By Austin Killeen ringside Photos by Marissa and Melissa Perez – (Click on picture to enlarge)
No one but Promoter Isidro Castillo of Hobbs, NM would put on a fight card where the boxers had a combined record of 8 wins, 31 losses and 4 draws. Even a submarine would have a hard time getting that far below sea level. You’d need a shovel to dig up the ocean floor to find the fighters. But Castillo believes if you schedule evenly matched boxers against each other, the result will be exciting competitive matches. Using his formula on Saturday night resulted in thrilling fights from the top to the bottom of the card. The upshot were fight fans enjoying an entertaining evening and asking when the next show would take place. (For the record, Castillo plans to return to Roswell in the near future.) Did I mention that the promotion finished in the black? In accounting speak, black means profit. Knowing how many hours Isidro Castillo puts into one of his shows, he could probably earn more per day selling pencils at an intersection.
In the 6 round main event, Gene Perez (2-9-1) 131.6 lbs of Belen, NM won by UD over John Herrera (4-18-2, 2 KO’s) 130.6 of Roswell, NM. It had been five years since either boxer had a drink from the fountain of victory; and both were eager to quench their thirst. In the opening round Perez used volume punching and a strong body attack to easily win the judges eye. To seal the deal the Belen southpaw landed and overhand left to drop his opponent on the seat of his pants. He continued his domination in the second, when Herrera suddenly landed a solid right to the head. Perez found himself backed into a natural corner on less than steady legs. Instead of following up his advantage Herrera backed away; round Perez. The third was the best so far for the Roswell boxer, but it wasn’t enough. Now Perez was scoring with right uppercuts every time his rival appeared to be taking control of the fight.
In the fourth round Herrera started throwing solid rights off a nice jab when Perez attempted to get inside. Perez was still impressive in close, but paying a price to get there. Once again the visiting boxer found himself trapped in a natural corner only to have Herrera voluntarily back away. This was an action packed round which I gave to Herrera, but by the slimmest of margins. On a roll Herrera started finding a home for his left hook, making fans wonder if they could be witnessing a miracle comeback. But Perez wasn’t standing around, as he continued to land punishing right uppercuts and scoring to the body. I definitely felt Herrera carried the sixth round behind left hooks and right hands to the head and body. But the pesky Perez continued to fight back, determined to get to the victory circle. This was an exciting fight which I felt belonged to Perez. Apparently judges Ester Lopez, Joel Perez and Juan Nunez agreed because Gene Perez was the recipient of a unanimous decision. This was my pick as the fight of the night in a card full of action. Herrera dug himself a deep hole early in the bout and then tried to pull off a miracle comeback. If Promoter Castillo returns to Roswell, a rematch between Perez and Herrera would be well received.
The remaining bouts were all scheduled for 4 rounds.
In the semi-final, Richard Villa (2-0-1) 186.6 of Roswell NM won by KO over Mauricio Lopez (0-2-0) 191 lbs. of Elks City, OK. At the opening bell both these boys started throwing bombs with bad intentions. Villa showed he had a solid chin as he tasted some of Lopez’s leather. But he also showed some skill slipping punches, which would ultimately be the difference in the fight. Villa started timing Lopez’s punches and countering with hard shots to the head. It didn’t take long for a right/left combination to drop Lopez for the count. I’ve seen all of Villa’s fights and he has shown improvement each time he has entered the ring. Lopez for his part has some power and can easily correct his mistakes in the gym. After the fight Villa commented, “I’d like to ultimately get down to 160 pounds. I think it would improve my speed and conditioning, as I already have the power.” Villa is exciting to watch and the fans love him.
