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List of Articles by Don Smith



Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Benavidez Dedicates Fight, Iron Boy 41 & Much More

By Don Smith
PhilBoxing.com
06 Sep 2017



Boxing Fans, Phoenix native son David Benavidez (18-0-17 knockouts) is dedicating his WBC Super Middleweight Title bout on Friday 9/8 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to the memory of his beloved uncle, 33 year old Moises Balladares who was fatally shot on Tuesday, July 25 by Avondale Arizona Police at his home in Avondale after a bizarre confrontation.

The shooting and death of Mr. Balladares remains under investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. ABNN has contacted ADPS for an update and will report any response from the agency.

According to a spokesperson for Team Benavidez, the 20 year old boxer will commemorate the passing of his Uncle by wearing an inscription on his trunks that reads: “Moises-RIP” in his12 round title bout with Romanian Ronald Gavril (18-1-14 knockouts).

The winner of the ShowTime televised event will succeed former super middleweight champ Badou Jack who vacated the crown to successfully challenge and defeat Nathan Cleverly and win the WBA World Light Heavyweight title on August 26th at T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada.

According to published reports, Avondale Police arrived at the residence of Mr. Balladares and his Fiancée, at 8:11 p.m. on Tuesday July 25 in reference to a suicide threat. The threat was attributed to Balladares, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan and suffered from Post Traumatic Syndrome Disease, as a result of his war experience, according to neighbors who knew the veteran, a new resident in the neighborhood.

After their arrival, Police negotiated with the depressed veteran who possessed a firearm, according to Officer Ray Emmett, an Avondale Police spokesperson.

One eyewitness reported that Mr. Balladares was screaming at police that the VA Hospital didn’t care about him and his fiancée didn’t care about him either. He then raised a gun, according to a witness, prompting police to fire an estimated 5-6 round at the troubled veteran. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died as a result of gunshot wound(s).

It is unknown whether or not he was on medication or if he attempted to call the VA Suicide Hotline for help before the police arrived on the scene.

We would like to extend our condolences to David and other members of the Balladares family. War is hell and as a nation we must do all we can to treat the trauma effects suffered by war veterans and their family members; may the soul of Moises rest in peace.

Iron Boy 41: ABNN would like to congratulate Iron Boy Promotions for overcoming several boxing hiccups and presenting a solid Iron Boy 41 card at the Celebrity Theatre on September 2. The hiccups included two lost bouts within 48 hours of 1st bell and a terse battle between one fight manager who told the Arizona Boxing Commission at the weigh-in, he wouldn’t ask his boxer to lose 3 pounds to meet the contracted weight agreement because the his guy had already lost 10-12 pounds to fight in a lighter division than he normally fights in.

After a heated and terse discussion, cooler heads prevailed and Edson Noria (2-1) agreed to box Adrian “Sharkey” Servin. Noria lost a hard fought unanimous decision to the popular Servin who upped his record to 4-0-2 knockouts in a four round contest. Noria was a very sad young man after the decision was rendered and he thought the scores (40-36 x 3) were unfair but Servin threw more punches and landed harder shots; so he deserved the victory. Servin expects to be on the Iron Boy 42 card, October 14. His fight became the co-main when Carlos Castro’s opponent wasn’t able to be on the card due to visa problems.

The main event featured the return of Popular Francisco C De Vaca; away from the ring for over a year. Two questions faced him in his match with veteran Victor Proa who entered the ring with a strong record of 28 wins accompanied by 3 losses and two draws. How De would Vaca handle the ring rust and would fighting at a heavier 125 lbs. affect his style or movement?

He answered both questions on a positive note by scoring a unanimous decision over Proa who seemed shocked at of De Vaca’s margin of victory. The scores were a little generous but De Vaca (17-0-5 knockouts) worked harder, threw more punches and was definitely the aggressor throughout the bout.

