to Castro. In a great bout Jones was awarded the verdict.
Jones will now face the tourney favorite, hard punching Brian Mendoza for the title. Jones is coming off a brutal war that Mendoza enjoyed viewing from ringside. There is no truth to the rumor that Brian requested the tournament committee of having Jones and Castro fight an additional twelve rounds.
Mustafa Noori (New Mexico Military Institute) won by a bye when his opponent scratched in the night’s second bout.
In the evening’s third bout at 100 pounds at 11 years of age, Zerna Adame (TNT) won when the referee stopped contest in the opening round against Raeshaw Arthur. Adame overwhelmed Arthur at the opening bell leaving the third man little choice but to halt proceedings.
The open bouts were interspaced with the other bouts on the card that’s why it might be confusing to the reader when the order of the bouts appears to be numerically incorrect.
The evening’s fifth bout had George Sims (New Mexico Military Institute) opposing Oscar Rios (Gallup) at novice in the 165 pound division. Sims controlled the action in the opening round behind a nice left jab. This kept his opponent off balance and lunging much of the time. But the determined Rios started landing on his taller foe in the second. Suddenly Sims was breathing hard and looking tired. This prompted the referee to issue a standing eight count to the NMMI boxer. Momentum was now on the side of Rios and the bout was stopped in the third. Sims had no answer to the offense of the Gallup fighter. Rios was declared the winner RSC.
The six bout of the night was loaded with action in the 11 year 75 pound weight division. Isaiah Perez met Santiago Jiron at mid-ring and they never stopped throwing punches the entire three rounds. They looked like two Ever Ready bunnies, whose batteries were fully charged. For the record, Perez was awarded the decision in a bout that could have gone either way.
The evening’s final bout in the novice division at 127 pounds Santiago Trujillo (New Mexico Military Institute) faced Lorenzo Resendiz (Terrazas). Trujillo is the school photographer, having taken all the teams photos the previous night. Now he was inside the ring having his first amateur bout. Give Lorenzo credit, he was scrappy in losing a decision to the more experienced Trujillo.
The Jones/Castro bout was worth the price of admission itself. If the finals even come close to the excitement of that bout the championships should be a great night of boxing.
Brian Mendoza - Photo By: Brandon Munoz
GOLDEN GLOVES OPENED TONIGHT IN ALBUQUERQUE MENDOZA AND JONES IMPRESSIVE IN FIRST ROUND STOPPAGES
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – March 21, 2013
Thursday the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center hosted the opening night of Golden Gloves action in the open division. Boxers from around the state traveled to the Duke City in what they hope is the first leg of a journey leading to a national championship. In addition to the five open bouts, twelve other matches entertained the sellout crowd.
The first of the open division competition at 132 lbs. Mario Gonzalez (School of Hard Knocks) decision David Duchaussche (Unattached) in the fight of the night. When they looked at each other they saw a spitting image of themselves. They had identical styles and knew how to box. The opening round both fighters elected to work on the outside. Each boxer threw an assortment of punches off their jabs to both the head and body. I gave the edge to Duchaussche in a very close round.
In the second, the fighter from Hobbs appeared to hurt David with a right to the midsection. Gonzalez was starting to land down stairs with a degree of effectiveness. In final round Mario continued his body attack landing some eye catching shots with each hand. This probably swung the match in his favor. Both boxers showed a lot of skill and you hated to see either fighter lose.
The second open division competition at 141 lbs. Edwin Acosta (LC Pal) decision Juan Andrade (Atrisco) in a match of contrasting styles. Andrade used angles to create openings against his taller opponent. Once inside, his crowding approach allowed him to score effectively. Acosta started to figure things out in the final minute of the first. Close round, edge Andrade.
The second round could have been fought in a play pen. Surprisingly, the much taller Acosta was more than holding his own on the inside. In a difficult round to score, I gave the edge to Acosta. The final three minutes continued to see Edwin willingly work on the inside. The work rate of both participants was very high.
The third open division bout at 152 lbs. Roland Jones (Alb Pal) stopped Antonio Segovia (Mad House) The reed thin Jones controlled the action from the outside with blinding hand speed. When Segovia was able to work his way inside, he found Roland more than capable of handling the pressure. This prompted the referee to issue a standing eight count just before the end of the round. The corner of Antonio had seen enough and would not allow their game competitor to continue.
The fourth open division match also at 152 lbs. Brian Mendoza (Atrisco) stopped Ryan Lechuga (School of Hard Knocks) at the end of one. I had heard many superlatives regarding Mendoza and he more than lived up to them. He landed hard shots to both the head and body of his game opponent. I have little doubt that the Hobbs boxer would win many open division matches but not against a talent like Brian. Ryan’s corner showed compassion and common sense in not letting the bout continue. I can’t wait to see Jones face Mendoza if they meet up in the finals.
The final open bout was also contested at 152 lbs. Adam Vasquez (Gallup) and Marcus Ewing (TNT) were both disqualified in the third round, for what I have no idea. It was an exciting contest and might have been my fight of the night if it had been allowed to continue. I’ve seen a lot of boxing in over sixty years and felt both combatants fought hard but clean.
It was a terrific opening round with Vasquez showing heavy hands and good combinations. For his part, Ewing displayed an educated left jab and used angles to create openings. The second offered more of the same with Adam’s bombs against Marcus’s skilled boxing. I’m glad I did not have to turn in a score card after each of these rounds. It was obvious that the 152 pound class was loaded with talent. Unfortunately fans with not see either Vasquez or Ewing continue in the tournament.
The evening opened with Javier Espinosa (USA Elite) decision Paul Griego (Team Tapia) 111 lbs. 16 age div. Espinosa was credited with a standing 8 count in the opening round and continued to have success in the second. His straight punches were getting inside the looping shots of Griego. Javier’s rights proved deadly against his game opponent in the third.
The second bout of the evening Jonathan Loera (Warriors) decision Leroy Chavez (Team Tapia) l16 pounds novice div. This was a good bout but the jab of Loera and effective body punching was the difference. I’ve seen Chavez in action before and he’s a taught kid but he seems to draw bad dudes every time out. Let’s hope he gets the luck of the draw next time out.
The evening’s fourth bout Daniel Dunaway (School of Hard Knocks) decision Oscar Rios (Gallup) 165 pound novice div. Both combatants were game if a little raw at times. Dunaway was wild but connected at times against his opponent. Rios landed the straighter punches but failed to follow-up hi s opportunities. Both boxers were guilty of leaving it up to the judges.
The fifth bout Emanuel Hamins (NMMI) decision Mario Mendez (Gallup) 176 pound novice div. Hamins controlled the match behind a strong left jab against his game opponent.
Bout number six saw Isaac Perez (MVP) decision Andrew Silva (Boot Camp) 100 lbs. 14 age div. Perez was both polished and heavy handed in controlling the action against his competitive adversary.
Angela Cross (NMMI) overwhelmed Naomi Romero (Gallup) 130 lbs. 17 age div. forcing the referee to stop the bout in the first round.
The evenings tenth match saw Isaiah Garcia (USA Elite) decision Felix Rodarte (Boot Camp) 85 lbs. 9 age div. Garcia dropped Rodarte in the first with a right to the head. He continued to land overhand lefts and rights to the head in the second. Felix had his best round in the third, but it was a case of too little too late.
Gabriel Gurrola (MVP) decision Luis Maldonado (TNT) 119 lbs. 14 age div. in an exciting contest. Terrific hand speed by both boxers but Maldonado captured the first with left hooks and right crosses. Combination punching by Maldonado carried the second. The third was difficult to score; Maldonado was effective on the outside but Gurrola controlled the action in close.
Santiago Amar (Power & Glory) decision Isaac Maldonado (TNT) 106 lbs. 14 age div. After a slow start in the first, Amar took control behind strong jab and over hand rights.
In the evenings fifteenth bout Jesus Araujo (NMMI) decision Chad Valdez (Gallup) super heavyweight division 15 age div. Araujo was credited with a standing 8 count in the first and controlled most of the fight behind a strong left jab.
Lorenzo Benavidez (SSJ) won by way of disqualification against Walter Sieukiewiz (NMMI) in the opening round. Sieukiewiz’s protector cup repeatedly fell out of his trunks, prompting the referee’s decision.
In the evening’s final bout Chris Montoya (SSJ) stopped southpaw Albert Terrazas (Terrazas) in the first. Montoya dropped his opponent with an overhand right. The referee stopped the contest when Terrazas complained he couldn’t see.
It proved to be an entertaining evening; how often do you see a double disqualification and a protector cup that doesn’t protect.
Jonathon Reyes - Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
MIRABAL AMATEUR CARD AT WEST SIDE COMMUNITY CENTER PROVIDES PLENTY OF FIREWORKS
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – March 9, 2013
A sellout crowd at the West Side Community Center had to wait two and a half hours while a doctor was located. You cannot have a boxing card, pro or amateur, without a doctor present. But most in attendance last night will enthusiastically say it was worth the wait. From top to bottom this card was loaded and provided far more action that the HBO doubleheader featuring Bernard Hopkins. Unless you were hoping that the action provided by B-Hop would cure your insomnia. And for some I am sure that it did!
The evenings main was a beauty in the senior division, at 112 lbs. 16 age div. Matthew Griego (Team Mirabal, ABQ) decision Sergio Madrid (Team Martinez, Farmington). Madrid, a southpaw appeared to have a slight edge after two rounds, due to overhand lefts to his opponents head. Both boxers were quick and the rounds were difficult to score. In the final round Griego finally figured his opponent out. Matthew allowed Sergio to throw his overhand lefts first and countered with his own overhand rights. He had a big finish which probably captured the attention of the judges. Seating were not necessary as most of the audience was standing, shouting their approval during the entire contest.
In the semi-final at 120 lbs. 15 age div. Jonathon Reyes (Team Martinez, Farmington) stopped Walker Jimenez (Texas Elite Fight Club) in the third round. I have never seen Reyes in action before, but this boy can hit. He dropped his opponent with a right hand to the head in the first. Jimenez was game but had no answers in the second. In the third, the referee stopped the contest, saving the Texan from further punishment. Reyes is somebody to keep an eye on.
At 108 lbs 15 age div. Amado Santiago (Power & Glory, ABQ) decision Francisco Gomez (Team Mirabal, ABQ). The first round featured slick infighting by both combatants with Santiago having a slight edge. In the second Amado took charge switching his attack from the head to body and back again. The final round the Power & Glory boxer landed with some power.
On the distaff side, boxing at 135 lbs 15 age div. Jordanian Garcia (Power & Glory, ABQ) decision Brianna Herrera (USA Elite, ABQ). Garcia is an excellent boxer who controlled much of the action with a strong left jab and straight rights. Hererra is a pressure fighter and never stopped trying to work on the inside in an entertaining bout.
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.
At 135 lbs. in the 16 age div. Merica Valdez (Henry’s GG) decision Dacia Jacquez (Bloomfield Boxing). Having seen Valdez box before, she appears to be the complete package. She opened the first with a strong left jab and overhand rights. In the second, Merica started flashing right uppercuts and power shots on the inside. Not discouraged, Jacquez keep pressing forward giving Valdez a bloody nose in the final stanza. Some day the four girls mentioned above will become mother-in-laws, how scary is that!?
10 year old Jonathon Jimenez (Texas Elite Fight Club) won by walkover against Ivan Alvarado (Perez Boxing)
At 50 lbs. in the 8 age div. Christian Yellowman (505 Fight Factory) won by retirement at the end of round two against Andrew Marquez (USA Elite Boxing). Yellowman had a big first round, scoring a knock down with a right hand to the head. He continued his relentless attack in the second, landing lefts and rights to both the head and body. Christian Yellowman is one talented eight year old. Marquez would probably hold his own against most boxers his age, but Yellowman is not like most boxers his age.
At 103 lbs. in the 12 age div. Lazaro Estrada Jr. (Double D Boxing) decision Arturo Garcia (USA Elite Boxing). Estrada displayed good hand speed in controlling most of the action. He displayed an arsenal of punches to keep Garcia on the defensive for most of the night. For his part, Arturo never stopped trying.
At 68 lbs. in the 11 age div. Daniel Ochoa (Power & Glory, ABQ) decision Joshua Chavez (Team Mirabal, ABQ). The taller Ochoa got off to a good start, dropping his opponent with an overhand right in the first. Chavez started working well on the inside in the second. The fight was loaded with action, with the final round featuring Joshua on the inside virus Ochoa working at long range. The fans appreciated the efforts of both young men. Did I hear somebody say rematch?
In the open division, heavyweight John Baca (Henry’s GG) decision Dominic Perez (LC PAL). It was a close fight, but Baca moved his hands more. Defensively Perez is okay but you will never gain a decision on defense alone.
17 year old Angelo Valencia (Henry’s GG) won by walkover against Terry Jimenez (Texas Elite Fight Club)
At 117 lbs. in the 14 age div. Gabe Gurrola (MVP Boxing) decision Javier Espinoza (USA Elite Boxing) in a fight of the night contender. Both boxers have similar styles, preferring to work at long range. Gurrola stole the first round with busier hands. More action in the second as both youngsters displayed excellent left jabs. Both combatants let it all hang out in the final round, but Gurrola always seemed to throw the final punch of each exchange. The MVP boxer also seemed to have a slightly better defense.
In the open division Edgar Castro (Martinez Boxing) won by walkover against Eduardo Ortiz (Torito Boxing).
In the open division at 120 lbs. Jose Osorio (KO Company) scored a 1st round stoppage over Michael Montoya (M & J Boxing). Osorio was on fire, dropping his opponent with a right hand. Montoya did not appear to be able to launch an attack of his own, prompting the referee to stop the action. Some of the best boxers in the history of the sport have been caught cold, suffering first round stoppages; hopefully Montoya won’t be discouraged by his setback.
In the senior division at 130 lbs. Brian Ramirez (Martinez Boxing) decision Carlos Rodriguez (Victoria Cisneros Boxing). The much taller Ramirez had difficulty with shorter, muscular Rodriguez on the inside in the first round. At long range Brian controlled the action with his left jab. This would repeat itself over the next two rounds as neither boxer could establish a clear advantage. Although I had no problem with the verdict, I could see someone making an argument for Rodriguez, as all three rounds were hotly contested.
In another bout that was candidate for fight of the night at 100 lbs. 13 year old Martin Benitez (Campeon, TX) decision Braulio Trejo (FIT NHB). I was told to watch out for Benitez as he was very good. I knew Trejo was an exceptional amateur. This bout was all it was promised to be and then some. The first saw left jabs and uppercuts by both stocky, well built boxers. I was glad I didn’t have to score that round. In the second, Martin was credited with a standing eight count when a left hook sent Braulio into the ropes. A lot of skill was on display by both fighters.
It appeared that the Texan controlled the final round with jabs and hooks. The Duke City boxer laid on the ropes in an attempt to set his foe for counter punches. These boys have some major skills; it is hard to believe they are so young. In a rematch in Texas, I could easily see Trejo turning the tables on his rival. This bout screams rematch!!
The night’s activities opened with a shootout at 85 lbs. in the 10 yr. age div. Isaiah Garcia (USA Elite) decision James Rodriguez (Victoria Cisneros Boxing). The opening round was a toe-to-toe brawl, with little to separate the combatants. The second was Jamie’s jabs virus Isaiah’s windmill attack. The final round Rodriguez continued to work his left but abandoned any defense.
This was an entertaining amateur card from start to finish, well worth the wait to find a doctor. Female fighter of the night was awarded to Mercia Valdez, male boxer was Jonathon Reyes. Team trophy was awarded to Power & Glory Boxing club. The card opened with an exciting bout and ended the same way. This was a solid program from top to bottom. Richard Mirabal did an excellent job matching the combatants.
New Mexico boxers travel out of state this weekend with varying degrees of success
Undefeated middleweight Gerardo Quintana of Hobbs, NM continued his winning ways with an impressive second round stoppage of Jose Torres in Corpus Christi, Taxes on Friday night. Torres unwisely elected to trade punch-for-punch with the hard hitting Hobbs banger. In the second round a window shattering right-left combination to the Texan’s rib cage ended matters at the 41 second mark. I’ve seen all three of Quintana’s KO’s, this boy is for real. I would love to see him fight in the “Duke City.”
On the same card Gregory Gutierrez of Robstown, Texas won a unanimous decision over Omar Quevedo of Albuquerque. The taught luck Quevedo put up a spirited effort, but it was not enough against the nine and one Texan. On Saturday night, John Herrera of Roswell traveled to Phoenix, AZ, dropping a six round decision to veteran Alexis Santiago. A notorious slow starter, Herrera gave away the first two rounds before launching an attack. It was too little too late as John lost a unanimous decision.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE HOLM VS McGEE FIGHT CARD AT ROUTE 66 CASINO
By: Austin Killeen - March 6, 2013
Last December at Route 66 Casino, after another win by Holly Holm, two close circuit screens were unveiled for the viewing audience. An image of undefeated Cecilia Brackhus of Norway appeared. She had a message for Holly; why don’t we meet this summer and find out who the true champion is. Apparently Cecilia could not wait for summer as she is facing Mia St. John in April. I am not calling Mia a down grade, but she turned pro during the Clinton Presidency.
In my coverage of the card that evening I wrote; Forget Prazak and Braekhus the girl from Indiana might be the best challenge for the “Preacher’s Daughter.” My prayers were answered today when I arrived at the press conference; Mary “Merciless” McGee will be challenging Holly on May 11, 2013. McGee is the total package and in my opinion and upgrade over the previously mentioned Brackhus. The first test of greatness for any boxer is who they have faced. You can add McGee’s name to a long list of outstanding opponents Holm has opposed during her illustrious career.
If you cannot wait for the main event, get there early. Lenny Fresquez and his assistant Doris Robinson are putting on an outstanding undercard. Hard hitting, undefeated Junior Welterweight Matthew Baca will be fighting in the semi final scheduled for 6 rounds. Baca has been impressive in his early career, putting his opponents to sleep with no advanced warning. He is facing undefeated Yorden Hernandez prior to Mayhem card's main event. If Matthew continues to walk through the completion, look for him to be a major player on the local scene by the end of the year.
Three four round bouts complete the card. Undefeated Brian “El Torito” Romero (2-0) will be fighting at Welterweight. Brian is coming off a ten year layoff, having watched him in the gym; it looks more like ten weeks. The card also marks the debut of lightweight Gabe Gabaldon and welterweight Brian Mendoza. The 5’ 10” Gabaldon is three time New Mexico State Junior Olympic Champion and has some power. You can be assured that by May 11, all four undercard fighters will have live opponents facing them from the opposite corner. Fresquez and Robinson do not believe in building prospects records against dead bodies.
Killeen's Fighter Of The Night: David Duchanssee
THE MOUNTAIN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER HOST YOUNG HOPEFULS IN AMATEUR BOXING CARD
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – February 23, 2013
Saturday night the Mountain View Community Center in Albuquerque’s South Valley held a ten bout amateur card called “Road of the Champion” a USA Boxing sanctioned amateur event. The New Mexico Golden Gloves Association hosted the occasion to raise funds for future competitors who qualify for the nationals. It was an entertaining evening which featured youngsters from age eleven to open class.
In the evening’s main event in the open division at 132 lbs., 17 year old David Duchanssee (Unattached) stopped Leroy Chavez (Team Tapia) in the second round. This was the second time that I have seen Duchanssee box and the improvement was impressive. At the opening bell the taller David started landing left-right combinations from the outside and uppercuts inside. At the mid-point of round, Chavez came to life landing an impressive five punch combination to his surprised opponent. The crowd loved it, as the action continued to the bell. This was not wild punching, as both combatants showed some skills.
The fast pace continued in the next round. Suddenly Duchanssee unloaded an overhand right left hook combination, dropping Chavez for an eight count. Leroy appeared to be in control of his senses when he stood up, but the referee stopped the match seconds later. The Team Tapia fighter was visibly disappointed, as he appeared to have a lot of fight left in him. Both boxers said they will compete in next month’s Golden Gloves tournament to be held in the “Duke City.” Duchanssee looks like he could be a threat and do not be surprised if Chavez makes some noise as well.
In the co-main event at 132 lbs., 13 age div. Brianna Herrera (USA Elite) decision Sharahya Moreu (Team Tapia) in an old fashion slug fest. This was a rematch from last month in which Moreu put on a boxing exhibition to win a decision. The difference this time, Sharahya had little lateral movement allowing the aggressive Brianna to trap her on the ropes often. The USA Elite fighter is very powerful and deadly when cutting off the ring.
In the first, Brianna over powered her opponent, having no problem getting inside her taller adversary. In the second, Sharahya started landing her jab and overhand rights but still showed no lateral movement. The Team Tapia fighter probably won the round but took a lot of punishment to the body. It was a slug fest which was working to Herrera’s advantage. The final round was close but Moreu waited for her opponent to initiate the action before fighting back.
Last week, Sharahya lost a decision to seventeen year old Marcia Valdez, one of the best P4P amateurs in the state. That may have taken its toll on the young fighter. To her credit after the match, Moreu refused to use that as an excuse. She simply stated that Herrera was the better boxer that night. Put these two girls in the ring and your guaranteed to have an all-action contest every time they face each other.
Jose Lares (TNT) decision Isaiah Perez (MVP) 75 lbs. 11 age div. This was a competitive bout with both boys showing a lot of skills. Perez started strong but Lares closed well, close round. The taller Lares did well in the second but Perez’s lateral movement made him a difficult target. Isaiah is a cutie and was effective at creating openings in the final round. Good fight, in which I was grateful I was not a judge!
Southpaw Vanessa Herrera (Elite Boxing) decision Desiree Duran (TNT) Open 141 lbs. This was a contested match but the shorter Herrera probably carried the day with an effective bob-and-weave style. Duran fought much of the fight fighting off the ropes. If Desiree could keep the match in center ring the next time, the outcome could be. . .
Humberto Medina (Team Tapia) scored a close decision over James Rodriguez (Unattached) 85 lbs. 11 age div. Medina had a big first round, scoring a standing eight count. Rodriguez appeared to settle down in the second and closed the fight strong. The fans loved the action.
In the final bout before intermission Jacqueline Jacquez (Martinez Boxing) scored a narrow win over Marisa Torres (Team Tapia) 132 lbs. 17 age div. Jacquez won the first round with cleaner punches. Torres had style but not active. In the last two rounds, Marisa failed to follow up advantage over her tired opponent. Give Jacqueline credit, although she was weary, she keep moving her hands. It was close, but Jacquez was the busier boxer.
The evenings fourth bout saw Bryan Ramirez (Martinez Boxing) decision Vincent Jiron (Team Tapia) 132 lbs. 16 age div. Ramirez controlled the action from the outside in the opening round. Jiron did better in the final two rounds but failed to capitalize on advantages he created.
Gabriel Gurrola Jr. (MVP) took the verdict over Javier Espinosa (USA Elite) 119 lbs. 14 age div. It was a battle of left jabs in the opening round, with Gurrola appearing to have a slight edge. Espinosa opened the second stronger but junior took over at about thirty second mark. Gabriel had more energy in the final round but loaded up on his punches too much.
Isaac Perez (MVP) was impressive in winning a decision over a live adversary, Luis Maldonado (TNT) 106 lbs. 14 age div. Perez used a strong left jab to control the opening round. Maldonado was the aggressor but. . . Luis was successful in the second round when he got inside but Isaac was now flashing a nice right to go along with his left jab. Maldonado seemed to have his best round in the third but it was too little too late. Isaac told me after the match that he has had over fifty amateur bouts. Based on what I saw, he looks it. He is a very polished performer!
In a toe-to-toe war Jose Aguilar (Mirabal) won the verdict over Anthony Jaramillo (USA Elite) 119 lbs. 11 age div. Both boxers fought like they were being paid by the punch. Jaramillo started strong but Aguilar took over by rounds end. The second was a repeat of the first, Anthony landed some solid shots but Jose landed more. In the final round Aguilar scored a standing eight count. The fans gave both participants a good hand for an action bout.
I am starting to really enjoy the amateurs as they are usually very entertaining. I’m amazed at the skills that some of these youngsters have at such an early age. The fighter of the night in my eyes was David Duchanssee. The bout of the evening, in my estimation, was the rematch between Brianna Herrera and Sharahya Moreu. Not to be overlooked is the efforts of all the adults who put their time in to make these programs a success.
Photo By: Jose Castillo
MALDONADO MAKES BIG STATEMENT LAST SATURDAY IN MEXICO
By: Austin Killeen - February 20, 2013
When Fidel Maldonado announced last summer his son would be facing Michael Perez on ShoBox: The New Generation I thought he was being very foolish. Fidel Jr. was coming off a devastating TKO loss to Fernando Carcamo. This past weekend I once again questioned his judgment in having his son face power punching Jorge Romero in Mexico. Once again Fidel senior proved that I was the one with questionable judgment. Entering the ring the banger from Culiacan, Mexico had scored 21 KOs in 24 victories. He left the ring with the same victory statistics but with a slight change in his loss column.
At the opening bell Romero wasted little time establishing the fact that he could punch. Unfortunately for Jorge, he was only connecting with air. This is good if your shadow boxing but not in a real match. Maldonado was displaying some excellent skills in slipping most of his opponent’s punches. Fidel was flashing a defense I had never seen from him before. “The Atrisco Kid” always seemed to be just out of Romero’s punching range. This left the Mexican slugger visibly frustrated; often standing in mid-ring try to figure out what he had to do to land a punch.
Things would quickly go from bad to worse for Romero, when the southpaw Maldonado started landing left hand leads to the head. Trying to figure out how to stop Fidel’s left, opened up Jorge for incoming right hand jabs and hooks to both the head and body. Things were not going well for the boxer from south of the border and it was only the first round. Confused, Romero walked into an overhand left that landed on his exposed nose. This drew claret and a pained expression on his face. It also resulted in referee Florentino Lopez issuing a warning to Maldonado for holding!? I am glad the third man was on top of the action.
With his face clearly showing the effects of the “Duke City” native’s punching power; Romero elected to fight out of a crouch in the second round. This often left his head lower than Fidel’s belt line and out of position to launch any kind of attack. Not wanting to be the recipient of a head butt if his opponent suddenly stood up, Maldonado placed his glove on the back of Jorge’s head. Referee Lopez quickly sprang into action; issuing the Albuquerque boxer five warnings for holding and deducting a point. The referee was able to accomplish what Romero could not; stop Maldonado’s offense.
The third round proved to be the last for the game but confused Romero. Fidel landed a right jab followed by a devastating overhand left to the head. Jorge landed on the seat of his trunks and started rolling across the canvas in a desperate attempt to regain his footing. The third man finally did something I agreed with; stopping the action at thirty five seconds of the round. It was clear that Romero had no idea where he was or how he got there. It also means he will not get to wear the coveted WBC Latino silver lightweight title belt; that goes to Fidel. Who makes up these ridiculous titles? Is there a WBC Irish aluminum lightweight title belt and if so, who holds it?
Maldonado, who is under contract to Golden Boy Promotions, clearly has put his career back on track. He showed a devastating attack and some impressive defensive skills as well. Fidel Sr. stated “We would like to fight in Albuquerque in April and fight a rematch with Michael Perez in July.” No one will ever accuse Maldonado Sr. of being encumbered by false modesty. I often wonder if he could power a windmill just by talking to it. But give the man his due; he believes in his son’s ability as a boxer and himself as a trainer. Go to any fight card and Fidel Sr. will be working multiple corners. He is not being hired because he is incompetent.
At the P4P level in greater Albuquerque, four boxers appear to standout from the rest. After Saturday night’s performance in Mexico, Maldonado has separated himself from the other three. In the high stakes poker game of boxing, Fidel has just raised the ante. Is there anyone out there who is going to put some chips on the table or has “The Atrisco Kid” just claimed the pot?
SIJU SHABAZZ VERSUS TED WHITFIELD: A TALE OF TWO BOXERS
By: Austin Killeen - February 11, 2013
The year was 1964 and I was sitting ringside at the Western Massachusetts Golden Gloves finals in Holyoke. The fighters were already in the ring, at stake the featherweight championship and a trip to the New England Golden Gloves. I had seen the tall, thin boxer from Rhode Island fight before and he was good. I knew little about his opponent, Ted Whitfield, other than ringside comments that he could punch.
Seventy seconds after the opening bell the match was over. Whitfield had destroyed his opponent, in the process dropping the Rhode Island pugilist three times. Ted would go on to capture the New England GG’s title the following month. I had never seen somebody, in the flesh, look as dominating as Ted Whitfield. In little over a minute, his combinations were a blur and his power off the charts.
