By Austin Killeen (click on photos to enlarge)
Veteran Antonio Martinez and former MMA fighter Donald Sanchez hope to advance their careers this weekend at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel in Albuquerque. Both boxers have shown they can bang with both hands to the delight of sports fans. This is the target audience who buy tickets and promoter Pat Holmes knows how to attract to his shows. In addition, the under-card is loaded with prospects who have loyal fan bases. Lorenzo Benavidez, Bryant McClain, Santiago Giron, and Jordanne Garcia all have shown the ability to fill seats with their fan base. As a result, don’t be surprised to see another sellout by Holmes Promotions with most of the above-mentioned boxers adding to their win count.
In the main event scheduled for eight rounds, 147 lbs. Antonio Martinez (10-5-4, 6 KO’s) Espanola, NM vs Miguel Gallegos (5-1-1, 1 KO) Denver, CO. Martinez didn’t exactly explode onto the fight scene, winning only once in his first six bouts. But that all changed when he joined forces with Pat Holmes. Not only did Holmes turn his career around but made him a cash cow at the box office. But with success comes better opposition. Friday night Colorado import Miguel Gallegos should give Martinez all he can handle. Gallegos lacks the punching power of Martinez but is clearly the better boxer. He won’t stand in front of his rival, instead will use footwork and quick hands to confuse Martinez. Martinez is not facing a dead body and will have to be at his best if he hopes to advance his career.
In the semi-final scheduled for six rounds, Donald Sanchez (4-2-0, 3 KO’s) Albuquerque will face Derek Perez (2-12-1, 1 KO) Belen, NM. This match up should feature plenty of fireworks as both fighters like to start fast and go home early. Sanchez use to use boxing to fill open dates between MMA matches but now is dedicating his career solely to the square circle. One thing he has always been able to do is punch and Friday figures to be no different. He has shown the ability to switch his attack from the body to head and back to the body again. For this contest, he has spent much of his sparring with top welterweight Josh “Pitbull” Torres and looks to be in excellent shape. Don’t be fooled by the record of Perez as he has shown great improvement in his last half dozen bouts. He has an unorthodox style that has surprised some top opposition, so don’t be flabbergasted is he does the same to Sanchez.
The remaining bouts are scheduled for four rounds.
In the fourth bout of the evening, undefeated Jordanne Garcia (4-0-1) will face Sonya Dreiling (1-0-0, 1KO) of Atlanta, GA. Garcia uses timing to beat speed and has a battering ram for a left jab. I’m amazed she has no stoppages on her record as she puts all her opponents on the defensive. Her biggest problem is finding opposition, as no one seems to want to fight her. Don’t be fooled by Dreiling only having one pro bout. She had 67 amateur bouts and clearly knows her way around the ring. This should be a good fight with bout girls being tested. You want to get better you have to face live opposition and both girls will be doing that tonight.
In the third bout of the evening in a battle of brawlers, Lorenzo Benavidez (3-1-0, 1 KO) of Albuquerque will face Bryant McClain (5-1-2, 1 KO). There is a great deal of interest in this hook-up which many fans believe will be the fight of the night. A year ago, this bout would have been considered a joke with McClain the easy winner. Not anymore as Benavidez has dropped nearly 75 pounds since turning pro. At five feet two inches, he is deadly when trapping his opponents on the ropes. In his last bout, he showed some serious punching power in knocking out his much bigger opponent. McClain likes to brawl but will need a good left jab if he hopes to keep his opponent in the middle of the ring. McClain has faced some big punches in his career and has shown amazing durability. You don’t want to be caught standing in line for a hot dog when the bell rings to start this contest.
In the evening’s second bout Maurice Jackson (2-0-0, 2 KO’s) of Chicago, IL by way of Albuquerque, NM will face debuting Sadiah Parker of Albuquerque. I’ve seen both of Jackson’s pro bouts, he is a big-time body puncher who sucks the oxygen out of the ring. What makes him more dangerous, he also posses solid defensive skills. In his last bout, his opponent attacked with bad intentions but couldn’t penetrate Jackson’s defense. In that fight Jackson was patient, not forcing his attack. I have never seen Parker in action, but he looked lean and mean at the scales.
In the evening’s first bout hot prospect Santiago Giron (1-0-0, 1 KO) Albuquerque will face debuting Santiago Amarro also of the “Duke City.” Giron is a veteran of over 100 amateur bouts who displays skills both as a boxer and puncher. In his debut, he displayed excellent use of distance to land a brutal left jab seconds into the fight. He quickly followed up his advantage with overhand rights and left hooks to ends the contest in the opening round. It’s foolish to call a boxer a can’t miss prospect after just one fight, but he was that impressive. I know nothing about Amarro, but a win on Friday and people will be calling him the next can’t miss prospect.