Las Vegas Junior welterweight Manuel Monteiro (3-0-3 knockouts) showed power in knocking down Joseph Veloz (0-2) who returned the favor and Monteiro woke up after suffering a flash knockdown and swatted the surprised Veloz with a barrage of punches that led referee Richard Soto to stop the actin at the 2:12 mark of the 1st round. His power may have earned him a spot on the October 14 card; needs to bring his hands up and work on his defense and focus. I have seen him twice and he isn’t a slacker; that’s for sure.

Jesus Ibarra (2-0) had no problems with Erick Jiminez (2-11) who will probably be red flagged and perhaps flogged in the future. Jesus put him out of his misery 1:59 mark in the first round. I would like to see Ibarra face a legitimate 3-0 fighter in his next quest; the kid has some pop.

Eduardo Ayala (1-0) didn’t show a much power in defeating fellow light heavyweight Estevan Payan (0-2) but he did show nice footwork and poise and that was enough to eke out a split decision over an aggressive Payan. Ayala should drop down to middleweight; but, who listens to writers.

For me, the best fight of the night pitted Chicago’s undefeated and powerful Vernon Brown (7-0-1-5 knockouts) against Mexico’s Jesus Zazueta Anaya (6-2-1-4 knockouts), a slick boxer with graceful footwork and a refined technique. Brown tried to intimidate Anaya but he wouldn’t bite. In the end, I had Anaya slightly ahead but the Judges called it a majority draw. Ring announcer Sonny Franco suggested a rematch and the audience roared their approval at the possibility.

Heavyweights Keith Busch and Ruben Rivera aren’t pretty to watch but it was entertaining non-stop war fare and the crowd loved it even though neither fighter will advance past the club fight stage. Neither one of them is a true heavyweight even both register as heavies. Busch tired late giving Rivera the victory. A rematch would be a nice gesture from Iron Boy Promotions.

Junior lightweight Hector (7-0-2-4 knockouts) out counterpunched Luis Ayala (5-11-3-4 knockouts) in a busy six round bout that earned him an UD victory. It was an entertaining bout. Lopez threw more punches and displayed better technique,; his power is questionable, technique is solid.

Light Heavyweight Robert Garcia (0-0-1) wanted to start his professional career years ago but his troubles with the law delayed his start, so the 31 year old made his debut at the Celebrity against William Northan 111, a 35 year old with a 1-0-1) record. William showed better technique but the judges called it a draw. I thought it was a bad call and William and I were equally surprised with the decision; both men showed ring rust.

Overall, I enjoyed the night and the next Iron Boy fight night (Iron Boy 42) is scheduled for October 14 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix; I will be in Canada.

Arizona Lightweight Mario Esparza (4-0-1-1 knockout) is still several (10-15) pounds away from returning to ring action. The 23 year old onetime prospect hasn’t fought since July of 2015. An inside source tells us the Mario is looking very sharp and serious about a comeback….. We apologize for not mentioning that Caleb Jefferies and Carlos Rios were members of the elite Ramos boxing team that captured the Team Trophy at the Madison Boxing hosted smoker held last month at their facility on North Central…. Chris Sullivan, another Ramos boxing gym protégé, is rehabbing a hand injury and hopes to fight again in October and announce his pro intentions if successful in what could be his last amateur fight……The Copper Gloves is scheduled for October 11-12 at the Arizona State Fair. The telephone number listed for additional info (website) on the event is out of service. The event is held annually inside one of the Agricultural Barns on the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix; look on the internet for discount deals. ABNN will hopefully attend both days of the Copper Gloves before flying to Calgary to cover Janks Trotter’s fight on October 14 in Alberta Canada……Phoenix super welterweight Eben Vargas fought on the Margarito card in Mexico and scored a 3rd round knockout over Adrian Ramirez (3-1) in Mexico to up his record to 6-0-4 knockouts; evidently the hand injury is healed. Eben hopes to fight 2-3 more times this year and remains unsigned but has 2-3 promoters looking at the quickly developing prospect…….Ryan Riddell isn’t fighting on the Fight Hard card in Mexico on 9/9. His dad (Danny) is battling a heart condition and the unflappable boxing manager/trainer is hoping medication will correct the problem otherwise he may opt for a pacemaker to stabilize the situation; ABNN thanks him for past contributions to our column and wishes him the best as battles serious health issues.

