By Austin Killeen Ringside Photos by Lori Pina – (click on picture to enlarge)
Once again Pat Holmes Sr. had a sellout card at Buffalo Thunder Resorts and Casino. Apparently this will be my opening sentence for all my future articles on fight cards at this venue. This makes it thirteen sellouts in a row, in an evening where some boxers had career defining moments. I felt that Roman Ruben Reynoso versus Jose Osorio would be the fight of the night, but it turned out there was plenty of competition for that honor. Antonio Martinez’s clash with Gabriel Gutierrez and Derek Perez’s hookup with George Roybal were action packed bouts full of drama. Aaron Martinez had a career best performance, demonstrating the proper way of throwing punches off a jab. Pat Holmes senior has a reputation for putting on solid cards and last night’s program might have been his best ever. I can assure anyone who wasn’t in attendance, there was no one standing in line looking for a refund.
The bouts were streamed lived on cable TV, as a result I tried to report the contest as they were shown; with the exception of the main event and semi-final.
In the evening’s fifth bout, Jose Osorio (9-3-1, 4 KO’s) 124.7 lbs. of Albuquerque, NM won by SD over Roman Ruben Reynoso 124.8 lbs. of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Osorio had spent two months training for this contest, sparring with Fidel Maldonado, Jr. (24-3-1, 19 KO’s), Jason Sanchez (10-0-0, 6 KO’s, Brian Mendoza (15-0-0, 10 KO’s, Antonio Martinez (8-3-4, 6 KO’s) and Matthew Griego (7-0-0, 6 KO’s), entering the ring in top condition both mentally and physically. But waiting in the other corner was the much more experienced Reynoso. I figured Osorio would provide tough competition but come up short against the classy boxer/puncher from Argentina. In the opening round both boxers were content to size up each other, until Reynoso dropped Osorio with a clean shot to the body just before the bell. The second round was fought at a high level by both, but Osorio was having difficulty landing clean shots to the head against his elusive rival. The smaller but muscular Reynoso was scoring with clean punches on the inside. Osorio was good, but Reynoso was better after two rounds. Not discourage by the smooth boxing South American, Osorio started landing uppercuts to the head of Reynoso in the third. Suddenly the hometown hero was scoring to the head and body, while Reynoso was having words with the Spanish speaking referee Ray Chavez.
This would continue in rounds four and five, which featured some nice exchanges by both men. Whereas Osorio couldn’t find the target against his elusive opponent in the first two rounds, he was now scoring with jabs and hooks to the head and body. Reynoso wasn’t standing still either, scoring with some nice overhand rights and left hooks to the head and body. These were close rounds but clearly Osorio was gaining confidence while Reynoso continued his war of words in Spanish with the referee.
In rounds six and seven Osorio seemed to be scoring with everything he threw, in part because he was able to trap Reynoso on the ropes. For his part Reynoso look confused and upset with the referee’s warnings about holding. In the final round Reynoso was penalized a point for holding, something that did not sit well with the fans. They may have been cheering for Osorio, but they did not feel Reynoso should have lost a point. I’ve seen referee Chavez work dozens of bouts and like the way he handles himself in the ring. The point deduction wasn’t out of the blue, as the referee had warned Reynoso on several occasions. I would not have taken the point from Reynoso, but the referee was much closer to the action than I was.
The boxers waited an exorbitant amount of time in the center ring for the final scores to be tallied. Displeased by the delay, Reynoso’s trainer Marcos Lovera walked to the scorer’s table at ringside to see what was taking so long. He was promptly asked to return to center ring. When ring announcer Mike Adams took his microphone to read the judge’s score cards you could have heard a pin drop. Ester Lopez 76-74 for Osorio, Chris Tellez 78-74 for Reynoso and Teresa Ortega 77-73 for the winner by split decision Jose Osorio. My scoring was the same as Ortega’s, but many rounds were very close. Remove the point deduction and give one more round to Reynoso, you have a different winner.