It is forty eight years later; I am ringside at the Route 66 Hotel and Casino in Albuquerque waiting for the much anticipated pro debut of Siju Shabazz. I did not know what the buzz was all about, but Louie Burke, the trainer of world champion Austin Trout, was working his corner. Shabazz’s opponent looked like a miniature version of Oscar Bonavena, the block of granite from Argentina in the 1970’s. In the first minute of the bout, all Siju could do was retreat, as his opponent’s power was impressive. Suddenly, Shabazz landed a double left hook to the body and head of his startled adversary, dropping him to the canvas. The bell would prevent the Las Cruces sensation from finishing off the Bonavena look-a-like. The sixty second rest period did little to improve the chances of Shabazz’s opponent. The referee mercifully stopped the slaughter in the second round. Sitting speechless, I realized that all the hype was now reality; I had seen the second coming of Ted Whitfield.
In October of 1964 Whitfield turned pro, scoring a knockout in the first round of his first bout. Over the next six months, he would improve his record to 13 and 0 with 10 knockouts. This resulted in a match with world class welterweight Gaspar Ortega. Ted silenced his critics, who thought he was being foolishly rushed, scoring a dominating decision over Ortega. Whitfield was now ranked in the top ten, in a boxing universe where there were only eight divisions and eight world champions. (Oh for the days of yore!) By June of 1966, his record was 24 and 0 with 14 KO’s, and he was ranked third in the world. People were calling him the best prospect to come out of New England since Featherweight Champion Willie Pep in the 1940’s. They would have to wait another 10 years, for the arrival of Marvelous Marvin Hagler (future middleweight champion), to see a talent like Whitfield again.
Shabazz is now 2 and 0, both by knockout. Although his record is not at the level of Whitfield’s in June of ‘66, he appears to be a real prospect. His second victory was over a very live opponent, who answered the bell in search of victory. It is reasonable to assume that by the end of 2013, the Las Cruces native will have established himself as a force in the light heavyweight division. His offense is seamless, as he effectively throws an assortment of punches with either hand. His physique is something to behold; standing over 6’ 1”, with his body fat at about 6% and reflexes of a cat, Siju appears to be near unbeatable.
In November of ’66 Whitfield traveled to Portland, Maine to faced crystal chin Leroy Roberts of Pennsylvania. Allegedly, the next coming of Sugar Ray Robinson was becoming a handful to deal with both in and out of the ring. Whatever the reason, Whitfield put forth a lifeless performance, losing a ten round decision. This would be the start of a five bout losing streak; his reputation falling faster than the stock market crash of ’29. He would end his career with a close decision win over a club fighter out of New York. Bring up his name in discussion around New England today and you will receive one of two responses: “who” or “what a waste of talent.”
What is not to like about Siju Shabazz? His talent inside the ring is matched by his personality outside of it. His amateur background is similar to that of Whitfield’s. At the age of twenty two, Siju won the National GG title, while Ted won the All-Service title in at the age of twenty one. No one could blame Shabazz if he starts to feel good about himself in the ensuing years. If he wants to remain grounded, he might want to look at a picture of Ted Whitfield first.
Shabazz is capable of matching the success of Whitfield; hopefully he does not duplicate his failures.
I would like to credit Dan Cuoco for his input regarding the career Ted Whitfield.
Siju Shabazz - Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
TORRES SHOWS MATURITY IN WIN OVER GUERECA AT THE CROWNE PLAZA
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – February 1, 2013
Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albuquerque, NM played host to a five bout boxing card promoted by Team Tapia. It was an exciting night of boxing before a near capacity crowd. Judging from the audience reaction, fans felt they received fair value for their hard earned dollars. All five bouts had plenty of action, on a night when the victors had to earn their wins.
Duke City’s Josh Torres (10-2-1, 4 KO’s) 147 lbs. scored a unanimous eight round decision over Bernardo Guereca (16-17-1, 3 KO’s) 149 lbs. of El Paso by scores of 80-72, 79-74 and 78-74. It was a tail of two fights with the first four rounds hotly contested and Torres closing strong in the final half of the bout.
In the opening stanza Josh had difficulty landing his jab do to Bernardo’s southpaw stance. The Texas import landed some telling body shots whenever “Pitbull” appeared confused. The second round saw Guereca switch back and forth form southpaw to righty which allowed him to land wide left hooks to the head. For his part Torres landed solid left hooks of his own and straight rights. By the third it was evident that Guereca was as strong as his opponent, something most fighters cannot claim. Both boxers were physically powerful and the match was becoming a battle of wills. Torres was having some success landing when his opponent tried to get inside. In the forth Torres was effective on the outside but Guereca was dominate in close. At the halfway point the fight was up for grabs.
In the fifth when Bernardo switched to orthodox, he ate a straight right to the face. Josh had figured out his opponent’s tactic of going from one style to another. He started landing solid shots to his confused adversary’s head and body. Even “Pitbull’s” jabs started finding a home. Trying to get back into the fight Guereca launched an all out attack. Using a tight defense, Torres road out the assault and had complete control of the fight. The last two rounds the Duke City native’s lateral movement created many opportunities to land his full arsenal of punches. At the final bell Torres appeared to be able to go ten rounds if he had to.
Commenting about the fight later, “Pitbull” stated; “he had me frustrated early, but we bit down hard and dug deep and did what we had to do to win.” It was an impressive triumph for the home town boy, who seems to be running out of opponents in the “Land of Enchantment.” P4P it would appear that Torres has put himself in the mix Archie Ray Marquez and Fidel Maldonado and will have to start facing boxers from out of state if he wants to reach the next level.
Albuquerque’s Hector Munoz (21-9-1, 14 KO’s) 147.8 lbs. won by TKO over Belen’s Jeremiah Torres (7-21-0, 1 KO) 146.2 lbs. at the end of two rounds. His corner did not allow Torres to continue. Hector is a beast who keeps himself in excellent shape. As a result his offensive assault came as no surprise to those in attendance. I had one caveat regarding the match; Munoz’s total destine for defense. He allowed his game opponent to land some powerful shots to the head and body. Why allow your adversary to inflict punishment when you could be improving your defense.
Siju Shabazz (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) 177.8 lbs. of Los Cruses stopped debuting Anthony Jones (0-1) 177.6 lbs. of Albuquerque at 1:40 of the second round. Give Jones credit; on two weeks training he elected to face a monster in his pro debut. At the opening bell the underdog came out firing and penetrated Shabazz’s defense with some overhand rights. But it did not take long for Siju to start landing his signature double left hook to body and head. A brutal hook by the Los Cruses fighter dropped the hometown pugilist at the end of the first. Jones started the second like he did the first breaking through defense of Shabazz a couple of times. But a brutal uppercut to the body dropped Jones to the canvas. The referee had seen enough and stopped the contest at 1:40 of the round.
Post fight Shabazz said; “My opponent, I’ve got to commend him a bunch. He had a lot of heart and a lot of people won’t get in the ring with me. Him not having as much experience as I do and still getting up in the ring with me, I commend him a lot for that. He’s strong, he’s very strong. He needs some more experience.” As for Jones, he’s not discouraged and wants to get back in the gym on Monday. Siju has an amazing assortment of punches he can throw with either hand. He looks capable of fighting main events right now. This young man has his picture in the dictionary next to the phrase ‘live prospect.’
In a clash of female boxers Las Vegas, NM’s Amanda Crespin (7-4-1, 2 KO’s) 125.2 lbs. faced Brenda Gonzales (2-1-0, 1 KO) 125.4 lbs. of Albuquerque in a four rounder. Prior to the evening many of the boxing pundits predicted this would be the fight of the night. The ladies did not disappoint. I’ve seen Crespin fight on several occasions. She throws beautiful combinations and is very aggressive. I heard that Gonzales was tough but had never seen her before.
At the opening bell it was apparent that both girls were in excellent shape and had come to fight. Crespin was aggressive and looking to land combinations. Each time she came forward, Gonzales would meet her with a crisp left jab. This appeared to throw Amada’s momentum off but not her eagerness to throw punches, which she did. The second was a repeat of the first with the Brenda now landing follow up rights to the head of her opponent. Crespin was throwing more leather but I felt many were landing on the arms and gloves of her opponent.
This would be the way the rest of the fight played out; Gonzales landing clean one-twos and Crespin throwing in greater volume. It was an action packed fight all that remained was the decision. The scores were 39-37 on all three judges’ cards and the winner by unanimous decision Amanda Crespin. The verdict resulted in a split reaction on the part of the crowd. Crespin fans cheered while Gonzales supporters were extremely vocal in their displeasure. I felt Brenda won due to her landing the cleaner punches. The judges clearly felt Amanda’s punches were landing with greater frequency than I credited her with.
The opening bout of the evening saw Rio Rancho’s Paul Castillo (2-0, 1 KO) 131.8 win by unanimous decision over Farmington’s Saunitu Hogue (0-1) 129.4 lbs. by scores of 40-36 and 39-36 twice. Castillo looked like the complete package in the first two rounds landing overhand rights, left hooks and right upper cuts. This arsenal of punches was always preceded by crisp left jabs. Towards the end of the second, the determined Hogue finally broke through his opponent’s defense. Trapping his opponent along the ropes, Saunitu unloaded to both the head and body.
The third was close, Castillo stopped using his jab and Hogue was having more success brawling on the inside. The final stanza appeared to go to the Farmington boxer as he was successful landing punches to the head and body on the inside. I felt the judges had it right, but I was at a loss why Castillo discarded his left jab in rounds three and four. If this had been six rounds and the fight had continued in the direction it was going, the verdict might have been very different.
The evening’s matches were further evidence as to why boxing is on the rise in New Mexico.
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing
RAYMOND G. SANCHEZ COMMUNITY CENTER HOST ENTERTAINING EVENING OF AMATEUR BOXING
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – January 19, 2013
Amateur teams from greater Albuquerque provided a night of entertainment for boxing fans. Called “Refuse to Lose” the card showcased youngsters from the age of ten to open class. From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow. Only time will tell if one of these youngsters will grow into a world class fighter.
In the evening’s main event in the open division at 124 lbs, 18 yr-old Brandon Munoz (Warrior Boxing) outpointed 17 yr-old David Duchanssee (Unattached) in a test of wills. For Munoz, it was a big improvement over his last bout when he dropped a lackluster decision. In the opening round he looked slick, displaying nice head movement. The taller Duchanssee surprisingly had difficulty with Brandon on the outside.
The second saw David start to find his rhythm but still seemed to struggle at long range. In the third Duchanssee found success on the inside with uppercuts and hooks. Munoz was the quicker boxer with an effective bob and weave. This caused his opponent to miss completely at times and proved to be the difference in the bout. There is talk of Munoz turning pro; he might want a few more amateur bouts before making the jump to the punch-for-pay ranks.
Mathew Griego (Team Mirabal) decision Christian Garcia (Warrior Boxing) at 118 lbs, 16 age div. in the semi-final bout. Garcia had not been in the ring in closed to two years and it showed. When he threw his left jab, he failed to step in with his lead foot. This resulted in many of his punches falling short. Griego for his part has a lot of speed and used it to pile up points.
On the distaff side, Sharahya Moreu (Team Tapia) defeated Brianna Herrera (Elite) 127 lbs, 14 age div. by decision in an action filled fight. Moreu continues to improve each time I see her, using her height and reach to advantage. She had to hold off a determined Herrera, who constantly worked hard to get on the inside. Sharahya made Brianna pay a price for the privilege of closing the distance. When I first saw Moreu, she use to go straight back when under pressure. Now she goes side to side, making her a more elusive target. She has developed a nice left jab and has a powerful overhand right. This girl has a great deal of upside.
Gabriel Gurrola (MVP) decision Francisco Gomez (Team Mirabal) 115 lbs, 12 age div. Gomez was good but Gurrola very good and is an excellent counter puncher.
Jose Aguilar (Team Mirabal) decision Anthony Jaramillo (Elite) 125 lbs, 11 age div. Aguilar climbed off the canvas in the first and closed the gap with a good attack to the head.
Isaac Bustillos (Unattached) decision Vincent Jiron (Team Tapia) 121 lbs, 16 age div. in an entertaining bout.
Victoria Prieto (New Era) decision Ambrie Garcia (TNT) 115 lbs, 13 age div. Garcia landed some power shots in the third but quicker hands and cleaner punches by Prieto impressed the judges.
Elijah Martinez (505 Fight Factory) decision Michael Pavelko (Team Tapia) 85 lbs, 11 age div. For one so young, Martinez showed a lot of skills and should only get better with time.
Malachi Mirabal (Team Mirabal) decision Isaiah Garcia (Elite) 85 lbs, 10 age div. Mirabal had strong third, scoring with solid body shots to capture the verdict.
Jose Lares (TNT) decision Gabe Sandoval (LC Pal) 73 lbs, 10 age div. Lares survived a strong finish by Sandoval to win. Both boxers displayed some skills.
Gilberto Romero (New Era) decision Humberto Medina (Team Tapia) 80 lbs, 10 age div. This was a close fight, with both boxers on the attack. This could have gone either way.
Lorenzo Benaritez (Team Mirabal) decision Aaron Monge (TNT) 195 lbs, 15 age div. This was a close fight with all three rounds contested. Monge was a poor judge of distance and this ultimately cost him the match.
Brailo Trejo (Fit) decision Isaac Medina (LC Pal) 100 lbs, 14 age div. There was a great deal of skills on display by both boxers. Trejo (see photo above) always seemed to find a way to land the final punch of each exchange. I’ve seen Brailo work in the gym, it is hard to believe he is only fourteen. He has pro written all over him. This bout could have easily been the final match of the night!
Fighter of the Night: Mathew Griego
Team Award: Team Mirabal
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
ESPN FRIDAY NIGHTS FIGHTS COME TO SANTA FE: LOCAL BOXERS GET EXPOSURE IN THEIR DEBUTS
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – January 11, 2013
In the ESPN main event: John Molina 136 lbs. (25-2, 20 KOs) of Covina, CA knocked out Dannie Williams 135.6 lbs. (22-3, 18 KO’s) of St. Louis, MO at 2:26 of the fourth round. The Missouri lightweight was the busier fighter in the first with Molina’s best punch an overhand right at the end of the round. Williams started finding the range in the second with jabs and overhand rights. Clearly he was taking charge of the bout. The third found the California boxer due a little better, landing an impressive right when he trapped his opponent along the ropes.
In the fourth Molina finally started finding his rhythm but Williams still seemed to be in control. Suddenly John landed a terrific right, off a left jab, to the temple of his opponent. Williams dropped to the canvas and rolled under the ropes. Climbing to his feet, Dannie was standing on the ring apron when referee Rocky Burke reached the count of ten. For his efforts Molina acquired the vacant NABO Title.
Brandon Gonzales 167.8 lbs. (17-0, 10 KOs) of Sacramento, CA gave a workman like performance in capturing a decision over Don Mouton 164 lbs. (12-5-1, 10 KOs) of Houston, TX. The taller Gonzales surprisingly elected to fight on the inside most of the fight. I judged Gonzales winning the first six rounds, even though many of them were closely contested. In the final two stanzas Mouton appeared to do better, even rocking Gonzales with a powerful left hook in the last ten seconds of the fight. But it was too little too late. Gonzales was awarded a unanimous decision by scores of 78-75, and 77-75 twice.
The local portion of the card featured Archie Ray Marquez (134 lbs) of Albuquerque against southpaw Rynell Griffin 132.8 lbs of New Orleans, LA. In a post fight conversation Griffin told me he lives in Las Vegas, NV. If Rynell was brought in as an opponent then somebody forgot to show him the memo, because that boy put on a pretty good show. Also the conditioning work that Archie is putting in at Momma D’s Dungeon is clearly paying off, because the “Duke City” resident is unmistakably cardio fit. He looked like he could have gone another six rounds.
The first was no feeling out round; both boxers went right to work. Griffin landed early, while Marquez closed the round strong. In the second, many of Archie’s punches seemed to go “South of the Border.” The pace was fast and Rynell was having success landing over hand lefts off his right jab. The third was close but Archie’s combinations seemed to carry the round. He was warned to keep his punches up.
The torrid pace continued in the fourth but Griffin seemed to land the cleaner punches. Marquez continued to land below the belt line. The fifth was another close round with Archie’s landing excellent combination only to have Rynell answer back with combinations of his own. The final stanza Marquez seemed to hurt Griffin a couple of times with overhand rights to the head. Griffin was warned for a rule infraction: lowering his head below his opponent’s belt line.
The scores were 59-55 and 58-56 twice in favor of Marquez. Up close Rynell’s face showed the marks of his profession, while Archie was unmarked. At a post-fight party, Marquez had Griffin sit at his table. Archie is a class act in wanting his new found friend to feel comfortable in a room full of strangers.
Referee Rocky Burke showed why he is an excellent third man in this bout. Southpaw versus orthodox boxer is the most difficult to officiate. Add the speed factor of Marquez and Rynell and you have a potential for a tricky bout to manage. The Las Cruces arbitrator was up to the challenge, seemingly invisible most of the fight.
In a four rounder, Eduardo Dominguez 142.2 lbs. (1-0) of Los Lunas, NM defeated Joshua Montoya 138.6 lbs. (0-2) of Albuquerque, NM. It was all Eduardo in the first, while the switch hitting Joshua did not seem effective from either side. The second was a repeat of the first. Montoya had some success in the third, giving his opponent a bloody nose. It did not seem to trouble the aggressive Dominguez, who was the busier boxer. Montoya landed some telling uppercuts in the final round, but appeared indifferent when trying to capitalize on his advantage. Dominguez captured a unanimous decision on scores of 39-37 twice and 40-36.
Making their pro debuts, Brandon Holmes 138.2 lbs. (1-0) of Santa Fe faced Aberdo Javier Esparza 139 lbs. (0-1) of Albuquerque on television. Holmes made the most of his face time on the Tube, showing both brains and brawn in scoring a fourth round KO. Both fighters were guarded in the first but Holmes found the range with his jab. In the second Brandon started landing overhand rights off his left. The third was not any better for the “Duke City” boxer, as Holmes started throwing effective combinations.
A left hook right cross by Holmes ended matters at 0:36 of the fourth. Esparza hit the canvas and could not beat the count. He was not facing Roberto Duran, but the Santa Fe boxer fought a smart fight. He showed a nice jab and footwork while increasing the pressure on his opponent each round. His brain trust has to be happy with his showing in front of a national viewing audience. He appears to have some upscale, I would like to see him in action again (See Photo).
In the evening’s second bout Cecilia Renova 107.8 lbs. (1-0) of Albuquerque faced Amber Trujillo 112.4 lbs. (0-1) of Española in a battle of debuting females. Renova had over twenty amateur bouts while Trujillo played point guard in basketball, for three years in college. Being athletic does not guarantee automatic success in a boxing ring. Cecilia opened the bout strong, landing overhand rights off a nice jab. Amber matched her opponent punch for punch but lacked Cecilia’s defensive skills.
Both girls continued to be aggressive in the second but “Duke City” girl’s punches were finding a home. Trujillo’s left check was starting to swell and her nose was showing claret. Amber would pin Cecilia on the ropes and throw heavy leather, but the Albuquerque girl’s defense would minimize the damage. The third was another exciting round but once again Cecilia’s defense was the difference. The fourth was a repeat of the first three rounds. Both girls were in great shape and fought at a furious pace. Renova was awarded a unanimous decision on identical scores of 40-36.
Trujillo has only been in a boxing gym for two months. When she was trapped on the ropes, Amber did not seem to know what to do. I would like to see her again, with improved defense she would be a dangerous opponent. My only criticism of Cecilia was her inability to handle her opponent’s overhand rights. The fans loved the action and for this reason I picked it as the fight of the night.
The evening festivities opened with Michael Coca Gallegos147.2 lbs. (1-10-1, 1 KO) of Albuquerque opposing Alejandro Hernandez 147 lbs. (0-1) of Santa Fe. Having lost his first ten fights as a pro, Coca Gallegos is now working on a two bout streak without a loss. Exploding out of his corner at the opening bell, Michael overwhelmed the Santa Fe boxer. An overhand right, by Coca Gallegos, dropped Hernandez to the canvas. Rising on unsteady legs, the referee had seen enough stopping the bout at 1:11 of the first. It was nice to see Michael get his first win after some much adversity in his career.
It was an exciting evening of boxing, with ESPN Friday Nights coming to town!
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing
MARQUEZ VS MALDONADO TALK HEATS UP AT THE ESPN2 PRESS CONFERENCE FOR SANTA FE FIGHT CARD
By: Austin Killeen - January 8, 2013
Momma D’s Dungeon played host to a press conference for the ESPN2 Friday Nights fight card to be held January 11, 2013 in Santa Fe, NM. The Goossen-Tutor show will be co-promoted with Holmes Boxing of Santa Fe, and Team Marquez in Albuquerque. The featured 12-round lightweight bout has John “The Hammer” Molina (24-2, 19 KOs) facing “Dangerous” Dannie Williams (22-2, 18 KOs). The second televised bout is between super middleweights Brandon Gonzalez (16-0, 10 KOs) and Don Mouton (12-4-1, 10 KOs).
Thursday was about the local fighters who would be supporting the televised portion of the card. Archie Ray Marquez (14-2, 9 KOs) will face Rynell Griffin (6-11-2, 2KOs) in a lightweight matchup. This bout is scheduled for six or eight rounds, depending on early stoppages in the two televised bouts. If that happens, Marquez would get some serious face time on TV. Archie is coming off a first round knockout of Ricky Alexander in his last match, a bout that was memorable for the verbal assault that was launched by Fidel Maldonadofrom ringside.
It did not take long for the subject to come up again. Marquez said he would be happy to give the fans what they want: a Marquez/Maldonado showdown. Archie replied: “There’s been a lot of talk from his camp, though that doesn’t bother me. If I could understand what he was saying, it’d be another thing.”
I spoke with Fidel’s father the next day regarding the comments by Marquez. “I hope Archie’s not looking beyond the Griffin fight, as that would be a big mistake. Rynell has faced some tough competition and if he is in shape he could score an upset. Of course, we would love to face Archie later in the year.” I do not know if Marquez/Maldonado will ever take place, but at least both sides are talking about it.
The second swing bout of the evening has Brandon Holmes of Santa Fe facing Warrior Boxing’s Avelardo Javier Esparza of Albuquerque in a four rounder. Holmes and Esparza could find themselves on TV if there is a quick KO in one of the co-main events. Both boxers expressed the desire to get face time if the opportunity presents itself. In their interviews neither boxer knew anything about each other. For the record, Esparza is a southpaw. It will be the pro debut for both boxers and their amateur records are similar; they have about twelve bouts between them. They are junior welterweights.
At light heavy Siju Shabazz (1-0, 1 KO) of Las Cruces will be opposed by cage fighter Mark Lujan, who is making his pro debut. I was blown away by Shabazz’s skills last month in his pro debut. I heard he was good, but was not prepared for such a polished performance. I would have to go back to 1964 when Ted Whitfield destroyed his opponent in winning the Golden Gloves Title in Holyoke, MA to recall such an amazing performance. Within the first year of turning pro, Whitfield was ranked in the top ten of the welterweight division. Sadly Ted’s career went off the tracks due to personal issues. For Siju’s sake, I hope history does not repeat itself regarding squandered potential.
In other bouts, Eduardo Dominguez faces Joshua Montoya (0-1) in a lightweight matchup. The eagerly awaited matchup between Arturo Crespin and Michael Coca Gallegos unfortunately will not take place. Due to his grandfather’s bad health, Arturo will not be able to compete. Michael’s (0-11-1) new opponent will be Brian Garcia (5-18-0, 2 KOs). Both boxers are from the “Duke City.” Do not be fooled by the record of Coca Gallegos, this boy can fight. In his last bout he fought to a six round draw with undefeated welterweight Cristian Cabral. This was one of the best fights held in the “Land of Enchantment” in 2012.
On the distaff side, Cecilia Renova Albuquerque will meet Amber Trujillo of Española. It will be the pro debut for both girls. Cecilia has over 20 amateur bouts in preparation for Friday but it will be the first time Amber has ever been in a ring. Trujillo is very confident, as she describes herself as a natural athlete, having been varsity point guard in college for three and a half years. In the photo at the top of the article, Renova is on the left. She was wearing 4” heals which gives her the appearance of being much taller.
On Sunday Renova was selling tickets for the fights at El Mesquite Market in Albuquerque. She set up a table in the front of the store, with fight posters to promote the match. She signed autographs and talked to fans regarding the upcoming event. After three hours she had sold over $500 worth of tickets. This young lady knows how to market herself.
All in all this should be an entertaining evening of boxing on ESPN2 Friday Nights Fights.
BOXING NOTES: Aaron Perez, of Perez Boxing, informs me that his son Angel won the regional Silver Gloves title in Pasadena, CA over the weekend. His son will travel to Independents, MO the first week of February, to compete in the national championships. I have watched his son box in the gym and in competition; this boy has some skills. Bantamweight Jesus Pacheco of Albuquerque will travel to Mesa, AZ on January 18 to face undefeated Emilio Garcia. If Garcia is under the illusion that Pacheco is easy pickings because of his 0-1 record, he is in for a big surprise. In his pro debut Jesus lost a close majority decision to Angelo Leo; that fight could easily have been declared a draw. The lanky Pacheco has a nice left jab and good defensive skills.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
ISLETA BOXING CLUB HOST TO ENTERTAINING AMATEUR CARD
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – December 15, 2012
Amateur teams from New Mexico, Texas and Arizona provided a night of entertainment for boxing fans. Called “A Brawl for It All II” the card was run by Anthony Abeita, head coach of the Isleta boxing team. If professional boxing is strong in the “Land of Enchantment” it is the result of grass roots programs at the amateur level. Saturday boxers ten to eighteen years of age, in both novice and open divisions had an opportunity to polish their skills in fourteen evenly matched contests.
In the evening’s main event in the open division at 160 lbs, 16 yr-old Jazavvian Palmer (Cross Roads Boxing) outpointed 18 yr-old Marcus Euwing (TNT Boxing) over 4 hard fought rounds. Palmer has an educated left hook, which found a home through Euwing’s defense. This was an example of timing beating speed for much of the fight. Both boxers displayed outstanding skills and should have a future in the pro ranks.
At 126 lbs, 16 yr-old Jereiah Bahe (Damon Bahe Boxing) faced Andrew Abeita (Isleta Boxing Club). Abeita, the son of Anthony Abeita, used timing and distance to win a 3 round decision over his taller opponent. Abeita displayed a great deal of poise for one so young. On December 29 Andrew will travel to Lubbock, TX to face three times National Junior Golden Gloves Champion Michael Dutchover. The Isleta boxer scored an upset decision over Dutchover last year. Pictured above is Abeita in his blue trunks and his opponent Bahe.
In a close fight at 160 lbs fifteen year old Joshua Bahe (Damon Bahe Boxing) used a strong left jab to capture a narrow decision over Leonardo Hernandez (Cross Roads Boxing).
Fourteen year old Angel Perez (Perez Boxing) won a close decision over Isaac Perez (MVP Boxing) at 108 lbs. Dropped by a right hand in the first, Isaac climbed off the canvas to put up a spirited fight for the remainder of the 3 rounds. Allegedly this was the sixth meeting between these rivals. If good competition makes you stronger, than these youngsters are testimonies of that axiom. I have seen Angel spar several times in local Albuquerque gyms. His performance came as no surprise to me.
Fighting at 115 pounds, 14 yr-old southpaw Josh Reyes (Cross Roads Boxing) defeated Javier Espinosa (Boxing Elite) by third round RSC. Reyes was the aggressor most of the fight, making it difficult for Espinosa to get set.
16 yr-old Brandon Sanchez (Warrior Boxing) 109 lbs fought tough but could not hold off his opponent Joseph Santillanes. Using his height and reach advantage successfully, Santillanes was awarded a three round decision of his “Duke City” rival.
14 yr-old 130 lbs Carlos Rodriguez (Unattached) used his strength to wear down his taller opponent Anthony Trujillo. Carlos won by a second round RSC and celebrated by doing back flips in mid-ring.
Female Dacia Jacquez (Team Jacquez) 16 yr-old 128 lbs lost a decision to Brianna Herrera (Boxing Elite). Herrera used unrelenting pressure to secure the victory.
In the Open 125 lbs division, Alex Hiplito (Cross Roads Boxing) captured a close decision over Brandon Munoz (Warrior Boxing). Like Angel Perez, I have seen Munoz spar many times in the gym. He possesses a brutal left hook and is confident in the ring. Those qualities were not on display Saturday night.
Female Sharahya Moreu (Team Tapia) fighting at 125 lbs won in the first round RSC over 13 yr-old Caitlin Clien (Damon Bahe Boxing). Moreu threw a perfect over hand right, reminiscent of former champ Thomas Hearns. If that punch is a regular part of her arsenal, she will be someone to watch.
Andrew Silva (Boot Camp Boxing) 13 yr-old, 85 lbs outpointed Joseph Kebos (Damon Bahe Boxing). I had Kebos winning by a narrow margin but by no means was the decision outrageous.
