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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Fight Outside the Ring, ?All In? Recap & JO Results

Boxing Fans, Iron Boy Promotions has staged XXII shows since its? 2012 debut with plans to introduce XXIII on July 25 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Arizona. IBP hasn?t officially announced the Celebrity lineup, but the following fighters are almost a lock to be at center ring (not at the same time) on July 25 to do battle: Lightweight Victor Castro 15-0 (8rounds), Featherweight Carlos Castro 10-0 (6 rounds), featherweight Francisco C. De Vaca 11-0(6 rounds), Middleweight Joey Ruelas 9-1-1 (6 rounds), super lightweight Jose Marrufo 7-2-2 (6 rounds),Lightweight Danny Montoya 1-0 (4 rounds), Bantamweight Mikayla Nebel 1-6 ( 4 rounds), Middleweight Ruben Rivera 5-3-1 ( 4 rounds), Featherweight Emilio Garcia 9-1-1 (4 rounds), super bantamweight Edgar Brito 3-1-1 (4 rounds) . Super lightweight Jose Galindo (4-5) may be added to the card. Hours before I sent this column off to its? predestined journey, I received a call from an Iron Boy insider who told me highly touted Bekman Soylybayev (4-0) from Kazakhstan will make his Arizona debut in an 8 rounder on the Iron Boy XIII card. Iron Boy has his record at 5-0, but Box-rec lists him at 4-0, take our pick!

Breaking News: In addition to preparing for their upcoming 7/25 Celebrity Theater, Iron Boy Promotions is facing an image infringement issue that may go to either small claims court or higher up in the judicial system. This is familiar territory for me, last year, a website reprinted my column, without my permission, and I was forced to write the culprit a strong letter threatening action if he didn?t stop adopting my work as if it were his own. The stinging letter was very effective and the plagiarist stopped his act of piracy.

As you read this column, Iron Boy Promotions CEO Mr. Vargas is consulting his attorney(s) on how to stop Texas Businessman Rico Velez, no relation to Arizona boxing commentator Ralph Velez Jr., from ?stealing? a very special logo image that Iron Boy Promotions created in 2012 and Arizona boxing fans are very familiar with the eye catching Iron Boy statue of a boxer that has accompanied every Iron Boy boxing campaign since the fall of 2012.

Mr. Velez, CEO of Fight INC. Promotions located in El Paso Texas, partnered with Iron Boy on a show with Vargas in 2014 and it was a forgettable experience that virtually ended a controversial relationship between the two men. It is my understanding that the business relationship between the two men was a result of a friendship between the wives of the two men, Vargas and Velez. I don?t tink the women are blood related.
Mr. Velez and Fight INC produced a second show on June 13, 2015 in El Paso Texas at the Abraham Chavez Theatre and Velez billed the show as an Iron Boy Promotion in Conjunction with Fight INC. and the shared billing didn?t set well Iron Boy who was already taking legal steps to divorce Iron Boy from Fight INC.
Iron Boy promises swift action. I was told to expect a copy of an email that was sent to Velez telling him to stop using the Iron Boy Image in his advertising and to expect legal action if he didn?t. After careful deliberation, Team Iron Boy decided to transition the correspondence to their legal team first before exposing it to me and my deadline came before their delayed response; so I am in the same boat as our readers-waiting for a stern warning to the accused, Mr. Rico Velez! !

Velez, the possible defendant, is taking the high road and claims, according to Iron Boy, that he is being harassed and told the Iron Boy defenders to stop bothering him or words to that effect. I pulled up an ad distributed ad from Fight INC. Promotions and it is clear the two images are the same and Iron Boy created the image first; so where is the beef. It is my understanding that he (Velez) is trying to trademark an image he is accused of pirating. He must have a set the size of basketballs, the accusation is true.