The verdict might have hurt Reynoso to a certain extent, but he’s a very talented boxer who should easily bounce back. For Osorio it would appear to be a career changing event. Presently he is under no promotional contract, but that could change as a result of Saturday night’s verdict. Osorio has come a long way from his pro debut, when he was knocked out in the very first round.
In the evening’s sixth bout, Juan Jose Velasco (17-0-0, 10) 139.4 of Buenos Aires, Argentina won by TKO over Juan Garcia Mendez (19-3-2, 12) 139.8 lbs. Mexicali, Mexico. They were fighting for the vacant WBC Latino Super Lightweight Title. Velasco a boxer/puncher took control behind a solid left jab that found its target often. Mendez responded with some good left hooks to the body. In the second and third rounds Velasco picked up the pace behind his punishing left jab and tight defense. A nasty left hook off a jab dropped the game Mendez who was bleeding from the nose, in the third. It didn’t seem possible for the bout to last much longer. Surprisingly Mendez showed renewed energy in the fourth, scoring with some powerful hooks to the head and body. However they were few and far between with Velasco still in control of the fight. Rounds five through seven Velasco continued to score with short accurate punches. Mendez continued to come forward, landing an occasional power shot. In the eighth round Mendez walked into a combination, taking a seat on the canvas for the second time that evening. This would repeat itself again in the ninth round, prompting referee Rocky Burke to halt the one sided contest.
Mendez proved to be too brave for his own good and needs to improve on his defensive skills. Velasco looks like he should be in the picture for one of the 140 pound belts vacated by former champion Terrence Crawford. He has to have one of the most punishing left jabs in boxing and it hurts as much as any body blow. In watching his impressive performance I couldn’t help but wonder what would be the outcome of a matchup with Albuquerque’s Fidel Maldonado Jr. This could become a reality as the hard punching Maldonado is dispensing everybody placed in front of him.
In the evening’s eighth bout, Gabriel Gutierrez (5-6-0, 3 KO’s) 138.6 lbs. of El Paso, TX won by SD over Antonio Martinez (8-3-4, 6 KO) 140.2 lbs. of Espanola, NM. Martinez entered the ring with eight wins and two draws in his last ten bouts, not having lost in four and a half years. Gutierrez slipped through the ropes looking for his first win in his last four matches. Promoter Holmes told me before the fight not to look past Gutierrez, because he was a live opponent. Obviously he wanted Martinez to win, but knew the house fighter would be tested tonight. In the opening round the taller, rangier Gutierrez jumped all over Martinez. Suddenly the Espanola fighter appeared hurt and bleeding from a cut over the eye. Answering the bell for the second round, Martinez’s face was a bloody mess. But anyone who has seen him in action knows he has the heart of a warrior. Martinez forced Gutierrez into a neutral corner where he unloaded power shots to the head and body. The El Paso boxer was trapped along the ropes and could do little more than block punches until the bell sounded. The pro Martinez crowd was going crazy as the first two rounds were all out action.
In the third Gutierrez keep the contest in the center of the ring where his longer arms found their target repeatedly. In the fourth and fifth stanzas Martinez picked up the pace, forcing Gutierrez to the ropes, but he couldn’t keep him there. Gutierrez kept bringing the action back to the center of the ring. Both boxers were throwing power shots nonstop and the fans loved it. Surprisingly both boxers elected to take their foot off the pedal in the sixth round, leaving it up to the judges. Judge Tellez scored the contest 58-56 for Martinez but was overruled by judges Lopez and Ortega who saw the bout for Gutierrez 59-55 and 58-56 respectively. I had the same score as Lopez, but some of the rounds were very close. This was a big win for the El Paso fighter, who expects his next bout will be in Texas. Martinez will probably be on the shelf for some time, while his cuts heal. I loved this contest, as did most of the fans, and would love to see a rematch.
The remaining bouts were all scheduled for four rounds.
