By Austin Killeen
On October 13, 2017, Fidel Maldonado was given the last rites at the conclusion of his nationally televised fight against Ismael Barroso. Returning to the “Duke City” the “Atrisco Kid” remained motionless for the next fifteen months. In January of this year, he launched his comeback, winning in less than spectacular style against Luis Gerardo Avila. After the bout, ringsiders had to be awaken so they wouldn’t be injured when the ring was taken down. On April 6th Johnny Rodriguez came to town, disguised as a buzzard, to feast on the remains of the once-promising Maldonado. Rodriguez lived up to his pre-fight hype, displaying flashing fist and a radar defense. Unfortunately for the out of town fighter, the carcass of Maldonado drank from a bottle of a magic potion. Rodriguez was fast, but Maldonado was faster. Rodriguez had radar defense, but Maldonado was able to penetrate it. Fans were watching the old (new?) Maldonado and he was better than ever. On Saturday night the question on everybody’s mind is which Maldonado will climb through the ropes for the main event.
In the main event of the evening scheduled for eight rounds, Fidel “Atrisco” Kid” Maldonado (26-4-1, 19 KO’s) 134.6 lbs., of Albuquerque Faces Juan Santiago (16-16-2, 9 KO’s) 134.2 lbs., of Denver, CO. On paper this looks like an easy win for Maldonado. He had a unanimous decision win over Johnny Rodriguez and Rodriguez has two wins over Juan Santiago. But boxing history tells us that it doesn’t always turn out that way. Example: Jerry Quarry KO’d Earnie Shavers in one round. Earnie Shavers KO’d Ken Norton in one round. When Quarry faced Norton, logic tells us Quarry would win easy. Norton scored a one-sided stoppage of Quarry in five rounds.
In Santiago’s last fight he won a decision over Robert Rodriguez, the same Rodriguez who holds a win over Maldonado in the amateurs. Santiago also fought talented Jose Salinas to a draw in a huge surprise. If Maldonado is looking past Santiago it could prove to be a big mistake, as his opponent comes to fight and has proven in the past that he can pull off a big surprise of his own.
The remainder of the bouts are all scheduled for four rounds
Leanna Martinez (4-1-0, 2 KO’s) 108.2 lbs. of Espanola, NM faces Lorraine Villalobas, (3-2-0, 1 KO) 134.2 lbs., of Los Angeles, CA. Martinez was involved in one of the best fights that I saw this year; losing a very competitive match against undefeated Amy Salinas. Looking at Villalobas’ record shows a boxer who has been put in tough and has been able to compile a winning record. This could be the fight of the night, as both ladies have walked on hot coals and come out a winner.
Donald Sanchez (3-2-0, 2 KO’s) 159.2 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM faces Isaac Sifuentez (0-3-0) 161.6 lbs., of Texas. Sanchez has spent most of his combat experience in the cage, but unlike most cage fighters takes his punch into the boxing ring. Most cage fighters have trouble sitting down on their punches in a boxing ring, but Sanchez has always been able to make that adjustment successfully. Sanchez plans to compete full time in the boxing from now on. Sifuentez will be looking for his first win as a pro tonight, a difficult assignment against the heavy-handed Sanchez.
In a battle of debuting fighters Santiago Giron 113.8 lbs., faces Jose Villapando 116.8 lbs. Both fighters are from Albuquerque, so bragging rights to the “Duke City will also be a stake. I do not know Villapando’s background, but Giron is a highly decorated amateur an expected to have a bright future in the pro ranks.
Daniel Chavez Flores (1-4-0) 180.6 lbs., Albuquerque, NM faces debuting Joel Terrazas 179.6 lbs., of Alamogordo, NM. Flores has proven to be a durable fighter in the past but doesn’t throw enough punches which has cost him some close decisions. He lost a split decision to Andre Galarza on October 20, 2018, at the Hispanic Culture Center in Albuquerque which was incorrectly listed as Daniel Garcia Flores in BoxRec. I do not know Terrazas’ amateur background.