My advice to Iron Boy would be to document every piece of evidence and list all contacts in resolving this matter. I tried on three occasions to contact Mr. Velez and left voice mails, but he hasn?t returned my calls. In my deposited message I identified myself and told Mr. Velez I would like to print his side of the story and his silence is rather disturbing.
Iron Boy can take several courses of action in addition to hiring an attorney who specializes in image infringement: Notify the Federal Trade Commission, report the alleged violation to the Federal, Texas and Arizona State Consumer protection agencies. Also, send a well written press release detailing the incident to media outlets in Texas and Arizona. It is very important to take these basic steps swiftly and with conviction. We wish Iron Boy the best in resolving this unfortunate situation.

PSA: A boxing fan who takes pride in helping others alerted me to the plight of an elderly lady neighbor who received a tersely non-personal worded letter of notification (from the city of Phoenix) mandating an urgent need to clean up her yard and paint her house or face a city ordinance imposed fine that could reach as much as $2,500.00 per day until cited violations were addressed. Her deadline to address both issues fell on Friday, June 12.

The sensitive boxing fan summoned three of his buddies and as if they were on a mission from God (Blues Brother Reference) went to the property and slew the weeds and raked the yard; so the sickly Phoenix resident could stay in her home that she bought more than thirty year ago.

I confirmed that the city was notified of the violation by a whistleblower who apparently didn?t take time to talk to the sick and elderly lady who is a cancer and heart attack survivor in addition to receiving dialysis treatment three times a week. She also takes 18 doses of medication per day. We have to assume that the whistle blower was protecting the value of his property and not the well being of his ailing neighbor who is too weak to fend for herself.

In conclusion, another volunteer made about 50 calls until he found an organization (Rebuilding Together) that paints houses for people who qualify. They executed a special waiver for her and on June 16, 18-20 volunteers from American Express showed up at her home and painted her house. The day before the painting occurred, three men arrived and power hosed the home in preparation. All of this much appreciated benevolence came free of charge and needless to say, the recipient cried and feed the volunteers despite her frail health.

If our readers know someone who might qualify for this type of service; please call Rebuilding Together at 480-774-0237 for an application form. The organization plans to paint more than 100 houses, located in the Valley of the Sun, sometime in October; so make that phone call now; so some worthy person will reap the gracious benefit. Thank you Rebuilding Together, you?re marvelous! When Phoenix City Inspector Romo arrived and saw the yard was cleaned, he dismissed the ticket and took my word that Rebuilding Together would paint the house as promised. I looked on the seat of his air conditioned pickup and saw a stack of violations as thick as an I-Hop waffle.

Response: Arizona Boxing Commentator Ralph Velez Jr. approached me at the Fight Hard boxing event (Glendale, Arizona) and said he didn?t want to continue what he described as our back and forth verbal battles over a period of more than six months. I went silent because my comments in Arizona Boxing News & Notes are never personal nor do I think reporting his movement in the sport and business aspect of boxing will win me a Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction reporting. Ralph is an interesting figure in Arizona boxing and I hope his achieves his goals; whatever they may be.

During our impromptu meeting he shook my hand and before I could get a handle on what was happening, our picture was taken and circulated online for what purpose, I am not sure. I deplore my picture being taken because it downplays the importance of my work. The second reason I rarely strike a pose is the obvious fact that I have a radio face and my lackluster face pale in comparison to the likes of ring announcer JR Cardenas, boxing trainer & promoter Sonny Gutierrez, Promoter Roberto Vargas, boxer Francisco C. De Vaca, boxing coach Ray Mitchell and other local boxing notables. Handsome isn?t one of my gene traits.
Back to Ralph, I do owe Mr. Velez an apology. In my last column, I reported Velez and Jose Benavidez Sr. were co-hosts of a local talk show (Outside the Ring) on Channel 44. That show is no longer on the air, but they?re working on other entertainment projects and I took time to give both of the aspiring artists? tips on developing questions. My advice was to prepare tougher questions.

Jose has opened a gym, named after him, at 38 East Jackson in downtown Phoenix directly behind US Airways Center. I wish both men the best and I hope they understand that my role as a journalist differs from that of a cheerleader; i.e. ring girl.