In the evening’s seventh bout, Bryant McClain (4-0-2, 1 KO) 159.3 lbs. of Rio Rancho, NM drew with Jordan Gregory (0-2-2) of Albuquerque, NM. This was a rematch of a contest they had eight months ago which McClain won by unanimous decision. On this evening McClain seem confused as to how to take control of the contest. Not so for the southpaw boxer from the “Duke City.” The awkward Gregory started fast in the opening round but McClain finished strong. The round featured lots of body punching by both combatants. McClain was the aggressor in the second stanza, but Gregory seemed to be landing the cleaner punches. Gregory clearly landed more punches in the third, but looked exhausted at times, lying on the ropes with his mouth open. The way to break down a southpaw is with left hooks and overhand rights; McClain was content to throw arm punches with little power behind them.
In the final round Gregory threw windmill punches at his opponent, they might have looked awkward but many landed. McClain was content to throw patty cake punches on the inside. Judge Tellez saw McClain the winner by a score of 39-37. Ester Lopez had a score of 38-38, while Teresa Ortega scored the contest 39-37 for Gregory. This was a strange bout to score and I was OK with a draw even though my scorecard was the same as Ortega’s.
In the evening’s fourth bout between debuting boxers, Leanna Martinez 110.4 lbs. of Santa Fe, New Mexico won by first round TKO over Brittney Horton 107.7 lbs. of Belen, NM. Martinez is a nurse who has her own business taking care of people in need of home care. On this evening her business was boxing and her skills were too much for her game but over matched opponent. Horton used her height and reach to control the action early in the round. Martinez seemed confused and unable to work her way inside. But when she finally trapped Horton on the ropes, her combination punching brought the match to a sudden end. The game Horton was unable to beat the ten count, ending the contest at 1:20 of the opening round.
In the evening’s third bout, Aaron Martinez (4-1-0, 3 KO’s) 127.9 lbs. of Santa Fe, NM won by TKO over Richard Reyes (0-2-0) 125.7 lbs. of Belen, NM. Don’t be fooled by Reyes record, he is a dangerous foe for anybody. If this bout had taken place six months earlier it might have had a different outcome. Martinez use to throw a left jab, but often failed to follow it up with anything of significance. On this evening Martinez was scoring with jabs, overhand rights and uppercuts off his punishing left jab. In the fourth round he forced Reyes onto the ropes where he unloaded with a combination to the head and body. The referee came to the rescue at 2:07 of the round. Martinez looks to be ready for a step up in competition and promoter Holmes is just the man for the job.
In the evening’s second bout, Derek Perez (1-6-0, 1 KO) 137 lbs. of Belen, NM won by TKO over George Roybal (0-4-0) 136.4 lbs. of Albuquerque, NM. Perez and Roybal entered the ring with a combined record of (0-9-0) with eight coming by stoppage. Anyone thinking this bout would be a joke quickly changed their minds; this was a war. Both boxers climbed into the ring in shape and spent about two seconds sizing each other up. Standing toe-to-toe they started throwing bombs at each other’s head and body. Roybal had a bloody nose from Perez’s head shots, but displayed some nice counter punching. Perez unloaded his entire arsenal on Roybal in the second round only to walk into a big right hand to the head at the bell. If Roybal’s counter punch had landed thirty seconds earlier. . . Perez had a big third round, forcing Roybal into the ropes with some heavy combinations. After checking with the ringside doctor, referee Burke halted the contest at 2:20 of the third round. Although it was his fourth loss, Roybal has shown improvement each time out. Hopefully he won’t become discouraged and will continue his career.
In the evening’s first bout, Kevin Johnson (4-0-0, 4 KO’s) of Las Vegas, NV won by TKO over Shem Prieto (0-3-0) 146.3 lbs. Johnson entered the ring with much hype as a prodigy of Floyd Mayweather Jr. When he left the ring a few minutes later, most people in attendance were believers. Johnson used his good judgment of distance to score clean body shots. Prieto hit the deck twice for eight counts, causing referee Chaves to halt matters at 1:56 of the round. Johnson appears to be very promising prospect, but I’d like a second look before jumping to conclusions. Prieto showed courage, but knew why he was invited to the party. Boxing can be a brutal activity; I hope this young man was well compensated for his efforts.