By Austin Killeen Photos by Octavio Vera
On paper, Saturday’s six-bout fight card at the Tingley Coliseum looked to be ok. The Perez brothers have put on some exciting shows in the past, would this be able to live up to the fans expectations. By evenings end it might have surpassed them. In the main event Josh “Pitbull” Torres was expected to make Tucson import Alfonso Olvera his sixth KO victim. Matthew “Diamond Boy” Griego appeared to be in with a safe opponent in Mexico’s Leonardo Torres. While Jose Luis “El Guero” Sanchez figured to increase his win streak to eight in a row at the expense of Jose Pena. Unfortunately, nobody bothered to show their respective opponents the memo, resulting in a memorial evening for those in attendance. The show was televised live and Adam Diehl and I called the fight from ringside. On Sunday I watched the fights again, so I might write my impressions for my blog killeenskorner.com. Watching fights live and then a second time on video can often result in a different viewpoint.
In the main event of the evening, scheduled for 10 rounds, welterweight Josh “Pitbull” Torres (21-6-2, 12 KO’s) 146.4 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM won a SD over Alfonso Olvera (11-6-3, 4 KO’s) 146 lbs., of Tucson, AZ. Torres was working on a five-bout win streak, all by stoppage and hoping to make it six in a row. On the broadcast, I had Torres taking the opening round the result of his heavier punches. On replay, Olvera might not have had Torres’ power but he landed many more punches than I had given him credit for. This was a closer round than I thought. I had Olvera taking the second round behind his excellent left jab. He was keeping the fight in mid-ring where he was exploiting his longer reach.
Torres opened the third with a powerful overhand right, clearly, he was displaying the heavier hands. Olvera responded with his jab which created openings for his other punches. This was a difficult round to score and Olvera was proving to be a live opponent. The Arizona import had a big fourth round, with his jab creating openings for his overhand rights and left hooks. Torres was fighting from an upright position which made it easier for his taller opponent. If Torres had employed a bob-n-weave style it would have made Olvera’s task far more difficult. By the end of the round, Torres had a bloody nose, which would continue to bleed throughout the fight. Torres scored with some powerful combinations in the fifth round but failed to cut off the ring which would have made him more effective. This allowed Olvera to seemingly answer every assault with multiply punches of his own. On the broadcast, I stated if the round had been scored for Torres the fight was even up to this point with two rounds each and one even.
Olvera opened round six behind his annoying left and good lateral movement. Torres answered with another of his powerful combinations, involving four or five well-placed punches. Olvera responded with lefts and rights to the head of Torres in what looked to be the best round of the fight. That’s when the video stopped playing. I stated on the broadcast that Olvera had won the contest. In fairness to Torres, the last four and a half rounds of the contest cannot be viewed. As a result, I can’t back up my claims of an Olvera victory. I also can’t tell the readers the official scoring of the contest, other than Torres was awarded a split decision. It was a very entertaining bout.
The following bouts were scheduled for 6 rounds.
In the semi-final, welterweight Matthew “Diamond Boy” Griego (10-0-0, 8 KO’s) 114.6 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM won by SD over Leonardo Torres (4-13-1, 1 KO’s) 116.8 lbs., of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Because of Griego’s long layoff I felt Torres would prove to be a safe opponent. In the opening round, Griego was content to lie on the ropes and flick left jabs and overhand rights. Torres was very aggressive throwing many more punches, mostly to the body of Griego. Although Torres missed with many of his punches, he was the busier of the two fighters. At the end of the round, I give it to Torres because he was the one making the fight. The second round was a repeat of the first and I gave the round to Torres. In the third stanza Griego finally started scoring with clean punches; the result of good lateral movement. It appeared Griego had wanted to go a few rounds before going for the knockout.
In the fourth round, Griego went back to lying on the ropes and blocking punches. Torres was throwing wild punches, but some were scoring. In the fifth round, Griego landed the cleaner punches, while avoiding most of Torres’ wild swings. What Griego was lacking was any urgency that he might be giving away the fight. In the final round, Griego reverted back to his style of rounds one, two and four. As in the previous five rounds, Torres continued to attack. Viewing the replay did nothing to change my view of the fight during the broadcast; that Torres had won four rounds. Clearly, Griego had better skills, but he failed to capitalize on them. The scorecards were 60-54 in favor of Torres by Judge Joey Perez. He was overruled by judges Ray Chavez and Esther Lopez who scored the bout 58-56 for Griego.
