By Austin Killeen
There are no signed contracts, dates announced or venues named but rumors are flying around about possible upcoming fights in the next few months. Names are being tossed about and some of the bouts involve neighborhood rivalries. If these fights take place, they should move tickets at a brisk pace. Adding to the interest are championship belts that will be at stake if these fights become reality. Here are the rumored matchups. Josh “Pitbull” Torres may meet Cristian Cabral for an Intercontinental belt; and Mike Aldarete may meet Max Heyman for the State championship. Also Jason Sanchez is being tested against a live opponent by the name of Erik Manriquez. Added to the mix are stiffer opposition for newcomers Aaron Perez, Ronnie Baca, Cristian Castillo, Mathew Esquibel and Jordanne Garcia.
A fight between Josh “Pitbull” Torres (17-6-0, 9 KO’s) and Cristian “El Puma” Cabral (8-1-0, 4 KO’s) has been kicked around since Cabral’s upset win over Donald Sanchez in 2013. To be accurate, most of the talk has come from Cabral and his trainer Ray Zamora. When I asked “El Puma” about his pursuit of the “Pitbull” he responded; “Why not fight the best and Torres is the best. A win over him will open doors for me.” Even Cabral realizes he will be a big underdog if the bout becomes reality, but seems unfazed if it happens. His last win was an impressive unanimous decision victory over Tavorus Teague five months ago at 147 pounds at the Lujan Center in Albuquerque. But compared to the names on Torres’ dance card, the name of Tavorus Teague would appear to be irrelevant.
Torres is coming off his biggest win in three years, stopping Moris Rodriguez by a 6th round TKO at the Route 66 Casino three weeks ago. It was a hard fought win for “Pitbull” as Rodriguez clearly had his moments during a spirited contest. Most knowledgeable fight fans would probably rate Rodriguez a more dangerous opponent than Teague. Torres is excited to be headlining another local card in the “Duke City.” Torres commented “I’m not overlooking an aspiring, young, skilled, hungry, up and coming fighter like Cristian Cabral. You know he’ll be looking to prove something in this contest.”
Clearly Torres has the edge in experience and has gone past six rounds on ten occasions, compared to Cabral’s never having been beyond the six round distance. Cabral has never looked tired in a six rounder, but will he hit the proverbial wall when facing a tough foe like Torres. Like Torres, Cabral can throw punches in bunches and works well to both the head and body. The edge in power and better chin would appear to favor Torres, but Cabral does not have a glass jaw. Both boxers can sell tickets and will probably boast record sales in this contest. Both boxers have a solid fan base, so no advantage for either one regarding crowd support. Torres and Cabral have spouses who support their careers, so that too balances out. It will be interesting to see who grabs the local sparring partners, as in the past both fighters have worked with the same people.
Common opponents: Joe Gomez and Michael Coca Gallegos. In 2010 Torres won a four round unanimous decision over Gomez. I did not see that bout. In 2012 Coca Gallegos fought a six round draw with Cabral. This was a very spirited contest and I felt it was a fair verdict. In 2012 Torres won a split decision over Gomez in a contest which many fans felt should have gone to Gomez. In 2013 Gomez schooled Cabral, stopping him in the fifth round. Cabral entered the ring dealing with personal issues, which didn’t help. But Gomez would have given anyone a difficult time on that evening as he looked sharp.
Both fighters are very comfortable with their trainers; Josh is trained by his father Alfred while Cristian is trained by Ray Zamora. This fight should draw well and will generate a great deal of excitement in the coming months.
At cruiserweight, Mike “Mad” Aldarete (7-7-0, 3 KO’s) will face Max “Mad” Heyman (25-13-0, 14 KO’s) in a rubber match. In 2010 Aldarete won an eight round split decision over Heyman and in a rematch six months later Heyman evened the score with an eighth round TKO. I’ve never seen Aldarete fight but witnessed Heyman score a unanimous decision over Chris Thomas in 2012. In great shape, Heyman gave a polished performance in winning a contest that saw both men hit the canvas. I’ve been told Aldarete likes to brawl, turning his bouts into alley fights. This should be a solid fight as the first two encounters provided fans with plenty of action. I don’t see this match going the distance, as both boxers plan to score an early knockout. At stake is the New Mexico State championship so somebody is going home disappointed.
At featherweight, Jason “Alacransito” Sanchez (12-0-0, 6 KO’s is matched up with Erik Manriquez (6-2-0, 3 KO’s) of Houston, TX. I don’t see this bout going very long because both fighters lay it all on the line. Watching video of Manriquez, he likes to go toe-to-toe, banging to the head or body. Sanchez should like that, as he is very comfortable trading bombs. One caveat for Manriquez, Sanchez throws a mean left jab with bad intentions. The Houston boxer had better be able to bob-n-weave if he hopes to stay in there for very long. This should be a fan friendly bout for as long as it lasts.
Featherweight Aaron “Angel Baby” Perez (1-0-0, 1 KO) was one of the best amateur boxers in the country before turning pro. He does not need the usual buildup, characteristic of most newcomers. In fact feeding him a diet of spoon-fed opponents will hinder his development. As of now he will be facing the ever dangerous TBA.
Welterweight Ronnie “Mongoose” Baca (3-0-1, 2 KO’s) needs an opponent in the opposite corner. At 6’ 1” he is very tall for 147 pounds. He’s giving his trainer Sergio Chavez ulcers for his proclivity of voluntarily giving up his height to fight on the inside. But he’s good at it and is very durable when opponents attack his body. Moreover, he throws sweet combinations and is very poised for someone with so little experience.
Welterweight Cristian “Castigo” Castillo (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) is another young fighter who fights far above his limited experience. He has a beautiful right hand that seems to explode out of nowhere. When it lands, his opponent takes the big sleep. He has a solid defense and is patient waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. As of now he has no opponent, but an APB has been issued to solve the problem
At junior welterweight, Mathew “Papitas” Esquibel (10-0-0, 5 KO’s will face Ben Vasquez (3-4-0, 3 KO’s) of Amarillo, TX. I’ve seen Vasquez in action on four occasions and he throws bombs. In his last fight Esquibel had to climb off the canvas to score an exciting first round knockout in what should be the round of the year. Against a flame thrower like Vasquez, Esquibel does not want to find himself looking up from the floor. When Vasquez puts you down, you stay down. I don’t see this going to a decision, as both young men can hit.
Middleweight Jordanne “OMG” Garcia (2-0-1) is also looking for a live foe. Handling a female boxer is more challenging than working with men, as there are fewer opponents to choose from. She has talent, displaying both a solid offense and a tight defense. She is trained by her father Steve Garcia, who has done a nice job with his daughter so far.
Voices from the Corner: Next weekend the three day State Golden Gloves Tournament will take place in Clovis, NM. Bunny Martinez, Juan Nunez, Henry Anaya Sr. and Anthony Aragon are working hard behind the scene to make this year’s tournament a success. This gives fans a chance to see tomorrows stars, today.