Photo Credit: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
SMS Promotions founder 50 Cent – real name Curtis Jackson – will engage in his official debut acting in a promotional capacity on Saturday, December 8 as, on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao – Juan Manuel Marquez IV main event, Jackson’s premier prizefighter Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0-0, 16ko) returns to the ring following a 15 month hiatus. At the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Gamboa embarks on a dust-up with Michael Farenas (34-3-4, 26ko).
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Featherweight sensation Gary Russell Jr continued his climb up the division ranks with a dominant third round knockout over Christopher Perez on Saturday, June 30 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Russell outclassed Perez primarily with his unmatched hand speed, powerful and precise flurrying and general ring nous. With one knockdown scored in the second round, followed by a further three in the third, a teekayo win was awarded.
Official verdict: Gary Russell Jr by way of 3rd Rd TKO.
Occupying the centre of the ring immediately, Russell Jr (20-0-0, 12ko) bossed the space and almost the entire opening minute had it not been for a countering right hand landed by Perez; his most significant punch of the round. Russell, though, demonstrated his blazing-fast hand-speed, landing solitary shots but also loading up on leather and attacking the Mexican with combinations.
In round two, Russell’s flurrying began with body blows and concluded upstairs and it was this style of move that produced a knockdown in the final minute of the round. Showing a good finisher’s instinct, Russell went after Perez (23-3-0, 14ko) when he had returned to his feet, stalked his prey, caught Christopher with a mighty left hook and generally forced the Sinaloa 126lber into a retreat.
Russell scored a crucial second knockdown at the beginning of the third round, knocking Perez through the ropes and onto his seat, prompting the referee to tell Perez that he ‘needs to show him something’. That something did not arrive, though, and Russell floored him again with two minutes left to wind down on the round clock.
Then, a right hand dropped Perez and the officiator immediately took over, took a hold of Perez and invited the ringside physician into the ring. Russell then returned to his corner, nonplussed, and had his gloves taken off while Another One Bites The Dust played out.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
What had been shaping up to be a classic brawl between two of boxing’s greatest rival nations – Puerto Rico and Mexico – ended in anti-climax as Jorge Arce and Jesus Rojas left the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9 with a no contest on their record. An electric opening session was countered swiftly in the next as, ten seconds into round two, an illegal move resulted in an Arce injury, something that Rojas refuses to believe…
Official verdict: No contest.
“I put him down in the first round and then with my experience I was dominating him,” said experienced and fan-friendly Arce (60-6-2, 46ko) to HBO.
The knockdown struck by Arce in the first stanza, though, led to a competitive scuffle and those at ringside collectively – and rightly – assumed a barnburner was about to erupt. However, ten seconds into round two, Arce was on the canvas and was granted a five minute respite as he was effectively dropped with a four punch combination with each shot as illegal as the last (a clash of heads, a low blow, a shot to the kidney and a left hook to the ear when his back was turned).
It was the punch to the ear that did the most damage as Arce explained: “He hit me and I heard booming sounds. I understand his anxiety made him act that way. He hit me behind the ear, I feel like I’m falling sideways but with the ice I’m feeling better. This fight can’t end this way, we’ll do this again. We’ll have a rematch.”
Rojas (18-1-1, 13ko) did not accept Arce’s side of the story and believes the Sinaloa slugger was looking for an escape route. The 25-year-old said: “It is unfortunate, I came here to fight… yes, he put me down but I wanted to fight. The referee didn’t intervene at any moment and I hit him in the face. I threw a punch and that was it. The referee never intervened. [Arce is] a coward, he didn’t come to fight.”
On his decision to stop the contest, renowned referee Kenny Bayliss stated that Arce “got hit with an unintentional low blow. I gave him the full five minutes, he complained about his ear, I called the doctor in and he said he could not continue.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Battle-hardened Orlando Salido packed his bags and took his coveted WBO world championship at featherweight into enemy territory when he took on power punching challenger Juan Manuel Lopez on Saturday, March 10, but Siri left the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico with the belt still around his waist as, like he did in his first encounter with JuanMa, he dismantled the slugger away from home and won by way of stoppage in a 126lb thriller.
