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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Tale of the Tape, Regulatory Review & Much More

Boxing Fans, in our last column I mentioned my upcoming December 9 trip to the fabled Madison Square Garden to watch Vasyl Lomachenko defend his WBO World super featherweight title against Guillermo Rigondeaux in what some boxing scribes are describing as the fight of 2017 before the first punch has been thrown.

The event is sold out and yours truly had the foresight to book a flight and room before the cost exceeded our limited budget and ABNN is set to enter Madison Square Garden for the first time. Actually, ABNN did bust the piggy bank for this fairy tale trip but no regrets.

The original Madison Square Garden was situated at the former New York and Harlem Railroad Depot on East 26th Street Madison Avenue in Manhattan. This was the first venue to use the name and the time frame was 1879-1890. In years since, the name “Madison Square Garden” has been used (without permission) by several entrepreneurs attempting to capitalize on the name. One of the violators was a local gym owner in Phoenix who dropped using the name after a few less than friendly calls from people with power.

The history of MSG includes 4 tar downs and current venue is located at 4 Pennsylvania Avenue-Plaza New York 1001 near the Pennsylvania Hotel where I will be staying while in the Big Apple for the fight. Boxing was first introduced to the Garden in 1925 with a Light Heavyweight title match. The original Madison Square Garden Ring is now in the Hall of Fame.

I was surprised to find out that Thomas Hearns never fought in the Garden but a short list of boxers who did makes me drool: Ali, Frazier, Duran, Leonard, Louis, Marciano, Trinidad, Robinson, Lamotta, and GGG.

After Anthony Joshua’s lack luster performance on Saturday, 1028, watching Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux should be a masterpiece. Here is the tale of the tape and hopefully fans won’t miss the war, live from Madison square Garden. It may not be Frazier vs. Ali 1 or 2 if you can catch it at the garden or from your living room, do so. Here is a brief profile on both fighters: Amateur Records: Lomachenko was 396-1 before turning professional with 2 Olympic Gold Medals. Rigondeaux was reportedly 463-12 as an amateur and he won 2 gold medals. As professionals, the 2 boxing stars have won a combined 5 world titles. Pro Record: Rigondeaux 18-0-12 knockouts & one NC-Lomachenko 9-1-7 knockouts, only loss to Salcido Reach: Rigondeaux 68 “-Lomachenko 65 “, Age: Rigondeaux 37-Lomachenko is 29, Ko Rate: Rigondeaux 67%-Lomachenko 70 %, Stance: both fighters are southpaws, Birthplace: Rigondeaux born in Cuba-Lomachenko born in Ukraine. The advantage Lomachenko has is age and Rigondeaux is coming up in weight to match Lomachenko.

Boxing Noise: Former MCSO boxing coach Rene Bojorquez and his boxing team is regrouping after The Youth Assistance Foundation, has decided to drop the boxing club from its’ funding mechanism. Rene aka Mike is currently preparing his kids to compete in the upcoming Gene Lewis Invitational on 11/09-10-11. The dedicated coach seems relieved now that he knows the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is no longer supporting the boxing club and the organization can now solicit funds from new sources. Our mention of the clubs plight brought forth one prospective donor who is thinking about offering a generous donation to the program.

We wish Rene and Patricia (his resourceful wife) the best of luck in finding financial support for a worthy program. ABNN apologies for listing the MCSO as MSCO on two separate sentences in the piece, we know better. The Gene Lewis Invitational is held at 59 E. Broadway Road in Mesa. Show times on Thursday and Friday start at 7 PM; Saturday’s boxing commences at 1 PM. ….Richard Soto, Chief of Officials, gave a shout out to his volunteers” All of you are very important and do an outstanding job”! ABNN will add a post script to his verbal salute; he needs more volunteers: 602-702-7053….Ray Beltran will get a title shot (WBO lightweight) in February somewhere in Vegas at a date and venue to be announced soon. Super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez defends his title in the main event. Very few boxers’ measure up to these two men in the humility category…get your tickets early! November 18 is do or don’t day for Middleweight Andrew Hernandez (19-7-1) when he fights Mike Gavronski (24-2-1) n Tacoma Washington. If he wins- The fighting Pride of Phoenix will be wearing Ralph Polo Blue for the year and it’s shopping spree for his wife and if he loses, it’s Right Guard and a coke and small order of fries at Wendy’s for the Mrs. . His fight is huge. I called Harvey Prezant Harry in our last column so he can call me Norman for two weeks. Only two readers caught the misspelling of Shabranskyy in our headline last week, I left off 1 Y…Amateur Standout Moises Rosales (Fuentes Boxing) competed out of state last week and came home with a 1st place trophy. Bernice, his proud mother, sent word of his success.

Regulatory Review: Boxing fans awaiting the boxing regulatory review results can get on their computer and click on the following link: http// and read what they have been waiting for. The suggestions were released on 11/ 27 and already people in the boxing industry are calling Aiden Fleming (Arizona Department of Gaming Legislative Liaison) with comments. I hope the newly wed is holding up well, boxing fans can be quite expressive.