10 yr-old 80 lbs Michael Palmer (Cross Roads Boxing) was outpointed by Arturo Garcia (Boxing Elite). Garcia landed the cleaner punches and closed strong.
Isaiah Perez (MVP Boxing) 11 yr-old 75 lbs scored a decision over Jose Lares (TNT Boxing). Perez showed strong infighting and counter punching skills. In the third he scored two knockdowns over his game opponent.
In the first bout of the evening 10 yr-old 70 lbs James Babe (Damon Bahe Boxing) finished strong. However it was not enough to overcome Ruben Vasquez (Cross Roads Boxing) who carried the first two rounds with combinations to the head and body.
It was an entertaining evening of boxing at the Isleta Elementary School gym. A night where young pugilistic hopefuls had an opportunity gain valuable experience inside the square circle. It also reminded me that I do not spend enough time watching the amateurs in action.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
ESPN FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS AT THE PUEBLO PAVILION IN SANTA FE ON JANUARY 11, 2013
By: Austin Killeen - December 14, 2012
Momma D’s in Albuquerque, played host to a press conference to announce the line up for ESPN Friday Night Fights to be held at the Indian School Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe on January 11, 2013. The televised portion of the Goossen Tutor co-promoted card will show case lightweights John Molina (24-2-0, 19 KOs) of Covina, CA virus Dannie Williams (22-2-0, 18 KOs) of Saint Louis, MO scheduled for 10 rounds. The second TV fight at super middleweight has Brandon Gonzales (16-0-1, 10 KOs) of Sacramento, CA against Don Mouton (11-4-1, 9 KOs) of Houston, TX scheduled for 8 rounds.
Team Marquez Productions and Pat Holms Boxing will co-promote the under card. Archie Ray Marquez (14-2-0, 9 KOs) of Albuquerque, faces Rynell Griffin (6-11-2, 2 KOs) of New Orleans in a six round bout. Marquez is keeping active while awaiting a promised date on a future ESPN card. The remaining bouts are all scheduled for four rounds.
Bantamweight Tony Valdez (7-3-3, 7 KOs) of Espanola will meet Tim Ibarra (2-2-0, 0 KOs) of Colorado. After a seven year layoff, Valdez launched a comeback with two sensational fights against Raymond Montes. They resulted in a six round draw and a seventh round TKO win for the Espanola banger. Light heavyweight Siju Shabazz of Las Cruces, who is 1 and 0 with his win coming by TKO, faces an opponent to be announced. Shabazz looked sensational in his pro debut on the Holly Holm/Diana Prazak undercard.
Mark Cordova making his debut meets Albuquerque’s Angelo Sanchez (0-1-1) at welterweight. Debuting Brandon Holmes of Santa Fe faces Albuquerque’s David Castillo (3-5-0, 0 KOs) at lightweight. Opening the evening’s activities, Cecilia Renova of Albuquerque will make her debut at 115 pounds against an opponent to be named later.
It appears to be an interesting card with local favorites supporting and excellent co-feature main event.
Photo By: Brandon Munoz
PROFESSIONAL BOXING RETURNS TO ROSWELL, NM AFTER AN 8 YEAR HIATUS
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – December 8, 2012
Professional boxing returned Roswell at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds after an absence of eight years. Promoter Isidro Castillo used the “old school” approach in putting together an exciting evening of boxing: home town favorites, evenly matched opponents, plenty of fights and athletes who would not quite. Although the building was a little on the chilly side, the boxers generated plenty of heat inside the square circle.
In the main event John “Smiley” Herrera 121.4 lbs (4-4-1, 2 KO’s) of Roswell scored a knockout over Cristoval Larazolo 119.8 lbs (1-4-0, 0 KO’s) of Pampa, TX at 0:47 seconds of the first round. Herrera’s KO percentage is deceiving as most of his career has been fought at lightweight. His opponents usually tipping the scales at over 140 pounds by the time they enter the ring.
Entering the squared circle, it was even money that “Smiley” could not win a first round against a heavy bag. Larazolo controlled the action for the first 30 seconds, swarming over the notoriously slow starting Herrera. Suddenly the hometown boy unleashed an overhand right to his opponent’s temple. The Texan landed face down on the canvas and did not move. The audience was silent, as the previous evening in Albuquerque; Raymond “Hollewood” Montez was rushed to the hospital after being KO’d in his bout with Tony Valdez. When Larazolo was able to rise under his own power, the audience gave a sigh of relief.
I’m of the opinion that John is a prospect and his record very deceiving, due to the level of his opposition. I have seen both of his stoppage wins and his power was devastating. In both instances his opponents weighed less than 130 pounds. If Herrera continues to fight at featherweight or below, he should rack up a string of victories, many by stoppage. The fans were impressed and Roswell has legitimate hero who should attract fans to future fight cards.
In the semi-final John’s brother was not as fortunate. Michael 152.6 lbs (0-3-0) of Roswell lost a majority decision to Oscar De La Parra 153.4 lbs of El Paso, TX who was making his pro debut. Having seen both of Michael’s previous fights, I was disappointed in his performance. He has an excellent overhand right, but must have left it in the locker room. In the opening round, he displayed a good left jab to control the action.
In the second, De La Parra started dropping right hands over Herrera’s left in a close round. The third was a repeat of the second but with more action and difficult to score. Each boxer seemed reluctant to follow up on opportunities. In the final round, the Roswell fighter finally started throwing overhand rights after his jab.
Both boxers fought with little urgency, leaving it up to the judges. Scores of 40-36, 39-37 and 38-38 rewarded the Texan with a win in his maiden voyage. The fight was entertaining, but both boxers will see many missed opportunities when they view the replay of the bout.
In the fight of the night, and candidate for fight of the year, Lizandro “Guto” Fellciano 179.8 lbs (0-1-1) of Roswell fought to a draw against Ricardo “Rico” Urquizo 178.4 lbs of Clovis who was making his pro debut. Although the bout was fought in a twenty foot ring, the fighters might as well have met in a closet. They walked to a center ring and seldom moved, content to trade punches at close range. These boxers fought with great urgency but their efforts canceled each other out; once again leaving it up to the judges.
I witnessed “Guto’s” first fight and I could see much improvement in the opening round. Using head and shoulder fakes, he unleashed an impressive left jab. When it landed, Lizandro would follow up with hooks and crosses to head and body. Finding himself on the defensive, Urquizo remained calm answering with counter punches to head and body. To my eyes it was Lizandro’s round.
The second was a reversal of the first, with Ricardo landing solid counter punches off his excellent defense. “Guto” continued to throw punches in bunches to the delight of the crowd, but many were off target.
I believe I am the only scribe in the state to witness every fight card this year. I have no doubt that the third has to be the round of the year! Fellciano who is built like a Greek God hurt his opponent early in the stanza. The Michael Moorer look-a-like fell into the ropes, clearly hurt. Lizandro went for the kill, unloading his entire arsenal on his exhausted opponent. “Rico” who was transporting extra cellulite around his middle, could do little other than ride out the storm. With about a minute left Lizandro had punched himself out. With new found energy, Urquizo suddenly had his opponent in big trouble. Fellciano appeared to be saved by the bell. Good luck picking that winner of that round.
“Rico” appeared to land the cleaner punches in the fourth, but “Guto” fired back every time he looked to be in trouble. At round’s end the boxers were greeted with a standing ovation by the enthusiastic audience. The three judges scored the bout 40-36, 37-39 and 38-38, a draw. I felt that the Clovis pugilist might have had the edge, but a draw verdict met with the approval of the majority of the crowd. I would like to see Urquizo fight at 165 lbs. and both boxers back in the ring soon.
The evening’s third bout featured Victor Silva 142.6 lbs (1-2-0, 1 KO) of Socorro against Bobby Pemberton 144.2 lbs (0-2-0) of Roswell. Unlike many promoters, Isidro Castillo did not use Silva and Pemberton as opponents to build up the records of local heroes. I wish more match makers would follow Castillo’s example. The smaller Silva was the aggressor in the first to capture the round against the hesitant Pemberton. Appearing more relaxed, the tall and thin southpaw from Roswell appeared to carry the second behind his right jab.
The Mutt and Jeff show would come to an abrupt conclusion at 2:11 of the third. Seemingly jumping off the floor, Silva landed a powerful right to the head of his opponent. Dropping to the canvas, the game Pemberton struggled to regain his footing but could not beat the ten-count. I have seen all three of Silva’s fights and he has shown improvement each time out. After the match, promoter Castillo expressed the desire to find Pemberton another competitive bout with the opportunity to enter the winners circle. The crowd enjoyed the evenly matched contest, between two willing opponents.
In the evenings second bout, Gerardo Quintana 157.4 lbs (2-0-0, 2 KO) of Hobbs faced Steven Serrano 159.8 lbs of Roswell who was making his pro debut. There was a great deal of buzz about the banger from Hobbs, but I was skeptical. I witnessed his debut, and felt Quintana was a wild swinging slugger with little defense. In Serrano, the Hobbs fighter was stepping up in class against a boxer capable of exploiting and opponent who showed little regard for blocking punches.
The Roswell middleweight displayed and excellent left jab and good movement from the opening bell. Unfortunately he had two bad habits; leaning back after throwing a punch and leaving his chin exposed. Meanwhile Gerardo had acquired a penchant for blocking punches since I last saw him. Holding his hands high while displaying upper body movement, Quintana was difficult to hit. The hometown boy was firing strong rights off his jab while the visitor was displaying power with both hands.
Backing Serrano against the ropes, Quintana unloaded a wicked left hook of his opponent’s exposed chin. Steven’s lifeless body bounced off the lower rope and referee Richard Espinoza wisely called off the count. Off what I witnessed Saturday night, I have upgraded the Hobbs middleweight to a very live prospect. Quintana has good looks to go with his impressive punching power. I am sure that female fans will find him pleasing to the eyes and he should have no problem developing a loyal fan base. The official time of the KO was 2:22 seconds of the first.
In the evenings opening bout 42 year old Antonio Orozco 133.6 lbs scored a majority decision over 18 year old Diego Bautista 140 lbs in a battle of debuting boxers. Orozco who was born in 1969 had over 160 amateur fights. Among his many accomplishments, Antonio was five-time New Mexico state golden gloves champion, two-time Colorado state golden gloves champion and all Army champion. In 1992 he was a finalist in the United States Olympic Trials. Needless to say if Orozco was 22 years old this would have been a complete mismatch.
Orozco, a southpaw, carried the first round behind a strong right jab. Bautista appeared cautious but had strong final 30 seconds. Diego knocked Antonio’s mouthpiece across the ring with a strong left hook in the second. But the AARP boxer continued to be more aggressive, giving his rival lots of angles and throwing more punches.
In the third the “Duke City” boxer switched to southpaw and seemed to confuse his Roswell rival. On several occasions, with his back to the ropes, Bautista would spin Orozco around. Instead of taking advantage of these opportunities, Diego would simply retreat. The crafty Antonio always keep his hands moving, even when on the defensive. This tactic might have allowed him to steal the round on a judge’s scorecard.
The fourth round was a beauty, with both boxers banging away. The score cards read 40-36, 39-37 and 38-38 for a majority draw. It was an exciting fight and the fans appreciated both boxers’ efforts. Summation: Bautista worked hard, Orozco worked smart!
Once again Promoter Isidro Castillo put on an excellent card, to the delight of the Roswell fans. He used Lupe Perez fighters in all six bouts. What he did not do was give Perez’s boxers dead bodies to feast on. At evenings end, Lupe’s pugilists had three wins, two loses and a draw. This is the way boxing should be with both corners having a chance to score a victory. Castillo is a hard working promoter, who is trying to provide quality boxing at affordable prices. Let us hope that fans of the sport will support his efforts. Boxing is alive in the “Land of Enchantment.”
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
HOLM DECISIONS PRAZAK IN EXCITING CARD AT ROUTE 66 CASINO
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – December 7, 2012
Tonight’s fight card was billed as Fire & Ice but Thunder & Lighting might have been a better choice. Only the main event went to decision as the other five bouts all ended early. Fans clearly got their money’s worth as Fresquez Productions showcased some heavy hitters; heavy hitters who carried lightning bolts in either hand. The near capacity crowd was sweep up in the excitement, many of whom will have sore throats tomorrow from screaming.
Holly Holm 138.8 lbs (32-2-3, 9 KO’s) of Albuquerque scored a unanimous decision over Diana Prazak 138 lbs (11-2-0, 7 KO’s) of Melbourne, Australia by identical scores of 100-90. Holly proved too fast and strong for the girl from “Down Under”, catching her on the way in with stinging right jabs and overhand lefts. Diana tried to work on the inside, but was tied up by her stronger opponent. As the fight wore on Prazak’s face showed the marks of battle.
The Aussie had her moments, catching the “Preacher’s Daughter” with an over-hand right in the second and a nice left hook in the third. There was an obvious size discrepancy, as Prazak is a natural 130 pounder, while Holm normally boxes at 145 pounds. Combine this with Holly’s excellent footwork and she was difficult to hit.
After the verdict was announced there was a special message for Holly on the close circuit screens. Undefeated Cecilia Braekhus of Norway suggested that they meet in Las Vegas in July. Holm was not interested in who her next opponent would be, she just wanted to enjoy Christmas with her family. She told me later, it would be disrespectful to Prazak to talk about Braekhus in front of her. “Diana was a tough opponent and the night should be about her not Cecilia.”
Tony Valdez 116 lbs (7-3-3, 7 KO’s) of Espanola and Raymond “Hollewood” Montes 121.8 lbs (5-3-0, 4 KO’s) of Albuquerque, picked up where they left off in September, up in Santa Fe. That evening they fought a six round draw, in what was certainly a candidate for fight of the year. At the opening bell it seemed like round seven. These bad boys do not seem to like each other, but they sure know how to make a great fight.
The first was difficult to score as both fighters started throwing bombs at the opening bell. “Hollewood” landed a vicious uppercut only to taste a brutal left hook from Tony. I had it even. Montes left hooks versus Valdez left jabs punctuated the second. The Espanola fighter controlled the early part of the round and finished strong. The “Duke City” brawler forced the action in-between. It appeared that Valdez had a slight edge (?) by the slimmest of margins.
Raymond opened a bad cut over the left eye of Tony in the third, in what was becoming a terrific bout. The Espanola banger answered with a two-fisted attack to the head in the fourth. It was obvious that the command break, by the referee, meant throw five more punches each. I was amazed that referee Richard Espinosa was never hit by a stray punch.
The fifth stanza was like the third but with the edge going to “Hollewood” by the slightest of margins. There was no clinching and each boxer acted as if they were trying put out an invisible fire that had started on their opponent’s body. Just when it looked like one fighter would go down, he would drive his opponent across the ring with a barrage of punches. It appeared that there was a second cut over the left eye of Valdez.
In the sixth Tony’s left jab was clearly controlling the action. His jab wasn’t of the flicking variety, but a battering ram that was rearranging his opponent’s nose. Looking at my notes, I had the out-of-towner ahead; three to two with one round even. I did not envy the judges on this evening; they were clearly earning their pay.
Montez appeared weary as Valdez drove him across the ring with a brutal two handed attack in the seventh. As the tired “Duke City” native slumped to the floor, it appeared that he rolled his right ankle. It did not matter as his trainer Manny Anaya threw in the towel to end the night’s festivities. EMT’s put the Albuquerque warrior on a stretcher and carried him from the ring. For weeks preceding the match, both boxers talked trash. Sometimes they were funny but often it was downright ugly. In his post-fight comments all the little warrior from Espanola could talk about was his concern for “Hollewood” health. Officially it was a TKO at 1:41 of the seventh.
In the evenings fourth bout, Matthew Baca 140.8 lbs (2-0, 2 KO’s) of Albuquerque KO’d Derek Perez 144 lbs of Belen, who was making his pro-debut. Derek a southpaw seemed to confuse Matthew in the opening moments of the fight. But Baca was not baffled for long, answering with left hooks to the head and body. He would alter his attack with straight rights that penetrated his adversaries’ defense.
A brutal left hook to the body sent the Belen boxer to the canvas near the end of the first. In the opening moments of the second Matthew found his opponent’s head with another wicked left hook. The game Perez hit the canvas again but could not beat the ten count. The official time of the knockout was 32 seconds of the second round. Baca prepared for this match, sparring with veterans Archie Ray Marquez and Willie Villanueva. It is conceivable that Matthew did not win a single round in the gym with either Marquez or Villanueva. But the results were amazing as “Champ” was a polished professional in the ring last night. Handled correctly, Baca is somebody to keep an eye on.
Amateur sensation Siju Shabazz 173.2 lbs of Las Cruces and Ricky Villafuerte 175 lbs of Albuquerque hooked up in a four rounder. It was the pro debut for both boxers. The well built Villafuerte had Shabazz on the defensive, during the opening minute, as a result of his heavy punching. But the cool, calm and collected Shabazz started finding the range with his offense, leaving little doubt about the fights outcome. A powerful right hand to Ricky’s unprotected head resulted in the fights first knock down. The bell saved the “Duke City” pugilist from further punishment.
Mercy, mercy was all I could think of when Siju opened up his full offensive arsenal in the second. Villafuerte was defenseless when the referee stopped the contest at 2:59 of the round. The Las Cruces native looks like he could be fighting main events right now. Have I used the expression “can’t-miss-prospect” yet in this story? I did not understand what all the hype was all about before the fight but I certainly understand now.
The second bout of the evening featured Victoria “La Reina de la Guerra” Cisneros 138 lbs (8-14-2, 3 KO’s) of Albuquerque against Mary “Merciless” McGee 138.8 lbs (20-1-0, 11 KO’s) of Gary, Indiana. Victoria is a warrior who gets in your face from the opening bell. Against McGee the only thing she got in front of was her opponent’s fists. The “Merciless” one is the total package, both on offense and defense.
In the opening round the Gary import put on a clinic, which featured slipping punches and counter punching. Victoria did better in the second but paid dearly for it. A left hook in the third dropped Cisneros near the end of the round. McGee closed the show at 23 seconds of the fourth. Forget Prazak and Braekhus the girl from Indiana might be the best challenge for the “Preacher’s Daughter.”
The night started with the debut of the youngest Sanchez brother, Jason 126 lbs of Albuquerque against Gene Perez 125.2 lbs (older brother of Derek) of Belen. I witnessed Gene’s pro debut when he won a unanimous four round decision. But tonight was not to be his night. The vicious body attack quickly rendered the Belen boxer helpless. Perez was dropped by an overhand right. Rising on unsteady legs Gene was in no condition to continue, prompting referee Rocky Burke end the contest at 2:15 of the first round.
Once again Lenny Fresquez, with the help of his able assistant Doris Robinson, put on a great night of boxing: A night that showcased the top woman boxer in the world and a slew of talented prospects at the Route 66 Casino Hotel. People fill the seats because they receive full value for what they pay for.
Boxing scribe, Yoruba Moreu describes New Mexico as the triple “A” league of boxing. Triple “A” baseball produces a lot of major leaguers. The “Land of Enchantment” has already produced Bob Foster, Johnny Tapia and Austin Trout. Maybe Yoruba Moreu is spot on with his observation of the local boxing landscape.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES: FIRE AND ICE KICKS OFF FIGHT CARDS IN ALBUQUERQUE AND ROSWELL THIS WEEKEND
By: Austin Killeen - December 6, 2012
Lenny Fresquez of Fresquez Productions will host an exciting six bout card at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque on Friday evening. Built around the career of outstanding woman boxer Holly Holm, Fresquez Productions has become the standard which all local promoters strive to achieve. New comer Isidro Castillo of School of Hard Knocks Promotions hopes to achieve the same type of success promoting in locations like Hobbs, Roswell, Clovis, Los Lunas and Socorro, NM. On Saturday night he will promote a six bout card at the Eastern New Mexico Fairgrounds in Roswell.
The challenge facing Fresquez Productions each time Holm enters the ring is finding a quality opponent that the public will find viable. This is not easy as Holly has clearly established herself as the top female fighter in the world. In Diana Prazak of Melbourne, Australia Fresquez has found a hard hitting banger from the “Land from Down Under.” The one caveat regarding Prazak; she is a natural 130 pounder. Will she be able to take her punch with her when she moves up in weight to face “The Preacher’s Daughter?”
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing
I decided to kick the tires myself when I visited Diana this past weekend at John S Crego Memorial Gym. Entering the training facility, I was shocked to see “The Dutch Destroyer” Lucia Rijker herself. Rijker, for the uninformed, has played a major role in legitimizing woman’s boxing. Lucia trained Myrian Lamare, who gave Holly one of her toughest fights in 2009. If Rijker was training Prazak for this fight, that spoke volumes to me. When I asked Diana about Rijker she responded; “There’s no doubt about it, I have the best trainer in the world.”
I immediately asked Diana about moving up in weight to face Holly. “I saw this as an opportunity to fight one of the best woman boxers in the world. I’m not worried about taking my strength with me. I know she is bigger than me as she is a natural 145 pounder. But she hasn’t come up to anyone like me before.” She respects Holly, saying it took a lot of courage for her to take a rematch with Mathis. She was referring to Holly’s brutal knockout at the hands of Anne Sophie Mathis in 2011.
In preparation for this fight, she is training with Cuban lightweight Yorden Hernandez. Yorden’s street weight is 150 pounds and he is solidly built. I asked him what it was like sparring with a girl. “When we started I didn’t want to hit her, I might hurt her. Her skills are as good as any man’s and she hurt me with a punch to the body. I had to start punching back or be embarrassed.” Hernandez, who is orthodox, spars as a southpaw to imitate Holm’s style. He obviously is stronger, as Holly will most likely be, using his size to push the challenger around the ring. Watching them go at it for six rounds, this paragraph is an accurate description of what took place.
The Australian import commented on her training with Yorden in preparation for Friday. “I’m honored to get the opportunity to do this, I’m so grateful to have Yorden as a sparring partner. It’s always hard for a bloke to step in the ring with a girl for the first time.”
Prazak has an engaging personality and it was enjoyable talking to her. It is easy to see why she has had so much success in her pugilistic career. It is the same formula employed by all successful people; find out what you like to do and then figure out how to get paid for it. I have no doubt Diana could run a seminar for MBA’s, showing them how to reach their goals.
I concluded the interview by saying “may the best woman win”. She corrected me by saying “may the best fighter win.”
Fresquez also has an intriguing semi-final in Raymond “Hollewood” Montes virus Tony Valdez. This a rematch of their sensational six round draw fought three months ago in Santa Fe. Valdez ended a six year retirement to shock the boxing community with his showing.
Montes has pedigree having fought in the amateurs as a teammate with world class fighters Victor Ortiz and Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. If “Hollewood” hopes to emulate their success he needs an impressive showing on Friday night. The clock is ticking for both fighters, as they are not getting any younger. This is a great matchup and could easily be the main event. This looks like another great card by Fresquez Productions!
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
Isidro Castillo of School of Hard Knocks Promotions brings professional boxing to Roswell for the first time in over eight years. Excuse me for throwing the names of old-timers around like there confetti, but I’ve been involved in the sport for over sixty years. Isidro Castillo is the reincarnation of Sam Silverman, a Damon Runyon like character who you could not make up. Silverman was a legend in New England boxing circles from the 40’s through the 70’s. The cigar chewing Sam started promoting in warehouses and built his success culminating in his promoting over 25 world championship fights, many in the old Boston Garden.
Although I’ve never seen Isidro chew on a cigar, he is a tireless worker who promoted an exciting card in Hobbs, NM two months ago. His card Saturday night might lack the star power of Fresquez’s card of the previous evening, but it has the potential of being just as entertaining. Good matching is predicated on evenly matched fights between two well conditions, exciting boxers. Isidro Castillo has an eye for good match making.
His headliner on Saturday will be John “Smiley” Herrera who has been matched tough in his eight fight career. Herrera has an excellent left jab and packs a punch if matched as a featherweight. John is trained by Lupe Perez. Roswell is eighty miles from nowhere, yet Perez has done and amazing job developing an excellent gym. This will be as much a test of Herrera’s ability to sell tickets as his ability to win fights. If John has star power in Roswell, this will give Isidro a second star to go along with Edgar Zubia of Hobbs, NM.
This weekend in the “Land of Enchantment” is clearly a tale of two cities.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
THE NEXT CHAPTER: A FITTING TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF JOHNNY TAPIA
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside - November 17, 2012
Last night’s seven bout card was a tribute to the memory of former world champ Johnny Tapia. The card introduced talented debuting hopefuls, the return of solid veteran and showcased two of the top boxers in Albuquerque. Held in the banquet room of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, it appeared to be close to a complete sellout. Sensible ticket prices and a solid lineup showed that fans will turn out if a good product is offered.
After a year and a half layoff, veteran Joaquin Zamora 156 lbs (19-4-1, 12 KO’s) of Santa Fe, returned to the squared circle with a unanimous eight round decision over Bernardo Guereca 153.8 lbs (16-15-1, 12 KO’s) of El Paso, TX. As would be expected, Joaquin appeared a little rusty in the opening round against his aggressive opponent. It appeared the local lad did just enough to capture the first. In the second, the shorter, blockier built Guereca displayed little respect for Zamora’s power and evened the score.
In rounds three through five the Santa Fe southpaw clearly took charge of the action. It was not pretty, as their styles did not jell, resulting in much wresting and clubbing on the inside. At distance, Zamora was landing an effective right jab and uppercuts when in close. Guereca appeared to be stronger and would force his opponent into the ropes. Once there he would land an annoying overhand right but little else.
Sensing the fight was probably slipping away, Bernardo turned up the heat in the final three rounds. Using the top of his head as a new offensive weapon, he continued to rush Joaquin into the ropes at every opportunity. However, there is a big difference between aggression and effective aggression, and the Texan’s punch connect was limited. Whenever the fan favorite could create distance, he continued to land clean, effective blows.
To the surprise of no one, Zamora captured the verdict with scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 79-74. Although his timing was off due to inactivity, Joaquin was in excellent shape. I would expect him to be much sharper next time out. At the age of thirty five, the clock is ticking. Which raises the question: who should be next on Zamora’s dance card? How about Arturo “El Toro” Crespin of Las Vegas, NM?
Zamora/Crespin would sell itself. Age vs. youth, veteran against rising star, southpaw vs. southpaw, matador vs. bull, and the list goes on and on. Having spoken to both boxers, I doubt it would take much to make this happen. Being southpaws normally would give each man a slight advantage early in their bouts. In this matchup, both combatants probably have little experience facing another left hander. Joaquin is a gifted boxer, who is deadly when operating in center ring. The ever dangerous Arturo is just one combination from taking over any fight he is in. I am not a promoter but it would seem this is a bout that screams SELLOUT!
I know I was sticking my neck out when predicting a knockout win for Archie Ray Marquez 135.2 lbs (14-2-0, 9 KO’s) of Albuquerque against Ricky Alexander 130.4 lbs (8-10-0, 6 KO’s) of Stillwater, OK. Marquez insured no one would ever question my skills a prognosticator when he stopped Alexander in 1:29 of the first round. Fighting out of a semi-crouch, Archie landed to both the head and body of Ricky with deadly accuracy. An over hand right dropped the surprised Oklahoman for the fights first knockdown. He never saw the explosive one-two that dropped him for the second time. This prompted referee Rocky Burke to terminate matters immediately. Marquez looked razor-sharp as a result of sparing hot prospect Matthew Baca and his fitness training with Momma D.
While celebrating his victory in center ring, it appeared he was suddenly under verbal assault from Fidel Maldonado. Standing ringside, “The Atrisco Kid” appeared to be trading x-rated comments and gestures with his long time rival. It was difficult to hear what was said due to the crowd noise. Lip readers in attendance assured everyone the boxers were only trying to ascertain what each other would like for Christmas.
Entering the ring for the evening’s fifth bout, Josh “Pit Bull” Torres was faced with a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” task in his six rounder. Torres 148.2 lbs (9-2-1, 4 KO’s) of Albuquerque scored a unanimous decision over Omar Quevedo 145.4 lbs. (0-6-0) also of the “Duke City.” Lightly regarded, Quevedo proved to be much better than his record would indicate. Torres showed maturity far beyond his twenty three years, in not trying to score an early knockout. If he had, he might have looked foolish against the live underdog Quevedo.
Working behind an excellent left jab, “Pit Bull” upped the pressure each round. For his part, Omar unloaded some serious bombs against his foe. On these occasions, Josh displayed a tight defense, blocking most of the punches on his arms and gloves. After turning in a text-book like performance, all three judges had Torres wining with identical scores of 60-54. Prospect Matthew Baca told me in an interview that “Pit Bull” is a crafty boxer. That comment would appear to be spot on. He always seems to be in position to initiate offense or counter punch. This young man is ready to expand his horizons. As for Quevedo, I would love to see him matched up with Michael Coca Gallegos (0-10-1) also of the “Duke City.”
