Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Nevada H.O.F., Iron Boy 41, Amateur News & More
By Don Smith
Sat, 26 Aug 2017
Boxing Fans, sorry for the late edition, but our operation was forced to shut down temporarily when the son of our late landlord decided to sell house we used as our office despite the written wishes of his mother. It was a shock but the sun will rise in the morning. ABNN owes a special thanks to frequent column reader Geoff Ronning for providing a new and larger venue to work out of.
Event Coverage: On Thursday, August 10, I flew to Las Vegas to cover the 2017 Nevada Hall of Fame class induction of 6 time world Champion Michael Carbajal and 8 other legendary boxers including Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Spinks brothers (Michael & Leon), Richie Sandoval, Erik Morales, Lucia Riker and the posthumous inclusion of boxers Ken Norton and Salvador Sanchez. 2017 inductees present from the no- boxer category included world class cut man/trainer Rafael Garcia and Top Rank Publicist Debbie Munch. Referee Davey Pearl, Matchmaker Mel Greb and Dr. Elias Ghanem (3 deceased honorees)) were also inducted into the prestigious H.O.F. Pearl is credited with officiating 70 title bouts including Ali/Spinks & Leonard/ Hearns.
The Induction Ceremony was held on August 12 at the posh Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino (Palace Ballroom) where event guests, enjoyed a 3 course meal and an evening of boxing nostalgia. Members of press were seated at 2 rows of linen covered tables, near the back wall of the ballroom. I expected at least water at my table but there was nada (Spanish), niente (Italian) or in English, nothing to quench our thirst. The lack of beverage on the table was a bit concerning but there is no crying in boxing.
One media person asked a hotel staff member if the press were to be fed and he was told a pressroom was set up outside the ballroom and there was food and beverage available for working journalists and social media reporters.
I was overjoyed upon hearing the news because my only nourishment for the day was an early morning serving of toast & coffee at the Café Americana in the lobby of Caesars Palace Casino & Hotel . I paid an exorbitant $14.65 for the breakfast combo and was told there was no jelly; so, I made an adjustment with my tip; the server understood.
I shrugged off the experience thinking our hunger pains would be quelled by the intake of food at the induction ceremony later that evening- wrong! We (three writers) were told that a press room was set up to accommodate the media but when we arrived at the designated location; the only food item available was a small quantity of mints in a bowl. I scoped them up and would later distribute them to members of the press.
It was a fun two days. I must admit it was sad to see Leon Spinks struggling to walk and speak; but, he remained upbeat through his introduction and the famous smile was still there. I delivered a thank you message to Leon, a former marine from another marine who was stationed at Camp Lejeune when the Champ, a member of the all marine H.O.F. paid a well-received visit. Leon smiled after hearing the message and he gave me a thumbs up.
His introduction by hip hop artist (Public Enemy) and actor “Flavor Fav” was a bit sloppy and long but he was chosen by the champ and the audience suffered but endured.
The best inductee introductions were delivered by Showtime boxing analyst Al Bernstein and boxing icon Sugar Ray Leonard. Bernstein presented 6 time champion Michael Carbajal and talked how humble the Phoenix native is and the tribute to the native born Phoenician included mention of the Gonzales fights and his final career bout with Jorge Arce.
All the introductions were accompanied with well edited film footage and the presentations were appreciated by a captive and respective audience. It was a fun two days, expensive but memorable. Al Bernstein and Crystina Poncher emceed the show and their different styles didn’t always mesh, things went relatively smooth. Bernstein made an unforgiveable error when he introduced Michael Carbajal as a 3 time world champion instead of six and Ms. Poncher threw out a few one liners that didn’t float.
Short Jabs: Once promising middleweight Albert Onolunose, born in Nigeria, returns to ring action against Irish Canadian Janks Trotter (10-4-1-10 knockouts) on October 14 at the Genesis Center in Calgary Alberta Canada. It is a crossroad fight for both fighters who need strong performances to continue their careers.
Onolunose’s boxing resume sports 21 victories with only one defeat but his tenure in the ring has been interrupted, on several occasions, by criminal behavior that cost him time in Prison. The 36 year old pugilist last fought 4 years ago and is hardly a role model for young boxers. To say he has squandered his talent is an understatement.