To understand the impetus behind this project, every state agency commission in Arizona is required to review its rules every five years and submit a report to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC). If this report isn’t submitted, the rules will lapse; sometimes haste makes waste!

The rules writing team, approved by the Department of Gaming (ADG) executive team met for an estimated 3 months and suggested what they feel are changes that remove outdated and burdensome rules. Another source said the collaboration took longer, I don’t know, I wasn’t consulted. Critics of the rule writing team wish the ADG had selected working members of the boxing industry to sit in on rule writing process. Where are the people who sweat boxing? One or two meetings with men and women in the profession might have given the writers a little more insight. One reader says she would like to offer a test to the rule writers to see what they know in boxing. She says the proposed taping rules are silly. How, she continues, can a big man use the same amount of tape as a small man? Another reader who claims to have read the document, believe the proposed changes will lead to overregulation of the two sports. ABNN sent the document out to 75 readers and that is why this column is late on arrival.

For the record here are the names of the rules writing team and their job descriptions: Aiden Fleming, ADG Legislative Liaison-Kris Fasching, ADG Agency Counsel and short term Public information officer for the Department of Gaming-Deanie Rey, Attorney General’s office-Norma Rivero, ADG Boxing Commission Staff and Juan Estrada, ADG Executive Director of the Arizona Boxing/MMA Commission. All of the writers mentioned are employees of the state; but, it is my understanding that the group solicited ideas from various sources and examined rules and regulations followed by other state Boxing/MMA Commissions.

My main question would be how many people in the boxing industry, boxers, promoters, referees, matchmakers, corner men, etc.; are capable of understanding the text in the document and how many will find the time to read the 39 page document or even find it on the website. People who object to some of the changes can submit emails to Mr. Fleming (ADG Legislative Liaison) at: or reach him by phone, 602-255-3879.

So far, at least 20 people have contacted me through one form or another and majority of complaints registered to have centered on the proposed changes in blood testing and the lack of “real” attention to brain trauma injuries. The majority of major boxing commissions require a mandatory MRI for fighters with a history of knockouts. Arizona, Mexico and Canada didn’t last time I checked. The Arizona boxing commission has kicked the “baseline concussion testing concept around and posting a spotter at ringside is as insightful as just say no to drugs. We will see how the rule dismantling process goes and I do support changes but not with a gun to your head approach and a stop watch in the other.

I was first told that oral arguments could be made at three Monthly meetings; now the timetable has been altered and the time frame for all oral arguments to l end falls on November 29th, 6 days after Thanksgiving, at the end of the Monthly Commission meeting held in the second floor conference room, 1110 W. Washington St., suite 250 Phoenix Arizona 85007. Please call everybody, the issue is very important.

I have no idea on what will happen at the 11/29 Arizona Boxing/MMA Commission meeting. Phoenix and Maricopa County boxers are known to be openly apathetic towards hope, promise and change. If the community can’t support the Golden Gloves, Copper Gloves and each other; I don’t expect much resistance to anything in boxing except when the commission withholds a fighter’s paycheck. My apologies to the very efficient Arizona Gaming Department PIO Carline Oppleman for not finishing my column on Monday as promised; but readers unsure of what the rule changes mean kept me busy on the phone and several stories I was tracking didn’t materialize, sorry! I met deadlines when it is practical to do so. Missing this one, marks the fifth time in a 45 year journalism career that I was late out of the gate with a column or story.

Showdown in Tucson: Sergio Diaz and Jerry Truax (Showdown Promotions) are pleased with their ticket sales for their show at Casino Del Sol in Tucson on Thursday November 2, the day after Halloween. I talked to Sergio about ticket sales and his attitude was upbeat on the phone expecting a sellout of 1,500 to show up at the Event Center, doors open 5 PM on Thursday night and first bell chimes at 5:30 p.m. The venue is great for boxing. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Casino Del Sol Gift Shop and online

Television coverage on ESPN and ESPN Deportes commences at 6:30 p.m. And the card promises a lot of punches and maybe an upset or two. In the Main Event the always dangerous Jesus Soto Karass (takes on high energy welterweight Juan Carlos Abreu in (19-3-1) a 10 round contest that has action written all over it and don’t let Soto’s 28-12-4 record fool you, he always comes to fight. In the Co-Main, Ryan Garcia (11-0) hopes to continue his winning ways against Arizona junior lightweight Cesar Alan Valenzuela (14-5-1). Valenzuela may have something to say about that. . Arizona’s Christopher Gonzales makes his debut versus Jesus Arevalo (2-1).

We missed our deadline so we you have missed an opportunity to watch Jesus Soto Karass and Christopher Gonzalez workout on Tuesday but Wednesday is the weigh-in day so you have plenty of time to hop int0 the neighbor’s Jaguar and drive to Tucson for the noon time scale check and see close-up who ate some of the kids Halloween candy. The event is open to the public and available to all at the Casino Del Sol New Pool Lounge; see you there….Until Next Time!

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

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