Junior Olympic Results: The USA Boxing Arizona Junior Olympic Team returned from Charleston West Virginia and the following Arizona athletes medaled: Ray Maldonado, Phoenix Junior 50 lbs., Gold Medal-Mariah Martinez, Phoenix Intermediate 60 lbs., Gold Medal- Mariah Bahe-AZ-65#-Bantam, 11-12, Silver Medal-Andrew Corona-AZ-60#-Pee Wee, 8, Bronze Medal-Robert Meriweather, Phoenix Peewee 65 lbs., Bronze Medal-Armanda Chavez, Guadalupe Junior 114 lbs., Bronze Medal- Alicia Martinez, Phoenix Junior 114 lbs. female-Bronze Medal?Special thanks to all the Arizona athletes and coaches who participated and a solid gold pat on the back for Jacob Magallanez for forwarding the results to this column.

Boxing Updates: Roy Jones Jr. Promotions is seeking permission from AZ Boxing Commission to host a show at the We KO Pa Conference Center (Fort McDowell) on August 15. The Emmy winning Jeff Huston has been tabbed as ring announcer while RJJ Promotions hope to present local favorite Andrew Hernandez (9-1-1) aka ?The Pride of Phoenix? and ?Hurricane? versus NABF Junior Middleweight Champion Louis (13-2-1) Rose. Hernandez will have to work to make that weight and he will have to outbox Rose to win; Rose is the bigger puncher and he will be ready. We will have more details in next column??Wild West Promotions has booked the Clarion Hotel in Tucson (Friday, June 26) for its? debut boxing show ?Desert Heat? and first bout will commence at 8 PM. Here is a partial list of some of the fighters set to show their skills: Roshawn ?Two Gun? McCain, undefeated Ronald Mixon, Issac Freeman, Francisco ?The Destroyer? Muro, Jose ?Raging Bull? Pena, Alfonso Olvera, Jameel Reynolds, Freddie Contreras, Edward Ceballos, Jorge Luna and Edward Ceballos. Feel free to call 520-406-7561 and ask promoter & boxing coach Ray Mitchell for details not free tickets!

Ringside: retired boxing champion Junior Earl Butler sat next to me in his capacity of a ?in training? ring judge for the ?Wild Card-All In? boxing show in Glendale and his first act as an ?in training? judge was to borrow a pen and paper from yours truly. I know, despite Commission denial, the budget cuts are severe, but a cheap pen and a sheet of lined paper cost much less than 50 cents, American?.just kidding! Please take note, Commissioner Fletcher and other distinguished members of the altered state known as the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission. By the way, Earl kept the pen! I tried to contact Governor Ducey and Gaming Director Rudy Castillo for an interview earlier this year; but apparently both men read my column. I would like to welcome newly appointed commissioner Scott Peters and hopefully the new man on the commission, will be able to grace us with his presence at the July monthly meeting. He has a non-profit business that concentrates on making the sport of football safer and he has some definite ideas on how to treat concussions. Peters is a former NFL Player.

Earl Butler is one of the nice guys connected to Arizona Boxing and I told the former WBF Super Middleweight Champion that I would mention his Boxercise program that is available to kids in the Kyrene School Districts, Boys & Girls Clubs and area YMCA?s. It is a very personal crusade for Earl who battled weight issues all during his professional boxing career. The next Boxercisee session is at the Boys & Girls Club on Southern in Phoenix. Interested parents can gain more details about the JEB Boxercise program for kids by calling 602-574-9459. Obesity is a major worldwide problem that is quite prevalent in the U.S.A. Please make that call, if you know a child who needs help becoming fit.

Wild Card-All In wrap: I was invited by Fight Hard Promotions to attend their ?Wild Card-All In? weigh-in on Friday (6/12) and the boxing show the following night at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale. I was hoping to release my column within three days after the fight night, but I ate some clams on Sunday (6/14) and struggled to maintain my equilibrium for several days. To the comics reading this column, they weren?t Blue Bell Clams. I was forced to endure cold sweats and short sprints to a special place.

