By Austin Killeen Photos by Lori Garcia
This was the first time that Legacy Promotions held a fight card at Buffalo Thunder, and it was a beauty. Hot prospects Aaron Angel Perez and Isaac Luna faced stiff challenges and passed with flying colors. Local boxers Joaquin Zamora and Joe Martinez were in the co-feature bouts and they gave the fans what they wanted. Highly touted Amy Salinas got a stiff test in tough Samantha Salazar. While Clinton Chavez and Jesus Xavier Perardua turned in impressive showings to advance their careers. Overall this seven-bout card earned an ‘A’ for entertainment and matchmaking.
In the main event of the evening, scheduled for 6 rounds, middleweight Joaquin Zamora (22-4-2, 12 KO) 164 lbs., of Santa Fe, NM fought to a draw against Josue Obando (17-26-2, 12 KO’s) 171.5 lbs., of Guadalajara, Mexico. Zamora got off to a good start in the opening round with his southpaw style and looked to have an easy assignment. That all changed in the next round when the much taller Obando sent the local hero a message; you’re in a fight. In the third round, Zamora scored often with overhand lefts and combined this with good head movement and easily carried the round. I gave the fourth round to Zamora, but this was close as Obando clearly controlled the first minute with solid blows to his opponent’s head. Obando had a big fifth round controlling the action from distance with his much longer reach. The final round Obando dominated the first minute, but Zamora stormed back with many left hands to the head during the remainder of the fight. Judges Teresa Ortega, Steve Sandoval, and Roger Woods had identical scores of 57-57 resulting in a unanimous draw. I though Zamora had the edge, but a draw was not outrageous.
In the semi-final scheduled for 6 rounds, middleweight Joseph Martinez (23-8-1, 11 KO’s) 164.8 lbs., of Aztec, NM KO’d Arturo Crespin (13-9-1, 4 KO’s) 168.8 lbs., of Las Vegas, NM. This was a contest of contrasting styles between the boxer Martinez and the brawler Crespin. The opening round was all Crespin behind his aggressive assault to the head and body of Martinez. Martinez spent most of the round on defense, finding it difficult to land many clean punches. In the second Martinez turned things around, scoring with 1-2’s from long range. This round featured some nice exchanges by both fighters. In the third round, both boxers were throwing bombs from all angles, including some nice take down by Crespin. The fourth was a continuation of the third until Martinez’s overhand right beat the overhand right of Crespin, resulting in a spectacular knockout for the Aztec boxer at 2:51 of the round. Obviously, Crespin is a talented fighter. In my opinion, if he fought at 147-154 pounds he would be a force to be dealt with.
In the fifth bout scheduled for 6 rounds, super flyweight Amy Salinas (3-0-0) 115 lbs., of Las Cruces, NM won by UD over Samantha Salazar (6-6-2) 115.3 lbs., of Houston, TX. There is a great deal of excitement surrounding the fighter from Las Cruces, but she ran into a spoiler in Salazar on this night. In the first two rounds Salazar keep the fight in the middle of the ring, not allowing Salinas to cut off the ring. She used a strong left jab and was able to follow it up with overhand rights. Unfortunately, Salinas’s lack of head movement made her an easy target for Salazar’s counters.
Sensing the fight was slipping away, Salinas started forcing her opponent to the ropes where she had a stationary target. But Salazar was having none of it, trying to stay in mid-ring where she could score with her stiff left jab. In the fourth, the pressure of Salinas started paying off and Salazar started to show signs of fatigue. The final two rounds Salinas was clearly in control and I gave both rounds to her. On the television broadcast I had Salazar winning the fight but watching the replay at home felt it was a draw. But it’s the judge’s scorecards that count, and Ortega, Sandoval, and Woods all had Salinas winning by identical scores of 58-56 for the winner by unanimous decision Amy Salinas.