In a rematch of the war fought in Santa Fe last September, Henry Anaya III 165 lbs. (1-2-0) and Manuel Eastman 164.2 lbs. (1-3-0) both of Los Lunas acted as if it was just the next round. Anaya actually threw a couple of left jabs to start the proceedings, to the shock of everyone in attendance. Someone must have told him it was illegal because he never threw another jab the rest of the evening.
This bout was straight out of a bar fight scene from a John Wayne movie. Both fighters acted insulted ff their opponent missed a punch. I have seen Anaya in training and know he has some skills. Put him in the ring with Eastman and it is all early cavemen. They traded left hooks and overhand rights for the entire four rounds. In every round I thought someone was going to hit the deck, only to stage their own comeback. After four incredible rounds all three judges scored the bout with identical scores of 39-37 for Eastman. Is anybody for Anaya/Eastman III?
In a battle of trench warfare, Adrian Lopez 179.2 lbs (3-1-1, 1 KO) of Socorro won a verdict over Manuel Otero 180 lbs (2-4-0, 1 KO) of Peralta. Otero’s southpaw style seemed to confuse Lopez in the opening round. Several voices shouting from Adrian’s corner seemed to add to the confusion. He has an excellent coach in Chris Chavez and that should be the only voice giving advice.
In the second round Lopez started to figure things out, but Otero keep switching back and forth between southpaw and orthodox in an attempt to confuse his foe. The third round saw the Socorro native throw more punches even if they did not all land. For his part, Manuel used his head. . . as a weapon. I gave the round to the busier Lopez. The forth was the best round for action and difficult to score. Both boxers fought hard on the inside, with neither seeming to gain a clear advantage. The judges gave the fight to the busier Lopez by scores of 40-36, 39-37 and 39-38. Adrian is an entertaining boxer who is a welcome addition to any fight card.
There was much anticipation leading up to the bout between Donald Sanchez (2-0-0, 1 KO) and James Martinez (1-1-0, 1 KO) both of Albuquerque. Exciting fights have and ebb and flow about them, but this bout only had and ebb. At the opening bell Martinez took charge from the outside. Sanchez appeared a bit confused, but not for long. Suddenly Sanchez stepped inside of his opponent’s wheel house and took total command of the match. Throwing left jabs and combination to the body the former cage fighter was in total control.
If the former Muay Thai kick boxer hoped to find his flow between rounds, it never happened. Sanchez continued to administer a clinic at the expense of his opponent in the second. Martinez was defenseless along the ropes, when referee Burke came to the rescue at 2:16 of the round. It appears Sanchez has made a seamless transition from the cage to the square circle. I witnessed Donald box eight rounds with the “Pit Bull” on two occasions, in preparation for this match. It obviously paid off. Watching his dominance on Saturday night left me wondering what a showdown with Christian Cabral would look like.
The opening bout of the night was the professional debut for both Angelo Leo (1-0) and Jesus Pacheco (0-1) both from the “Duke City.” The lanky Pacheco, who resembles Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame, used a stiff left jab and lateral movement to win a close first round. The shorter Mr. Leo hit his stride in the second, delivering crisp punches to the head and body of his adversary. Both fighters were showing excellent skills, both on offense and defense. If I had not read it in the papers, I never would have guessed they were both making their debut.
The third was a repeat of the previous round, with Angelo a little more active. Jesus started flashing an upper cut to keep his opponent from getting inside. The final round was the best of the night, with both fighters displaying a wide range of skills. I did not envy the job the judges had to perform, as every round was hotly contested. The scores were 38-38, 40-36 and 39-37 with Leo the winner by majority decision.
It proved to be an entertaining night of boxing and the fans seemed to love it. I do not know how many professional boxers we have in the “Land of Enchantment”, but we have a lot. As they continue to develop, the landscape for exciting matchups will continue to grow. Boxing is hot in New Mexico, but seems to be a big secret to the rest of the country. Regardless of what the rest of the country knows, Saturday’s card was a fitting tribute to the memory of former champ Johnny Tapia.
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
CHRIS CHAVEZ: KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON AT JOHNNY TAPIA’S GYM
By: Austin Killeen - November 13, 2012
Six months ago, New Mexico lost a favorite son with the passing of former world champion Johnny Tapia. I assumed his gym would be closing its doors as well. I had visions of boxers clutching their gym bags while running up and down the highway in search of new training facilities.
Today the Tapia gym is still fully operational and the pugilistic population seems to be growing. Why was I so wrong about this scenario? The answer is simple: Chris Chavez long time friend of Tapia, is doing an excellent job. It is not a stretch to say Chris might be trainer of the year in 2012, in the “Land of Enchantment.”
Chavez had a twenty year association with Tapia, where he developed his skills as a boxing instructor. Chris and Johnny married sisters Eva and Teresa respectively, which resulted in their developing a strong bond with each other. ‘’I learned how to work corners and training camps by working with Johnny when he prepared for upcoming fights.” This is typical of Chavez as he tends to play down his accomplishments since Johnny’s passing. “It’s still pretty much Johnny’s training. I’m just keeping up what he had going. It’s all the same routine; we’ll never change it. That’s the way it’s going to stay.”
I might be able to impersonate Robert De Niro doing a line from The Godfather. That does not make me an actor. Chris has a keen eye, which allows him to make corrections to his fighters when they are sparing. He does not have time to look to the heavens for advice. Although he never boxer professionally himself, attending Tapia’s fight camps has provided him with a wealth of knowledge. Knowledge, which Chavez dispenses daily at the gym located at 2500 San Mateo Place NE.
Seasoned boxers Archie Ray Marquez, Josh “Pitbull” Torres, Joaquin Zamora and Hector Munoz continued to train at the Tapia’s gym because they respect Chavez and his advice. Chris is direct and to the point when he works with his boxers. If you are looking for a loud, boastful instructor, you are in the wrong facility. Skeptics might say the above mentioned quartet were developed by Tapia. That anyone could do what Chavez does. How would these same skeptics explain Chris’s success with ten and eleven year olds who have joined the gym in the past half year? It does not matter the fighter’s age or sex, Chavez is at ease working with any boxer in his gym.
Chris’s biggest test to date, as a trainer, will take place on November 17. Five of his charges will fight on a pro card at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albuquerque. “We’d like to go five and zero on that night” stated Chavez. Marquez and Torres face Ricky Alexander and Omar Quevedo respectively. There appears to be little risk for the “Duke City” duo, as Alexander has been stopped in all nine of his loses and Quevedo has never won a fight. If they win it will be “yeah so what.” In defeat “Chris could not win, even with someone else’s fighters.”
If Archie wins on the 17th, He has a promised date on ESPN scheduled for Friday January 4th. Win that one and he will fight on HBO. When asked who he would be facing on those TV matchups Marquez responded; “I don’t like to look ahead; I just take one fight at a time.” One thing is a certainty, if he is victorious in this trifecta, he will be a hot commodity in the boxing community.
The “Pitbull” was a realist regarding his opponent. “I know that Quevedo has never won a fight, so he has nothing to lose. I’m training just as hard as I would for any other bout. People know I have a good left hook, now I’m working on some other offensive weapons.”
The other three fighters from Chris’s gym appear to have stiffer tests. Joaquin Zamora faces journeyman Bernardo Guereca of El Paso. Both boxers have over 10 years of experience in the ring. Joaquin Zamora will be fighting for the first time in seventeen months. “I’ll be facing Bernardo Guereca, who’s short, stocky and tough. He likes to switch back and forth between southpaw and orthodox, pressuring his opponents. I hope to give him a lot of angles, confusing him.” It should be a good test for Joaquin.
Also fighting under the supervision of Chris Chavez is undefeated Donald Sanchez. He will face James Martinez, who like Donald is 1 and O in the squared circle. “I don’t know too much about Martinez except that he is a Muay Thai fighter” stated Sanchez. I have watched Donald spar eight rounds on two occasions with Josh Torres. Although lacking the “Pitbull’s” ring experience, he worked hard each time. He is in great condition and credits this in part to his “eating clean.” He tries to stay away from junk foods, consuming non-processed meals and organic dairy products.
Chavez’s fifth boxer that evening will be Adrian Lopez, who always entertains with his pressuring style. Although not noted for his speed, Adrian has good balance and sits down on his punches. His opponent Manuel Otero is no pushover, having scored a first round knockout of Henry Anaya III. This should be a good fight.
I am too young to have visited the legendary Stillman’s Gym in Brooklyn, NY in the 1940’s. I have been to Johnny Tocco’s gym in Las Vegas, NV. Both establishments are world famous for the quality and number of fighters who wait for hours to work out there. Last Tuesday at Tapia’s gym I watch the best boxers in New Mexico spar from two in the afternoon until seven that evening. Trainers from around the state bring their boxers to Tapia’s gym because the sparing is first class. This is a weekly occurrence, which is growing in popularity under the supervision of Chris Chavez.
Good boxers and a packed gym are two reasons I expect the unassuming Chris Chavez to win over a few more skeptics on the 17th of this month. Did I mention that Chris has an understated sense of humor, humor that brings a smile to the faces of his fighters and visitors to the gym? He does, but he never tries to get a laugh at the expense of others.
The light is still burning at 2500 San Mateo Place NE and Chris Chavez is lighting the flame!
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
KIVA FIGHT CARD ENTERTAINING AND CONTROVERSIAL EXCEPT FOR DULL MAIN EVENT
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside - October 27, 2012
6’ 4” Trenton Titsworth 140.2 lbs (4-14-1, KOs) of Omaha, Nebraska should add the nickname “Lights Out” to his resume. By the end of his eight round fight (?) with Fidel Maldonado 140.2 lbs (14-2-0, 11 KOs) of Albuquerque, most of the spectators were fast asleep. While ushers were waking up the audience so they could hear the decision, two facts were readily clear: Trenton Titsworth is sponsored by Greenpeace and Fidel Maldonado was not hugged that much on his honeymoon.
“Oooh” I almost forgot to describe the action in the main event; see above paragraph. When the fighters touched gloves at the end of the pre-fight instructions, I didn’t realize it would be Titsworth’s best combination of the night. Fidel came to fight but. . . I’ve seen the “Atrisco Kid” shadow box on several occasions and was on the edge of my seat compared to last night’s action (?). For those who were never woken up, the scores were 80-58 and 80-59 twice for Maldonado. You read it right 58 and 59 twice for Titsworth. This was for the UBC Intercontinental Title at 140 pounds. Fidel Maldonado is an excellent young fighter, but it takes two boxers to make a bout.
The semi-final, scheduled for eight rounds, between Amanda Crespin and Mercedes Mercury never took place. At some time before their fight was to begin, the doctor ruled the girl from Centennial, Colorado had a broken ankle. As a result, Amanda was awarded the WIBA Intercontinental Title belt.
Amanda’s Brother Arturo 157.2 lbs (8-2-1, 3 KOs) of Las Vegas, NM stopped Jose Cruz Garcia 154.6 (3-5-1, 2 KOs) of the “Duke City” at 2:27 of the sixth round. This was for the UBC Intercontinental Title and Arturo was awarded a title belt.
From the outset Arturo was the busier boxer, but Jose was more than game, countering each round. The solidly built Crespin threw punches in bunches to both the head and body. Coming from the port side, they obviously bothered Garcia. For his part, Jose unloaded solid blows to the frame of Arturo. This repeated itself each round to the enjoyment of the crowd.
In the forth, an accidental head butt by Crespin opened a cut on Garcia’s forehead. This prompted a warning by referee Rocky Burke. It wouldn’t be the only time he spoke to Crespin about the use of his head. The pace of the fight was fast and Arturo appeared a little fatigued in the fifth. Despite any wariness, he continued to land his signature overhand left to Garcia’s head.
The next round featured some good exchanges by both participants, when an overhand right by Crespin sent Garcia staggering into the ropes. Arturo is a good finisher and he unloaded a half dozen unanswered blows to his opponents head and body. This prompted referee Burke to intervene.
In a six round clash, Brandi Montoya 116.8 (5-2-0) of Albuquerque scored a unanimous decision over Cristina Fuentes 111.0 (1-2-3) of Laredo, TX. This was also for a WIBA Intercontinental Title belt. As has become her trade mark, Brandi opened the fight in an aggressive style. The Laredo import proved to be up to the challenge, answering with some excellent counter punching. There was plenty of action, action that would continue for the remainder of the bout.
In the second Brandi forced the action, often pinning her opponent on the ropes. She seemingly had no defense to Cristina’s punishing right. The third was a repeat of the second, with Fuentes spending more time in center ring. Brandy had a good forth, cutting off the ring on her opponent. This allowed her more success, landing to both the head and body. The fifth was another good session with both fighters proving to be in great condition. The fight was very close with the rounds difficult to score.
Montoya had her best effort in the sixth, showing a lot of style. This probably locked up the verdict for the UNM student. The score cards read 58-56 twice and 59-55, all for Brandi. I have seen most of her fights and Fuentes appeared to have offered the biggest test to date. I would love to see a rematch.
In the match of the night, Cristian Cabral 147 lbs (4-0-1, 3 KOs) fought to a controversial six round draw with Michael Coca Gallegos 147 lbs (0-10-1). Both boxers reside in the “Duke City.” Gallegos has to be the best 0-10 fighter I ever saw. For the life of me, I cannot explain his record leading up to this fight.
Cabral took control in the first two rounds, fighting behind a stiff left jab. As he got his rhythm, Cristian started landing left hooks and overhand rights off his jab. It was clear to all in attendance that Gallegos would soon be 0-11. The bout did a one eighty when an overhand right exploded off “El Puma’s” jaw in the opening seconds of the third. The live underdog was chasing the favorite all over the ring. I have seen all of Cristian’s pro fights and no one has ever bested him on the inside. Apparently Gallegos was unaware of this fact as he was a beast inside. At long range he continued to find Cabral’s jaw.
I did not see the score cards but I have to believe the fourth was pivotal to the final verdict. Cristian spent the first part of the round running, with Gallegos in hot pursuit. There is a big difference between aggressiveness and effective aggressiveness. Michael chased Cristian around the ring but failed to cut off the ring. In the second half of the round, Ray Zamora’s charge started landing his jab again, opening a cut over Gallegos’s left eye. I felt the fighter from the Warriors Gym carried the round. I’m not sure the judges saw it the same way.
The last two rounds were razor close with Michael doing better at the infighting. At long range Cristian was effective landing some heavy body shots. I felt the underdog had the edge in the fifth, while the undefeated warrior won the final three minutes by a narrow margin. Entering the ring Cabral was the fan favorite, but allegiances appeared to have changed by the final bell.
The scores were 58-57 for Gallegos and 57-57 twice for a majority draw. I had it 58-56 for Cabral, but did not think the verdict was outrageous. This is the best I have seen “El Puma” fight, showing good foot movement, excellent jab, and a solid chin. This makes Gallegos’s performance all the more amazing. I look forward to seeing both boxers in the ring again and soon!
Victoria Cisneros 134.6 lbs (7-13-2, 3 KOs) of Albuquerque stopped DJ Morrison 133.2 lbs (3-14-0, 2 KOs) at .01 of the fifth round. From the opening bell it was all offence all-the-time, in a battle of attrition. Except for a close first round, this would prove to be a recipe for victory for “La Reina de Guerra.” Each round Victoria widened the gap against her tiring foe. The third and fourth rounds, Cisneros laid down some serious hurt on the out-of-towner. Victoria has always been matched tough, hopefully this will be the start of a winning streak.
The opening bout of the evening was another candidate for fight of the night. Jose Sanchez 149.4 lbs (2-0-0, 1 KO) of Albuquerque won a unanimous decision over Angelo Sanchez 149 lbs (0-1-1,) of Albuquerque. From the opening round it was Angelo’s left jab against the bombs to the body by Jose. Every round was hotly contested, but the body shots of Jose carried the fight. If I had a fighter, I would think twice about putting him against either Sanchez. Both these boxers would make a nice addition to anyone’s fight card.
The proliferation of sanctioning bodies in the sport of boxing over the past thirty years has reduced it to a joke. The WIBA and UBC just add to the confusion and water down the meaning of champion. I have spent a great deal of time in the company of Fidel Maldonado, Brandi Montoya, and Amanda and Arturo Crespin. They are excellent young athletes whose careers are on the rise. The belts that were handed out at the Kiva Auditorium did nothing to enhance their reputations. They earned their good names the old fashion way; by hard work and improved skills.
The WIBA and UBC are a joke. How can they hand out belts to three fighters who failed to make weight? How do they justify giving a fourth belt to someone who did not fight. These alphabet organizations only exist by charging sanctioning fees, usually three percent for world title fights. They would go out of business over night if the TV networks refused to recognize their existence. Did the New York Giants pay a sanctioning fee when they won the super bowl? Would they no longer be super bowl champs if they refused? College football has a rating committee who rank the teams. Boxing should do the same. In the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s boxing was ruled by organized crime, they did a far better job than the alphabet organizations of today.
This is the third boxing card promoted by Joe Chavez this year, this effort in partnership with Carlos Crespin. On paper some of the bouts looked questionable, but in reality it was a very entertaining evening. It would be criminal not to mention match maker Martin Narro. Chavez, Crespin and Narro always put on a good product and are a major reason for the revival of boxing in the “Land of Enchantment.”
Sanchez vs. Sanchez - Photo By: Austin Killeen/BillyCBoxing.com
CHAVEZ & CRESPIN PROMOTE 7 FIGHT CARD AT THE KIVA AUDITORIUM IN THE DUKE CITY
By: Austin Killeen - October 22, 2012
Joe Chavez and Carlos Crespin have joined promotional forces to host a seven bout card on Saturday October 27 at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque. Matchmaker, Martin Narro held a press conference this past Thursday to introduce some of the participants. Fidel Maldonado (13-2-0, 11 KO’s) and Trenton Titsworth (4-13-1, 2 KO’s) will headline and are no strangers to the “Duke City.” Ironically, the heavily favored Maldonado is coming off a two bout losing streak, while Titsworth won his last match.
For the “Atrisco Kid” a lot is at stake, as a win will propel him into television fight. Last April he was shocked by Fernando Carcamo, suffering a second round TKO loss in the “Land of Enchantment.” In August on Showtime he lost to Michael Perez, in a controversial split decision. With twenty seconds remaining in the final round Perez hit the canvas. Arising on unsteady legs, the referee seemed to take an insurmountable amount of time wiping the fallen fighter’s gloves. The bell sounded before Fidel could capitalize on his advantage. He’ll have eight rounds to reverse his fortunes. I’ve seen Titsworth in action once and he showed solid defense skills on that evening.
The semi-final Arturo Crespin (7-2-1, 2 KO’s) is pitted against Jose Cruz Garcia (3-4-1, 2 KO’s) over eight rounds. Crespin, winner of the Brock Lesnar lookalike contest, is a human tank. I’ve witnessed his last two fights and was impressed with his improved fitness. My only caveat regarding this fight is the remains of a cut over his left eye. That bout was ruled a no contest as a result of an accidental butt. Garcia is a live opponent who is very capable of testing the skin tissue over Arturo’s above mentioned eye.
A third eight rounder has Amanda Crespin (6-4-1, 2 KO’s) against Mercedes Mercury (3-11-0, 1 KO). Amanda, Arturo’s sister, resurrected her career with two wins last month. She throws nice combinations, challenging any opponents’ defense. I’ve never seen Mercedes in the ring.
Victoria Cisneros (6-13-2, 2 KO’s) faces DJ Morrison (3-14-0, 2 KO’s) in a six round bout. Victoria has faced the iron of woman’s boxing and should be too strong for her opponent. Morrison is quicker than Cisneros but will need to keep the fight in the middle of the ring to pull off an upset.
The third woman’s bout of the evening has Brandi Montoya (6-4-1, 2 KO’s) sharing the ring with Christina Fuentes (6-4-1, 2 KO’s) in a bout scheduled for six. I’ve seen all but Brandi’s pro debut and feel she is a solid prospect. She shows improvement in each of her bouts. Last month she shocked Chantel Cordova in Pueblo, Colorado winning all eight rounds. Fuentes will have to be a terrific talent if she hopes to win this one.
In what figures to be the fight of the night, Jose Luis “Guero” Sanchez (1-0-0, 1 KO) faces Angelo Sanchez (0-0-1) scheduled for four rounds. “Guero” has a big punch and even a bigger heart. In his debut, he climbed off the canvas in the first round to stop his opponent in the final stanza. Unlike many bangers, Jose seems to carry his power into the late rounds. Angelo Sanchez surprised me with his defensive skills and left jab in his debut. I felt he did enough to win that fight but two of the judges scored it a draw. Can “Guero” bombs penetrate Angelo’s defense or will he spend the evening eating left jabs. I’m going out on a limb and picking Sanchez in this one.
Opening the card, hot prospect Christian Cabral (4-0-0, 3 KO’s) will face Michael Coca-Gallegos (0-10-0) in a four round bout. On paper this looks to be a complete mismatch, but upon further examination I think the paper has it wrong. Without question this was the fight that everyone was talking about at the press conference. I’m surprised at the number of knowledgeable people predicting an upset. If Cabral fights like he did in his last fight, failing to utilize his excellent jab and fancy footwork, an upset could happen. Coca-Gallegos’s TKO losses happened in his first two bouts, and he has fought nothing but tough prospects since. I have not seen him in action but people who have claim he is no joke. For the record, Coca is his father’s last name and Gallegos is the name of his stepfather.
Joe Chavez has promoted two cards this year with Matchmaker Martin Narro. Both evenings produced excellent entertainment. Based on his previous track record, I am expecting another evening of exciting action with a possible upset of the year.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
ZUBIA THRILLS FANS BEFORE, DURING, AFTER FIGHT
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – October 13, 2012
HOBBS, NM - Entering Club La Sierra two hours before the fight card was to begin; I was met by an engaging young man wearing a black cowboy hat. As a little boy I learned that the good guys wear white hats, but this person didn’t seem to be evil. He continued to shake hands as I asked someone who he was. The person in question was Edgar Zubia the pride of Hobbs, NM.
Entering the ring four hours later to a tumultuous greeting by his ardent fans, he was accompanied by the song “el Gallo Negro.” This boy knew how to work a crowd. Introduced by the ring announcer, it was difficult to hear over the cheers of the audience. But enough hyperbole, the main event was six rounds between Edgar Zubia 136 lbs (4-1-1, 2 KO’s) of Hobbs and Octavio Garay 134 lbs (0-5-0) of Oklahoma City, OK). Leading up to the fight there had been several changes of opponents for Zubia. Octavio represented the latest addition to the card.
If Garay was supposed to be tense as a last minute substitute, he did not act it. At the opening bell he walked across the ring and landed a solid overhand right to the head of the surprised Zubia. Keeping his composure, the hombre from Hobbs, quickly took charge. Landing an assortment of punches from all angles, he soon had the Oklahoma visitor on the defensive. A vicious left hook to the body left Garay withering in pain on the canvas. Rising at the count of eight, Octavio was in no condition to continue. This prompted referee Rocky Burke to end matters at 2:00 of the first. Upon leaving the ring, Edgar continued to shake hands, as the fans could not get enough of their hometown hero.
The semi-final matched debuting boxers Gerardo Quintana 158 lbs of Hobbs against Bobby Pemberton 154 lbs of Roswell. From the opening bell it was the boxer Pemberton virus the puncher Quintana. The Roswell fighter was holding his own, making his opponent miss. Suddenly Gerardo exploded a left hook to the head of Bobby, scoring a knockdown. The Hobbs fighter continued his attack, driving his opponent into the ropes. Referee Richard Espinosa rescued the defenseless Pemberton from additional punishment at 2:31 of the first round.
In the only bout to go to decision Gregory “Bad Boy” Gutierrez (7-1, 2 KO’s) 132.5 lbs of Robstown, TX scored a unanimous four round decision over John “Smiley” Herrera (3-4-1, 1 KO) 128 lbs of Roswell. Herrera is a skilled defensive boxer who usually falls behind early in a fight. This is a result of not throwing enough punches; a problem that repeated itself in the opening stanza. In the second, Gutierrez landed an overhand right to Herrera’s left eye, causing the Roswell fighter to have double vision. Only be closing his right eye could he see out of his left. Fighting the rest of the bout with one orb proved to be a big disadvantage against the Texas import. After the bout it was obvious that the Roswell fighter was in a great deal of pain. “Bad Boy” put on a solid performance and looks to be someone to watch.
In an explosive battle of new comers Gabe Lopez 147 lbs of Las Cruses, NM stopping Joshual Enriquez 149 lbs of El Paso, TX by TKO at 2:30 of the first. From the opening bell it was two tanks colliding at center ring, sharing a common goal; total destruction of their opponent. Right hands by Lopez found the head of Enriquez often, resulting in three knockdowns.
In the evenings second bout Shuan Henson 144 lbs (1-1-0, 1 KO) of Albuquerque, NM stopped Anthony Delgado 142 lbs of Lubbock, TX in his pro debut. A powerful left jab followed by an overhand right drove Delgado into the ropes. Henson rained punches on his defenseless foe until referee Burke intervened at 34 seconds of the opening round. I witnessed Henson’s pro debut, his improvement over the past ten months is truly remarkable.
Jose “Shorty” Salinas 133 lbs of Las Cruses launched his pro career with an impressive stoppage of Victor Silva 134 lbs (0-2-0) of Socorro by TKO at 156 of the third round. Do not be fooled by Salinas’s nickname he is actually quite tall. He also brought some impressive skills from his amateur days into the ring. He worked equally well to both the head and body and delivered punishing left jabs to his opponent. In defeat Silva showed much improvement from his pro debut. Although he failed to match Salinas’s offense, Victor landed many counter punches in all three rounds.
Normally if a fight report described the boxing card consisting of eleven rounds, I would assume there were many miss matches; but not tonight. A near sell-out crowd roared their approval at the conclusion of each bout. Edgar Zubia is a promoters dream, selling himself before, during and after his bout. Isidro Castillo, the promoter in question, knows how to put on a fight card. His next program will take place on December 8th in Roswell, featuring Zubia, Herrera and other local stars. Saturday night was another example of why boxing in the “Land of Enchantment” is H-O-T!!
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
MATTHEW “CHAMP” BACA YOUNG MAN ON A MISSION
By: Austin Killeen - October 8, 2012
This past Tuesday I paid a visit the home of Matthew Baca. Matthew’s gym is located in the garage of his home, in the gated community of Vista Sandia. If ghettos and barrios are the breeding grounds of boxers, then young Mr. Baca is clearly living in the wrong neighborhood: a community of middle class homes on beautiful landscaped properties.
The gym has every amenity that a pugilist could want, except space to park a car. Not a problem for Matthew as it will be his fists, not a turbo engine, which will help him reach his goal: a world championship. In addition to heavy and speed bags, twenty foot ring, pads, gloves, head gear, etc., the walls are covered with pictures and posters of famous boxers and fight cards. When I arrived I could hear the sounds of leather on leather, as “Champ’s” gloved hands were exploding into the pads held by his father David. This was being conducted under the watchful eyes of trainer Luis Chavez. I guess you could refer to this threesome as “Team Baca.”
Luis Chavez had an extensive amateur boxing background, having participated in over fifty bouts while living in Grants, NM. With this background, Luis has successfully worked as a trainer for both amateur and professional fighters. Among his students is his younger cousin and outstanding amateur with 200 fights, Sergio Chavez. Sergio is an exceptional trainer and cut man himself. In the pro ranks Luis has worked with Danny Romero, IBF Flyweight Champion, Frankie Archuleta, who holds a win over former champ Johnny Tapia and Stephanie Jaramillo, who fought to a draw with Holly Holm. David Baca met Chavez through a mutual friend, where he learned to work corners and train boxers under Luis’s guidance.
For Matthew, his career path has taken the same road as most pugilists: experience in the amateurs before turning professional. In the punch-for-medals ranks, Baca won the four state region Junior Olympics Title and lost in the finals of the State Golden Gloves Championships. Last December, Matthew turned pro on the Holm/Mathis I card.
His opponent that night was Daniel Gonzales of El Paso, TX. Gonzales possessed a good left jab, but could not find the range against the “Duke City” native. Working behind his own left jab, the patient home towner started finding openings for his left hook and straight rights. Although shorter than the Texan, Matthew did not fight out of a crouch, electing to box from an upright position. He displayed an uncanny ability to judge distance, as Gonzales’s punches always seemed to fall just short of the mark.
“I knew I was hurting Daniel, as I could hear him grunt from my body punches.” With seconds remaining in the first, Baca countered a left hook to the body with a right hook to his opponent’s exposed head. Gonzales hit the canvas like paint from Picasso’s brush. He remained on his back long after the referee counted ten. Baca displayed an uncanny ability to exploit the mistakes of his opponent that evening. Surgery for a Deviated Septum and opponents pulling out of scheduled fights, accounts for his inactivity since that time.
