By Austin Killeen Ringside Photos by Alicia Garcia & Brandon Pina
Vado Speedway Park played host to the 1st Annual Johnny Tapia Boxing Invitational promoted by Teresa Tapia. It was a three-day event with weigh-ins and a celebrity meet & greet on Friday, amateur bouts on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and a pro card on Saturday night. The pro card featured Abel Mendoza and Zach Prieto co-feature bouts. Both Mendoza and Prieto were undefeated, with bigger offerings on the horizon if they remained undefeated. The six-bout card had some solid match-ups, unfortunately, moisture on the ring surface made it a difficult evening for the boxers, referees and, spectators. With each bout, the moisture problem seemed to get worse. It made it difficult to fully appreciate the skills of the participants due to the moisture problem on the ring surface. I attended my first fight card in 1956 and have never witnessed conditions this bad. I’m not blaming the promotion for the poor conditions, as I don’t see how anyone could have foreseen the slippery condition of the ring surface.
The final three bouts were scheduled for six rounds.
In the main event of the evening, scheduled for 6 rounds, junior lightweight Abel Mendoza (20-0-0, 15 KO’s) 129.8 lbs., of El Paso, TX won by TKO over Gustavo Molina (24-20-0, 9 KO’s) 129.8 lbs., of Tlaxcala, Mexico. In the opening round, Molina was dropped by a left hook to the head. Other than that, the round was competitive. In the second round, Molina was able to stay out of trouble while trying to land some power shots of his own. By the third round both boxers and tasted the canvas as a result of the slippery surface. Both on offense and defense the boxers were having difficulty maintain their footing. In the fourth round, Mendoza landed a five-punch combination to once again drop Molina. In the fifth round a left hook to the chin dropped Molina in his own corner causing referee Rocky Burke to stop the contest.
In the co-feature middleweight Zach Prieto (9-0-0, 7 KO’s) 158.8 lbs., of El Paso, TX won by KO over Ernesto Berrospe (11-14-0, 6 KO’s) 158.8 lbs., of Guadalajara, Mexico. Prieto wasted little time warming up, scoring two knockdowns the result of a right hand to the head for the first knockdown and a left hook also the head for the knockout at 1:35 seconds of the opening round. Although it’s difficult to judge a fighter on less than one round of boxing, Prieto appears to be a boxer/puncher with quick hands and a powerful build. As a result of his fine showing on Saturday night, Prieto is scheduled for an eight-rounder on Showtime in November. A win there and Mr. Prieto could open the gates to a rewarding financial future in the coming years.
In the fourth bout of the evening featherweight Juan Carlos Guillen (8-6-1, 3 KO’s) 125.6 lbs., of Las Cruces, NM won by MD over Alejandro Moreno (20-41-3, 11 KO’s) 125.8 lbs., of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This was an interesting contest between slick boxers with more moves than a revolving door. Unfortunately, their slick moves resulted in both boxers taking many trips to the canvas due to the slippery ring surface. Guillen used a nice left jab throughout the fight to take Moreno out of his comfort zone. As a result, Guillen was the aggressor much of the contest. Moreno would respond by slipping many of Guillen’s jabs and firing combinations to the surprise of his rival. As a result, many of the rounds were close, making it difficult to score. Judge Esther Lopez had the contest 57-57 a draw but was overruled by Anthony Romero and Chris Tellez who had identical scores of 58-56 in favor of Guillen.
The remaining bouts were scheduled for four rounds.
In the third bout of the evening welterweight Savion Kent (2-0-0, 1 KO) 145.4 lbs., of Las Cruces, NM won by UD over Javier Nunez (1-5-0, 1 KO) 147.0 lbs., of Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. Kent had fast hands, was a good judge of distance and hand excellent spin moves to get off the ropes. As a result, there was little question regarding the outcome of the fight. Nunez was game but could not deal with the speed of his opponent. In the fourth-round referee, Stan Saavedra took a point from Nunez for excessive holding. All three judges Romero, Lopez and, Tellez had identical scores of 40-36 in favor of Kent to the surprise of no one. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but Kent appears to be a ligament prospect.
In the second bout of the evening lightweight Henry Arredondo (7-0-0, 4 KO’s) 132.4 lbs., of San Antonio, TX won by KO over Gene Perez (2-16-1) 135.6 lbs., of Belen, NM. Perez opened the contest in an aggressive manner behind his southpaw stance. This seemed to confuse Arredondo for a while, causing him to be defensive. But once he figured Perez out, he unloaded a brutal right hand to the head to drop Perez for the count. The time of the knockout was 2:20 of the opening round. Arredondo looks to be the complete package and should be facing better competition.
In the opening bout of the evening junior middleweight Dwayne Bounds (5-3-1, 2 KO’s) 148.4 lbs., of El Paso, TX won by UD over Warren Stewart (0-11-0) 152.2 lbs., of Austin, TX. This was an entertaining contest but there was little doubt regarding the outcome. The opening round was close, but Bounds was landing the harder punches. In the second round, Stewart tasted the canvas twice but didn’t seem to be in real danger. The third round Stewart had his moments, but Bounds was in control. The final round was all Bounds. The scores were not given but announced as a unanimous decision.