by Austin Killeen – Ringside – April 1, 2017
Photos by Lori Pina (Click on thumbnail to enlarge)
A sellout crowd poured into the Manuel Lujan Jr. Exhibit Complex Saturday night to see a nine bout card. Topping the bill were Fidel “The Atrisco Kid” Maldonado and Josh “Pit Bull” Torres. Maldonado and Torres have been two of the top fighters in the state for several years, but people have been asking questions about both boxers for some time now. With Maldonado the questions all pointed to the durability of his chin. With Torres the main issue concerned his current passion for the sport. Did he still care? The remainder of the card was filled with local heroes looking to pad their win columns. One bout in particular involved a crossroads fight between Jose Osorio and Ricky Vasquez. Both boxers have built winning records fighting anybody anywhere and knew they had a tough assignment on this evening.
In the main event scheduled for 8 rounds, junior welterweight Fidel Maldonado (23-3-1, 19 KO’s) 140 lbs., Albuquerque won by UD over Mohamed Rodriguez (9-4-0, 3 KO’s) 140.2 lbs. of San Luis Potosí, Mexico. If fans were looking for Maldonado to stick his chin out so Rodriguez could hit it, then they were disappointed. In the opening round it appeared that Maldonado was staggered from a Rodriguez punch but he could have been off balance. In the second round Maldonado dropped his opponent with a powerful blow to the stomach. For the remainder of the bout Maldonado was the aggressor most of the time, with both boxers displaying some nice defensive moves. I felt the decision was correct, but Rodriguez has good fundamental skills.
In the semi final scheduled for six rounds, welterweight Josh Pitbull Torres (16-6-2, 8 KO’s) 148 lbs., Albuquerque won by TKO over John David Charles (9-10-0, 1 KO’s) a southpaw from Corpus Christi, Texas. I didn’t care who “Pit Bull” was fighting, I just wanted to see some fire in his belly. He could have been hitting a bed sheet as long as he showed some energy. He clearly looked like the old Torres of 2015 and before and deserves a second chance to crack the big time. After the bout he mentioned he’d like a third bout with Jose Marrufo. That would be a big undertaking, as many in the boxing community think Marrufo has his number. If that’s what Torres wants he earned the right to get the chance to get it.
In the evening’s seventh bout scheduled for six rounds, featherweight Jason Sanchez (10-0-0, 6 KO’s) 131.6 lbs. Albuquerque won by KO over Gene Perez (1-9-1) 132.2 lbs. of Belen, NM. Sanchez went about his business, methodically breaking down his determined opponent. Perez is always in shape physically, but never seems to have a game plan. Fighting a beast like Sanchez, that’s not a good strategy for success. For five brutal rounds Sanchez landed some brutal punches to the head and body of Perez before scoring a knockout. Like Brian Mendoza, Sanchez is ready to take a step into deeper waters. I’d love to see a co-feature with Mendoza and Sanchez facing live imports from outside the 505 area code.
In the evening’s sixth bout scheduled for 8 rounds, welterweight Hector Munoz (25-18-1, 17 KO’s) 146.4 lbs. Albuquerque won by TKO over Tavorus Teague (3-17-2, 2 KO’s) 149.6 lbs. of Bakersfield, California. In the opening round Teague showed some boxing skills, scoring several clean punches the result of some nice footwork. Munoz appeared to be sizing him up and was taking his time. In the second round “The Hurricane” started to pick up the pace landing some solid body shots, while cutting off the ring. In the third round Munoz started landing combinations, while Teague seemed to be losing his interest in boxing eight hard rounds. When the bell rang for the start of round four, Teague decided to sit out the rest of the night. Munoz seemed very disappointed that the fight was over as he was looking for a tough fight. As boxing careers go, Munoz is in the winter of his career. However he takes great care of his body, and always enters the ring in amazing shape. I hope he gets the chance to write the final chapter of his career on his terms, as he deserves nothing less.
In the evening’s fifth bout scheduled for 6 rounds, featherweight Jose Osorio (8-3-1, 4 KO’s) 126.4 lbs. Albuquerque won by KO over Ricky Vasquez (6-4-1, 2 KO’s) out of Los Cruces. This was the fight that everyone thought would be the fight of the night and it didn’t disappoint. At the opening bell both fighters exploded out of their corners with bad intentions. For two rounds there was little clinching, but plenty of punching for the appreciative fans. In the third Osorio missed with a right, but scored with a solid left hook to the side of Vasquez’s head. This resulted in the Las Cruces boxer hitting the canvas hard. He lifted his head at the count of seven, but fell back to the canvas for a clean knockout. This was a matchup between two boxers who are being avoided by the competition. As a result of his impressive victory, Osorio didn’t make the task of getting matches any easier.