In the fourth bout scheduled for 6 rounds, featherweight Aaron Angel Perez (8-0-0, 5 KO’s) 126.8 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM won by UD over Danny Flores (15-17-1, 8 KO’s) 128 lbs., of Mexico City, Mexico. This would prove to be the toughest bout of Perez’s pro career. At the opening bell, Perez stormed out of his corner looking for a quick knockout. There was little Flores could do but cover-up. Perez was throwing bombs, some of which tested the concrete chin of Flores. The second round was a replay of the first, but Flores was still standing at the end of the round.
Apparently, somebody told Flores now it was his turn because he came storming out of his corner at the start of the third with bad intentions. Flames were coming off his gloves and Perez could do little more than cover up, behind a solid defense. I thought the fourth was a repeat of the third although Perez had his moments. I was impressed with the left jabs that the Mexican import was throwing in addition to his left hooks. Perez proved he was the real deal in the final two rounds working behind a strong left jab of his own which made it difficult for Flores to get on the inside. But Flores had his moments in both rounds, making this a terrific fight. Judges Ortega and Sandoval both had the contest 59-55, while judge Woods had it a shutout 60-54 all in favor of Aaron Perez by unanimous decision.
In the third bout, welterweight Isaac Luna (5-1-0, 1 KO) 147.6 lbs., of San Elizario, TX won by TKO over Matthew Esquibel (12-1-1, 5 KO’s) 146.2 lbs., of Albuquerque, NM. I was not able to see the replay of this bout and must rely on my memory of my ringside commentary. The undefeated Esquibel made the mistake of fighting on the inside against his shorter opponent. Prior to this contest, Luna had not displayed much firepower so this strategy didn’t appear to be much of a mistake. It didn’t take long for Luna to capitalize on the inviting jaw of Esquibel, scoring two solid knockdowns in the opening round. Only the bell saved the “Duke City” boxer from further punishment. In round two it didn’t take Luna long to follow up on his advantage, dropping Esquibel for the third time. Referee Ray Chavez had no option but to save Esquibel from further punishment. This was a career-defining win for Luna. Esquibel made the cardinal sin of carrying his left hand too low, thus allowing his opponent to capitalize on it with devastating effect. However, this mistake is easily correctable.
The remaining bouts are scheduled for 4 rounds
In the second bout, Junior middleweight Clinton “Native Kid” Chavez (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) 151.6 lbs., won by TKO over Eloy Valverde (0-2-0) 159.2 lbs., of Amarillo, TX. This was a competitive bout, but Chavez just had too much firepower for the scrappy Valverde. The much taller Chavez used his height and reach to control all three rounds behind some blistering punches. Just when it appeared Valverde was done; he would answer with some powerful overhand rights. I was also impressed with the strong left jabs the shorter Valverde was landing. But the power of Chavez finally paid off when a combination of lefts and rights forced referee Tony Zano to call a halt to the proceedings at 2:56 of the third round. Chavez is a prospect and Valverde showed plenty of potential.
In the opening bout, featherweight Jesus Xavier Perardua (8-6-0, 1 KO) 126.6 lbs., won by UD over Jazzma Hogue (3-10-1) 132.1 lbs., of Fruitland, NM. This was a solid contest between two boxers who have fought on the wrong side of fight posters most of their careers. Their career records don’t do them justice, they both can fight. Both fighters were coming off long layoffs and it showed in the first round. Perardua controlled the action off his long-left jab, while Hogue displayed a nice defense but couldn’t get rolling on offense. Round two had some good action by both, Perardua at long range and Hogue on the inside. In the final two rounds Perardua was able to create angles off his jab and had some nice moves slipping punches with his head. In both rounds, Hogue scored when he was able to get inside, but not enough to capture either round. This was a good win for Perardua, coming off medical problems while Hogue remains a dangerous opponent for any unsuspecting adversary. Judges Teresa Ortega, Steve Sandoval, and Roger Woods had identical scores of 59-57 resulting in a unanimous decision for Perardua.