Movie stars are as good as their last movie, boxers are no different. Look good and you’re the next coming of Sugar Ray Robinson, lose and you’re over the hill. For different reasons fans of Maldonado and Torres hope their favorite boxers have the answers to tomorrow night’s test. Last July at the Santa Ana Star Center Maldonado had what was supposed to be an easy assignment, easy until he was struggling to get off the canvas. He knocked his opponent out in the next round, but even his most ardent fans are questioning his ability to take a punch. For Torres the question is whether he still has the passion for the sport. In losing his last two fights there were many moments when he appeared to be sparring not fighting for his fistic career. Tomorrow night will we see the fire that made him one of the toughest boxers in the state or a ho-hum performance? We know what their fans want to see, but what will the audience see in the ring tomorrow night?
In the main event scheduled for 8 rounds, junior welterweight Fidel Maldonado (22-3-1, 19 KO’s) faces Mohamed Rodriguez (9-3-0, 3 KO’s) San Luis Potosí, Mexico. I saw Rodriguez score an upset at the Bomb Factory in Dallas last year, behind a nice left jab and solid left hooks. In the process of winning the decision he dropped his rival twice. Rodriguez is no joke and Maldonado had better bring his ‘A’ game into the ring. Although I feel the “Duke City” boxer deserves to be the favorite he better pay attention to business. Rodriguez didn’t travel to Albuquerque to get a taste of great Mexican cuisine, he came to take what Maldonado has, his reputation.
In the semi final scheduled for six rounds, welterweight Josh Pitbull Torres (15-6-2, 7 KO’s) faces John David Charles (9-9-0, 1 KO’s) a southpaw from Corpus Christi, Texas. It’s not so much what Charles brings to the ring, but what some people are wondering; what Torres has left. One trainer, who will remain nameless, feels that Torres is in the middle of raising a family and that boxing is no longer his priority. I commend Jose and his wife for being dedicated at the most important job anybody will ever have; being good parents. But I certainly don’t believe that good parenting and boxing are mutually exclusive. Obviously a third straight loss would render “Pitbull” meaningless in the sport, but that’s not what fans are coming to see; they’re coming to see Torres score a passionate victory.
In the evenings seventh bout scheduled for six rounds, featherweight Jason Sanchez (9-0-0, 5 KO’s) faces Gene Perez (1-8-1) Belen, NM. The southpaw Perez is always in shape, giving fans a great show. Unfortunately for the visitor Sanchez is also in shape and has two weapons; a brutal left hook and a crushing overhand right. I’ve ranked Sanchez the number one featherweight in the state for a reason; he’s ready to go after bigger game now. Unless Sanchez is looking ahead to future matches this is a very big challenge for his spunky rival.
In the evenings sixth bout scheduled for 8 rounds, welterweight Hector Munoz (24-18-1, 16 KO’s) will face Tavorus Teague (3-16-2, 2 KO’s) of Bakersfield, California. I’ve seen Teague box on two occasions and he has an excellent physique. I do not understand why his record is what it is. “The Hurricane” is a heavy favorite, but he better not try to blow Teague out of the ring in the first round or he might find himself short of breath. If that were to happen, I have no doubt about the California boxer’s ability to go eight hard rounds. Munoz should win, but if he fights stupid fans could be looking at a very interesting bout.
In the evenings fifth bout scheduled for 6 rounds, featherweight Jose Osorio (7-3-1, 3 KO’s) faces Ricky Vasquez (6-3-1, 2 KO’s) out of Los Cruces. This is my pick for fight of the night, as both fighters are road warriors who acquired winning records the hard way by facing tough opponents. They are both volume punchers who bring it right to your doorstep. Their average punchers who like to exploit their opponent’s mistakes. Fans are going to love this matchup, as both fighters have little interest in clinching. They use their left jabs like their opening a can of tuna fish and are proficient at adding a overhand right for a simple but effective one-two. I’ll be shocked if this contest is anything less than a war and worth the price of admission by itself.
In the evenings fourth bout scheduled for 6 rounds, middleweight Joaquin Zamora (21-4-1, 12 KO’s) of Santa Fe will face Anthony Hill (1-21-0) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Word of warning, don’t be fooled by Hill’s win/loss record; he went the distance to two bombers, Brian Mendoza and Jose Salinas. Both these guys know every trick in the book and like to use them. Like Osorio/Vasquez these boys like to bring it but with the use of trickery. I don’t know how many readers have ever heard of Satchel Paige from the old Negro baseball league. When he finally got a chance to play in the majors he was long in the tooth. It looked like his pitches comprised of chewing gum, spit and paper clips, but he was able to get batters to swing at nothing for strikeouts. Zamora and Hill do the same thing in a boxing ring, but they are no joke. This should be an entertaining match up.
In the evenings third bout scheduled for 6 rounds, welterweight Cristian Cabral (6-1-1, 3 KO’s) will face Christopher Russell (3-19-1, 2 KO’s) of Shattuck, Oklahoma. This fight is all about what Cabral brings to the table. When I first started covering fights in New Mexico he was considered a prospect. But then he would take a fight followed by a year’s layoff. He says he’s serious about his career, as he is now a father of a handsome little boy and a beautiful wife. I wouldn’t classify him as a puncher but more of a stylish. At his best he can lay on the ropes and make you miss or slap you silly with an assortment of punches. After another long layoff how much rust will he bring in the ring with him? Russell knows why he was invited to the party, he’s the gift.
In the evenings second bout scheduled for 4 rounds, welterweight Ronny Baca (1-0-0, 1 KO) will face Marcos “Nazzy” Dominguez from Obregon, Sonora, Mexico who is making his debut. I don’t know why but I have a feeling that this might be an action packed fight. I saw Baca when he turned pro and he didn’t have the jitters of a debuting boxer. He was very composed and scored with a nice left jab. After breaking his rival down, the referee had little choice but to stop the one sided contest. Dominguez has a brother who is a pro with an (10-0-0, 8 KO’s) record, not that he’ll be sharing the ring with him. But it does indicate he comes from a fighting pedigree. Dominguez told me that he had twenty nine bouts in the amateurs. Before the weigh-ins yesterday Dominguez and Baca approached each other and shook hands. My experience when fighters are friendly with each other and not looking for fake face-off’s, their bouts are just the opposite.
In the evening opening contest scheduled for four rounds, welterweight Isidro Castillo (5-0-0, 3 KO’s) of Hobbs, NM will face Derrick Perez (0-5-0) of Belen, NM in a rematch. Their first encounter was an explosion while it lasted, with Castillo stopping his rival in the second round. Castillo got sucked into a brawl in the opening round and tasted some heavy leather. During the 60 second rest Castillo settled down and looked like the prospect he’s suppose to be. The question of the day will; Castillo take care of business or will Perez lure his rival into a street fight again? One thing for sure this will be a tornado while it lasts.