Official verdict: Salido by way of tenth round TKO.
“He hit me hard but I could still continue,” said Lopez (31-2-0, 28ko), who was stopped on his feet for the second time running in his fight series with Salido. “I was dominating the fight,” he added. “It was a tough fight, but I was winning.” Such sentiment was shared by two of the ringside judges who scored a contest in Lopez’s favour, however, the fight fans in attendance, those calling the shots on television and armchair fans from around the world witnessed combat that Salido had gained an edge in.
The opening stanzas were marked by Lopez’s boxing. Known for his desire to trade, Lopez had mentioned pre-fight that he had taken heed of his mistakes in last year’s bout and that instead of going toe-to-toe with Salido, he would box him instead. Against Orlando’s unrelenting pressure, the styles meshed well in a fight that, whilst initially slow-burning, always maintained the threat of one that could quickly transform into a an all-action slobberknocker.
The 2011 fight of the year nominee showed that Salido could hold up to the strength, power and might of JuanMa, yet the same could not be said of Lopez standing up to Orlando’s heavy hands and, true to that story, the 2012 contest showed Salido doing damage with his bombs. Salido believed he had his man hurt in the fifth and when he looked to score a knockdown, Lopez fired back with a short-range hooking left that caught the proud Mexican by surprise and he lost his legs and succumbed to a knockdown.
Whilst the electric nature of round eight roused the crowd onto their feet, it was round nine that will be mentioned as having early potential to snatch annual awards as three minutes of brutal exchanges ensued. Salido, who had begun to bear the wounds of battle as he experienced swelling, fought through any pain barrier by showing a true champion’s instinct as he put his punches into bunches and canvassed Lopez. JuanMa made the count but appeared groggy and disorientated, forcing the referee – Roberto Ramirez Sr – to end the contest.
“This is how I planned this fight,” said the winner, Salido, who rose to 38-11-2, 26ko. “I knew it was going to be a very tough fight. We both competed punch for punch. I’m just lucky he’s the one that fell.
“This was a classic in the long rivalry between Mexican and Puerto Rican fighters,” he added, in a fitting concluding remark.
Words: Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Photos: Peter Amador/Top Rank
Real deal Miguel ‘Mikey’ Garcia, of Oxnard, California, further maneuvered himself into world title contention on Saturday, March 10 as he produced a comfortable and convincing seventh round technical knockout performance over two-time featherweight championship challenger Bernabe Concepcion of Metro Manila, Philippines at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Official verdict: Garcia by way of seventh round TKO.
It was a trademark Garcia performance as he boxed in a cerebral fashion, beginning the contest with patience as he sought to initially figure Concepcion out, locate the flaws in the Filipino prizefighter’s approach on fight night before exploiting them in order to secure the stoppage finish.
He operated behind his trusted jab, a tool used early on to find the appropriate distance and one eventually used to introduce his proven power shots, particularly in round seven.
It was in the seventh when Concepcion – who had, prior to Saturday evening, only ever been halted once before (by main eventer Juan Manuel Lopez) – tasted the canvas and was withdrawn from the contest by Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon. Concepcion began the stanza looking to put the pressure onto Garcia, however, his hooking punches and straight shots were all parried away by Garcia’s head-high guard. Moments later, Garcia began finding range with his overhand right and clattered Concepcion who staggered awkwardly to the canvas.
“I think I showed everybody my skills and I was able to put him out when the time was ready,” said Garcia, an archetype of the thinking man’s fighter, an unbeaten 24-year-old with 28 wins behind him (24 by way of KO), two good wins over Concepcion and, last year, Matt Remillard, and has long been banging on the door of world title contention, something he reiterated after his victory by concluding: “I would like to face any of the champions at 126.”
Out of those champions… ‘Super’ WBA titlist Chris John, WBC belt holder Jhonny Gonzalez, IBF ruler Billy Dib and WBO king Salido, it is expected to be the latter.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
WBO featherweight world title challenger Juan Manuel Lopez may be gearing toward regaining his former championship belt when he clashes with current holder Orlando Salido later this evening, March 10, at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, but the Puerto Rican has praised the two main undercard fighters as the winners of the two co-headlining bouts could collide later this year.