Good News: Sampson Lewkowicz, CEO of Sampson Boxing is being urged by his ailing wife, recovering from serious injuries due to a rough tumble, to attend the Benavidez title tiff at Hard Rock on 9/8 in Vegas. He told me recently he would forgo the event because the health of his wife is more important than boxing. After our brief conversation, I received an update that his wife of more than 4 decades was feeling better and she insisted the former boxing matchmaker be at the venue (The Joint) to cheer David on.

Sampson signed the boxing Phenom to a promotional contract when David was 18 and possessed a record of 10-0. David was being courted by several promoters but his dad (Jose SR) liked the strategy presented by Mr. Lewkowicz and signed the dotted line in 2015. It was Sampson who gave the Phoenix Native the intriguing nickname of “El Bandera Rojas which translated into English means Red Flag. Sampson went on to explain that he gave David the moniker because he is a red flag to all the super middleweights in the world. Despite his tender age, David has sparred with some of the best super middleweights in the world including Kelly Pavlik, GGG and Nobuhiro to name a few. At least 100 boxing fans from the Phoenix area are planning to attend the fight in support of the Arizona fighters; good seats are still available.

More Potent Stuff: Sulem Urbina Soto was scheduled to fight on the Iron Boy 41 card; but a dispute over money couldn’t be resolved…. Carlos Castro wasn’t on the card because his opponent wasn’t able to acquire a visa card in time to make the fight..…Arizona ring announcer Ralph Velez Jr. will be the official ring announcer for the Benavidez/Gavril title card at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Vegas on Friday, September 8. “Rambling Ralph” spread the word at the Iron Boy 41 weigh-in held at Spoke & Wheel Bar & Restaurant on North Central. Ironically, he was fired by Iron Boy, last year. The big fellow knows how to land on his feet after a tumble…..Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos (18-2-2-13 knockouts) hopes to fight again in mid in October; announcement pending…Six time world champion Michael Carbajal attended the Iron Boy n41 card and handed boxer Manuel Manzo $100.00 after the fighter (0-5-1) from Fresno California settled for a controversial majority draw with Edgar Ortiz (5-1-1-3 knockouts) in a four round contest. Carbajal thought Manzo won and told him so before departing the Celebrity Theatre. ABNN talked to Manzo in the Celebrity Theatre parking lot and were elated to find out that the 27 year old may be on the October 14 Iron Boy 42 card and he has spoken to Fight Hard Promotions about possibly fighting in Mexico in the near future. Manzo had only 1 amateur fight before turning professional and all of his losses were to prospects; good guy and we wish him the best. Michael is to be inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame, on March 24, 2018; he deserves all the accolades coming his way.

We failed to mention that his speech at the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was top notch, humble, simple and electrifying. He thanked his fans and gave them credit for motivating him. The Native Arizonian said he was proud of his roots, parents and would always remain loyal to his fans and continue working with kids and adults at his Ninth Street Gym in Phoenix. The champ has been through some tough times in his life; he is definitely a survivor….Former Arizona boxing champion Arturo Ortega and his lovely wife attended the Iron Boy 41 event and she complimented me for my column work but added that the last one didn’t have the punch of previous columns. Later in the evening, one of the boxing Judges remarked that the same column was one of my best; I thanked both readers for their comments and started preparing for this effort……heard several complaints about the officiating at the Iron Boy 41 show and ABNN feels obligated to pass on the negative comments to the Arizona Boxing Commission; in particular, fans loudly shouted out their opinion that many low blows were missed by the referees and the scoring by judges was south of right in a couple of bouts. The main target for criticism was former Arizona Boxing Executive Director Dennis O’Connell who refereed 4 contests on the evening…. Until Next Time!


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