Austin Killeen ringside Photos by Octavio Vera (click on photos to enlarge)
Pat Holmes’ six-bout boxing card was a success at the Marriott Pyramid in Albuquerque on Friday night with some highly competitive matches. Antonio Martinez looked like he discovered the fountain of youth, with a dominating win in the main event. Donald Sanchez solved the puzzle called Derek Perez in winning a hard-fought decision. Rome, Georgia import Sonya Dreiling upset Jordanne Garcia in a battle of unbeatens. Lorenzo Benavidez and Bryant McClain battled to a draw in a thriller. Maurice Jackson lost his ‘0’ in an upset to cage fighter Sadiah Parker. In the opening bout of the evening, Santiago Amarro stopped Santi Giron in a shocker. Although I did not see any attendance numbers, the venue appeared to be nearly full.
In the main event scheduled for 6 rounds, Antonio Martinez 11-5-5, 6 KO’s) 139.4 lbs., of Espanola, NM won by UD over Miguel Gallegos (5-2-1, 1 KO) 138.2 lbs., of Durango, CO. The muscular Gallegos used speed and lateral movement to control the opening round until he was dropped by an overhand right to the chin. From that point until the final bell it was all Martinez. I never thought I would be using adjectives like feinting, lateral movement, jabs, and ring generalship to describe Martinez in a boxing ring, but nothing less would not do him justice. He would dangle his left by his side, much like a fishing lure, to distract Gallegos and then score with a right. He would drop both hands to his sides and slip his rival’s punches. It was a clinic for six rounds and Martinez was the teacher. For his last few fights, he has been sparring with Fidel Maldonado Jr., and now he was fighting like him. I’ve never seen Martinez perform better than he did in this contest, he was the complete package. Judges Anthony Romero and Juan Nunez had identical scores of 60-53, while Joel Perez scored the bout 58-55 all for Martinez
The remaining bouts were scheduled for four rounds.
In the co-feature, Donald Sanchez (5-2-0, 3 KO’s) 153.4 lbs., of Albuquerque won by UD over Derek Perez (2-13-1, 1 KO) 155 lbs., of Belen, NM. Sanchez is no longer competing in MMA competitions, dedicating himself totally to boxing. Sitting down on his punches he has been displaying some devastating body punching. But Perez is much better than his record would indicate, and he soon had his rival out of his comfort zone. A southpaw, Perez was making it difficult for Sanchez to score effectively. Sanchez was having difficulty breaking down his opponent, but a good fighter knows how to adjust. For Sanchez this required scoring with right-hand leads to the head. It wasn’t pretty but it was an effective approach against Perez. This was a hard-fought contest and Sanchez is ready for bigger challenges. Derek Perez along with his brother Gene are both well-conditioned fighters but need a full-time trainer if they hope to reach their full potential. Judges Anthony Romero, Joel Perez and, Juan Nunez had identical scores of 40-36 for the winner Donald Sanchez
In the fourth bout of the evening, Sonya Dreiling (2-0-0, 1 KO) 160 lbs., of Rome, GA won by UD over Jordanne Garcia (4-1-1) 165.2 lbs., of Albuquerque. Styles make fights and this fight was ugly because both girls had have the same style. They both have exceptional power to spare and were very each others aggressive. This resulted in numerous collisions at mid-ring, with both girls smothering each other’s attacks. Whoever threw the first punch would usually score and then Referee Rocky Burke would have to pry them apart. The rounds were close but Dreiling seemed to have the advantage by the narrowest of margins. In each of Garcia’s previous fight’s she seemed to be dropping down towards the welterweight division. As a result, I was surprised by her weight in this contest, simply put she was slow. She needs to fight at junior middleweight or welterweight where she would be faster without losing her power. In talking to Dreiling after the contest, she was pleased by the reaction of fans towards her and would love to return to Albuquerque. Judge Anthony Romero scored the contest 39-37, while Joel Perez had it 40-36 both for Dreiling. Juan Nunez saw the contest 38-38 a drew, making Dreiling a winner by majority decision.
In the third bout of the evening, Lorenzo Benavidez (3-1-1, 1 KO) 165.4 lbs., of Albuquerque fought to a draw with Bryant McClain (5-1-3, 1 KO) 166 lbs., of Rio Rancho, NM. There was great anticipation for this contest and the fight lived up to hype. The five foot two Benavidez controlled the opening two rounds on the inside, scoring to the head and body. McClain’s only answer was to clinch. He looked like a shot fighter entering the third round. Suddenly, he started scoring with uppercuts on the inside and jabs at a distance. Now it was Benavidez who had no answer except to cover-up. The fourth round was a repeat of the third and the draw verdict was well received by the fans, who loved the fight. This would make for a great rematch, hopefully at six rounds. In an evening of good bouts this would be my choice for the fight of the night. Anthony Romero scored the contest 38-38 a draw, Joel Perez saw it 39-37 for Benavidez, while Juan Nunez turned in a score of 39-37 for McClain.
In the second bout of the evening, Sadiah Parker (1-0-0) 176.2 lbs., of Albuquerque won by MD over Maurice Jackson (2-1-0, 2 KO’s) 177.2 lbs., of Chicago, IL by way of Albuquerque, NM. This was a surprise as Jackson had shown astonishing power in his first two contests. But the debuting Parker showed amazing maturity against such a dangerous foe. A southpaw, Jackson was able to land his first punch but never his follow up blow. As a result he never seemed able to score with 1-2’s. This was a result of Parker’s stiff left jabs and lateral movement. Usually it’s difficult to jab effectively against a southpaw, but Parker was having no problem doing so. Each round was very close but Parker was constantly turning his opponent, thus reducing his effectiveness. I would have been ok with a draw but had no problem with Parker’s hand being raised in victory. Judge Anthony Romero saw the contest 38-38 a draw but was overruled by Juan Nunez and Joel Perez who both had the contest 39-37 for Parker.
In the evening’s opening bout, Santiago Amarro (1-0-0, 1 KO) 118 lbs., won by TKO over Santiago Giron (1-1-0, 1 KO) 115.2 lbs. Both boxers are from Albuquerque. Prior to the fight trainers Fidel Maldonado Sr., and Manny Anaya both told me that Amarro was the real thing but I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t just a lot of hype to build the confidence of their fighter. After all Giron was a highly decorated amateur who was spectacular in his debut fight. Giron took the opening round behind jabs, hooks, and overhand rights. But Amarro was scoring with power shots to the head of his rival and they appeared to hurt. The opening thirty seconds of the second round were much like the opening round when Giron got trapped on the ropes right above me and was dropped by a barrage of punches. Rising on unsteady legs Giron was driven across the ring and dropped for a second time. Referee Ray Chavez wisely halted the contest to save Giron from further punishment at 1:55 seconds of the round.