“Saturday is a great card with a lot of good prospects,” said headline act Lopez, a former two-weight world champion having won full honours at super bantamweight and featherweight, commands a powerful punch but came unstuck for the first time as a professional prizefighter last year, when Salido scalped him in the eighth round.
Since suffering his sole defeat, Lopez bounced back at the expense of Mike Oliver, boosting his own knockout ratio by slaying the American boxer-mover inside two rounds. Salido, meanwhile, made two successful defences of the WBO strap that Lopez (31-1-0, 28ko) had previously adorned.
While Lopez and Salido (35-11-2, 23ko) represents a highly-anticipated rematch between two premier 126lbers, they both campaign in a division saturated with talent… one of those talents, an undefeated Oxnard pugilist who is a cerebral fighter, is Miguel ‘Mikey’ Garcia, who takes on Bernabe Concepcion with the winner expected to challenge the winner of Lopez versus Salido.
Lopez remarked: “Garcia and Concepcion is a really good fight and I’m glad that it will be on Showtime, along with mine. Mikey is one of the most intelligent fighters around. He has great ability. And Bernabe is a tough guy. He dropped me in our fight a couple of years ago so I know.”
On the task ahead Garcia (27-0-0, 23ko), who is on the cusp of becoming a challenger of a major championship himself, commented: “My fight with Concepcion is a tough fight, a dangerous fight and it means everything to me.
“If I want my title shot, I need to win. There has been talk about me fighting the winner of Lopez and Salido. I want my chance. I hope to fight the winner of Saturday night’s fight for the belt before the end of the year. I’ve put in a lot of hard work because the fight is so important to me.”
Standing in Mikey’s way, is Concepcion (29-5-1, 15ko), a Filipino 24-year-old who, as the fight’s underdog, will no doubt be buoyed by his compatriot Sonny Boy Jaro’s shock victory over long-reigning Thai fighter Pongsaklek Wonjongkam last week: “I’m excited for fight night on Saturday against Garcia,” he said.
“I came to Puerto Rico once before [in July 2010, to fight Lopez. He was teekayoed in two rounds, the only time he has been defeated by stoppage]. Thank you to the promoters and all the fans for having me back but I hope for a different result this time.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Orlando Salido (37-11-2, 25ko) defends his WBO featherweight world championship on Saturday, March 10 in his opponent, Juan Manuel Lopez‘s backyard inside the hostile Coliseo Roberto Clemente in the San Juan region of Puerto Rico. The Mexican, however, is unperturbed at the prospect of re-entering the lion’s den as he is buoyed from his 2011 upset victory over JuanMa (31-1-0, 28ko).
Aside from rounds three and seven, Salido was dominant over the course of eight rounds during his first meeting with Lopez at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, Bayamon, last year. Salido’s authority was underlined with the seeming ease in which he was able to work his way around Lopez’s portside posturing and land his overhand right – a southpaw’s nemesis punch.
It was perhaps Lopez’s desire to enhance his extraordinary knockout percentage that backfired. He was dropped in the fifth and stopped on his feet in the eighth and, when the rematch was announced, the 28-year-old spoke of the first fight as a learning curve and declared his intention to box Salido. However, that tactic may have fallen by the wayside as he now wants to go to war.
If the do-over mirrored the first duel then Salido would be favoured to repeat his victory. He said: “Entering the first fight, I had some doubts but now I have beaten JuanMa, I know I can beat him again. I am 1,000 percent sure I can win. I’ve been in the gym preparing and I know what to expect.”
Despite earning champion status and making two successful defences of the belt (against Kenichi Yamaguchi and Weng Haya), Salido still believes he “has something to prove.” He added: “In the ring, we have a score to settle.”
Addressing his rival, JuanMa riposted: “Orlando, you had a good night last year – but I want my title back. I let you wear the belt for 11 months but I’m bringing it back to where it belongs on Saturday.
“I have had a great preparation for this fight and I’m very confident. I never gave excuses about my last fight with Salido. He won. He knocked me out, fine. I don’t make excuses; I fight. If the ref didn’t stop the fight when he did last time, I’d still be fighting.”