The “South Valley” boxer credits his early success to sparring sessions with Archie Ray Marquez, Hector Munoz, Josh “Pitbull” Torres and Fidel Maldonado Jr. From his one pro fight I attended and videos of two amateur bouts, Baca likes to stand in front of his opponents capitalizing on their mistakes. “When I spar with Hector Munoz I always have to move because of his attacking style. Maldonado is a southpaw, so it is difficult to land my left jab. Marquez is quick, so I pay dearly for any mistakes I commit. “Pitbull” is strong and crafty, making it difficult to anticipate his next move.” As a result, the “Duke City” fighter’s one pro bout belies his true ring experience.
His second bout will take place on December 7, on the Holm/Lamare II card at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque. His opponent has yet to be announced. Baca graduated from West Mesa High School in May of this year. He plans to take a year off and resume college next fall. He loves football and played the quarterback position until tenth grade. “It conflicted with my boxing, so I gave it up. My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys, although QB Tony Romo seems to be very inconsistent.” Apparently, Baca is the king of stating the obvious.
Undefeated welterweight Christian Cabral (4-0-0, 3 KO’s) is also an exciting prospect from the “Duke City.” A Baca/Cabral matchup would do big business in Albuquerque, but it will have to happen soon. Christian’s street weight is 165 pounds compared to 150 pounds for Matthew. Cabral struggles to make the 147 weight limit and will probably be a full-fledged middleweight in the next year.
In his pro debut, Matthew had no music playing when he entered the ring. On December 7, the sounds of Little Joe y la Familia singing Margarita/She’s a Good Hearted Woman will accompany him on his walk up the aisle. This is to honor his late grandmother Margaret, who passed away three years ago as a result of throat cancer.
“Team Baca” is excited about signing a promotional contract with Lenny Fresquez of Fresquez Productions, Inc. Over the last ten years Fresquez showed himself to be, astute but patient, in crafting the career of Holly Holm. There is little doubt “The Preacher’s Daughter” is one of the top P4P fighters in the history of woman’s boxing. Clearly Fresquez has the knowledge to do the same for Baca.
Matthew lives with his parents David and Carla and pretty 13 year old sister, Mariah. Matthew Baca is an excellent pro prospect but more importantly he is a nice human being. Whether in or out of the ring I wish this young man nothing but the best in life.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.om
TEAM TAPIA ANNOUNCES SEVEN FIGHT CARD AT THE CROWNE PLAZA FOR NOVEMBER 17
By: Austin Killeen - October 4, 2012
Headlining the Card with be lightweight Archie Ray Marquez (13-2-0, 8 KO’s), middleweight Joaquin Zamora (18-4-1, 12 KO’s) and welterweight Josh “Pitbull” Torres (8-2-0, 4 KO’s). For Marquez and Zamora their opponents will be announced shortly. If successful, Archie Ray has allegedly been promised a main event on ESPN Friday Night Fights on January 4, 2013. For the popular Zamora it will be his first bout since June of 2011. “Pitbull” is paired with Omar Quevado (0-5-0,) of Albuquerque.
The undercard has some interesting matchups. Super middleweight Henry Anaya III (1-1-0, 0 KOs) of Albuquerque faces Charles “The Beast” Alderete (1-2-0). Anaya is fresh off an exciting win over Mario Eastman in Santa Fe. Alderete has a solid chin and a pressure offense which should provide Anaya with a stiff test.
Lightweight prospect Edgar Zubia (3-1-1, 1 KO) of Hobbs faces David Castillo (3-4-0,) of Albuquerque. Zubia has fought most of his career on the road and holds a decision win over another solid prospect John Herrera. I saw Castillo’s last fight, a solid workman like performance in a decision over Brian Garcia.
Cruiserweight Adrian Lopez (2-1-1, 1 KO) of Socorro is matched with Manny Otero (2-4-0, 1 KO) of Peralta. I witnessed Lopez’s last bout, a grueling decision win where he had to dig deep to find victory. In Otero he will not find the going any easier. Manny has a granite jaw and a Knockout win over the above mentioned Henry Anaya III.
In a battle of “Duke City” welterweights, Donald Sanchez (1-0-0) is paired with James Marine in his pro debut.
As seen in the picture above, Adrian Lopez is holding his daughter at the Dias. There was no other option as she only wanted to be with her daddy. That is until she spotted Archie Ray Marquez, who has three children of his own. There is no truth to the rumor that all the toddlers in attendance wanted Archie’s autograph.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
FIRE AND ICE: HOLM/LAMARE II TOP EXCITING CARD AT ROUTE 66 CASINO HOTEL
By: Austin Killeen - September 26, 2012
Fresquez Productions held a press conference at the Route 66 Casino Hotel to announce the rematch between Holly Holm and Myriam Lamare on December 7, 2012. Holly is coming off possibly the biggest win of her career, a unanimous ten round decision over Anne Sophie Mathis. Mathis had shocked the “Duke City” boxer with a stunning seventh round KO last year. Disregarding the opinion of most experts, Holm turned down a tune-up bout and signed for an immediate rematch with Mathis.
Myriam lost a close decision to Holly in January of 2009 and has been seeking a rematch ever since. It was a fight in which the physically stronger Lamare pressured Holm every round. I felt the home town girl won a close decision but my two companions that evening, both favored the French export. Lamare has not lost a fight since that evening, fighting top contenders in each of her ensuing matches. If the preacher’s daughter expects a repeat win she had better take Lamare’s challenge seriously.
In the semi-final Matthew “Champ” Baca puts his undefeated record on the line against an opponent to be announced. Baca is a classy boxer/puncher who stopped Daniel Gonzales in one round in his pro debut last year. Matthew is a highly decorated amateur with over 100 bouts in the punch-for-trophies ranks.
In an 8 round matchup hometown girl Victoria “La Reina de la Guerra” Cisneros faces Diana Prazak of Melbourne, Australia. For our non-Spanish readers Victoria’s moniker means “The Queen of War”. If you have ever had the pleasure of watching her in action, you know the nickname conforms to the Truth in Advertising laws. She ducks no one, facing adversaries either on the road or at home.
This is a good thing because her opponent Dirty Diana Prazak is noted for her relentless attack. Born in Melbourne, Australia, the former chain-smoking heavyweight first entered a gym to lose weight and get in shape. Having dropped fifty pounds, the heavy handed Aussie has rattled off eleven straight victories. She likes to leave the ring early, which might explain why seven of her wins have ended by knockout. Cisneros/Prazak has the potential of being the fight of the night.
Raymond “Hollewood” Montez’s name means excitement. If you saw his six round draw with Tony Valdez last Saturday night, you saw the fight of the year. The only thing faster than his hands is his mouth. What comes out of it is always clever and funny, always getting under his opponents skin. Hopefully his adversary on December 7th will be the abovementioned Mr. Valdez. At this time Tony has not signed a contract, let us hope that is rectified shortly.
The opening bout of the evening pits debuting Jason Sanchez of Albuquerque against Gene Perez of Belen. Jason is the youngest of the fighting Sanchez brothers. I witnessed Sanchez’s last amateur bout two weeks ago and exciting decision in which he displayed explosive power in either hand. Perez shocked the favored Eric Gonzalez by four round decision in his pro debut. Gene throws punches in bunches so Jason had better have a tight defense.
Lenny Fresquez prides himself in putting on outstanding boxing cards. I first visited New Mexico in 2006 attending one of his programs. I left the arena that evening very impressed. He set the bar high that night and has always strived for excellence in succeeding years. This should be a highly entertaining evening of boxing.
VOICES FROM THE CORNER: Two weeks ago I attended an amateur boxing card at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center. Before a sellout crowd of over 500 attendees, 30 bouts were held including boxers as young as ten years of age to open class pugilist. Bunny Martinez, director of the community center and Dominic Winchell, head of amateur officials in New Mexico, played major roles in putting this outstanding card together. With grass rotes programs like these, is it any wonder why boxing is having resurgence in the Land of Enchantment while most of the country lags behind.
This past June I met the former WBF World Jr. Middleweight Champion, Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool at the Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY. He was very excited, when he told me about his pending comeback. Yeah, just what we need another geriatric making a fool of himself against an opponent half his age. I guess I will have to order crow off the menu because I was dead wrong. Vanderpool, fighting at 160 pounds, won a six round decision over Phil Rose. The bout took place on September 15th at the Sleeman Center, Guelph, Ontario.
Photo By: Chris Cozzone - NewMexicoBoxing.com
WAR IN SANTA FE: VALDEZ GOES “HOLLEWOOD”
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside – September 22, 2012
Fight of the year is an often overused phrase, but anyone lucky enough to have been in the Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe last night does not think so. This six round draw has to be in the all-time top ten in my memory bank of over sixty years of boxing. With a sensational six bout undercard, few thought Valdez/Montez had a chance of being picked as fight of the night. This is why boxing is having a revival in New Mexico, while in much of the rest of the country the sport is stuck in a tar pit. The formula: risk taking promoters, dozens of boxing gyms, excellent young fighters, solid trainers, venues to hold exciting cards and a fan base who appreciates great entertainment.
Leading up to this match, Raymond “Hollewood” (spelled with an e not y) Montez did so much trash talking he allegedly lost his voice. This is what Tony “The Warrior” Valdez planed to do when he got Mr. “motor mouth” in the ring last night. Anyone can talk the talk but “Hollewood” walks the walk. The contract called for both boxers to hit the scales at 117 pounds on Friday. Tony weighed 116.4 while Ray was 125 pounds, having lost a reported ten pounds in the previous twenty four hours. Given two hours to rectify the excess poundage Montez came in at 121. There was no way he would ever hit 117 as he was unable to spit, much less lose four more pounds. Valdez insisted that “Hollewood” weigh in at 126 at noon the next day if there was to be a fight.
Valdez 116.4 lbs (6-3-3, 6 KO’s) of Espanola and Montes 121 lbs (5-2-0, 4 KO’s) of Albuquerque divided the judges opinions with scores of 58-57 “Hollewood”, 58-56 Valdez and 57-57 draw. The opening bell indicated what the lucky fans could expect for the next six rounds: both boxers exploded from their corners, meeting at center ring. A seesaw does not have as many ups and down as the first round did. There was little to choose until “Hollewood” landed an overhand right which almost dropped Tony near the end of the round.
If anyone thought the pride of Espanola would fold like a card table, they were not prepared for the second round. It was “the mouth” who was backing up, the result of a punishing left jab. “Hollewood” did not back peddle for long, answering with his own two-fisted attack. The next stanza was difficult to score, as every time one boxer seemed to take charge, his rival would fire back with his own assault.
In the fourth, Montez employed a bob-and-weave which seemed to confuse his opponent at times. The Duke City native was able to land with both hands using this technique. Valdez was eating overhand rights and appeared to be wilting under the pressure. He must have eaten a can of spinach between rounds. Popeye would have been impressed by Valdez’s offense in the fifth, as straight rights were finding Raymond’s face. For his part, “Hollewood” just keep firing back to the delight of his fans.
In the final round, Tony continued to fire straight rights off of a crisp left jab. Unrelenting, Montez landed looping lefts and rights to his opponent’s head and body. I was glad I was not a judge this evening. The crowd was finally quiet while awaiting the draw verdict. Although there was no love lost between Montez and Valdez, they embraced in mutual respect, knowing it takes two to make a terrific fight! I liked the draw verdict, as there were no losers in the contest.
The co-feature Max Hayman 185.2 lbs (25-11-4, 14 KOs) of Albuquerque scored a unanimous decision over Chris Thomas 188.6 lbs (17-17-2, 14 KOs) of Chicago. For the past few years Hayman has been plagued by hand injuries while Thomas has been used as an opponent for young prospects. A win might put the victor’s career back on track. At 6’ 4” and possessing an 81-inch reach, the “Windy City” boxer appeared to have an advantage in both height and reach. Surprisingly Hayman fought straight up and was effective in timing his shorter left jab.
In the first round both boxers were cautious but the “Duke City” pugilist threw more punches. In the second Max started throwing overhand rights and dropped Chris with a left hook to the body. Though he was hurt, Thomas was able to finish the round. In the third Thomas returned the favor, knocking the off-balance Hayman down with an overhand right. In the fourth, the Albuquerque paramedic repeated his second round knockdown landing another hard left hook to the body. The pace slowed in the last two rounds, allowing the Chicagoan to enjoy a little more success. All three judges had identical scores of 58-53 for the victorious Hayman. After the fight Hayman’s left hand was swollen and he feared that it might be broken yet once again.
In the fifth bout of the evening, Angelo Sanchez 143.8 lbs (0-0-1,) of Albuquerque drew with Antonio Martinez 141 lbs (1-1-1, 1 KOs) of Espanola. The debuting Sanchez employed a strong left jab and tight defense to seemingly control most of the action in the first. However Martinez threw more leather and could have stolen the round. Angelo picked up the pace in the second landing hard left hooks to the body, followed by rights to the head.
In the third Sanchez allowed Martinez to work inside, where the Espanola boxer was more effective. Sanchez had a strong finish in the fourth an appeared to lock up the verdict. In the eyes of one judge he had by a score of 39-37 but the other two arbitrators had identical scores of 38-38 for a majority draw. Sanchez showed potential both on offense and defense and I would like to see him in action again.
In the evenings fourth bout Henry Anaya III 168.4 lbs (1-1-0, 0 KOs) of Albuquerque scored a majority decision over Mario Eastman 169 lbs (0-1-0, 1). It was bombs away from the opening bell, with little regards for defense. I have seen Anaya trained by his father on several occasions and he appeared to be well schooled in the fundamentals. It must have been frustrating for Dad, as his son was swing for the fences, abandoning his solid left jab.
In the first two rounds Anaya landed brutal left hooks to the body, unfortunately both above and below the belt line in equal numbers. One of these punches resulted in a knockdown in the second. However on two other occasions’ knockdowns were the results of low blows causing referee Rocky Burke to penalize the “Duke City” belter a point. In the third, Eastman hurt Anaya with a bomb to the chin but he failed to follow up. Henry seemed to have the better of the last round as Eastman spent most of the time head hunting.
The fans loved the action and there was plenty of it. Both boxers showed an abundance of grit and might have some upscale potential if they just learn to relax. Anaya has a terrific left hook but has to be patient in setting it up. The score cards read 39-36, 37-37, 38-37 and a rematch would generate a great deal of interest.
In the only female bout of the evening, Amanda “Boom Boom” Crespin 128.2 lbs (6-4-1, 2 KOs) of Las Vegas, NM, stopped Raquel Olivas of El Paso, TX in her pro debut. At the opening bell Crespin caught her opponent with a five-punch combination, dropping her to the canvas. Rising on unsteady legs, Olivas was driven across the ring where she was knocked down again. The referee stopped the contest at thirty three seconds of the first round.
It just was not Raquel’s day. Driving from El Paso, her car broke down. Forced to complete the journey by bus she arrived in Santa Fe at 2:30 a.m. the day of the fight. For the suddenly active “Boom Boom”, it was her second win in less than thirty days. Amanda has a bout scheduled for October 27, making her a hot commodity in the sport.
In the evenings second bout David Castillo 134 lbs (3-4-0, 0 KOs) of Albuquerque scored a unanimous decision over Bryan Garcia 132 lbs (7-20-0, 2 KOs) of Albuquerque. Castillo was just too big and strong for the game Garcia winning by scores of 40-36 on all three score cards. For Garcia, it was his twelfth loss in a row. It might be time to think about a new profession.
Adrian Lopez 184 lbs (2-1-1, 1 KOs) of Albuquerque won a majority decision over MMA fighter Rocky Ramirez 185 lbs (1-1-0, 1 KOs) of Rio Rancho. Lopez opened he fight with solid punches to both the head and body of Ramirez. The Rio Rancho boxer was aggressive but showed no defense. In the second Adrian started to open up, landing some heavy body shots.
Rocky’s offense was his defense and it worked in the third as Adrian spent much of the time covering up. Lopez took control once again in the fourth, landing left jabs and overhand rights much of the round. Scores of 38-38 and 39-37 twice resulted in a majority decision.
It was a great night of boxing, but rumors that the fight might be canceled and high ticket prices hurt attendance. Matchmakers Jacob Maes and Patrick Holmes did an excellent job setting up competitive bouts. In a year of excellent fight cards in New Mexico, this might be the best so far. The venue was excellent with comfortable seating, spacious parking and spotless locker rooms for the boxers. I would like to see more matches promoted at the Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
Boxing Returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 22nd
By: Austin Killeen - September 13, 2012
On September 22 the Pueblo Pavilion will host a professional boxing card promoted by Eviva Productions. This will be the first fight card held in Santa Fe in over 6 years. The card was originally scheduled for The Pit in Albuquerque on August 25.
The main event features bantamweights Raymond “Hollewood” Montes (5-2-0, 4 KOs) of Albuquerque against Tony Valdez (6-3-2, 6 KOs) of Espanola, NM scheduled for six rounds. Ironically Valdez fought on that Santa Fe card in 2006, boxing to a 6 round draw against Roberto Gomez. Both Tony and Raymond can bang, so it may not be necessary to have judges at ringside. All of Valdez’s wins have come by stoppage while only one of Hollewood’s victims has lasted the distance. Hollewood can trash talk with the best of them, but Valdez plans to shut the mouth of the “Duke City” puncher. It is safe to assume these boys will not be exchanging Christmas presents anytime this millennium.
The semi-final six rounder of the evening has light heavyweight, Max Hayman (24-11-4, 14 KOs) of Albuquerque returning to the ring after and 20 month layoff. He will be facing Chris “Cold Steel” Thomas (17-16-2, 14 KOs) of Chicago, Illinois. Max has been boxing for 15 years against the best competition available. His career has been plagued by hand injuries, resulting in a 20 month layoff. Thomas standing at 6’ 4” will enjoy a considerable height and reach advantage over his Duke City rival. As their records indicate, both boxers pack a punch. Like the feature bout, Judges should bring reading material, as this contest does not figure to go the distance.
The third six rounder between Archie Ray Marquez Lopez of Albuquerque and Jorge Reyes (21-30-3, 17 KOs) of El Paso, TX is rumored to be canceled.
The remainder of the card is comprised of four round bouts. In a heavyweight pairing, Adrian Lopez (1-1-1, 1KO) of Socorro, NM will square off against Rocky Ramirez (1-0, 1 KO) of Albuquerque, NM. Henry Anaya III (0-1) of Albuquerque faces Mario Eastman in his pro debut. Henry’s father had an excellent pro career in the 80’s and early 90’s, so this young boxer has solid blood lines. Antonio Martinez (1-1-1, 1 KO) will meet MMA grappler Angelo Sanchez. Opening the program is Amanda “Boom Boom” Crespin (5-4-1, 1 KO) of Las Vegas, NM will face Angela Hayes (1-0-0) of Colorado. Amanda won a unanimous decision in Pueblo, Colorado last week, while Hayes successfully turned pro in Minot, North Dakota. Crespin is a very busy girl as she has a fight in October if she wins against Hayes.
This promises to be a very exciting night of boxing for the “Land of Enchantment”.
MONTOYA STUNS CORDOVA IN CAREER PREFORMANCE AT THE PUEBLO CONVENTION CENTER
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside - September 3, 2012
On Saturday night in Pueblo, Colorado top pro Chantel Cordova 112 lbs (9-4-1, 3 KOs) of Pueblo, faced a live opponent in Brandi “Baby Doll” Montoya 115 lbs (4-2,) of Albuquerque, NM. It was reminiscent of match that took place over sixty years ago when favorite Tony Zale faced promising Marcel Cerdan. In both cases the live underdog scored surprising victories in dominating fashion. In both instances there were no losers just prideful boxers who fought gallantly until the end.
Both pugilists wasted little time getting down to business in the opening round. Because Montoya is a southpaw, it took a few seconds for the fighters to adjust to each other. Then it was all offense all the time, with the hometown girl’s quickness from the outside versus the visitor’s strength on the inside. “Baby Doll” was the aggressor and appeared to have the heavier hands in a close round.
Rounds two and three Montoya was successful in cutting off the ring, trapping her opponent on the ropes or in the corners; where she would unload five and seven punch combinations on her stationary antagonist. The game Cordova would respond with hard punches of her own, but only one punch at a time.
Chantel was able to keep the fight at center ring in the forth, in an effort to turn the tide. Using her quick feet she was able to turn Brandi hitting her with quick left jabs. For her part, the Duke City boxer was switching back and forth between orthodox and southpaw which seemed to confuse the hometown girl. In the final thirty seconds Cordova was trapped in her own corner. Montoya worked her over, landing hard shots to both the head and body.
The second half to the match it was all Montoya with Cordova constantly forced to fight off the ropes. Robbed of movement there was little Chantel could do but trade punches with her stronger opponent. There was little clinching taking place and referee Curtis Thrasher let the girls fight. Cordova never stopped trying, while looking for a bag of magic gold dust to turn things around. At the final bell she was still searching for a miracle. It was a unanimous decision with all three officials awarding Montoya a shutout with identical scores of 80–72. This was a career defining win for the U of NM sophomore and presents her with some interesting opportunities in the future. For Cordova it is back to the drawing boards. Even in a one-sided loss you could see that she was a talented individual. She will bounce back.
After the bout, Brandi’s trainer “Professor” Tony Rosales stated; “We studied Cordova on video and YouTube and we had a plan and stuck to it. We stressed not to let her set up by throwing a lot of combinations.” As for the elated victor, Brandi stated; “I tend to get stronger in the later rounds. That’s why I knew eight rounds would be ok.” She credited her hard sparing with Amanda Crespin as a major reason for her success.
As would be expected Cordova was disappointed in her performance. Last week her grandfather Max passed away. ‘We were very close and I dedicated the match in his honor. I had his name printed on my trunks and wish I did better.” With the determination and fortitude she displayed in the face of adversity, I think she honored his memory quite well.
The semi final matched Arturo “El Toro” Crespin 161 lbs (7-2-1, 2 KOs) of Las Vegas, NM against Nathaniel Hicks 161 lbs (1-0) of Colorado Springs, CO. Both boxers looked to be in excellent shape in what promised to be an exciting matchup. Last week, Arturo had assured me I would see an improved fighter in his next match.
At the opening bell it appeared “El Toro” was intent on delivering on his promise. The stocky southpaw rushed across the ring and started landing vicious body shots on his surprised opponent. To his credit Hicks did not panic, covering up he brought the fight to the center of the ring. Nate started landing a left jab from the outside while using good footwork to stay out of trouble. Crespin, who resembles a mini Brock Lesnar, had other ideas. The pattern of the match had clearly been established; Crespin on the ropes, Hicks at center ring. In an exciting first round, the determined Arturo successfully imposed his will.
Nate opened the second round with a strong combination which trapped Crespin on the ropes. Suddenly referee Rob Mullings stopped the action and brought Arturo to the ring doctor. Blood was streaming down his face from a cut over his right eye. Was it caused by a punch or a head butt and if it was a butt was it intentional? Although the third man is closes to the combatants, it does not always award him the best view of the action. I was glad I was sitting ringside and not in Mullings’s shoes. The fight was stopped at 39 seconds of the second round due to an accidental butt. A disappointed Arturo stated; “I was bummed out, I wanted to at least finish the second round.” I have a feeling Crespin and Hicks have not seen the last of each other.
The first pro fight pitted Amanda Crespin 129 lbs (5-4-1, 1 KO) of Las Vegas, NM against D.J. Morrison 127 lbs (3-15-0, 2 KOs) of Billings, MT in a rematch of two years ago. In that match held in Las Vegas, NM, Morrison could not answer the bell for the fourth round. This would be Amanda’s first bout in sixteen months but she had been training hard with Brandi Montoya in preparation for the match.
At the opening bell Amanda left little doubt who the winner would be. Boxing behind a punishing left jab and a tight defense she quickly took control. Each round was a repeat of the first. To her credit, Morrison was determined to finish the bout on her feet. Using a decent left jab of her own, she was able to get out of trouble on several occasions and lasted the distance. After four rounds Crespin was awarded a unanimous decision by identical scores of 40-36. Like her big brother Arturo, Amanda was in excellent shape.
Post fight Amanda was excited about her immediate future. She has fights lined up for September and October. “I’ll be fighting in my home town of Las Vegas in October, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Jack Johnson/Fireman Jim Flynn title fight. If Amanda can pull off wins on those dates, her career will be red hot.
In an interesting amateur bout Ray Abeyta 154 lbs of Rocky Ford, Co won a unanimous three round decision over Alex Quintana 158 lbs by scores of 29-28, 30-27 (2). Quintana was a good boxer but failed to follow up advantages several times during the match. The stockier Abeyta impressed the judges with his aggressiveness and body punching.
Both referees, Curtis Thrasher and Rob Mullings, did an excellent job. They let the boxer’s box, controlling the combatants with one work commands. Unlike to many refs today who constantly pull the fighters apart with their hands while giving long winded directions. The promoter Serry Cordova, who is the mother of Chantel, did a nice job seeing that out of town visitors were treated well.
Photo By: Austin Killeen - BillyCBoxing.com
MALDONADO DROPS CLOSE DECISION TO PEREZ IN ENTERTAINING TV BOUT
By: Austin Killeen – August 24, 2012
When Fidel Maldonado Sr. told me his son would be fighting Michael Perez on ShoBox: The New Generation, after his devastating TKO loss to Fernando Carcamo, I thought he was being foolish. After watching the fight on TV tonight I might be the one who was idiotic. If there were an additional 30 seconds remaining in the tenth round, Fidel Jr. may have scored a spectacular knockout. However rounds are three minutes not three minutes and thirty seconds and Perez was awarded a razor thin split decision on scores of 97-92, 95-94 and 94-95. This resulted in ringside commentators Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood calling for an immediate rematch. I am sure the Atrisco Kid would like that idea. I am not as sure that Perez would share that opinion.
The first two rounds both boxers showed a lot of respect for each other but still looked to establish an offense. The southpaw Maldonado had success landing his left from the outside, often to his opponent’s head. Perez was finding a home for his right, often to Fidel’s midsection. But both boxers were having difficulty landing more than one punch at a time. In the third things started to heat up when an accidental head butt opened a cut over the “Duke City” fighter’s right eye. In addition the orthodox Perez stepped on Maldonado’s right foot on several occasions. This is common when you have a righty versus a lefty and not the result of dirty tactics. These were difficult rounds to score and obviously played a big part in the final verdict.
Fidel opened the fourth with some heavy punches but Michael countered with a left to the body and a right to the head. This seemed to stop the Albuquerque fighter in his tracks. The Newark, New Jersey boxer capitalized on his advantage, landing with both hands to the head and body. With his mouth hanging open, Maldonado appeared ready to go and at risk of having his jaw broken in the process. Usually it takes a knockdown to be awarded a ten-eight round but this might have merited a two point advantage.
Rounds five and six the pace slowed noticeably as Perez failed to follow up on his advantage, allowing Maldonado to recover. Both boxers were throwing one punch at a time but not with the energy of the early rounds. This was foolish on the part of a Newark boxer as he was giving the judges the opportunity to award a round to Albuquerque native. Fidel found new life in the seventh, taking the fight to his opponent. He was throwing punches in bunches and having his best round sense the third. Clearly the gap was closing and Maldonado had found new life. He continued his assault in the eighth, landing many clean blows over the first two minutes. Perez answered with his own attack over the last sixty seconds of the round, scoring with straight rights and lefts. Perez was taking a lot of punishment and his lower lip was busted up and leaking a lot of blood.
Fidel appeared to land the cleaner punches in the ninth as Michael looked to be tired. In the tenth both boxers looked to be exhausted as it had been a grueling match. With twenty seconds remaining, Maldonado landed a brutal left to the body. Following up with several shots to the head, his opponent dropped to the canvas fatigued. Rising on unsteady legs Perez was saved from further punishment when the final bell rang.
As opposed to attending the fight in person, I had the luxury of viewing the bout twice. It is amazing how you opinion changes as you see things differently the second time around. I felt Perez won a close fight but on viewing replay changed my mind. If I watch it again I will probably score it a draw. There is one factor which could have had a negative effect for Fidel. It is his habit of starting each round strong but allowing Michael to close impressively. Closing strong the last thirty seconds of a round probably catches the eyes of the judges more than winning the first minute.
The great Cuban champ of the 50’s, Kid Gavilan, use to flurry the last thirty seconds of each stanza, seemingly winning every close decision he was involved in. Regardless of how one scored the match, the Atrisco Kid clearly righted his ship. The experience of fighting ten hard rounds should make Maldonado a better boxer in the future. I hope some promoter puts Maldonado and his “Duke City” rival Archie Ray Marquez in the same ring next year. This would be box office magic between two excellent prospects!
