By Austin Killeen (click on picture to enlarge)
Once again Promoter Isidro Castillo brings a pro boxing card to the southeast corner of the state. Fight fans from Albuquerque and Santa Fe are often guilty of thinking that boxing starts in “The City Different” and stops at “The Duke City.” That would be a big mistake in judgment, as Hobbs has hosted some exciting fight cards over the years. Since I started covering boxing in New Mexico in 2011, the catalyst for these shows has been Isidro Castillo. Not only have his shows been thrilling, but the attendance numbers have been impressive as well. Although I’ve never been to his “School of Hard Knocks Gym” it must be well run based on the quality of the boxers it produces. Oil isn’t the only product that Hobbs pumps out of the ground, as Isidro Castillo Jr., Edgar Zubia and Gerardo Quintana have proven to be valuable byproducts of the landscape.
Headlining Saturday’s card will be middleweight Joey Alday Jr. (5-0-0, 5 KO’s) of Odessa, TX against Cris Leyva (1-0-1) of Albuquerque, NM. Alday brings an extensive amateur background into the ring, with over 200 wins against some of the best boxers in the world. The Odessa boxer is part of Top Rank’s stable of fighters and they didn’t sign him because he’s just ok. He’s had some tough sparring in the gym against Shawn Porter, Errol Spence, Charles Hadley and Miguel Cotto. It’s safe to say that these gym sessions were more difficult than many of his pro bouts. The lanky Alday likes to work behind a solid left jab, which creates opening for his hooks, uppercuts and overhand rights. Although all of Alday’s wins have come by stoppage, he has impressive boxing skills to go with his power. There is little information on Leyva, but he has a draw against Gerardo Quintana. Quintana is a certified beast in the ring, which speaks well for Leyva’s skill set.
The remaining bouts are scheduled for four rounds.
In the semi-final between debuting heavyweights, Ruben Sanchez of Hobbs will face Rafael Gonzalez of, Mexico. Sanchez has an extensive amateur career, having boxed in the Air Force. I have no knowledge regarding Gonzalez.
In the third bout of the evening, Gene Perez (2-9-1) of Belen, NM will face Gabriel Rodriguez (2-0-0) of El Paso, Texas at 130 lbs. This looks to be the fight of the night in which the favorite Rodriguez will be facing the toughest fight of his career. Perez is battle tested, having faced some of the best prospects in the southwest. Neither boxer has scored a knockout since turning pro, but are very aggressive. Both boxers are volume punchers to the delight of the fans. I’ve seen both of these boys fight, you don’t want to be at the concession stand when the bell sounds for round one.
In the second bout of the evening, Abel Navarrete, Jr. (2-0-0) of Amarillo, TX will face debuting Evan Hernandez. I saw Navarrete fight the above mentioned Perez two years ago in Hobbs. It was an exciting bout won by Navarrete due to superior ring generalship. I don’t know the extent of Hernandez’s amateur background, but it better be solid for him to give a good performance.
In the opening bout of the evening in the cruiserweight division, Eduardo Silva of Belen, NM will square off against Rafael Gonzalez of Hobbs, in a four rounder. Silva has some amateur experience in boxing as well as in the cage. I have no background information on Gonzalez.
The fight card is slated to take place at Club La Sierra on November 4th, with doors opening at 6PM and the show kicking off at 7PM. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $60 for ringside and can be obtained by calling promoter Isidro Castillo at 1-575-263-4942.