The 33 year old Trotter, once a seasonal resident in Arizona, is coming off a TKO loss to Shane Butler (19-1-1) in October of 2016 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. ABNN has been invited to cover the action and our passport is ready to be stamped...…
More Stuff: ABNN talked to Phoenix middleweight Andrew Hernandez 19-6-1-8 knockouts) about his July UD loss to Brazilian super welterweight Patrick Teixeira (27-1-22 knockouts) in Tucson and the 31 year old said he lost weight too soon for that fight and wants to fight at 160 not 154 for his next bout….Local middleweight Joey Ruelas ……..Iron Boy Promotions held their MMA 7 weigh-in at the Twin Peaks Bar & Grill (Camelback Road & 22nd Street in Phoenix) on August 11and TP co-owner Andy Bayless was happy with the turnout and the affable owner praised the effort of IB publicist Emily Pandelakis in co-coordinating the open to the public event… Mr. Bayless gave the participating athlete’s gift cards and sodas to accommodate their thirst and hunger needs. Andy wants everyone to know that the popular establishment is showing the McGregor/Mayweather August 26 PPV event (ShowTime). The admission price (for viewing) is a reasonable $10.00 cover at the door and a $25.00 minimum spend requirement, once inside. Andy cautions patrons to have their complete parties assembled upon arrival; otherwise, late arriving guests will have to find another table or venue to watch the contest. Twin Peaks is a very popular venue to watch UFC fights and other major sporting events while eating and sipping a cool beverage of your choice.
8 ounce decision: The Nevada Boxing Commission has decided to approve the use of 8 ounce gloves in the Saturday August 26th PPV McGregor/Mayweather bout at T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada and you knew they would. The rules state 8 ounce gloves can be used when both fighters agree and if the contest isn’t for a title. Most critics think the decision favors McGregor who dons 4 ounce gloves in UFC warfare; get ready for a wild evening of mayhem.
Ticket sales are unexpectedly slow, according to contacted brokers) but show is expected to sellout as ticket prices are being lowered by independent sellers. As we went to press, last minute efforts were in full force to entice fans to subscribe 0t the PPV event with gifts like hats, etc. Reportedly, bars and venues showing the spectacle are being charged double what they paid for the Pacquiao/Mayweather bout in Vegas.
One fan approached me in Vegas and offered his opinion that the fix is in and McGregor will win setting up a very lucrative rematch. ABNN doesn’t agree with that theory but in boxing, anything is possible.
Boxing fans in in Phoenix can choose from a plethora of options on where to watch the event. AMC theatre, home screen, sports bars and several adult cabaret Including Chicas Cabaret on 35th Avenue in Phoenix and a spokesperson for management (Roberta)told us the club isn’t charging a cover but there is a two drink minimum and table or lap dances are $10.00 each. Please drive safely, when going home if you travel to watch the event.
Iron Boy 41: Roberto Vargas (Iron Boy CEO) and his staff will present their 41st show at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix on September 2 with the return of local favorites including Carlos Castrol (18-0-7) and Francisco C. De Vaca (16-0-5).
In the headline bout, it’s Vaca vs. Victor Proa 25-3-2 in a 10 round 127 lb. contest. Castro tries to remain undefeated when he opposes Christian Esquivel 30-12 in an 8 round 122 lb. co-main event encounter.
112 lb. Adrian “Sharkey” Servin 4-0 will meet Edson Eduardo Neri 2-0 in a 4 rounder. Servin is one of Phoenix’s best young fighters. Edward Ceballos, 6-1-1 (another Arizona prospect) tangles with awkward Raymond Chacon (7-24-1) in a 6 round 122 lb. contest. Chacon has never been knocked out.
Overall it is an interesting card: Undefeated Vernon Brown (6-0) brings his Chicago style boxing skills to the Celebrity against Jesus Anaya (6-2). Cruiserweight/heavyweight Cuban sensation Frank Sanchez (former world amateur champion) makes his Arizona debut and 115 lb. Alexis Zazueta (9-0) returns to ring action after a self-imposed layoff of more than a year.
Remaining Bouts: Hector Lopez (6-0) faces Luis Geraldo (5-9-3) in a 133 lb. clash- Edgar Ortiz 5-1 vs. Manuel Manzo 0-5 (4 rounds, 117 lbs.), Heavyweights Robert Garcia and William Northan are set for a 4 rounds. Ruben Rivera is inked for a 4 round contest with Keith Busch.143 pound Manuel Monterio is also on the card. Good seats are still available for the September 2 show and can be purchased online or at the Celebrity box-office.
Apology: Due to the chaotic nature of moving, ABNN has delayed the printing of our interview with Arizona boxing referee/judge Anthony Zaino. A boxing official since 1993, Mr. Zaino survived a near fatal motorcycle accident 2-3 years ago and after extensive rehabilitation has returned to the sport he grew to love as a child. ABNN asked him several questions through email and we will print his responses in our next column.
Amateur Notes: Jesus Ramos Jr. (Ramos Boxing) went home to Casa Grande Arizona a happy young man after winning his hard fought bout with fellow 15 year old Moises Rosales (Fuentes Boxing). The victory earned him two trophies, one for his win and another for best bout performance.
The smoker was held at the Madison Boxing Gym in Phoenix and Ramos Boxing also won Team Trophy with Martillo Boxing finishing runner-up. In attendance was welterweight contender Abel Ramos (Uncle) and other members of the Ramos family. Jesus is trained by his father; Jesus Sr. Puma Entertainment will present its’ second Muay Thai show at Legends Event Center on Tuesday September 26. Matchmaker/Promoter Peter McKinn promises a new and improved show the second time around. The main event features Alex Suarez vs. Ricardo Jimenez in a title bout. The first show received rave reviews but McKinn tells us the 9/26 show will really tap out with fans. Doors open at 6 PM and 1st bout starts at 7:15. Alcohol will be served and ticket prices are reasonable. The Event Center is located at 43rd Avenue & Camelback Road in Phoenix.