Photos By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
MOMMA D’s DUNGEON: IMPROVING SPORTS PERFORMANCE ONE ATHLETE AT A TIME
By: Austin Killeen - August 8, 2012
A few weeks ago I was invited to a cookout at Momma D’s Dungeon by Jacob Maes, manager of boxer Archie Ray Marquez. The invitation left me a little confused as Momma D’s Dungeon sounded like a cross between soul food and Asian cuisine. When I arrived at the address given, I noticed it was located next to the famous Jackson MMA Gym. I thought my friend Jacob was playing a trick on me and I felt foolish having brought homemade bread. If I was going to enter the cage, Irish Soda Bread would not be my weapon of choice. I entered the dungeon and sure enough, there was a cookout and my weapon of choice seemed appropriate.
After everyone had ample opportunity to suppress their hunger pains, I was introduced to Momma D, proprietor of the Dungeon. I found out that, in addition to the above mentioned Archie Ray Marquez, she was the conditioning coach for many of the MMA fighters from Jackson’s who were in attendance. This caught my attention, as Marquez seemed to have a new lease on life after going through a bad patch in his pugilistic career. But Michael Spinks had a personal trainer named Mackie Shilstone as far back as 1982, so I did not think this qualified as a revolutionary concept in the world of boxing. Momma D (this is what everyone seemed to call her) talked about anaerobic exercise and the importance of recovery. Maybe she knew what she was talking about, as the cage fighters from Jackson’s where considered some of the best in the world. And there was no denying Archie Ray seemed to be reborn when it came to his profession of choice.
On Monday I met with Momma D, Jacob and Archie Ray at the Highland Pool, located in Albuquerque, to witness her fitness techniques in person. After Archie completed two laps in the 25-meter pool the real work started. Marquez strapped on ankle resistance equipment for pool training. Although not designed for any specific sport, the equipment makes your body stronger and more cardiovascularly fit. With each new piece of equipment, Archie was asked to swim two more laps in the pool. All the apparatuses used caused the swimmer to be dragged deeper into the water, thus increasing the resistance. Other equipment used included yellow bells held by the swimmer, a board called a flotation device and an apparatus held between the legs.
No one would ever accuse Marquez of not being in good condition but the swimming drills were clearly robbing him of oxygen. If this was causing him to become uncomfortable, it certainly was not evoking any sympathy on the part of Momma D; she just wanted him to do more. In the next three lanes of the pool other members of the Dungeon were also working out; but in ways specific to their individual sports. Interestingly, they all appeared to be suffering from an asthma attack or they were chain smokers. Like Archie Ray, they were receiving little compassion from the “mistress of pain.” The group included a cage fighter who was big enough to qualify for his own zip code, a young lady who was a member of the University of Kansas cross country and track teams and a former Navy rescue swimmer.
I failed to keep count but each participant must have completed at least 20 laps in the pool. Each time they reached their anaerobic breaking point they were given a few precious moments to recover and then pushed hard until their next anaerobic breaking point. If Mr. Marquez can survive this training regiment until his fight on August 25 at the U NM Pit, he will find the sixty second rests between rounds the equivalent of eight hours of sleep. Upon leaving the pool, all the participants seemed enthusiastic and eager to attend the next gathering.
At the completion of the training session Mommy D took a few minutes to explain her philosophy and answer any question I might have. “What I do is interval training, taking them to their maximum and then giving them a short break, because that’s how they fight. I want their recovery to be a lot more efficient. Because there is less strain on his joints I can train him a lot closer to his fights in the pool. This is not going to hurt him but will keep him fit and strong. This also builds strength: not just for cardio.” I asked about the approach to training based on hard day / easy day. “I gauge it by what he gives me. I have nothing planed out. I wait until he gets there.”
Mommy D has been training athletes for the past 27 years. “I’ve worked with every kind of athlete you can imagine. This includes body builders, professional baseball players, football players, track, boxing, MMA, and rugby to name a few. My specialty is Kinesiology, the science of body movement. I can study an athlete regarding a specific sport and design whatever they need and put it into play. If you noticed, I trained the girl differently, placing more emphasis on her legs as she is a middle distance runner.”
As Jacob Maes’s dime was paying for Archie Ray’s pool party I thought it might be a good idea to get his read on things. “Since Mommy D has come on board, she has become a big piece of the puzzle. I think Archie has matured and is going to another level. When we finish the puzzle I think it is going to be a master piece.”
I noticed the Navy rescue swimmer was still there so why not get his read on what just transpired? His name was Gabe and he looked like a finalist in the next Tarzan movie. To say he had slabs of muscle would be an understatement. “This translates into almost any sport. The harder you get up the pool and the way you have to throw your hands forward to do the strokes makes you stronger. I noticed when I did kick boxing that I never got heavy hands at the end of a fight.” Gabe was not a believer in weight training. “Any form of resistance training that limits you to ten reps does not translate to my kind of sports. I believe in sprints, pushups and pull-ups because there more beneficial. If you come by again, you will see a whole different routine; she is always making changes.”
I was very impressed with what I witnessed at the pool. If Archie Ray Marquez looks impressive on August 25, I have a feeling there will be some new faces from the “Duke City” boxing gyms visiting the Dungeon on Acoma Road. Mackie Shilstone step aside, there is a new sheriff in town and her name is Mommy D!
Photo By: Austin Killeen
WOOL WAREHOUSE PART DOS: EXPLOSIVE ACTION ALL NIGHT
By: Austin Killeen - Ringside - July 27, 2012
Promoter Joe Chavez and Matchmaker Martin Narro know how to make an exciting evening of boxing as they did it for the second time in a row at the Wool Warehouse. The main event featured Josh “Pit Bull” Torres 148.6 lbs (8-2-1, 3 KOs) of Albuquerque versus Joe Gomez (18-7-1, 8 KOs) of Aztec. It figured to be a tough matchup with Torres on the inside versus Gomez on the outside. It turned out to be Torres on the outside, Gomez on the inside but an exciting matchup just the same.
Working from a distance, the taller Aztec boxer had the Duke City native just where he wanted him. One problem, Torres was landing most of the punches. The “Pit Bull” seemed very relaxed in the first two rounds, blocking most of the quicker Gomez’s blows while scoring with a left jab and overhand rights. In the second round, Josh landed a stiff right to the body which was eye-catching. It looked like Josh’s coming out party as his defense was impressive and he was scoring from long range. With the fight a third over it appeared he clearly had a commanding lead on the score cards. Tal vez fue su madre-en-las leyes de pastelitos, pero el partido estaba a punto de hacer un giro de 180 grados en el tercero.
It the third round the Aztec import started moving his feet, creating angles which allowed him to land body punches behind Torres’s elbows. Suddenly it was “Pit Bull” who looked confused and Gomez was back in the fight. Clearly the momentum now belonged to Gomez. This pattern would continue over the next two rounds, rounds that were very difficult to score. There was plenty of leather being tossed and I am not criticizing the judges, as where they were seated could easily effect their view point. It was Gomez’s flashy combinations versus Torres’s solid one-twos.
In the fifth round Josh landed a good combination that seemed to stop the out-of-town boxer in his tracks. Instead of seizing a golden opportunity the “Pit Bull” just stood there watching his opponent. Gomez recovered and started working to both the head and body again. How do you score that round: volume of punches or the harder blows? The sixth appeared to be Torres’s best round since the second, as he landed the cleaner punches and probably caught the attention of the judges.
The verdict reflected the competitive nature of the match as Torres was awarded a close split decision. At the post-fight interview Josh commented “I thought it was good fight and Gomez was tough on the inside.” Regarding his future plans: “I’m going to pick up my baby and spend time with my family. Take a two week vacation and let my body rest because it’s been tough.” As for Gomez’s post fight reflections: “I figured they would expect me to fight outside, I worked in close. I made one mistake in the fifth, when he caught me. I just stood there after throwing some punches, but I wasn’t hurt. I started training camp at 176 and I was training more to lose weight than I was training to meet my opponent. I’d love to fight him again but I don’t know if it will happen.”
The semi-final between Nasareth Rojas 153.6 lbs (6-7-1, 2 KOs) of Albuquerque and Arturo Crespin 156.4 lbs (7-2, 2 KO’s) of Las Vegas, NM could have been fought on the top of a small coffee table. Most of the bout they just stood toe-to-toe and traded hellacious body punches at an incredible work rate. Crespin is built like a small army tank, while Rojas is on the lean side. The first half of the fight was very close with Nasareth landing effectively to both the head and body. But it was the wrong strategy against the human tree trunk Crespin. In the second half of the match, Crespin’s pressure just wore down the “Duke City” fighter to win a unanimous decision. This is the second time I have seen Rojas box and he is a solid competitor but I do not understand his willingness to work on the inside. If he would use the full ring I think he would fare much better.
The third six rounder was a rematch between undefeated Cristian Cabral 146.8 (4-0, 3 KOs) of Albuquerque and Michael Herrera 149 lbs (0-2) of Roswell. Cabral won their first match convincingly on a second round stoppage; he has looked impressive in winning his last match. I like both boxers personally, as I have spent a great deal of time around both combatants and their trainers, Ray Zamora (Cabral) and Lupe Perez (Herrera). Although I felt Cristian would win again, I also knew that Michael was in much better shape than in their first encounter.
Ray Zamora’s fighter is probably the best young prospect in the area, as he has a solid defense, throws beautiful combinations and oozes personality. Upon entering the ring, it appeared he was more interested in intimidating his opponent than thinking about his game plan. During the pre-fight instruction he tried to employ a baleful stare à la Mike Tyson. Herrera wasn’t buying it; it just seemed to make him more determined to seek revenge.
The first round Cabral unloaded his full arsenal on the Roswell import but his usual solid defense appeared leaky. He clearly won the round but ate a lot of punches in return, unlike their first match. You could sense Michael’s confidence growing as he answered the second bell. The classy “Duke City” fighter was fighting like a brawler and taking a lot of punishment from the suddenly confident Herrera. In the final minute of the stanza the Roswell boxer pinned his opponent on the ropes unloading bombs to both the head and body. Ringsiders near me were wondering if Cabral would taste the canvas.
When the bell ended the round, Herrera had a terrible cut over his right eye. I not sure how or when it happened but what was shaping up as the fight of the night was clearly over. Cabral was declared the winner by TKO at the end of two. Cristian Cabral and Ray Zamora have a wonderful relationship where the sum is greater than its parts. But the Cristian Cabral who spared five hard rounds with Josh Torres just last week was not the razor sharp boxer I saw last night. He appeared over confident at the expense of the classy skills he has been developing at the Warriors Gym. You are never going to intimidate a live opponent by staring at him; even Mike Tyson could not accomplish that. And not overlooked was the resurrection of Michael Herrera by Lupe Perez; six months ago he was a shot fighter, last night he was a live opponent with a real chance of winning.
In the battle of David versus Goliath, Fernando Reyes 270.8 lbs (2-1) of Albuquerque faced debuting Guto Feliciano 216.8 lbs of Roswell. Once again, do you favor volume of punches or hitting power as this was a difficult match to score? In the first two rounds Reyes rocked Feliciano, but Guto had the busier hands. I gave both rounds to the out-of-towner but I’m sure many would disagree. In the third Fernando worked well behind a good left jab to take the round. A flash knock down at the end of the fourth sealed the deal for the “Duke City” Goliath, with Reyes gaining a unanimous decision. Once again this was a very entertaining bout.
In the opening match of the evening, Antonio Garcia 128.8 (1-1) of Albuquerque met John Herrera 129.2 lbs (3-3-1, 1 KO) of Roswell. The defensive minded Herrera is a slow starter and last night was no different. In the first two rounds Garcia threw many more punches, including some eye catching five punch combinations which had to impress the judges. In the third Herrera’s solid counter punching started paying dividends as the Albuquerque boxer was taking deep breaths during the clinches. In the fourth round, John landed a terrific left uppercut, causing Antonio to back into the ropes and drop to the canvas. Clearly hurt, referee Rocky Burke rescued the game Garcia at 2:36 of the round. I have watched Herrera’s development over the past six months and his improvement is remarkable. He looks strong fighting below 130 lbs and is ready to move up in his level of competition.
This was a great night of boxing, with all five bouts both competitive and entertaining. Promoter Joe Chavez and Matchmaker Martin Narro know how to put on a good show.
Photo By: Austin Killeen
WOOL WAREHOUSE FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS PART DOS
By: Austin Killeen - July 23, 2012
On February 24 of this year Chavez Promotions put on a spectacular boxing program featuring seven four rounds. Before a sellout crowd, local area talent displayed their skills for the Duke City fans. There were no world champions working their craft that evening, but all the bouts were evenly matched, hard fought, exciting contests. This Friday spectators should see a repeat of that show thanks to the hard work of Promoter Joe Chavez and match maker Martin Narro. There will be three six rounders preceded by two four rounders. If one hundred prognosticators tried to successfully predict the outcome of these five matches, you would have a very short list of those who went five for five. For the most part these bouts could go either way as boxers appear to be evenly matched.
The main event features the aptly named Josh “Pit Bull” Torres of Albuquerque versus Joe Gomez of Aztec. I have seen Torres box several times and he is a punishing force to be dealt with. Fighting behind a pole ax left jab he can close the show quickly. He is good at cutting off the ring and lands with authority using either hand. Did I mention he has a decent defense blocking punches with his gloves and arms not his face and body? “I know Gomez has faced some taught competition but I’ve faced some tough competition myself. I train with the expectation that all my opponents will be difficult and I will be ready next Friday.”
Gomez has complied a decent record against hard competition on the road but has lost five of his last seven fights; four by stoppage. This had me wondering if he was reaching the end of the line. Seeking the opinion of fight people around the state, I got a very different viewpoint. They feel Torres will need to fight a perfect fight if he hopes to be victorious on Friday. Watching a video of Gomez, he has good foot work, punches from angles and has a nice jab but not with the power of the “Pit Bull.” When asked why he felt he would be able to stand up to Torres’s attack he responded; “I’ve been fighting middleweights for several years now and they are too big. Against Abraham Han he walked through my punches, but at welterweight I’ll be much stronger.” Both boxers have a great deal of respect for each other and expect a very difficult fight. Personally I feel if Torres can get inside frequently he’ll be able to do some damage. But if Gomez can fight a long range using his excellent foot work then. . . This should be a very entertaining bout.
The semi-main event has Nasareth Rojas of Albuquerque facing Arturo Crespin of Las Vegas, NM. I had the pleasure of seeing Rojas coming back after a ten year layoff; he showed solid ring generalship in winning a unanimous decision. His nickname is the “Body Stopper” but I thought his infighting worked against him, making the fight closer than it should have been.
Crespin is a left hander who I have never seen fight. When we spoke on the phone he said he had trained hard and he was in good shape but had nothing to say other than that. I have seen his sister Amanda box on several occasions and if his skills are on her level he should be pretty good. Predictions regarding the outcome seem to be evenly split down the middle. Like the main event this is too close to call.
The final six rounder has Cristian Cabral of Albuquerque facing Michael Herrera of Roswell in a rematch of their February 24th fight, won by Cabral in a second round TKO. Cristian was dominant in that bout and would appear to be an easy pick in this match. However it was Herrera who petitioned the promoter for the rematch and is working hard to insure the results will be different this time. I traveled to Roswell last Tuesday to watch Herrera train and he was working very hard. If Cabral thinks his mere presence in the arena on Friday guarantees the win, it could open the door for the determined Roswell native. Both boxers respect each other but when the bell rings. . .
Fernando Reyes of Albuquerque faces Guto Feliciano of Roswell in a four rounder, in a bout that has more questions than answers. At 6 foot 3 inches and two hundred sixty five pounds Reyes is an imposing figure. I saw him win a unanimous decision two years ago in his last fight. Surprisingly he was a boxer not a banger who used the full ring to his advantage that night. The question is: what has a two year layoff done to his skills?
Feliciano has never boxed either pro or amateur but has participated in twenty four cages fights. The question there is: how does cage fighting experience translate into in the boxing ring? Guto has an impressive build, but if that was the only thing that mattered, Mister Universe would be heavyweight champion of the world. I have no idea what to expect in this one.
Antonio Garcia of Albuquerque faces John “Smiley” Herrera of Roswell in the opening bout of the evening. This has the potential of being the fight of the night as styles make fights. I saw Garcia face Yoel Gonzales last year in an exciting matchup. Although Antonio lost the decision, he had the undefeated Cuban on the floor and was the aggressor the entire bout.
Herrera is an excellent defensive boxer, who slips punches to the frustration of his opponents. They say that which does not kill you, makes you stronger and the younger Herrera brother is living proof of that expression. How else can you explain his improvement in spite of facing the toughest opponents that the “Duke City” has to offer? Amazingly, fighting with a smile seemingly plastered to his face, he is winning over the fans in Albuquerque. Can the aggressive Garcia keep Herrera backing up or will the Roswell import counter punch his way to victory. Creo que John Herrera se ve mejor cada vez que lo veo actuar, no es una opinión compartida por mi compadre Billy C.
This is an intriguing card that should provide a night of exciting entertainment for those lucky enough to be in attendance.
Photo By: Jerry D Martinez
THE RECKONING: NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE SUCCESS
By: Austin Killeen - RingSide - June 15, 2012
The much anticipated showdown between Anne Sophie Mathis and Holly Holm before a sellout crowd at the Route 66 Casino Hotel illustrated three facts; Mike Winkeljohn devised blueprint for success, Holly Holm had the engineering skills to carry it to fruition, and Lenny Fresquez can find gold in woman’s boxing where other promoters fail to see the potential.
It was not pretty but Holly Holm regained the IBA women’s welterweight title, she had lost by a brutal knockout to Anne Sophie Mathis last December, by scoring a unanimous decision. With Celtic bagpipe music blearing in the background for seemingly ten minutes, the challenger finally entered the ring to the delight of the partisan crowd. The new champion slipped through the ropes to a chorus of boos.
This is sad as she showed after the first fight she is a class act, who displayed sportsmanship and modesty in victory. It was also depressing that a small portion of the crowd would choose to boo and catcall during the French National Anthem. This is not a knock on the “Duke City” as the same reaction would probably take place in the “Big Apple”, “Bean Town” and the “Windy City.” Someday I would love to see an announcer call out the fools who act this way “to show some class.”
In the first round “The Preacher’s Daughter” appeared tentative, grabbing and holding at every opportunity while throwing nothing at the champ. Mathis appeared frustrated as she unsuccessfully chased Holm around the ring. She did land one hard right in an otherwise dull round. This would repeat itself over the next three rounds but with one or the other boxer landing a single punch followed by a clinch. As the level of confidence seemed to grow in the challenger, the level of frustration seemed to grow on the part of the champion.
Early in the fight, Mathis would pound Holm in the ribs or rabbit punch during the frequent clinches. While Holm would lunge in head first and grab. Only one warning was issued by the referee while the combatants were locked in embraces for inordinate amounts of time. By the fifth, the champ stopped clubbing Holm in the ribs as she became increasingly exasperated by the challenger’s actions.
The sixth was a clinch fest making it difficult to pick a winner. It was a repeat in the seventh with momentum swinging if favor of Holly. Even punches to the arms or gloves landed by Holm brought cheers from the audience. Mathis did nothing to avoid being held, throwing a punch and falling into a clinch. The eighth was Holly’s best round as the French invader appeared to be tiring.
In the ninth Mathis landed a hard right but could not follow up her advantage. The tenth reminded me of a Viennese Waltz with Holly landing an overhand left just before the bell. This was a very difficult fight to judge. Do you credit Mathis for effective aggressiveness for chasing Holm around the ring? Do you reward Holm for her ability to tie Mathis up, seemingly at will after throwing one punch? Depending on your view point there could be some amazing discrepancies in scoring.
The scores were 96-94, 97-93 and 99-91 all for the new champ to the glee of the home town crowd. For the life of me I cannot see how a score of 99-91 was reached. The 96-94 score was the most realistic tabulation in my opinion. I never understood why Mathis never stepped to the side and fired off punches at her challenger, instead of walking into clinches all night. In a match involving the two best P4P women in the world, one would expect a great deal more skill on display and a lot less clinching. I was not held that much on the first night of my honeymoon. Holm weighed 146 pounds while Mathis tipped the scales at 145.2 pounds.
In the post fight press conference, Mathis felt she lost the way the bout was conducted. She stated she likes a real fight. She felt the size of the ring was no problem (twenty square feet versus eighteen in their first match). Later in one of the Casino restaurants she expressed the desire for a rematch but not in the “Duke City.” When asked if she would like a third match, Holly responded “my time and plans only went to today. She further stated; “I wish I throw more punches, but the plan was working so this is what I did. Lenny Fresquez responded when the questions of a rubber match keep being raised as well as Holly’s willingness to travel overseas. He explained the economics of the sport offered the biggest paydays in Albuquerque. He stated a willingness to travel if the financial arrangements made sense.
There were five bouts on the undercard but it would have been unrealistic to expect them to equal the supporting bouts of Holm/Mathis I. That was one of the best programs I ever saw. The semi final was a six round matchup between Raymond “Hollywood” Montez 116.8 lbs (5-2, 4 KOs) of Albuquerque and Jaime Gutierrez 116 lbs (4-6, 0 KO’s) of Albuquerque. They exploded out of their corners with bad intentions. Leather was flying until Gutierrez walked into an overhand right to the head. “Hollywood” was awarded a KO at 1:37 of the first. This boy can punch and brings excitement to the ring. Montez should have little trouble getting booked on future fight cards.
In a four rounder promising Cristian Cabral 146.5 lbs (3-0, 2 KOs) of Albuquerque stopped Victor Silva 146 lbs (0-1) of Socorro, NM at 1:27 of the fourth. Cabral dropped his opponent in the first with a left-right to the head in the opening round. Silva was game, fighting back upon rising but the “Duke City” resident had too much in his arsenal. Cristian mixed his attack going to the head then the body and back to the head again. The referee rescued the game Silva from further punishment. If Silva dropped ten pounds he would be much better suited as a lightweight.
Making his pro debut, Gene Perez 126 lbs. (1-0, 1 KO) of Belen, NM surprised Eric Gonzales 125.8 lbs. (1-2-1, 1 KO) of Albuquerque. Both fighters threw plenty of punches but the shorter Perez’s counter punches found their way through Gonzales’s defense. Eric had a bad habit of dropping his hands when he was not punching.
John Herrera 134.2 lbs. (2-3-1) of Roswell, NM gave a boxing lesson to veteran Bryan Garcia 129.5 lbs. (7-19, 2 KO’s) of Santa Fe, NM over four rounds. “Smiley” used an excellent left jab to draw claret from his opponent’s nose and mouth. Garcia kept pressing Herrera but was seemingly always open for counter punches. John is an excellent defensive boxer who can slip punches but he has to throw more.
The fight of the night was the opening four rounder between debuting Jose Luis “Guero” Sanchez of Albuquerque and Guy Youell of Farmington, NM. It was bombs away from the opening bell when Sanchez found himself sitting on the canvas, compliments of a Youell left hook to the head. “Guero” slowly fought his way back into the bout, exchanging heavy hands with Youell in the second. The action continued to favor Sanchez when a left-right to the head dropped the Farmington youngster in the fourth. The referee stepped in to save Youell from further punishment at 1:27 of the round.
The Holm’s win was well received by the crowd and the undercard showcased local talent. Although I was critical of “The Preacher’s Daughter”, I have enjoyed watching her perform sense I first visited here in 2006. If not a rubber match with Mathis I would love for undefeated Cecilia Braekhus of Norway to visit the “Duke City next.”
Photo By: Jerry Martinez
JOHNNY TAPIA: TEAR DROPS IN THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
By: Austin Killeen - May 30, 2012
On Sunday evening New Mexico lost the face of boxing in our state. Johnny Tapia, former boxing champion who also fought cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law, was found dead at his Albuquerque home. He was 45. The reaction of most people was shock but not surprise by the news. Johnny Tapia was famous for his success in the ring and the demons he had to endure outside of it.
In the race for life everybody does not have a place reserved on the starting line. Tapia was clearly one of the victims of this truism. He was raised with the belief that his father was murdered before he was born. His mother was raped and killed when he was only eight. No child is emotionally equipped to handle a devastating tragedy of this nature. Is it any wonder he would battle with demons the remainder of his life.
Amazingly boxing might have given him peace from this crippling burden of childhood tragedy. A five time world champion, there is little doubt he will be enshrined in the Boxing Hall of Fame. Johnny had his first amateur bout at the age of eleven. Inside the ring Tapia controlled his own destiny and was not dependent on events beyond his power. Boxing for trophies, Johnny won the 1983 and 1985 National Golden Gloves Championship. Additionally, he was a finalist in the 1984 Olympic Trials.
Turning pro in 1988, his relentless offence quickly made his a forced to be reckoned with. He captured his first world title stopping Henry Martinez in the Duke City before his applicative hometown fans. His fights with Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Ayala and Danny Romero cemented his legacy as one of the best of his era.
In retirement he turned to training boxers, including Archie Ray Marquez a promising lightweight out of Albuquerque. When I visited his gym it was always jammed with boxers. Great boxers are notorious for being bad trainers. When I posed that question to him, he responded; “I’m not trying to make them into the next Johnny Tapia. I don’t teach that, I try to give them more angles, combinations, focus, determination, dedication and desire.
Speaking with Archie Ray that same day, he endorsed what Tapia was saying. “I’ve been boxing since I was eleven and I was burned out. Coming to the gym to train was no longer fun. Johnny has put excitement back into the sport for me. I look forward to coming here each day. I’m learning something different every session.” Later that month, Archie scored an exciting eight round decision over Noe Lopez Jr. as testimony to Tapia’s training techniques.
I spoke with Jacob Maes, the manager of the above mentioned Marquez on Monday. He stated “Johnny Tapia has never met a stranger.” That statement made perfect sense to me. When Maes first introduced me to Johnny, he acted as if he knew me all my life. A few weeks later Tapia approached me in a crowded room and and to my surprise called me by my first name. He was a people person who made everyone around him feel like they were special. In closing Maes said; “I pray his family finds peace knowing that Johnny has found peace.”
I spoke with referee Rocky Burke this morning regarding his memories of Tapia. “We were good friends; he has been to my house many times and knows my mother and brother Louie. When I first refereed one of his fights it was embarrassing. I went into his dressing room for pre-fight instructions, he jumped off his rubbing table gave me a big hug and asked about my mom and Louie. After that I had to send in somebody before me to tell him to cool it and not act like my best friend.”
A few years ago Johnny was approached by an older man named Jerry Padilla. Padilla stated he was friends with Tapia’s mother in 1966. After both men took blood test, Johnny discovered that Padilla was his biological father and he had six brothers and a sister he did not know existed. Through my association with Tapia I’ve met his wife Teresa, who could most appropriately be called a saint. There are very few women who would have endured what she has, in trying to help Johnny fight his demons. On several occasions I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with his son Jonathon. Jonathon is a gentleman who along with Teresa has been a blessing in Tapia’s life.
Johnny Tapia was never a saint nor did he ever claim to be one. For a life to end so early is a tragedy and sadness for those he left behind. When he was at his best, he made the people around him feel special whether friend or stranger. Much can be learned from Tapia’s life, both his successes and his heartbreaks. Hopefully people will try to emulate his accomplishments and learn from his failures.
DUKE CITY VISITOR: TURNSTILE KING OF THE PACIFIC NORTH WEST
By: Austin Killeen – May 16, 2012 - BillyCBoxing.com
I first made the acquaintance of one Daniel Victor Kirkman four years ago in Renton, Washington. I was writing a magazine article about the former contender and knew little about him other than his matchups with George Foremam. In addition to getting a great story, I made a friend for life and acquired a new outdoor activity; hiking mountain trails. When the phone rang a few days ago, it was Boone Kirkman and he was in Albuquerque for a short stay. “I feel like Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies as I am driving a van with my wife, two birds and a dog across the South West.” Watching Boone and his wife Terese unload their van in my driveway; I realized the Clampett reference was spot on.
Kirkman acquired his moniker Boone while on family outings in the mountains, forests and lakes of Washington State. Little Daniel constantly stopped to examine trees, bushes, shorelines and trails on these excursions. This caused his father to give his inquisitive son the moniker Boone after Daniel Boone the famous frontiersman.
Boone’s interest in pugilism was first awoken when he read the story of Rocky Graziano; Somebody Up There Likes Me. Learning the book had been made into a movie and shown at the neighborhood theater sealed the deal. Kirkman was fascinated by Paul Newman’s portrayal of a young thug from Brooklyn who rose above his environment to become middleweight champion of the world.
Encouraged by his father, young Boone entered amateur competition. He would win one; lose one, repeating this pattern over and over. Not exactly the resume of a future world contender but providing the Renton native with much needed ring experience. 1965 would prove to be Boone’s best year in the amateurs, going undefeated and winning the National AAU finals in Toledo, Ohio on national television. Returning to Seattle he found he was the toast of the town!! The mayor declared it “Boone Kirkman day” and a banquet held in his honor.