The weigh-in which was held at the popular Calico Jacks Bar & Grill in West Gate was packed and I almost tripped a couple of times trying to reach the weigh-in stage to interview the fighters. Mario Esparza didn?t make weight so his bout was canceled and his failure to comply irritated his stepfather and Fight Hard Promotions. Calico Jacks appears to be the designated home for Fight Hard Weigh-ins and after fight parties and I understand the 6/13 after party was lively and packed.

Mario?s stepfather came to me before the weigh-in and confessed that his son was 3 ? lbs. overweight and this could be his last fight when actually his last recorded fight was on March 20, 2015 when he won a split decision over lightly regarded Jordan Espinosa. Mario came to the weigh-in with a 3-0-1 record and his career may end with that mark. He has a family to take care and for now, his focus and time might be best spent with his family. We wish him the best and he isn?t the first fighter to find the transition from Amateur to professional difficult; maturity and accepting boxing as a job is part of the recipe to success.

Fight Hard Promotions is very wise in holding boxing events at the Renaissance Hotel. The posh venue gives the show a Vegas feel and the promoters enhanced that aura with celebrities look alikes: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Kiss member Paul Stanley and a pair of Las Vegas Show girl look alikes. I hear through the proverbial boxing grapevine that Fight Hard is talking to an influential west coast promotion company and if a deal is signed, a big fight with television coverage will follow. Keep in mind, rumors don?t always materialize. In the meantime, check the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission webpage and download the PDF. The much talked about merger has made some subtle changes that I wasn?t aware of until I started tinkering and asking questions.

Before I break down the fights on June 13, let me mention the tribute to Boxer Chris Lopez who took his own life on June 10 in Deltonia, Florida; home of his mother and younger brother. Chris fought in Arizona for several years. He was a friend of Fight Hard promoters Sonny Gutierrez and Rigoberto Ledezma and it was their decision to honor the fallen boxer with the traditional ?Fighter Down, Ten Count? Salute. It was a poignant ceremony and I believe his friends in attendance were moved by the brief but respectful tribute to a young boxer who died at the premature age of 27?may he rest in peace! Hopefully, his tragic fate will inspire others to seek help when facing a mental crisis.

Wild Card-All In featured 10 bouts with Chicago welterweight Ed ?Bad Boy? Brown and Christian Steele opening the show at 5:30 PM in a scheduled for four rounds contest dominated by Brown who hammered Steele with bombs from both hands until the Cameron Dunkin managed fighter ended Steele?s dream of an upset at 2:12 (TKO) into the second round. Brown admitted to me that he came up with the nickname ?Bad Boy? and the win pushed his record to 5-0 with 5 knockouts.

Brown is a good looking prospect and I hope he returns to the valley soon against a stronger opponent. Steele has now lost 10 in a row and he left the venue with a record of 4-16-2 and a doctor ordered suspension. I believe this matchup was a big mistake on the part of the matchmaker and that could have been the reason why the bout started at 5:30 PM. The promoter presenting Brown in his next fight won?t hide him, and that is a fact, jack!

35 year old former IBA Continental Heavyweight titlist Carlos Barnett (Phoenix, Arizona) made his return to ring action after a 7 year hiatus against young lion Bernardo Marquez from California and the two men waged a war for four rounds. The result was a draw with Barnett winning the opinion of one judge 39-37 while Marquez received an identical score from another judge. The third official scorer had it dead even at 38-38. I would like to see a rematch and it may happen on August 7 at the same venue. Marquez (2-0-1) credited Barnett (11-2-1) for his experience and admitted his lack of ring experienced cost him valuable points. As he left the ring, Marquez told me he wanted rematch, but he wasn?t mad at the verdict and his wish to fight former Olympian Michael Hunter will have to wait. His family was in the audience and they gave him a big hug. Barnett proved experience has its? advantage.

In the main event Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos (13-0-2) proved that he should at least be considered for an immediate minor title shot as he pounced on Robert Ramirez (13-2) and a crushing right hand signaled the beginning of the end as the bout was stopped at the 2:44 mark of the second. Ramos has added power to the rest of his arsenal and his total package earns him the right to rank as one of the three best fighters working out of Arizona. Ramirez tried his best, but fell short.

