New Mexico Boxing - Fight Results for Ortegon vs. Almager

Fresquez Productions & Sky City Casino - Sky City Casino - Friday, April 20, 2001 - Acoma, NM

Sky City Slugfest
Almager & Ortegon Battle in Close Fight

by chris cozzone

A month ago, Mary Ann Almager said her fight with Trina Ortegon was going to be a war that would most likely go the distance. She said she’d come prepared to fight.

We all knew she would, Trina included. Last year, Almager suffered a first round TKO to Ann Wolfe, and a 5th round stoppage to Valerie Mahfood. To remain a force in the women’s middleweight division, Almager had to win this fight.

But there was Trina Ortegon, who wasn’t going to just give away one of her two belts. Trina has been hungry for a shot at Valerie Mahfood, Ann Wolfe or Laila Ali for nearly a year now . . . Hell, she’s been hungry for a fight for nearly that long.

Trina hadn’t stepped into the ring since last June at the State Fairgrounds, when she whacked away at Marsha Valley for a unanimous win. Since then, she’s had several fights lined up, and though no fault of her own, they were all cancelled—or rescheduled, then cancelled—for one reason or another.

Meanwhile . . .  Laila Ali has become the name in her division, if not in all women’s boxing—despite the better fighters in her class: Mahfood, Wolfe & Ortegon, to name a few.

Meanwhile . . . Valerie Mahfood has become the woman to beat, having crushed Ann Wolfe in the ring last November, and TKO’d Almager last August.

Meanwhile . . . on the night before Trina’s fight with Almager, in Houston, Valerie Mahfood, despite the aura of invincibility that has begun to surround her, was KO’d in Round Two—by a woman Trina has beaten: Kendra Lenhart.

But, wins or losses, these other fighters have managed to do what Trina has not been able to do: get fights, stay active and keep their names out there in the public.

Hell, it’s not as if Trina’s been on vacation for a year. She’s been actively training during this entire period, sparring with the guys at San Jo and working under Irene Garcia at A Woman’s Place. Trina might not have fought since last June, but she was in awesome shape. Mary Ann Almager wasn’t the only one who was preparing for a 10-round war.

Trina’s fight with Almager was that first step back, and would, hopefully, get her a fight with Mahfood, Wolfe or even Ali (should Ali decide to take on a real fighter.) But first Ortegon had to get by Almager . . .

Here’s what I thought would happen in Ortegon vs. Almager: Trina would win most rounds by outboxing and outmoving her opponent. Almager would stay planted with a tight defense and weather Trina’s storm, occasionally landing her own shots, maybe even winning a few rounds. It would be a tough fight, but Ortegon would prevail.

Things don’t always go as expected in boxing.

Almager was tough. Almager fought more like a guy (that’s a compliment); she stood up to Trina and with her feet set solid, threw the telling punches. Trina was the effective aggressor; she also threw more punches, although they weren’t as accurate as Almager’s shots.

Trina swarmed in during Round One, but Almager came back in the 2nd with hard, telling punches. These two rounds set the pace for the entire fight. Rounds 3 & 4 could’ve gone either way.

Round 5 had to be Trina’s. She had Almager in the corner and was snapping her head back with non-stop uppercuts before the bell broke the action.

Round 6 & 7 were close enough to go either way. The bulk of Round 8 was spent going toe-to-toe in the corner. Mary Ann’s shots were solidly grounded; Trina’s were more numerous, albeit smothered. Rounds 9 & 10 were also too close to call.

It all depended on how you score fights. Do you give rounds to the effective aggressor? To the one who throws the seemingly harder punches? Or to the one who throws more punches—the busier fighter? If it’s that close, do you give it to the champion? To the hometowner? It was a helluva fight to score.

Although I saw many rounds as close enough to go either way, my scorecard had Ortegon winning 6 rounds to 4 (96-94). Only one judge saw it my way: 97-93. The other two saw it for Almager, 96-94 and 97-94. Most of the crowd must’ve seen it that way, too, for there was only a smattering of boos.

After the fight, Trina said she thought the fight would end in a split-decision and she wasn’t surprised that Almager had won. She also said that she hadn’t been hurt at any time during the fight.

“But I felt I was hurting her in some of the rounds,” Ortegon said. “Especially with those uppercuts in Round 5. Regardless, there’s no way I see this fight going down as a deficit. I will avenge my loss.”

Hell, Trina might not have won the fight, but she had the much nicer outfit. Plus, she’s got cuter legs than Almager.