In the fourth bout, junior middleweight Jose Luis Sanchez (10-1-0, 4 KO’s) 152.2 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM won by MD over Jose “Raging Bull” Pena (3-1-0, 1 KO) 151.4 lbs., of Tucson, AZ. Sanchez scored with a left hook early in the opening round and a nice combination during the first minute. In the middle of the round, Pena came to life and started pressing the attack. Suddenly Sanchez had a bad cut over his left eye, which would bleed until the bell. There were some nice exchanges by both boxers and the fans were enjoying it. Sanchez scored with a nice combination including left uppercuts near the bell. Juan Moreno the cut man in Sanchez’s corner did a nice job of patching up the cut and it held up the entire fight. I wasn’t familiar with Moreno but he might have saved his fighter from a TKO lose.
Sanchez started the second round off scoring with left jabs, straight rights, and left hooks. Pena bulled his way inside where he landed some heavy shots of his own. But Sanchez’s change in style resulted in a good round for him. Pena had a good round three behind overhand rights and solid combinations. Additionally, he started ducking under Sanchez’s left hooks and scoring to the body. In the fourth, Pena continued to duck under the punches of Sanchez, but was now working his way inside behind a left jab. Suddenly the fight was becoming more tactical, but both fighters were still throwing bombs.
Sanchez regained the momentum in the fifth round behind his jab and lateral movement. Suddenly he was landing double left hooks off angles before Pena could adjust. Pena continued to score overhand rights to the head but lacked the activity of Sanchez. Pena had a strong sixth round by coming in low and scoring with hooks to the body. Sanchez wasn’t sleeping, scoring off his left jab. During the telecast I had Sanchez winning a close decision, but watching the reply I had given three rounds to each boxer in a contest that featured a little of everything. The scorecards had Stan Saavedra scoring the bout 58-56 for Sanchez, Esther Lopez 57-57 a draw and Chris Tellez 59-55 for the winner by majority decision Jose Luis Sanchez.
The remaining bouts were scheduled for 4 rounds
In the third bout, Gabriel Gabaldon (1-0-0) 144.8 lbs., won by UD over Anthony Hill (1-26-0), 145 lbs., of Phoenix, AZ. Only the last two rounds were shown, so I had to rely on my memory. In spite of his record, I felt Hill would prove to be too much for the inexperienced Gabaldon. When I saw Gabaldon’s debut in 2013 he was a featherweight. Now he is a solidly built welterweight with a good skill set. From the opening bell, he surprised me with his infighting, scoring with solid shots to the body. Hill is a cutie with a big bag of tricks, but Gabaldon was not fazed by them. New Mexico boxing has a new 147 pounder to add to an already deep division. When ring announcer Mike Adams read the scorecards the sound cut out but all three cards were 40-36 for Gabaldon.
There was no replay of the opening two bouts, so I’ll have to rely on my memory, always a dangerous thing.
In the second bout of the evening, welterweight Bridgette Baca (2-2-0) 133.4 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM won by SD over Katie Ramirez (0-3-1), 137.2 lbs., of Bosque Farms, NM. Both these girls have spent much of their careers as the opponent, a difficult situation at best. On this evening the playing field was level giving both girls a chance at victory. It was a hard-fought battle with all four rounds contested. Baca was able to get her record to 2 and 2 the result of a split decision victory. This would make for a nice rematch, as you could make a strong case that either girl could have won.
In the opening bout Lorenzo Benavidez (3-1-0, 1 KO) 173.8 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM won by TKO over debuting Randy Ramirez, 182.6 lbs. Albuquerque, NM. There was some doubt that this contest would even take place, as Ramirez was way over the contracted weight. Benavidez’s camp asked that the bout be allowed to take place and the commission agreed. In the first two rounds Ramirez used his size to make it a difficult assignment for Benavidez. But in the third round, the five foot two inch Benavidez finally broke through the defense of Ramirez to score with a right to the head, left hook to the body dropping his rival. Ramirez beat the count but was in no condition to continue. Benavidez has dropped over fifty pounds since turning pro and hopes to come in under 170 pounds for his next fight.