Turning pro in 1966 Boone won his first ten bouts with seven coming early. In October of “66” Ring Magazine selected Boone the heavyweight prospect of the month. Eddie Machen was next on the Kirkman dance card. Over 11,000 tickets were sold, establishing an attendance record that was the largest in history for an indoor boxing show in Washington State. People in attendance at the Seattle Coliseum weren’t disappointed as he won in convincing style, scoring a 3rd round TKO. The Renton native as box office magic! Boone Kirkman was now the face of boxing in the Pacific North West.
Veteran Doug Jones was next and 15,000 screaming fans were devastated when the New Yorker was awarded a seventh round TKO on cuts. Six weeks later, Kirkman turned the tables on Jones, stopping him in the 6th round with a brutal uppercut to the jaw.
With mouth dropping attendance numbers at his fights, Kirkman was proving to be much more than a local boxer. The Renton sensation meant big business for the bars and restaurants of Seattle and Renton, both before and after his matches. In addition, his bouts meant an evening of employment for police, ushers, tickets sellers, concession stand personal and area parking lots supporting the Seattle Coliseum’s hot attraction. “Boone Kirkman mania” had struck the Pacific North West and it meant big $$ for the local economy.
Over the course of the next year, Boone entered the ring 6 more times scoring 6 victories with 5 ending early. In May of “68”, Ring Magazine recognized Boone’s accomplishments, ranking him 8th in the world. The following month, his picture was on the cover of Ring Magazine, confirming his arrival as a major attraction in the sport. Unfortunately a shoulder injury put the turnstile king on the shelf for the next year.
January of 1970 saw the return of the “Boone Kirkman mania”. It was as if he had never left the ring, reeling off 4 KO’s over the next 6 months. By now the entire country was aware of Seattle’s secret and Boone was awarded the biggest fight of his career; a match with George Foreman, 1968 Gold Medal winner, at Madison Square Garden. Tickets sales were incredible, as two of boxing newest young stars were about collide. The demand to witness the bout in Seattle was absurd. This resulted in close circuit locations being set up in 5 venues around the greater Seattle area. Tickets were gobbled up faster than truffles in a pig’s trough, with all 5 locations sold out. All that remained was the fight itself.
Unfortunately the dreams of the North West invader burst faster than a soap bubble against the heavy hands of the young George Foreman. Returning to Renton, Kirkman took two years off before launching yet another comeback. His amazing ability as the cash cow at the box office was still intact. Bouts with Jimmy Ellis, Ken Norton and Ron Lyle all set attendance marks of over five figures and placed Boone back in the top ten of Ring Magazine. Kirkman closed out his career in 1978 on a four bout win streak, leaving the square circle on his terms.
Boone’s final day in the Duke City saw him giving boxing instructions to amateur HW Jerry Angelo in front of the Church Street Café, in Old Town. Jerry who takes photos for Billy C was lapping it up like a Doxen at a water bowl. While Boone and Jerry were catching the eye of local tourist, Mrs. Kirkman was single handedly stimulating the local economy on her husband’s credit card. Does this mean the turnstiles king of the Pacific North West will have to make another comeback?
CINCO de MAYO: MAYWEATHER VS. COTTO MAKES PPV WORTH THE PRICE
By: Austin Killeen - May 6, 2012
On paper Floyd and Miguel had the potential to be a snooze but reality was quite different. It also appears that Mayweather had charisma implant surgery as I found myself liking “Money” by night’s end. Entering the ring the self proclaimed greatest P4P fighter in boxing history, had an entourage that included Justin Bieber. The teen heart throb carried two of Floyd’s title belts into the ring, two of eight belts if I was counting right. The Canadian singer in the square circle seemed to make a much sense as Mayweather hosting a seminar on modesty. But after two national anthems, the now obligatory walk up the aisle by both combatants and introductions, Michael Buffer turned the proceeding over to referee Tony Weeks.
The first four rounds were interesting as the likable Cotto pressed the action for much of the opening twelve minutes. But as much as I hoped Floyd would come up short, he came up big. Fighting off the ropes much of the time, he employed his trade mark shoulder roll to avoid many of Cotto’s powerful rights. Although he had a solid lead after a third of the fight was completed, the rounds were being contested and the defending champ was successful with his jab.
The fifth round was terrific as Cotto was throwing blistering combinations which forced Mr. P4P to fight off the ropes. Floyd had his moments, landing beautiful counters when his opponent missed. Although clearly not possessing the hand and foot speed of his challenger, Miguel was no turtle. To my eyes the round clearly belonged to the Puerto Rican. In addition, Floyd was bleeding from the nose; and claret would continue to flow for much of the next seven rounds. The fight was clearly on and everybody loved it.
The action continued over the next three rounds and Cotto appeared to be closing the gap. Although Mayweather visibly blocked many punches on his arms and right shoulder, many combinations found a home. The audiences, including those in my living room, were clearly enjoying a great fight. I’d be hard pressed to think of a more entertaining bout on the part of “Pretty Boy.” Although Floyd most likely was leading on all three cards, the outcome was still very much in doubt.
In the ninth Miguel seemed to take his foot of the gas, allowing Mayweather to regain control of the match. The final three rounds Floyd was Floyd, displaying both offensive and defensive skills for which he is known. Cotto had his moments landing bombs to the head and body as well as an annoying left jab to the face. However, only the most ardent supporter of the Puerto Rican could find a round that he won. Two scores of 117-111 and 118-112 gave Floyd a well deserved unanimous decision. In defeat, Cotto showed he is still one of the best P4P boxers in the world.
In his post fight interview with the winner, Larry Merchant acknowledged that Floyd had apologized to him for an angry outburst in their previous interview last year. Mayweather was most gracious in the winner’s circle, calling Cotto one of the toughest opponents he has ever faced. He appeared to blame Bob Arum not Manny Pacquiao for there not being a Floyd/Manny matchup that everybody wants to see. I found myself starting to like Mayweather, a feeling shared by everybody in my living room. Cotto left the ring immediately after the decision and did not grant an interview.
The Saul Alvarez-Shane Mosley co-feature proved that the freckle faced Mexican’s stock is on the rise and Mosley’s is falling faster that the 1929 crash. Mosley won the uneventful first and probably not another round. Like so many name fighters from the past, Shane is little more than a name on some bodies win column. He still has a solid chin and he fought with passion but little else. Somebody should tell him the dance is over before he is seriously hurt. He had a great career, most likely will be voted into the boxing hall of fame, and had some multi-million dollar paydays. Shane should buy a nice rocking chair and enjoy the view from his front porch.
Undefeated Jessie Vargas was feed former champ Steve Forbes in a ten round sleeper. I’d love to see Forbes face someone his own size as unlike Mosley he still has some mileage left on him. Former champ Carlos Quintana showed he can still pack a punch scoring a sixth round KO over DeAndre Latimore. A left hand did the damage at 2:19 of the round.
All in all it was an entertaining evening, much better than I had anticipated. Mayweather/Cotto was a very entertaining match and Floyd left me with the feeling that he would be too much for Manny if they ever meet in the ring.
Photo By: Lucas Ian Coshenet
MALDONADO-CARCAMO: THE SOUND OF SILENCE AT SANTA ANA WAS DEAFENING
By: Austin Killeen - RingSide - April 28, 2012
For the second time in four months an Albuquerque icon suffered a shocking stoppage at the hands of a visiting stranger from a foreign land. In December of last year Anne Sophie Mathis of France destroyed Holly Holm in seven rounds. Last night Fernando Carcamo 132.5 lbs., (10-3-0, 7 KO’s) of Obregon, Mexico duplicated Mathis feet demolishing previously undefeated Fidel Maldonado 134 lbs., (13-1-0, 11 KO’s) in two rounds. In the process, Fernando won something called the WBC Youth World Lightweight Title. Where does the WBC come up with these titles? Could it be justification for charging a three percent sanctioning fee for a colorful plastic belt? I do not know the answer to these questions but I do know the sound of silence was deafening to the shocked audience at the Santa Ana Star Casino.
At the sound of the opening bell Maldonado and Carcamo wasted little time getting down to business. For the first two and a half minuets fans were treated to a display of offense, counterpunching and ring generalship on the part of both boxers. Suddenly the visitor from south of the border exploded a right uppercut to the head of the hometown hero. Fidel took a prone position in front of Fernando’s corner. Rising on unsteady legs, Maldonado staggered back to his corner at the bell.
A torrent of water was used to revive the Duke City native while he sat on his stool. It is debatable how effective the treatment was but it bought Maldonado precious seconds when referee Burke demanded the canvas be dried off before allowing the action to continue.
At the sound of the second bell, Fidel rushed across the ring in an attempt take control of the action. Fernando was not impressed or intimidated. Another short right dropped the home town boy for the second time. Rising on unsteady legs, Maldonado was the recipient of a vicious left hook to the head. The referee had seen enough and halted the action at 1:10 of the second round. While a jubilant Carcamo celebrated, Maldonado’s corner rushed to the aide of their battered fighter.
I asked Carcamo why he felt so confident before the fight. “I came in the best shape of my life. I had a great training camp, sparing with world champ Orlando Salido.” The new champ speaks descent English, having studied it in school. “He said he wanted to fight me again, but what for I want to fight him again.” The tall, sinewy Carcamo has a winning personality and should become a darling of the media.
In the semi-final Hector Munoz 146.5 lbs., (19-7-1, 12 KO’s) of Albuquerque overpowered John Revish 146 lbs., (9-6-2, 8 KO’s), causing referee Burke to stop the contest at 1:30 of the third round. Munoz did a good job of cutting off the ring, and trapping Revish on the ropes. He then administered a vicious body attack until his opponent could get back to the center of the ring.
Brandi Montoya 117 lbs., (3-2-0, 0 KO’s) of Los Lunas won a unanimous decision over Natalie Roy 117 lbs., (3-1-0, 1 KO) of Santa Fe. Brandi has shown remarkable improvement in the past year, winning three in a row. She attacks both the body and the head and slips punches well. The victory was extra sweet, as Montoya had lost a decision to Roy last year. For her part Natalie was in excellent shape, but had no answer to Montoya’s infighting.
In an old fashion neighbor hood brawl, Jesus Correa, Jr. 160 lbs., (pro debut) won a unanimous decision over Charles Alderete 160 lbs., (1-2-0, 0 KO’s). Both fighters were aggressive but Correa had a good defense. This proved to be the difference in the match.
In a punishing four rounder between fighters of contrasting styles, Yorden Hernandez 134 lbs., (2-0-0, 1 KO’s) of Albuquerque won a unanimous decision over John Hererra 132.5 lbs., (1-3-1, 0 KO’s) of Roswell, NM. Yorden is a boxer puncher who stays in control, not fighting recklessly, in spite of having an excellent build. John has an excellent defense but has yet to find his offense. I enjoyed watching both boxers and would love to see them in action again.
In the night’s opening bout, Heather Jo Clark 124 lbs., (pro debut) of Albuquerque won a split decision over Chavira Jack 125 lbs., (1-2-0, 0 KO’s) of Farmington, NM in an action packed fight. Both girls fought with heart, winning the admiration of the fans. I’m glad I did not have to judge this bout and would have been happy with a draw verdict.
This is the forth card I’ve seen in five months in the greater Albuquerque area and they have all been good. Four rounds or ten, the bouts are evenly matched and the local boxers rarely have easy assignments. At this rate, the Duke City should have a dozen main event fighters in another eighteen months.
UPDATE ON MAGDALENO & LENK!!
April 28, 2012
Jessie Magdaleno and Anthony Lenk both fought in Pomona, California last night. Here's how they did:
Anthony Lenk UD 8 rds vs Alberto Herrera
Jessie Magdaleno KO 1 vs Nick Fast
THE RECKONING: MATHIS VS HOLM II JUNE 15, 2012
By: Austin Killeen - April 25, 2012
Lenny Fresquez of Fresquez Productions held a press conference to announce the eagerly awaited rematch between Anne Sophie Mathis (26-1, 22 KO’s) and Holly Holm (30-2-3, 9 KO’s). If this program is half as good as the first card held in December of last year, it should be a beauty. In their first matchup the card was outstanding from top to bottom, certainly one of the best programs I witnessed in over sixty years of following the sport. Mathis and Holm are testimony to how much woman’s boxing has advanced in the past fifteen years. This is not an outstanding woman’s main event; this is an outstanding main event.
The press conference was unique in that Mathis participated via Skype from France. A visibly emotional Holm addressed the audience first, talking about the heartbreak of her devastating knockout loss. Holly said that trainer Mike Winkeljohn devised a sound fight plan; “I simply didn’t execute it.” To his credit, Winkeljohn when he spoke took just a much responsibility for the loss as his fighter.
When asked if she would have more head movement and slip punches to get on the inside, Holly responded that she felt she won the first four rounds. “I want to do the good things I did in the first four rounds and do them event better. A lot of people are asking if I changed the game plan. It’s really not a game plan change, it just let’s do the game plan.” She also discussed the need for moving effectively both on the inside and the outside. Holm mentioned the importance of landing both power and speed punches.
The option of having a tune-up fight before meeting Mathis was raised. Holly stated she only wanted the rematch and nothing else. She spoke of remembering every detail of the fight and felt confident she knew what she had to change to win. When asked if the bout was allowed to go on too long she responded: “If it was my first amateur or even my first pro fight, maybe stop it. But at this caliber of a fight I can tell you right now I sleep better at night, because I know I was given the chance to fight back. So I’m ok, I’m ok with his letting it go. I’m glad, so I don’t want any negativity because I’d be more irritated if somebody stopped it before I had a chance to fight back.”
While Holly was speaking, technicians were frantically trying to get the Skype connection to France to function. Amazingly, they were successful just as Holm was finishing her question and answer session with the audience. Speaking French, Mathis said “one way or another, the fight will be different. Either she will fight differently or I will. We know each other’s style. If she backs up, I’ll come forward. If she comes forward, I’ll meet her.” I did not know that Ivan Drago had a kid sister. (Rocky IV) The French champion is one scary “dudette”, who sits down on her punches with devastating power.
Clearly, Holly knows things have to change if she hopes to win the rematch. Holm has excellent foot work, which has served her well defensively throughout her career. If her assessments of the first four rounds of their previous fight are correct, she has an excellent chance of turning the tables on Mathis. If the French import simply gave the early rounds away while assessing her opponent’s style, than Holly could have another long and disappointing evening at the Route 66 Casino Hotel. Mathis fights like she is a cyborg from another galaxy. A cyborg who constantly checks her circuit boards to diagnose her opponent’s weaknesses. When Holm gets hit hard and she will, will she remain calm or will the punishment cause the Albuquerquean to remember the nightmare of their first bout?
Once again, Lenny Fresquez has an interesting undercard. They may not be household names but it is what happens after the bell rings, not names on a poster, that make for exciting fights. Bantamweight Raymond “Hollywood” Montes (4-2, 3 KO’s) will face Jamie Gutierrez (4-5) in a six round semi-final between Albuquerqueans. Gutierrez scored an upset win in February over previously unbeaten Leonardo Sanchez.
Five four rounders will round out the card. Explosive punching, Alan “El Alarcan” Sanchez (3-1, 2 KO’s) of Albuquerque will face Robert Trujillo (0-1) of Raton, NM in a lightweight contest. Exciting Cristian Cabral (2-0, 1 KO’s) will face Freddie Cisneros (2-3-1) in a welterweight matchup of “Duke City” boxers. In what could be the best bout of the night, classy Matthew Baca (2-0, 2 KO’s) of Albuquerque will meet John Herrera (1-2-1) of Roswell, NM. I’ve seen both boxers in action and they look like seasoned pros. Baca is slick, countering his opponent’s attack with power in both hands. Herrera has a tight defense, which can frustrate an opponent’s offense and result in the adversary making foolish mistakes.
In a bantamweight clash, Luis Montano (1-0) of Albuquerque faces Wesley Marquez (0-2) of El Paso, TX. Montano is a highly decorated amateur who struggled in his pro debut. In what should have been an easy win, Luis needed a fourth round knockdown to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Opening the festivities, Jose Luis “Guero” Sanchez makes his pro debut against Josue Garcia (1-0) of El Paso, TX.
Tickets will move fast for Holm/Mathis II, with a sellout weeks before the match. This bout has more drama than a Broadway play, with high interest on both sides of the Atlantic. You could make a strong argument that this is for the P4P title in woman’s boxing.
FOR MAGDALENO AND LENK: THE ROAD GOES THROUGH POMONA
By: Austin Killeen - April 22, 2012
The marketing catchphrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is about to change on April 28. That is the night that two of “Sin City’s” most promising boxers travel to Pomona, California to double down on their future. Las Vegas has a poorly keep secret; and undefeated Jesse Magdaleno and Anthony Lenk, plan to tell one and all that their are the real deal on Saturday night.
Twenty year old Magdaleno is sensational prospect with an eye catching record of 8 and 0 with 5 KO’s. He has an outstanding amateur pedigree having won both the U.S. National Championship and the National Golden Gloves Championship in 2009, at 119 pounds. His exploits did not go unnoticed by Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions who signed Jesse to a long term contract before bell rang for his first pro fight. Did I mention he has an older brother Diego who holds the NABF Super Featherweight Title? (There will be a story about Diego in the upcoming months) Signing with Top Rank was against Bob Arum’s better judgment as he wanted Jesse to try for a berth on the 2012 Olympic Team before turning pro.
Jesse, along with his older brother, can be found developing his craft at Barry’s Boxing Center on Highland Avenue. His career is guided by Pat Barry the gym’s proprietor and his son-in-law Augie Sanchez. Watching videos of Sin City southpaw, I was impressed by his ability to turn defense into offense in a blink of an eye. When I visited Barry’s, some of the boxers were practicing a drill that teaches head movement. As they become more proficient at the skill, they are than taught to counter attack after slipping a punch. It’s obvious that Jesse has mastered the drill and employs it with bad intentions.
This weekend Jesse takes his act on the road for the first time in his pro career when he fights at the Fairplex in Pomona. Nick Fast a bomber from Kansas City, Missouri hopes to steal the zero from Magdaleno’s record. Nick likes to live up to his last name as he tends to get out of the ring fast. All but one of his victories had ended early. Which begs the question; can the kid from Kansas City find Magdaleno’s chin and if he does will it made of español Cristal?
The other half of the Las Vegas duo is twenty four year old welterweight southpaw Anthony Lenk. Like Magdaleno, Anthony had a successful amateur career, having his first punch for medals bout at the age of ten. This included over 100 fights during his amateur days and three national championships. He can be found developing his skills at the legendary Johnny Tocco Boxing Gym. Entering Tocco’s testosterone laden emporium of sweat is like stepping back in time to the 1940’s. I do not recommend the experience for the faint of heart.
Anthony turned pro in New York State but quickly changed his base of operation to the “City That Never Sleeps.” It was here that he met his trainer John Roberts and as the expression goes, “the sum proved greater than its parts.” Roberts is “old school” and preaches “power comes from sitting down on your punches.” Watching Roberts work with Lenk makes me think of Burgess Meredith from the Rocky franchise. Apparently John believes that sparring sessions should be tougher than the actual fight. How else can you explain Anthony swapping leather with the likes of Timothy Bradley, Zab Judah, Devon Alexander and Yuriorkis Gamboa?
Launching his career with five wins, Anthony was matched with another undefeated prospect in Jessie Vargas. “Seconds into the opening round, I suffered a flash knockdown. Foolishly I charged into Vargas upon rising, throwing a right hook. The punch landed on the top of his head, breaking my thumb.” This would prove to be a costly injury, and Anthony dropped a unanimous decision. Bouncing back with eight straight wins, Lenk describes himself as a boxer/puncher who likes to pressure his opponents. Watching videos of his bouts supports his boxer/puncher description. On Saturday, Anthony will face a difficult challenge in Alberto Herrera. Herrera has been matched tough, possesses a good chin and has no reason to be intimidated by Lenk. Alberto resides in Riverside, California, so the Las Vegas export might be wise not to leave the outcome of the match in the hands of the judges.
Jesse Magdaleno and Anthony Lenk are well spoken, intelligent and confident young men. They also have excellent support teams backing them up. But when the bell rings on Saturday night they will be alone inside the square circle. Will Magdaleno and Lenk encounter a detour on the road through Pomona or the entrance to the highway of success?
ABRIL STEALS RIOS’S BAM BAM IN LAS VEGAS
By: Austin Killeen – Couch Side - April 15, 2012
For twelve rounds Richard Abril gave Brandon Rios a lesson in the art of boxing, winning over an unreceptive crowd in the process. A dominating performance that judge Adelaide Byrd correctly scored for the Cuban import 117-111. Unfortunately the other two officials scoring the fight were stuck in traffic and had to watch the bout on their car radios. How else can you explain the tabulations of judges Jerry Roth 116-112 and Glenn Trobridge 115-113 in favor of the California home boy? How do you explain Abril winning nine rounds on one card and only four rounds on another? If the Las Vegas Boxing Commission takes their job seriously, two judges should explain what they were watching on Monday morning in the commission office.
Probably the only person more disappointed than Abril would be Yriorkis Gamboa who decided not to take the fight. It is hard to envision the hard punching Gamboa not being able to put Rios to sleep on this particular night. You snooze you lose.
Rios noted for his two-fisted assault which usually leaves his exhausted opponents in a heap on the canvas, appeared listless on this evening. "Trying to make weight did not drain me," Rios said. "It was not my best fight but I did fight well. 140 lbs is where I am going — 140 here I come." For his part the taller Abril keep his opponent at the end of his jab much of the night. When Rios was able to close the distance, his left hooks to the head were mostly blocked by the Cuban’s glove. "The scoring was disgraceful," said Abril, who was born and still lives in Cuba but is in the USA on a work visa. "I thought I won by four or five rounds. It never crossed my mind that I could lose."
Give credit to ringside commenter’s Brian Kenny, Rich Marotta and Raul Marquez who were outspoken in their view of what transpired in the ring. Throughout the contest they had Abril winning and felt that Rios was doing very little to turn the match around. Their scoring of the fight was in line with that of Adelaide Byrd. All three announcers found the final verdict incredulous, feeling that Abril was robbed.
Decisions like this damage boxing, leaving fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Skeptics can only wonder if the verdict was rendered to save a proposed Rios/Marquez matchup for this summer. Fifty years ago sports writer Jimmy Cannon called it "the red light district of sports." Half a century later it would appear Cannon’s comment still rings true!
The other half of the double feature took place in Mexico City ware Juan Manuel Marquez turned in a workman like performance. Marquez had little trouble in turning back the challenge of Serghey Fedchenko of the Ukraine. Fedchenko had a solid chin and was in good condition but had no answer to the Mexican’s attack. Marquez went all out in the twelfth round for a knockout but the Ukrainian’s pride keep him upright. Marquez certainly did his bit to preserve a summer matchup with Bam Bam (?) Rios. For those who are counting, Juan’s win makes him the second Mexican fighter to win titles in four different weight classes. Erik Morales is the other boxer to accomplish this, for those of you who are still counting.
In the fight of the night "Mile-High" Mike Alvarado had too much fire power for a game Mauricio Herrera in a 10-round light welterweight fight on the Rios-Abril undercard. The work rate of both boxers was amazing with few clinches in the ten rounder. I would love to see both fighters in future broadcasts as they guarantee excitement from the opening bell. In defeat Herrera showed remarkable ability at fighting off the ropes against Alvarado’s high powered offense.
Opening the evenings telecast Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta stopped veteran Oscar Cuero in the eighth round. The Columbian was game but had little to offer against the latest sensation to come out of the Philippines at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Gesta looks like a solid prospect with a 25-0-1 record and has stopped ten of his last fourteen opponents.
Although the PPV card was a pricy at $54, the card was better than I expected. Rios got much more than he bargained for, disappointing his legion of fans in the process.
Photo By: Jerry Angelo
THE UPRISING: MARQUEZ/LOPEZ JR. TOP GREAT CARD AT HARD ROCK CASINO
By Austin Killeen, RingSide - March 31, 2012
At the risk of sounding repetitive it was another great boxing card from top to bottom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Like the mythological Greek bird in Phoenix rising from the ashes, Archie Ray Marquez’s (13-2-0, 8 KOs) career may also have been reborn. Coming off two losses in a row, the hometown hero needed a win to get his career back on track. Do not be fooled by the record of Noel Lopez Jr. (9-11-0, 5 KOs), this young man can fight. Just ask anyone lucky enough who witnessed this thrilling eight round war last evening. Entering the ring, Albuquerque’s Marquez 135.2 lbs, was clearly the crowd favorite over Lopez 135.6 lbs, of Nogales, Mexico.
Working effectively to both the head and body the “Duke City” native dropped his southpaw rival with a left hook to the temple in the opening round. “I got hit on the side of the head and lost my balance” Lopez responded through an interpreter. Again in the second round Archie seemed to outwork his opponent but Noel started to land some counter punches. War was officially declared in the next stanza; fighting off the ropes Lopez would launch a counter attack every time Marquez would take a breath. The visitor from south of the border tried getting into the head of Archie by dropping his hands and waving to his opponent to throw his best stuff.
The fourth was a repeat of the previous round when Lopez dropped Marquez with a terrific left hook to the jaw in the final minute. Archie was clearly hurt but Noel refused to go to the neutral corner as instructed by referee Rocky Burke. Because of his stubbornness, Lopez gave his rival precious additional seconds to clear his head before the count continued. The bell rang before Noel was able to take advantage of a golden opportunity. Apparently Lopez never saw film of the Dempsey/Tunney long count.
Marquez showed amazing recuperative powers, as he exploded out his corner at the next bell. Forcing his opponent into the ropes, it appeared Archie was back in charge. Not so fast; firing blistering counter punches in response, Lopez raised the anxiety level of the home town fans. The last three rounds were a repeat of the fifth, ending with a toe-to-toe shoot out in mid ring the last half minute of the fight.
The verdict was a unanimous decision for Marquez (76-74, 78-73, 77-73) but the rounds were hotly contested and the fight much closer than the scores would indicate. I have been following boxing a long time and rarely does a counter puncher win a decision when fighting on the road. Listening to the fans near me there seemed to be a great deal of interest in a rematch. If it happens, I would advise Lopez to meet Marquez in mid ring and forget about fighting off the ropes.
The co-feature was supposed to matchup Joaquin Zamora (18-4-1, 12 KOs) of Santa Fe, NM vs. Joshua Marks (8-3-0, 8 KOs) of El Centro, California. Zamora was in attendance and disappointed he had no one to fight.
Josh “Pit-bull” Torres (7-1-1, 4 KOs), of Albuquerque had too much polish against Carlos Sanchez (4-4-1, 1 KOs), also of Albuquerque. Sanchez had a good offense but Torres had a defense to handle everything coming at him. A good boxer/puncher, the “Pit-bull” methodically went about his business ending hostilities at 1:21 of the second round. A left hook to the head dropped Sanchez causing his corner to wisely throw in the towel. Although possessing only average speed, Torres is a strong, well conditioned athlete who cuts the ring off well. It would appear Josh is capable of taking his skills to the next level.
In an entertaining four rounder Nazareth Rojas 154.2 lbs (6-5-1, 2 KOs) of Albuquerque won a unanimous verdict over Jeremiah Torres 152.4 lbs (7-17-1, 1 KO) of Belen. It appeared Rojas made the bout more difficult by trading punches on the inside to the benefit of the shorter Torres. Although I had no problem with the verdict, a draw would not have been out of line.
Making his pro debut, Luis Montano 113.8 lbs of Albuquerque had to come from behind to capture a unanimous decision of a game Matthew Salazar 116.6 lbs (1-4-1, 0 KOs) of Las Lunas. Utilizing his longer reach, Salazar landed some impressive uppercuts to capture the opening round. In the second, Montano started closing the distance, but still had difficulty with his opponent’s right uppercuts. A powerful right cross to the ribs by Luis seemed to take the wind out of Matthew in the third. A left hook to the jaw sent the Las Lunas boxer to the canvas in the final round, insuring the well conditioned Montano a victory on all three score cards.
Derrick Murray 127 lbs (3-0-0, 2 KO’s) of St. Louis, Missouri looked impressive in stopping a game Miguel Armendariz 126.4 lbs (0-7-1) of Dallas, Texas in the second. Murray, a veteran of over 250 amateur bouts, is someone to keep an eye on. Derrick used a blinding combination to end matters at 2:33 for a second round TKO.
I do not know the official attendance figures, but it appeared to be a large crowd at the Hard Rock Casino. It amazes me the national media as yet to pick up on the surge in quality boxing cards in New Mexico. Even more remarkable, it is not big name stars causing the excitement, but young local talent making the noise in the “Land of Enchantment”.
Photo By: Jerry Martinez
FIDEL MALDONADO JR: THE BOXING REBIRTH CONTINUES
By: Austin Killeen - March 12, 2012
On Tuesday the Santa Ana Star Casino played host to a press conference announcing an eight bout professional boxing card to be held on April 28. This will be the third pro card in in the Albuquerque area in the last three months. The main event will feature unbeaten Albuquerque sensation, lightweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. in a ten round bout against Fernando Carcamo of Obregon, Mexico. I am embarrassed to admit that I was sound asleep on the front porch when the Maldonado Express flew by my house.
