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List of Articles by Don Smith

Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Leo Santa Cruz Rights Wrong, Canelo News

By Don Smith
19 Apr 2018

Leo Santa Cruz.

Boxing Fans, in our last Arizona Boxing News & Notes column, ABNN reported that 14 fighters who fought on a 7 bout card presented in Ontario, California on April 6 were still waiting to be paid, almost two weeks later. The matter has been cleared up!

The checks were issued by show promoter Last Round Promotions, primary owner; Boxing Champion Leo Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, the checks were of no value due to insufficient funds when they were issued on the night of the fight by LRP representative Maggie Perez. Leo Santa Cruz wasn’t there nor was his father who was home recovering from an undisclosed illness.

911: Several of the victims called our assignment desk and asked for help. We established the validity of their complaint and issued our findings to our readers. We didn’t write the story to embarrass the champ or Last Round Promotions. Actually, if we were able to get in touch with Mr. Santa Cruz immediately, the story would have been canned. However, after our calls and emails received no response, we decided to print the story.

As a result of our story, we can happily report the issue is resolved. The champ read or was informed of our story and called one of the story principals and apologized and said he was embarrassed the incident ever happened. Apparently, Ms. Perez screwed up and on 4/17/18, Leo wired the money owed to the Arizona victim and all is well that ends well.

We thank the champ for being a standup guy and we hope our sources aren’t punished for contacting ABNN and reporting the incident. We are convinced Santa Cruz knew nothing about the hardship on the victims; created by the payday delay.

Sadly, we must report that at least 2 distribution sites decided to censor our story for fear of possible repercussions. We totally understand and feel vindicated by the swift and welcome action taken by the WBA super world featherweight titlist.

Santa Cruz (34-1-1) returns to action on June 9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles vs. rival Abner Mares (31-2-1) in a rematch. Their first encounter took place in 2015 and was a contender for fight of the year. Mares was at the Mikey Garcia fight in San Antonio and appeared confident he would upset Santa Cruz who is a prohibitive betting favorite. Hope springs eternal!

Ticket prices start at 51.75 (tax & service charge included) with top priced ducat available at $569.25. The co-main features Austin Trout vs. Jermell Charlo and tickets can be purchased by calling the Staple Center box-office at 877-234-8425.

Here is how the fighters’ matchup: Mares is 3 years older- Mares is expected to weigh a pound or 2 more. Santa Cruz is 3 inches taller and has 3” reach advantage. Mare’s knockout ratio over his last 8 fights is 12.5 % while Santa Cruz has sent 50% of his last 8 foes home early. Both pugilists live in the LA area. It should be a good fight; ABNN picks Santa Cruz!

Canelo News: On Wednesday, April 18 the Nevada Athletic Commission imposed a six month suspension on Mexican boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” effective 2/17 to coincide with the date Canelo tested positive for a banned substance. There was no fine because there was no purse to attach. The commission vote was 5-0 in favor of the ruling. Taking the suspension time table into account, Canelo can return to the ring on August 17.
Alvarez (48-1-2-31 knockouts) was scheduled to fight Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1 33 Knockouts) on May 5 but his 2 positive tests in February spoiled the rendezvous planned for Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas. GGG will now turn his focus towards Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1) on May 5 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson California in a title tiff. His decision to fight Martirosyan instead of the mandatory challenger (Sergiy Dervyanchenko) for his IBF title may cost him a belt.

In more Canelo news, it was announced recently by Alvarez’s promoter (Golden Boy) that their fighter was undergoing cosmetic surgery; he angrily disputes the claim and said he had knee surgery. Perhaps, he had dimple implants on his knees; just kidding. If Canelo jumps ship, it will cost Oscar & GB a lot more money than you and I have.

My thought about the suspension is how can the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspend Canelo if he wasn’t licensed to fight in Nevada at the time he tested positive? That is a question I would pay to be answered.

News & Notes: Phoenix Middleweight Andrew Hernandez hopes to be fighting in May....Avondale, Arizona super lightweight Alfredo Escarcega (4-0-1 knockout) got his first knockout victory over Mexico’s Carlos Escobedo (0-8) in Tijuana, Mexico last month....Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos (18-3-2) lost his ESPN televised fight on Friday April 13; not enough body shots and upper cuts according to fight fans who watched the bout.. Iron Boy 44 show (April 28th at Celebrity Theatre) is making bout sheet changes; catch them in our next issue....former 140 lb. king Amir Khan returns to the ring 4/21 on ESPN against Phil Lo Greco in a bout streamed exclusively in the U.S. 5:30 p.m. ET as part of the international Top Rank on ESPN series....17 year old shooting victim Marcos Rodriguez attended the Benavidez Meet & Greet on Saturday April 14 and when Jose Benavidez heard his story, he gave the former boxer a big hug and posed with him. Marcos was shot in the head 6 weeks ago and can’t speak as a result of the violent act. The shooter was apprehended; thank goodness. Marcos is Arizona Olympic hopeful Fernando Martinez’s cousin.....Arizona boxing announcer Ralph Velez Jr. was unable to attend the Meet & Greet Party for the Benavidez brothers at Amigos Meats on 4/14 due to a commitment in Las Vegas. Arizona Republic reporter Greg Moore and Univision Sports Anchor Felipe Corral were there; crowd was estimated at 300....The Kroc Center at 1375 E. Broadway Road in Phoenix will host a smoker on Saturday 4/21. First bout commences at 2 p.m. and boxers must show up for weigh-in between the hours of 8-10 a.m. It will be interesting to see what the event draws because the USA vs. Mexico battle across the border in Mexacali begins on Friday 4/20-4/22. The three day annual event is always popular. Fuentes gym is taking 5-6 kids and F-1 boxing is taking two of their best; 2018 represents the 6th year for the rivalry.....reports that the J.O at Sonny’s Boxing Gym in Goodyear has been canceled is a crock. Be there on 5/5-6 for competition. More details are a dial away: 623-806-2421....Jose Jr. and brother David Benavidez stayed at the recent Meet & Greet until they shook hands with everyone and signed gloves and posters until 2 of the sharpies were bone dry.....Jesse James Leija, 2 time divisional world champion has agreed to answer more than 20 questions sent to him through email. Does everyone know “The Texas Tornado” fought Arizona’s Louie Espinoza during his 17 year career? The new Executive Director of the Arizona boxing/MMA commission resides in Arizona and knows the outgoing Director, Juan Estrada; more about him in our next issue.... Until Next Time!

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