In the C0-main event Andrew ?Hurricane? Hernandez earned a hard fought Unanimous decision over Eduardo Tercero in a six round 165 pound contest. Hernandez did the victory to stay relevant after a DQ win and knockout loss in New York. The ?Hurricane? man started slow losing the first round, but gradually picking up the pace and out punching Tercero whose record is now 9-6 while Hernandez exited with a 9-1-1 mark. I talked to the irrepressible Andrew who said boxing is a job and he is out to make money for his family. During our brief chat after the fight chat, he also called one area promoter a scumbag and when given the opportunity to reply; the unnamed promoter returned the compliment. Hernandez will fight defending NABF champion Louis Rose 12-2-1 at FT. McDowell on August 15 if approved by the Arizona Boxing Commission. Hernandez remains a very popular fighter in Arizona as evidenced by the throng of fans who greeted him after the fight.

The best fight of the night of the night belonged to middleweights Nathaniel Gallimore (5-0) and Yusmani Abreu (4-10-2) who on paper looked like an ordinary journeyman seeking a paycheck. Gallimore, from Chicago, looked strong in the first round, but Abreu gained confidence and made it a contest. Unfortunately, it was the last fight of the evening and most of the crown was gone, so they missed the fight of the night. After six rounds, Gallimore was declared the Unanimous winner. Great fight that should have been held earlier in the evening, oh well!
In other card action, featherweight Paul ?Ziggy? Romero outsmarted and out boxed Jair Quintero (2-4-1) and Quintero told me it wasn?t a good match for him and he was dead right. Romero (4-0-1) out slicked him and reminded fans why he was once a top ranked amateur.

Super Featherweight Keenan Carbajal (6-2-1) used his height and reach advantage to overwhelm shorter and befuddled Sergio Najera (11-18-2; Carbajal scored a well-earned 6 round unanimous decision.

Super featherweight Vincente Cano (2-0) took on former MMA fighter John McCarthy (0-1)in a 6 round contest that should McCarthy can take a punch, but you have to poses the skills to punch back to win. The bout should have been shortened to four rounds. Cano won an easy unanimous decision.

In two other bouts: super featherweight Jesus Serrano (8-2-2) defeated Vincente Jennings (5-1-1) in a lively 6 round contest and Jesus Aguinaga (3-3)used his experience to defeat Manuel Lopez (0-1) in a six round lightweight bout. It was a unanimous decision and Aguinaga suffered a cut over his left eye.

My only complaint about the evening was some of the six round bouts should have been limited to four rounds and the order of the bouts were a bit weird; Otherwise, great evening and hats off to Fight Hard. Next event is scheduled for August 7.

Speed Bag Notes: Basketball Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale held court at her book (?You Let Some Girl Beat You?) signing in Phoenix and she confided in me that she used to hit the speed bag to help her ball handling ling skills. Sorry to hear her brother (David) is battling cancer. We wish him the best. I asked her about the late John Wooden (UCLA Wizard from Westwood) ; she described him as the ?Salt of the earth.??.Minnie Canez won the flat screen giveaway at the ?All In? boxing show and her friends went ballistic upon hearing the news their friend won the raffled television set which prompted me to ask if it was her first TV and she smiled?..Paul ?Ziggy? Romero has signed with Iron Boy and should be on their July 25 Card at Celebrity Theater.

More News: Arizona boxing referees Wes Melton, Chris Wilson and Chris Flores continue to win my admiration by attending ABC seminars for accreditation and I know the trips rob them of family time, but attending those sometime boring seminars is greatly appreciated by fans, fighters and anyone in the industry who cares about the welfare of the sport; thank you men?? no details on the 7/4 Native American Boxing Tournament ?.Salvation Army tournament (7/11) at the Kroc Center off East Broadway Road in Phoenix should draw a good crowd; call 602-425-5000 for more details. Stay cool and keep supporting boxing: Until Next Time!

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Don Smith.

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