For the past couple of years I have been following the exploits of Archie Ray Marquez, another lightweight from Albuquerque, and I was surprised to read about Maldonado’s accomplishments in the paper last month. Maldonado who? Maldonado indeed! I have spent the last few days watching some of Fidel’s fights on the internet and this boy can fight. The Duke City southpaw possesses quick hands, pressuring his opponents with stinging right jabs and powerful overhand lefts. This usually leaves his adversaries pinned on the ropes, with their gloves pressed against the sides of their face, hoping to survive. It does not work. Like a safe cracker, Maldonado quickly finds the combination that leads to victory. This has resulted in a 13-0 record with 11 knock outs and a promotional contract with Golden Boy Promotions. He also is recognized as WBC Youth World Lightweight Champion. (It is amazing how these alphabet organizations make up titles, allowing them to extract 3% sanctioning fees from hardworking fighters.)
Fidel is an overnight sensation if you do not count the seven years he toiled in the amateurs. “I won the state golden gloves and the regional’s and made it to the semi-finals of the U.S. golden gloves. After that I was ranked #2 in the nation. Golden Boy Promotions signed me to a long term contract after my fourth pro fight.” Maldonado has a great personality and is very knowledgeable about the other boxers in the state. To prove this, he started prognosticating who would win the upcoming bouts on March 31 and April 28. Did I mention that his father is his manager/trainer? Watching videos of his fights, I could not help but notice what an excellent corner man Maldonado senior is. In a composed, authoritative voice the elder Maldonado keeps it simple, giving only one or two instructions between rounds. “What is the point in giving a lot of advice, the boxer will never remember it and only get confused?” If his dream becomes reality, someday Fidel will become a world champion. The twenty year old Maldonado is already a champion in my book, as he has a lovely wife Dominique and two beautiful children; Aaleah and Aylie.
The rest of the card also appears to be solid, with some interesting matchups. Bantamweight Brandi “Baby Doll” Montoya hopes to avenge a previous defeat when she faces Natalie Roy of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in a six rounder. A freshman at the University of New Mexico, Brandi has showed amazing improvement since losing her first two bouts. In a battle of young unbeatens, Joshua Flynn of Farmington will face off against Matthew Baca of Albuquerque. This match has the potential of stealing the show. Farmington, which is three hours North West of the Duke City, will have two additional boxers on the card, Chavira Jack and Andre Harrison. The undefeated, sharp dressing Harrison, turned pro at the ripe old age of thirty two. His opponent is hard punching Alan Sanchez of Albuquerque who was impressive in his last outing, scoring a devastating stoppage in one round. The debuting Jesus Correa Jr., stable mate of Fidel Maldonado Jr., will be facing Charles Alderete, also of Albuquerque, at 168 lbs. Maldonado resembles the villain “Odd Job” from the James Bond movie Gold Finger. Somebody should tell Jesus he forgot to turn in his shoulder pads at the end of football season; it looks like he is still wearing them under his shirt. Somebody should tell him, but it will not be me because he is one SCARY LOOKING DUDE!!
It is easy to see why boxing is enjoying a rebirth in the Land of Enchantment, with exciting competitive matchups like this. The fans should love the action on April 28 at the Santa Ana Star Casino.
INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE CORNER: Willie Villanueva had to drop out of his March 31 main event with Archie Ray Marquez at the Hard Rock Casino, due to a severe case of the flu. “I’m very disappointed and hope to face Archie later in the spring”, Villanueva told me by phone. Willie wanted to go through with the match but his trainer, Sergio Chavez, felt his boxer would not have enough time to make a full recovery. This neighborhood rivalry had been eagerly anticipated by the fans, but Sergio felt the health of his fighter came first. Jacob Maes, Archie Ray’s manager informs me that Ricky Alexander of Stillwater, Oklahoma, will replace Villanueva. Alexander is coming off a first round stoppage victory and can bang a little. Marquez will have to make some adjustments as Willie Villanueva was a hit-and-run boxer. Does this mean there will be some fireworks on March 31?
Photo By: Austin Killeen-BillyCBoxing.com
MARQUEZ VS VILLANUEVA: IT’S ALL ABOUT BRAGGING RIGHTS
By: Austin Killeen - March 5, 2012
Most days Archie Ray Marquez can be found hard at work at Johnny Tapia’s gym, training for his Main Event at the Hard Rock Resort and Casino on March 31st. A few miles away at LA East, his upcoming opponent Willie Villanueva is also diligently preparing for their showdown. Both were raised in the South Valley, went to the same schools, go to the same barber, have known each other since childhood; each has three children, their youngest are both one; both launched their careers with long winning streaks, both have lost their last bouts, both have likable personalities, and they both claim it is just another fight. I have interviewed both lightweights on several occasions and although both acknowledge they want to win, neither has a bad word to say about the other. If they fight like they talk about each other, spectators will wonder if the match is being sponsored by Green Peace. Forget the flowery platitudes and references to Green Peace: I feel this is going to be a WAR!
On Thursday I paid a visit to Johnny Tapia’s gym to see Archie and three other boxers fighting on the Hard Rock Resort and Casino card. I was impressed as soon as I entered the door. Over a dozen boxers were hard at work on the bags, mitts, skipping rope and aerobic equipment. This was an eclectic group comprised of men and women, professionals, amateurs and individuals working on their conditioning. Tapia was in the middle of the mix, taking an active role in the day’s activities. During my three hour visit Johnny never stopped working, always offering one or other of the pugilists personal instructions.
Although he did not spar that day, Marquez was generous with his time in giving me an interview. I asked him why people should think anything will change as he has lost his last two bouts. “Things are going to be totally different, Johnny knows his stuff. Sergio (Archie’s previous trainer) is a great conditioning coach, he gets you in shape. I just needed a change; he (Tapia) brought the fun back into boxing as every day is different.” When I pressed Archie for details on his style change he responded; “I can’t tell you it’s going to be a surprise. I needed this change; it’s a change for the better. LA Boxing was my home for a long time, but now it’s here.” When I asked him about Tapia and other trainers, Marquez was quick with a response. “They watch you but you have to want it. We push each other; if the guy on the next heavy bag is working hard, you want to work even harder.”
Knowing Johnny is the father of three children, I had to ask about diapers. “My kids keep me grounded” - rolling his eyes - “I don’t like diapers but I change them.” Regarding the responsibility of balancing the duties of being a father and boxing Archie responded: “They support me when I have a fight, otherwise it would be very difficult”. When he is not in the ring, Archie works as beer distributor at the retail level. “I’m responsible for going into the stores and making sure shelves and displays will maximize sales.”
On Friday I journeyed to LA East to visit with Willie Villanueva, the other half of the main event. My timing was perfect as Willie was getting ready to spar ten rounds with Josh Gomez, Albuquerque’s best kept secret. It was the first time in the ring for either boxer in several months. As would be expected after a long layoff, their timing was a little off, but they were not sloppy during their sparring. When asked how he felt, Villanueva responded; “I felt a little rusty, it’s been a while. We went ten rounds, I know the things I have to work on now. I know for sure he (Marquez) won’t hit as hard as Josh and Josh is big.” As with Archie, I asked Willie the reason for his drop-off after starting his career so well. “Not eating! Crash dieting hurt me; I felt dehydrated trying to make weight. Josh helped me with my dieting and switching over to LA East to be with Sergio. When I was KO’d by Gary Russell Jr. in the first round, I threw up outside Russell’s dressing room before the fight. I didn’t belong in the ring.” Willie credits eating smarter for showing improvement in his last two fights and fighting at 135 lbs. makes eating smart easier.
Outside the ring Willie and his girlfriend are raising five children; two of their own, one by her and two children from a relative. Working for the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department helps to pay the bills.
Both Marquez and Villanueva are class acts who actually like each other outside the ring. So the compliments they say about each other are probably for real. But thirty years from now the winner of their contest will have bragging rights when they share a brew at the neighborhood tavern.
Photo By: Jerry Martinez
JOE CHAVEZ AND MARTIN NARRO KEEP PROMISE TO FANS!!
By: Austin Killeen - RingSide - February 26, 2012
Politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington promise everything and deliver nothing. At their press conference on Monday and weigh-in on Thursday, promoter Joe Chavez and matchmaker Martin Narro promised fans seven matches of exciting, competitive boxing.
On Friday night at the Wool Warehouse, Chavez and Narro kept their pledge. At the end of the evening, a sellout crowd left the arena buzzing about three hours of exhilarating entertainment. There is little doubt that these same fans will return to see a second card promised by these gentlemen who clearly kept their word. On second thought, if we hope to solve the deficit, lower unemployment and gain energy independence maybe we should send Messrs. Chavez and Narro to Washington, because they are men of their word. They clearly have the blueprint for making boxing a relevant sport again. It starts at the grass roots, where young pugilists can be nurtured while learning their trade.
The evening’s main event featured excellent defensive skills by both Yoel Gonzales (2-0) and John Herrera (1-2-1). The difference in the match, Gonzales (135.2 lbs) also had an outstanding offense. Using a punishing left jab, hooks to the body and uppercuts to split the gloves of Herrera (128.6) allowed “Fulanito (little master)” to control the action. He was awarded a unanimous decision after four hard fought rounds. The quick-handed Herrera had his moments but could not sustain the offensive pressure and never managed to pierce Yoel’s radar-like defense. I would like to see both boxers again, preferably Herrera against another featherweight.
The semi-final match-up between dueling southpaws, Brandi “Baby Doll” Montoya of Los Lunas (2-2) and Ambers Brown of Albuquerque (0-1) proved to be the fight of the night. Undefeated as an amateur, Brown (113.8 lbs) had a decision over Montoya (114.8 lbs) in their fight-for-free days. The opening bell told the story of the match as Brandi walked across the ring and landed a four punch combination on her surprised Duke City opponent. The four rounder was hotly contested to the delight of the capacity crowd, who spent more time standing than seated. While Amber had a punishing right jab and good overhand lefts, she spent most of her time head hunting. Montoya worked the body then went upstairs when her opponent lowered her guard. At the end of each heated exchange, and there were many of them this night, the obstinate “baby doll” always insisted on landing the last punch. This resulted in Montoya extracting revenge by way of a unanimous decision to the enjoyment of the spectators.
The upset special happened when undefeated Leonardo Sanchez (117.6 lbs) of Albuquerque (2-1) faced off against the more seasoned Jaime Gutierrez (116.8 lbs) of Mexico (4-5). I wrote about the Cuban transplant under Billy C’s “New Faces” column and was confident regarding the bout’s outcome. When I spoke to Jaime at the weigh-in, his stable mate Cristian Cabral acted as interpreter. They both felt confident that Albuquerque’s newest resident would prevail. Once again, the first round would provide the blueprint for the match. Unlike Leonardo’s other two opponents, the southpaw Gutierrez waited for his opponent to initiate the action. Sanchez likes to slip punches and then counterpunch. Habits die hard and Leonardo did his usual bob-and-weave even though there were no punches to slip. Waiting for his opponent to commit, Jaime would land his right jab first. In the third round, Leonardo finally came to life but would just stand there and admire his work after landing a decent punch. In the fourth stanza, the now confident Gutierrez started following up his jab with overhand lefts. Jaime “se volvió un buque de guerra en un bote de remos mediante el uso de su inteligencia” (go to Google translator - http://translate.google.com/ - for the English version). It was an impressive win for Jaime (that is what is written on his trunks), and back to the drawing board for Leonardo if he wants to correct his errors.
The fourth bout of the evening ended quickly when Alan Sanchez (133 lbs) of Albuquerque (2-1) overwhelmed Charles Reyes (136 lbs) also of Albuquerque (0-1) in the opening round. Although game, Reyes had no answer to the two-fisted attack of Sanchez, which sent him to the canvas twice. Matters were officially ended at 1:14 of the first round when referee Rocky Burke had seen enough.
As if punishing me for failing to listen to his prediction of the Gutierrez/Sanchez bout, Cristian Cabral (147 lbs) of Albuquerque (2-0) splattered my paperwork and clothes with the blood of his opponent. Michael Herrera (151 lbs) of Roswell (0-1) had a strong chin but no answer to his adversary’s attacks. Michael, the brother of John Herrera, might do well to fight at a lower weight. Cabral showed a great deal of poise in going about his business, displaying a good jab and left hook. Officially the match was terminated at 25 seconds of the second round when the referee rescued Herrera from taking any more punishment.
The night’s second match held much promise but quickly turned one-sided. The participants were Eric Henson (123 lbs) of Los Lunas (0-3) and Eric Gonzales (124 lbs) of Albuquerque (1-0). Henson brought a heavy jab into the ring but left his defense in the locker room. Gonzales quickly started unloading left hooks over his opponent’s right. Henson’s fourth trip to the canvas resulted in a knockout at 1:42 of the second round. Gonzales has a winning personality and if he continues to improve as a boxer he should become a media favorite.
The night’s festivity started with the debut of Isaac Gurule (112.2 lbs) of Albuquerque vs Julio Gomez (111.6 lbs) of Albuquerque. For the first two rounds Isaac abandoned his jab, electing to work on the inside. Julio is an excellent body puncher and loved his opponent’s decision. The third round was Gurule’s best as he created distance and started landing his left. The final stanza was the best action for the fans with Gomez landing heavy body punches. The split decision in favor of Gomez was well received by the fans.
Leaving the Wool Warehouse at the end of the evening, I realized I had just seen my father’s type of fights. It was the mid-fifties again and a solid group of club fighters had just entertained a capacity crowd of appreciative fans. Maybe there will not be any stars emerging from this card, but for this night the winners all felt like champions. As for the boxers who came up short, it will be a time for self-reflection to decide if they should continue the journey. In closing, there were no losers that night; how can anyone be a loser when they gave their very best?
BOXING REBIRTH IN THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
By: Austin Killeen, February 23, 2012
In a period of five days Albuquerque, New Mexico was host to not one, but two press conferences to announce upcoming fight cards. Last Thursday, the Hard Rock Casino hosted a media event for their March 31 card promoted by Teresa and Johnny Tapia. The main event features Albuquerque lightweights Archie Ray Marquez and Willie Villanueva. Marquez exploded out of the box in 2007, winning his first twelve fights, and appearing on Showtime several times. In June of last year the wheels started falling off the bus, leaving Archie still looking for win number thirteen. Arriving at the Hard Rock, I assumed his opponent would be an inflated tire, bound to deflate in round one. I quickly learned I should never assume anything when it comes to boxing.
Mr. Villanueva opened his career with nine straight victories before his tires also started losing air. This is when the story started having more plot changes than a week day soap opera. Villanueva and Marquez both graduated from Valley High School go to the same barber and have many mutual friends. They faced each other twice in the amateur days with Willie grabbing both decisions. Marquez was trained by Sergio Chavez, but now is trained by Johnny Tapia. When Archie looks across the ring on March 31st he will see the same Mr. Chavez giving instructions to, you guessed it, the aforementioned Mr. Villanueva. Finally and I’m not making this up, Archie Ray’s manager is Jacob Maes who employees Sergio Chavez to train his other fighters.
If this matchup does not have all the signs for an old fashion neighborhood grudge match, what does? Once again never assume anything when it comes to boxing. Prior to the press conference, Marquez and Chavez could be seen clearing the air regarding any differences that might have existed between them. In talking with both gentlemen, they had nothing but good things to say about each other. As for Archie and Willie, they showered each other with compliments, harboring no ill feelings. As for Jacob Maes, there is no question as to who he wants to win. This leaves him somewhat conflicted, as he holds Sergio Chavez in the highest regards. In addition to the main event there will be six other bouts. I will have a lot more to say about this card in the weeks to come.
On Monday promoter Joe Chavez hosted his own press conference at the Wool Warehouse in Albuquerque. In attendance were a majority of the boxers who will appear on Friday’s program. There will be seven four round bouts featuring local talent. If successful, Chavez hopes to promote on a regular basis, doubling the number of cards held in Albuquerque in 2011. “We have a lot of kids that want to go to the next level,” he said, “and it’s our job as promoters to make sure they get matched right and that we have good, quality fights for the audience.”
Although I am not familiar with everybody on the card, I’ve seen several of the boxers perform. The feature bout of the evening has Yoel Gonzales facing John Herrera. I saw Gonzales in action last year; he was posed under pressure and displayed an excellent left jab. The semi-final is a rematch from their amateur days between Brandi Montoya and Amber Brown. I have seen Brandi in two of her pro bouts in addition to having watched her in training. She is a solid performer which indicates Miss Brown must be pretty good, to hold a win from their punch for medals days. I use to believe female boxing was a joke, but not anymore. Women today display the same skills as the men when exposed to proper training, and should be referred to as boxer’s not female boxers.
On Monday I wrote an article about Leonardo Sanchez titled “New Faces.” He’s a well conditioned athlete, possessing above average skills, who should go far in the bantamweight division. Making his debut on the card is Isaac Gurule at 112 pounds. I’ve seen him in the gym box many rounds with the aforementioned Sanchez. Isaac is tall, quick, and has a nice left, which he throws often with bad intentions. Finally, Eric Henson versus Eric Gonzales bout has the potential to steal the show. Do not be fooled by Henson’s 0 and 2 record, as both defeats were by decision out of state. I meet Gonzales for the first time at the press conference; if he is as classy in the ring as he is outside of it he will be difficult to beat. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Eric will win this fight.
There are six pro gyms in the Duke City with plenty of young talent. Cards like these will provide the opportunity for this talent to perform and will be what it takes to turn boxing around in the “Land of Enchantment.”
ROCKY BURKE: THE VIEW FROM THE THIRD MAN’S EYE
By: Austin Killeen- February 14, 2012
I first saw Rocky Burke refereeing at a fight card in Albuquerque, NM in 2006. My father told me a good referee is invisible, which did not make sense to a seven year olds mind. Over the years my dad’s truism would prove itself correct many times over. At the end of the evening, I approached Rocky as he was leaving the ring. I told the Las Cruces native of my father’s saying and felt he did a nice job that night. This brought a smile to his face as third men are rarely approached and if so it is usually with some form of a complaint.
Rocky was an outstanding amateur with a record of sixty three and eight. Among his many accomplishments: he was NM State Golden Glove and NM State A.A.U. Champion and 1976 Western Olympic trial runner-up. Rocky lost a split decision to future world champ; Bruce Curry in the finals. In the punch-for-pay ranks, Rocky was undefeated with six wins and a draw. Turning pro at the late age of twenty six he retired to work in the family sign business after a few years in the sport.
In the early nineties he was approached by Dickie Cole, the commissioner of the Texas State Boxing Commission. “I had done some judging at the local level but that was the extent of my involvement with the sport.” Dickie said: “Rocky you’re an ex fighter, you need to be in the ring with the fighters as a referee. The late Jerry Wright of El Paso, Texas, a veteran third man was a big influence when I first got started. He acted as a mentor making my transition from judge to third man much easier.”
“My first big break was a bout between Johnny Tapia of Albuquerque and Pedro Javier Torres of Argentina for the WBO bantamweight title. The match was held at the Pan American Center, Las Cruces, New Mexico. I was refereeing in my hometown and the match was being broadcast on Showtime. It was great exposure both on the local level and nationally.” This has lead to additional assignments in Germany, Japan and Mexico as well as working fights on ESPN.
I was curious as to how Rocky handles prefight instructions in the dressing rooms. “I tell them if you get knocked down and get back up and show me you want to fight, I’m not going to stop the fight. But once you stop punching and start taking a lot of punishment that is when I will stop the fight. When I turned pro, I found myself on the canvas in the very first round. I had been hit hard and was hurt. Fortunately the referee did not stop the fight, giving me a chance to show I was capable of carrying on. I rallied to stop my opponent in the third stanza. As a result of that experience, I believe in giving the fighter the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to show me he is capable of continuing.”
In every referee’s experience sooner or later he will be involved in a controversial contest. Dave Barry had the long count in Dempsey/Tunney II and Ruby Goldstein in Griffith/ Paret III come to mind. So I had to ask Rocky about the Holly Holm/Anne Sophie Mathis bout he refereed in December. At the post fight press conference the media appeared to want Burke to stand trial for the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. If the jury had been selected from those present, I am sure Rocky would have been found guilty. “After looking at the film of the Holm’s fight there’s no reason for me to feel bad about it. If I had stopped it too soon they would have screamed at me. In the post fight press conference, both boxers said I had no influence in the outcome of the fight.”
Having seen Rocky work dozens of matches, he allows a boxer regardless of style an equal chance at victory. “When I see one of the boxers has a lot of movement, I give myself plenty of space so I do not trip the fighter up.” It is obvious he draws from his own experiences as an amateur and pro in assisting, not impeding, the action in the ring.
Referees are seldom showered with accolades, but the absence of criticism is usually phrase for the third man in the ring.
DON FULLMER: ONE OF THE MOST OVER LOOKED ACHIEVERS IN BOXING HISTORY
By: Austin Killeen – February 7, 2012
Last weekend Don Fullmer, the youngest of the three Fullmer brothers passed away. His loss to the boxing fraternity might have been overlooked due to the passing of legendary trainer Angelo Dundee and Marvin Hagler’s mentor, “Goody” Petronelli. That is a shame because Fullmer was one of the toughest fighters of the sixties generation, who fought the who’s who of the boxing world.
His footwork will never be confused with Willie Pastrano, or his defensive skill with that of Jimmy Young. He was slow, appeared awkward and his punch was at best average. Somehow he fought the finest of the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions over a fifteen year period and found the winners circle as often as not. If someone comprised a directory of the most over looked achievers in the sport of boxing, Don Fullmer might well be at the head of the list.
The youngest Fullmer had 65 amateur bouts, winning them all. This included winning the Inter-Mountain AAU Title 3 times and being chosen the outstanding fighter when he was a novice. He passed on a trip to the AAU finals to attend the second middleweight title bout between his oldest brother Gene and Sugar Ray Robinson.
In today’s landscape the younger brother of a popular world champion would feast on the carcasses of used up “has-beens” or “never-was” but Don was never protected. Early in his career he traveled to the home town of former world welterweight champ Virgil Akins, scoring an upset ten round verdict. This would set the tone for his career; have bag will travel. Rolling of four more wins including a decision over tough journeyman Stefan Redl, Don packed his bags and headed to Frankfurt, Germany.
Little was expected of baby Fullmer, as his opponent was European Middleweight Champion and # 1 contender Gustav Scholz. Don had no problem with Scholz’s southpaw style. After 10 hard fought rounds of action the verdict was a draw. Do to his excellent performance against the top contender, Ring Magazine ranked Fullmer 9th in the middleweight division. In February of 1961 he faced undefeated Joey Archer in Madison Square Garden. In a fight that had more turns than a revolving door, Don lost a close majority decision. Four years later he would reverse the verdict in a ten rounder in Boston.
Over the next six years Don won a decision over Rocky Fumerelle, split two bouts with Ted Wright, upset Joe DeNucci in Boston, Lost to former champ Terry Downs in London, defeated hard punching Juan Carlos Rivero, split two with all-time great Emile Griffith, lost on cuts to Sandro Mazzinghi, dropped a questionable verdict to future light heavyweight Jose Torres, decision by Dick Tiger, defeated future heavyweight claimant Jimmy Ellis, fought a draw with light heavyweight contender Andy Kendall, dropped a pair to Nino Benvenuti and Jose Gonzalez, and toped former middleweight king Bobo Olson. Every one of these opponents was either a ranked contender or world champion. How many boxers today could match the quality of this list of opponents? A very small piece of paper should handle the task.
In December of ‘68’, Don finally got his shot at the middleweight title against Nino Benvenuti in San Ramo, Italy. Regrettably Fullmer was diagnosed with the Hong Kong flu but refused to cancel, fearing he would never get a second chance. For the 1st six rounds, Fullmer fought like a patient in search of a hospital bed. In the seventh round an overhand right found Nino’s chin. The Italian dropped like the housing market in 2009. Rising on unsteady legs, Benvenuti was saved by the bell.
For the remainder of the fight Nino stayed out of trouble to capture a unanimous 15 round decision.
Don fought for another five years and the competition did not get any easier. Unlike most pugilists at the end of their careers, Fullmer’s skills never really dropped off. Wins over contenders Juarez De Lima, Billy Wagner and Andy Kendall plus draws with Tom Bogs and Billy Duglas would be a career accomplishment for most boxers. When Don lost a decision to Philadelphia’s Richie Kates in Philly, snapping a four bout win streak, he decided to call it a career.
Don Fullmer was a class act and he will be missed!
AUSTIN “NO DOUBT” TROUT: THE CHAMPION NO ONE WANTED
By: Austin Killeen - January 30, 2012
It was early on a weekday morning and I was driving from Albuquerque to Las Cruces New Mexico to interview Austin Trout WBA Light Middleweight Champion. The distance was 250 miles and the trip was made more difficult because it was snowing pretty hard. This was unusual weather for the Duke City. But it occurred to me that the driving was not as difficult as trying to penetrate the radar defense of the new champ I was about to meet.
Arriving at the spacious Sammy Burke Youth Boxing Center I got to met the champ who uses my first name. Noted for his speed in the ring, Austin is even quicker with a verbal retort. Smiling at my name comment, he felt he was doing the moniker justice. It was readily apparent the champ is never at a loss for words but in no way boastful or condescending. I took a liking to him right away.
Born on September 18, 1985 Austin had his first amateur fight at the tender age of ten. When asked his record he estimated he had over 200 bouts for trophies with approximately 160 victories. Among his accomplishments Trout won the U.S. Amateur Champion in 2004. Additionally he won the Olympic trials the same year but was defeated in the box off. As a result he was an alternate on the 2004 Olympic Boxing Team.
September 16, 2005, Trout turned pro against Justo Almazan, at the Isleta Casino & Resort, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Almazan, a veteran of 63 pro fights, decided he needed a career change sometime during the third round. Over the next seventeen months, Austin would score seven more wins all by stoppage. At this point I asked him when he realized he could make a living as a pugilist. Smiling he said: “when I turned pro.”
The development of “No Doubt” continued over the next two years including nine more wins. This included the WBA Continental Americas Light Middleweight Title. I wonder if this included a 3% sanctioning fee for a ubiquitous title belt that seems to appear at the end of every TV match. I’m amazed at the names the alphabet organizations come up with to justify their existence. How about the WBA Fedelatin Light Middleweight Title, another belt captured by Austin in 2009. After defeating Taronze Washington for the vacant WBA Continental Americas Light Middleweight Title (when did Austin lose this prestigious belt?) he was declared the mandatory challenger for the vacant WBA World Light Middleweight Title.
At this point in his career it would be understandable of Trout if he became paranoid. For the next fifteen months “No Doubt” had lots of doubt while waiting for his promised title match. WBA rules state that if a mandatory challenger participates in a warm-up fight while awaiting his title bout, said fighter will lose his mandatory challenger status. It is likened to being invited to an exclusive dinner party but not told the address. On February 5, 2011 Austin finally got his chance facing Rigoberto Alvarez for the vacant championship. Rigoberto is the older brother of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, WBC Light Middleweight Champion. There was no doubt as Austin won a lopsided unanimous twelve round decision in Alvarez’s home town of Guadalajara, Mexico.
Since winning the crown Trout has been an active champion defending the title twice. In his second defense he stopped Frank LoPorto of Australia in six rounds on Showtime. I have seen him fight on four occasions and his defensive skills are amazing. In only one of those bouts was he even remotely challenged. The veteran David Lopez actually won some rounds and was able to make the match somewhat competitive.
Despite his success, Austin is largely ignored by the media. On HBO, on two different occasions, boxing Guru Max Kellerman talked about the depth of the light middleweight division. In neither telecast was the Las Cruces southpaw ever mentioned. This might finally change, as Trout is allegedly scheduled to face Delvin Rodriguez on HBO in April. Ironically Rodriguez like Trout is avoided like a plague by the big names of the sport.
Although “No Doubt” exudes confidence and believes he can defeat the best light middleweights of the division; not once during our interview did he say a disparaging world about Cotto, Alvarez or Kirkland. That is just not Trout’s style and this man has style with a capital S.
Austin is trained by Las Cruces native Louie Burke, who was an outstanding lightweight in his own right in the early 80’s. Burke might be one of the best keep secrets in the sport and will be spotlighted in a future column. Trout is promoted by Greg Cohen, who for the most part has maintained a low profile, but has been active in the sport since the late 80’s. If Austin Trout continues his successful advance in the sport, Louie Burke and Greg Cohen will have a difficult time trying to maintain low profiles in boxing.
Let us hope the light middleweight division will become unified in the coming year. If it does, Max Kellerman might even acknowledge Austin’s existence in a future broadcast.