In the evening’s fourth bout scheduled for 6 rounds, middleweight Joaquin Zamora (21-4-1, 12 KO’s) 150.4 lbs. Santa Fe won by UD over Anthony Hill (1-22-0) of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you like boxers with a bag full of tricks then this was your fight. Both boxers are southpaws but Hill switched to orthodox from time to time. Over the six rounds Zamora would get Hill into a headlock with his left arm and bring his right arm around his back in an attempt to hit him in the head. Hill would drop his right hand to Zamora’s waist and at the same time throw a left hand to the head of his rival. Another of Zamora’s bag of tricks was to spin his opponent off balance, but Hill had a defensive move against the spin move.
But make no mistake about both Zamora and Hill; their knowledge of boxing basics is built on a solid foundation. You can’t be a trickster in the ring without knowing the fundamentals of the sport. The difference in the fight appeared to be Zamora’s technique at long range. His overhand lefts forced Hill to make defensive moves which the Santa Fe boxer could take advantage of. Did I also mention that they showed up in shape to go the required distance? After six rounds of trying to outmaneuver each other, Zamora was awarded a unanimous decision.
In the evening’s third bout scheduled for 6 rounds, welterweight Cristian Cabral (7-1-1, 4 KO’s) 150.4 lbs. Albuquerque won by TKO over Christopher Russell (3-20-1, 2 KO’s) 149.6 lbs. of Shattuck, Oklahoma. When Cabral is in the “zone”, he acts like he’s listening to his own Salsa Band. Unfortunately for Mr. Russell, Cabral appeared to be listing to some nice Latin sounds. In the opening round Cabral was very relaxed; using feints, and lateral movement to see how Russell would react. His jab carried the round. In round two Cabral started throwing overhand rights off his excellent jab to totally confuse his opponent. A pair of accurate combinations by “El Puma” dropped Russell twice, the second time for the stoppage. The time of the TKO was 1:22 of the round.
In the evening’s second bout scheduled for 4 rounds, welterweight Ronny Baca (1-0-1, 1 KO) 141 lbs. of Albuquerque fought to a draw with Marco Arturo “Nazzy” Dominguez of Obregon, Sonora, Mexico who was making his debut. This contest became controversial, when it came to light five hours before the bout that a fighter with the same name and from the same town in Mexico had four pro bouts. With that knowledge team Baca agreed to go through with the bout. Entering the ring was Ronny Baca fighting a debuting boxer or a fighter with pro experience? In the opening round the taller Baca voluntarily gave up his height and reach advantage to fight on the inside. This was a mistake as Dominguez pinned him on the ropes and unloaded shots to the head and body. By the bell Baca was bleeding from the nose. Baca looked a lot better in the second round, landing some nice uppercuts and hooks. But once again he fought off the ropes allowing the shorter Dominguez to land some powerful shots to the head and body.
The third was a repeat of the second round. Baca landed a vicious uppercut early in the round, but took too many punches in the second half of the stanza. The fourth was a repeat of the second and third but with Baca winning the round. He landed some powerful uppercuts, snapping his rival’s head back. You have to ask if this had been a six rounder what the result would have been. If Baca learns to use distance, he could be a force in New Mexico boxing. Judge Levi Martinez scored the bout 39-37 for Dominguez, while judges Anthony Romero and Marc Sanchez had it even 38-38 making the contest a majority draw. I thought it was a bad decision and judging from the crowd’s reaction they saw it the same way.
In the evening’s opening contest scheduled for four rounds, welterweight Isidro Castillo (5-0-0, 3 KO’s) 158 lbs. of Hobbs, NM won by UD over Derrick Perez (0-6-0) 154.2 lbs. of Belen, NM. This was a rematch of a bout they had two months ago. In that contest Castillo had a difficult first round, but settled down to score a second round knockout. In the opening round Perez was relaxed taking his time and looking for openings. In previous bouts he would explode from his corner, fighting recklessly. For his part Castillo boxed smart, landing clean right hooks and overhand lefts against his southpaw rival. In the second round Perez started landing some clean blows and was not rushing in. This forced Castillo to work harder looking for openings, but he still landed the cleaner blows.
Early in the third round Castillo trapped Perez in a neutral corner and unloaded some heavy leather to the head and body. Still Perez was fighting under control and not leaving himself open as he has in all of his other bouts. The final round might have been Perez’s best of his career, he was relaxed showed some defense and landed some jabs. But Castillo was always in position to punch, patient and landed the cleaner blows. Castillo received the verdict but the score cards were not read. This was a solid effort by Castillo as he took what was given, but did not try to force the action. This was the best effort of Perez’s career and gives him something to build on.