In the evenings fourth bout between debuting fighters, Augustine Perez 129.8 lbs of Roswell, NM won by UD over Ricardo Reyes 129.6 lbs. of Hobbs, NM. In nine out of ten fights the effort of Reyes would be good enough to win in his debut. But this was the tenth time and the thirty two year old Augustine Perez was simply amazing. Behind a tight defense and a vicious body attack, he was able to win all four rounds. Reyes wasn’t bad on defense either but he couldn’t break through Perez’s defense. In the final two rounds Reyes landed some solid shots to the head and body of his foe, but Perez would find a new source of oxygen and regain control each time. All three judges had identical scores of 40-36 for the victorious Perez. The Roswell detective looks like he could fight a main event right now. As for Reyes, I wouldn’t want to be his next opponent; as this soldier is on a mission, and defeat will not be part of the battle plan.
In the evening’s third bout Omar Acosta (1-1-0) 212.4 lbs. of Roswell won by TKO over Israel Huerta (1-3-0) 209.3 lbs. of Cloves, NM. The taller Acosta used his height and reach to control the action at long range. The shorter Huerta tried to slip his opponent’s jab and work the body. As the bell sounded ending the first round Huerta had swelling under his left eye. By the sound of the bell to start the second round, the swelling was the size of an inflated balloon. On the advice of the doctor referee David Rios stopped the fight. Acosta fought a smart fight while Huerta suffered from bad luck.
In the evening’s second bout between debuting fighters, Tim Ruiz 146.8 lbs. of Herford, TX won by KO over Raymond Lara 145.4 lbs. of Roswell, NM. Early in the first round Lara unloaded on the head of Ruiz, obviously hurting him. I had seen Ruiz fight once as an amateur, and he had the sense to go defensive until his head cleared. Lara had a big advantage, but gave it away by head hunting instead of working downstairs. The last sixty seconds of the round was all Ruiz, dropping his opponent with an overhand right to the head. Lara beat the count, but took some brutal body shots upon rising. In the second round Lara was once again dropped by a head shot and failed to beat the ten count. Boxing is as much about brains as brawn and hopefully the likeable Lara learned a valuable lesson. As for Ruiz, he recovered from an early mistake and dominated the remainder of the contest. Time of the KO was 2:39 of the second round.
In the opening bout of the evening, Oscar Espinoza (2-1-0, 2 KO’s) 183.4 lbs. of Hobbs, NM won by KO over Ysidro Portillo 183 lbs. of Odessa, TX. The powerful Portillo took control of the fight early in the first round by pinning Espinoza on the ropes. Espinoza must have thought it was raining leather gloves, but had enough sense to open his defensive umbrella. Weathering the storm, Espinoza exploded a right hand to the head of his rival, dropping him to the canvas. When the bell rang ending the round my notes were splattered with blood. I would assume it did not belong to Espinoza. In the second round Espinoza was like a big game hunter, and a right hand to the head ended maters at 1:,39 seconds of the round. I’ve seen all of Espinoza’s fights and like Richard Villa in the semi-final, he has shown improvement in each of his fights. Portillo is no stiff, showing some skills early in the contest. With more experience the boxer from Odessa should become an opponent to be avoided.
On paper this boxing show was a joke, but boxing shows are fought in a ring not on paper. Promoter Isidro Castillo clearly knows his business. Gene Perez has resuscitated his career, while Richard Villa, Tim Ruiz, Augustine Perez and Oscar Espinoza have added value to theirs.
Voices from the Corner: This weekend Elijio Sena and Edgar Zubia both told me, that they both hope to be in the ring again this year. This is great news for New Mexico boxing as potential fights between Sena and Ronald Baca plus Zubia and Antonio Martinez would be hot tickets to have. All four boxers are talented and give fans value for their money.
On Saturday, August 26th, New Mexico Golden Gloves and JD’s Gym with host the Chuck Haas Memorial Boxing Tournament. First bell will be at 2:00 p.m. at the Roy Walker Recreation Center, 316 W 2nd Street, Clovis, New Mexico. For information call 575-769-7868. Weigh ins and Physicals 9am-11am @ the Roy Walker Recreation Center.
For more information or to be a sponsor of this event you may call Juan Nunez at 505-552-4142 or Bunny Martinez at 505-573-1330.