Alan Dawson – London
It was a 2011 classic that produced one of the upset victories of the year as Orlando Salido became the first prizefighter to defeat hard-hitting featherweight supremo Juan Manuel Lopez, taking the proud Puerto Rican’s zero in emphatic fashion in Bayamon and now, almost one year on, at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan on March 10, the two are set to collide in a highly-anticipated rematch with both 126lbers confident of scoring a career-best triumph.
“I expect a very different fight,” said Salido, in anticipation of an alternative version of the JuanMa he defeated so convincingly once already, by way of eighth round technical knockout.
The difference between Salido (37-11-2, 25ko) and Lopez last year, was that Orlando’s punch resistance was high, whereas JuanMa demonstrated a repeated inability to provide a defence against Salido’s overhand right; demonstrated by the knockdown he suffered in round five.
Salido anticipates a slightly different approach from Lopez and his corner in March, but believes the same outcome could pan out as Lopez (31-1-0, 28ko) will revert to type and attempt to slug it out with him: “I know he will be better then last time but I don’t see him changing much,” the 31-year-old, who has gone the distance with Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Marquez and Robert Guerrero, said.
“He might try in the beginning to fight in a different style but he will come back to his strengths. He is going to feel that he is the better and stronger man, and that he is not.
“I want to show that my first win was not a fluke,” the Mexican added, before concluding that he is unafraid about the prospect of once again returning to the lion’s den: “I came back to fight in Puerto Rico because he gave the opportunity to me to fight for a world championship here and I have never had any problem winning in an opponents’ home base.”
Lopez has fought just once since suffering the sole blemish on his resume. In October, he out-bullied, out-muscled and out-gunned fast-fisted Mike Oliver at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez; a familiar arena he has boxed in six times. Against Salido, the 28-year-old southpaw will return to the Roberto Celemente Coliseum where he will hope to emulate the performances of his “idol” – Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad, an elite welterweight who was the first to beat both Oscar de la Hoya and Fernando Vargas.
“I am very happy to have the opportunity to fight in the Roberto Clemente Coliseum where my idol Tito Trinidad had so many fights and this is a dream come true for me,” Lopez said. “I knew Salido was a tough fighter and he came prepared and beat me and I offered no excuses,” he added, whilst also noting that his motivation for the rematch will be two-fold as he calls upon the Tito factor together with the do-over representing the “most important fight” of his career: “I will train very hard to regain my title.”
As Salido expected, Lopez stated that he “will make changes for this fight, like all fights”.
JuanMa, though, will not fight with blood and guts but instead adopt a more disciplined and cerebral approach. He said: “I have to be intelligent inside the ring [but] I don’t see him changing at all. He won his first fight with me and I’ve seen his last two fights before that. He’s going to fight the same style. You have to be smart and use your boxing skills. That is the only way to beat Salido. I learned that in our first fight.”
Supporting the match-up that pits two of the top featherweight campaigners against each other, is the presence of 126lb contender Miguel Angel ‘Mikey’ Garcia, a light version of unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko due to his patience, ability to figure an opponent out before breaking them down and scoring a knockout… oft with the jab and right cross combo.
Garcia (27-0-0, 23ko) is a part of the flourishing Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California, who already house super tough lightweight star Brandon Rios. Mikey is expected to follow in Rios’ footsteps and become older brother Robert’s next world champion and the 24-year-old is aligned with Bernabe Concepcion, a Filipino fighter who was trounced in two rounds by main event star Lopez in July, 2010.
Related article: Exclusive: JuanMa Lopez may have been Mike Oliver’s last fight
On The Beak – Admin
IBF middleweight world champion Daniel “The Real Deal” Geale faces his toughest test to date when he defends his crown against number one contender Osumanu Adama, of the US, on Wednesday, March 7 as Grange Global Promotions in conjunction with Main Event Television and Gary Shaw Productions present a night of elite boxing at the Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart, Tasmania. This will Geale’s last bout on home soil before heading to the US.
The champion wants another taste of hometown support after the roaring atmosphere generated by the D.E.C’s capacity crowd during his first defense was compared by US promoter, Gary Shaw, to that of a Las Vegas super fight.