H.O.F Notes: Barry Boxing (Las Vegas) dominated the annual WBC Green Belt Challenge on August 12th. The event was part of the 2017 Nevada H.O.F celebration and a dozen or so former boxing champions showed up to watch the kids fight for glory and the adulation of family and friends.
Included in the contingent stars was Shane Mosley, Thomas Hearns, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, Leon & Michael Spinks, Pinklon Tomas, Former referee Richard Steele and James “Quick” Tillis who entered the event wearing a cowboy hat and asking if I could help him get into movies. I asked him about the type of role he was suited for and he pointed to his cowboy hat. James lives on a small ranch in Oklahoma and the big fellow, estimated 28o lbs., appeared serious about starring in western movies. He is too big for me to discourage; so I wished him good luck.
Hit Man Hearns didn’t take questions while he was at the smoker but he posed for pictures with fans and I coaxed him into standing beside Michael Carbajal for a Kodak moment, he obliged. Mr. Hearns walks very slowly due to persistent health problems. It was appropriate to inquire about the nature his health issues.
At the event, a young boxer’s mother approached me after noticing the poor health of some of the aging pugilists. “Should I” she said very carefully, “encourage my son to fulfill his dream and turn professional-look at these famous fighters, their health is shot and they are all broke”. She doesn’t know that to be a fact but I understand her concern and suggested she support him as much as possible.
I was very impressed that Mr. Hearns he showed up at the meet and greet function with ardent boxing fans on Friday August 11 (at Caesars) and signed everything handed to me. He didn’t speak but his lack of banter fact didn’t turn off anyone standing in a long and less than straight line waiting for an autograph from the boxing great.
All the celebrities were friendly with the possible exception of Pernell Whitaker who tried to be cute when I asked him about the famous majority draw decision with Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993 at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio Texas My question was simple: “ did you think you won the fight”? His response was to ask me who I thought won and I deferred to him and he promptly turned his back and looked away; strange reaction.
Lucia Rijker, Michael Spinks and Richie Sandoval were more open to conversation, thank goodness. Richie told h me e worked hard to convince Top Rank to sign Michael Carbajal. Top Rank thought his weight (108 lbs.) Sandoval wasn’t very appealing and finally relented after the persuasive Sandoval convinced Top Rank to sign Carbajal. The former WBA bantamweight Champion also convinced Top Rank to match Are with Michael and the Hall of Fame fighter rallied to knock out the much younger Arce in the 11th round in an historical fight, the last in a storied career for Michael Carbajal.
Lucia acknowledged her role as a pioneer in women’s boxing and credited the WNBA for continuing the progress but said women have a lolng ways to go to achieve equality and she is right.
Boxing Notes: Former welterweight champion Shawn Porter (27-2-1) has withdrawn from the August 26th ShowTime PPV Mayweather/McGregor card as a result of a death in his family. He was scheduled to fight Thomas Dulorme (24-2) who will now battle Yordenis Ugas (19-3). We mourn his loss and our prayers go out to his family…….Also, we are saddened to hear that Georgie Garcia (Hammer Boxing) is mourning the death of his beloved Tia (Josephine) who passed as a result of injuries suffered in a recent car accident. Georgie, a former boxer, describes her as an avid boxing fan and giving person. WE extend our sympathy to the family….. Heavyweight Adam Stewart (4-0-1-2 knockouts) will fight on the Iron Boy 42 card at the Celebrity Theatre on October 14. The 6’ 6” newcomer is drawing rave reviews from fans who have watched his work in the ring...a belated congratulations to Phoenix lightweight Ray Beltran (34-7- for his victory over tough Bryan Vasquez (35-3), Ray won two minor belts with the victory and he still wants a piece of light weight champion Mikey Garcia and the champ is yet to respond..….Phoenix Featherweight Keenan Carbajal is looking for his next fight after turning down a chance to fight on the Roy Jones September Card in Texas.
Final Thought: To our Knowledge, she never donned a pair of boxing gloves but she was a fighter. 32 year old paralegal Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville Virgina when a reputed white supremacist (20 year old James Alex Fields Jr.) reportedly drove his vehicle into a crowd taking the life of Ms. Heyer and injuring at least 19, according to the New York Times, law abiding citizens who were protesting a march staged and organized by groups advocating white supremacy. ABNN is saddened by the senseless tragedy and we are troubled by U.S.A. President Donald J Trump’s mixed message responses to the deplorable incident.
Thank you Heather for exercising your first amendment right and hopefully your courage will motivate people from all regions f the world to speak out against social injustice…..Until Next Time!
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