This is Daniel’s mandatory defense of the much coveted IBF 160lb title captured in Germany last May, Geale’s record currently stands at 26-1-0, 15ko and victory is imperative in order to set up a unification bout abroad in the middle of the year. Whilst his team negotiates with Sergio Martinez, Dmitry Pirog and Felix Sturm, Daniel never looks past the fight ahead and remains totally focused on his next challenger.
Number one contender for the middleweight crown and the man looking to derail “The Real Deal’s” plan is Osumanu Adama. The former Ghanaian middleweight champion now lives and fights out of Joliet, Illinois and boasts a record of 20-2-0, 15ko. His path to a shot at the title has seen him defeat tough Mexican, Angel Hernandez for the vacant IBO world title in a shutout, defend successfully against Marcus Upshaw with a devastating fourth round knockout, followed by the systematic dismantling of Roman Karmazin over nine rounds in his past three fights..
In typical African fashion, Adama is fit, confident and an aggressive come forward fighter guaranteed to apply extreme pressure from the opening bell… the big question is “does he have what it takes” to step up in class and on to the world stage, to face the champion Daniel Geale.
In the main support, Sydney’s Billy “The Kid” Dib engages in a mandatory defense of his 126lb IBF featherweight world title as he faces the rugged and well schooled Mexican; Eduardo “Canilla” Escobedo, in a fight that promises fireworks. Dib will look to continue on with his impressive form after his last outing on November 19, 2011 saw him stop the previously undefeated Italian challenger Alberto Servidei, in just two minutes and 38 seconds of the opening stanza.
Both fighters have the potential to render the judges unnecessary in this bout with Dib possessing a 33-1-0, 20ko record, Escobedo 32-3-0, 23ko and coming off a second round demolition of Joksan Hernandez for the IBF Latino regional title after visiting the canvas five times in six minutes, courtesy of the heavy handed native of Mexico City. A convincing win by “The Kid” at this level will firm his aspirations and desire to headline events Stateside.
Leading in to the main support bout, Australia’s primo heavyweight Kali “Mean Hands” Meehan defends his IBF Pan-Pacific heavyweight belt over 12 rounds against America’s much improved Travis Walker. Fox sports fans will remember Walker troubling Samoan/Australian big banger Alex Leapai back in 2010. Since taking the Leapai fight on short notice, Walker is four wins from six outings, winning the NABA USA heavyweight title along the way with his two defeats being point’s losses to former WBA champ, Ruslan Chagaev and undefeated prospect Kubrat Pulev in an IBF International title bout.
Kali Meehan will look to solidify his world ranking with the IBF (eight) and WBA (11) when he meets Walker and, with a combined force of 500lb, 350 rounds professional experience and knockout records of near 70 percent, the only advice promoters can give is “Hang on to your seats and don’t blink”.
On The Beak – Admin
Luis Orlandito del Valle (14-0-0, 11ko) and José Beranza (34-21-2, 26ko), weighed in at 122.4lbs and 122lbs respectively yesterday, ahead of their much anticipated match-up on Saturday evening, at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. “The people there were really excited,” said Del Valle about the weigh-in; held yesterday at the New York State Athletic Commision.
He added: “Beranza has already defeated two formerly undefeated Boricuas and did the same during his last fight against Christopher Martin but the story will be different against ‘Orlandito’ del Valle.”
Del Valle versus Beranza was scheduled as a 124lbs fight for eight rounds.
As a professional in the featherweight division (126lbs) del Valle won the New York State title after defeating veteran Pascal Rouse and won the WBAs regional title, the NABA, after defeating Vietnamese fighter Dat Nguyen (17-1-0, 6ko at the time) by unanimous decision on the eve of New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade – pictured above.
This event is part of Dibella Entertainment’s ‘Broadway Boxing’ series, in which the main fight will feature fellow Boricua and super lightweight Gabriel ‘Tito’ Bracero (18-0-0, 3ko) who will take on former world champion, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (37-19-1, 22ko).
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster – 1.800.475.3000 and are priced at $45, $65, $85 and $125.