The new Women’s IBA Middleweight champion, Mary Ann Almager, was elated after the fight. “I refused to fight Trina’s fight,” she said. “I fought my fight and I won.”

Ortegon & Almager will most likely be fighting their rematch on ESPN2.

Could be either one of ‘em will be matched up against Mahfood, who was actually there at the fights last night, sportin’ a stylish pink Mohawk and lookin’ every bit as big and tough as a linebacker. Before the main event, she had a few words with the ring announcer but I couldn’t hear what was being said: the crowd was booing too loud—it was something about wanting to fight Trina and that she thought Mary Ann would win. I gave up trying to hear what was being said, and in my crafty, professional manner, yelled, “What happened last night?” into the ring at her.

She must not have heard, for she didn’t answer back.

Frankie’s Back

Last night also marked the return of Frankie Archuleta. It was his first fight in more than a year—since his first defeat at the hands of 3-time champ Kevin Kelley.

This fight was an obvious welcome-back, warm-up fight for him. His opponent, Russell Mosley had been called the night before after Martin Llamas had cancelled for one reason or another.

“Red Dog” Mosley claims to be a cousin to Sugar Shane Mosley . . . must be a distant cousin, then, for this Mosley’s fight record shows him play the role of a punching bag for others.

Last night was Frankie’s turn to beat a win from Russell Mosley.

Despite his un-ironed, wrinkled trunks and seen-better-times appearance, Mosley didn’t do too bad in the 2:23 he lasted with Archuleta. He actually looked like he had skills, and he was able to pop Frankie a couple times . . . .

And then the two tied up in the last minute. The ref called “Break!” but it was too late. Frankie’s glove was airborn. It landed smack dab on Russell’s chin, downing him for the count.

After recovering and walking back to his corner, Russell Mosley muttered to his second, “Goddamn! He hit hard . . .!”  

“Amazing” Adriano’s Amazing Win

The opponent was Mexican veterano Juan “El Chocalate” Barreto. With a record of 7-22-3, and 4 KO’s, you knew he probably wasn’t going to knock out Adriano Sanchez. At worst, he would go the distance and do just enough to lose.

That, he did. But, actually, I thought he did just enough to win . . . or, at least, score a draw.

Bareto fought intelligently, comin’ in low and scoring body shots and occasional looping overhand punches that connected. Against the taller Sanchez, he also led with his head, giving Sanchez the extra worries of a damaging head butt. Sanchez threw more punches and played the aggressor, although Barreto blocked most of his punches with his tighter defense.

The judges scored it 58-57; 58-56; and 58-57, all for Adriano Sanchez. I had it 58-57 for Barreto. The crowd saw it that way, too, for they booed a good five or six minutes.

Vicious Vern Victorious

Everyone was wondering which Marcos Rodriguez would show up to fight Vernon Payne. Would it be the Marcos who occasionally blows a fight? Or the Marcos who comes to fight?

After the first round, we all knew the “good” Marco was fighting.

Unfortunately, he was up against Vernon Payne, and last night, Vern took Marcos to school.

Payne went right to work. Immediately after touching gloves in Round One, Payne rocked Marcos back with an unsuspecting right. Marcos spent the round weathering the storm and occasionally letting his punches go, but not enough to steal the round.

Marcos came back in Round Two. Payne spent too much time against the ropes to win the round. But that was the only round I had Rodriguez winning.

Vern spent the rest of the fight in control. Marcos began to tire but he showed a lot of heart taking the fight to Payne and pursuing his faster opponent around the ring. Vernon, though, had the edge with his speed and skills. When Marcos threw his shots, Vernon was not there. As the fight wore on, Payne started to smile in between flurries. It was his fight.

At the end of six rounds, all three judges had Vern victorious: 60-55; 60-54 and 60-54.

Aragon Rebounds with Win

Steve Aragon had a similar time with Phoenix fighter Juan Cortes. Cortes, too, came to fight, but he was no match for Aragon. The fighter from Ceboyeta was hungrier, and he fought with more intensity than Cortes did.

Whereas Cortes fought defensively and tried to pick his shots, Steve opened up and using his jab to get in, kept his opponent backing up while he landed the harder shots.

At the end of four rounds, it was a no-brainer; I gave Steve all four rounds. Judges scored it 40-35, 39-37 and 40-36, all for Aragon.

Barring one questionable decision (Sanchez-Barreto) and the usual terrible lighting, the card last night at Sky City was among Fresquez’s best productions. If only we can get him to move his operations to Albuquerque . . .

The only disappointment of the night was the cancellation of the fight between Shawn Gallegos and Tommy Aragon. It’s been the second time Aragon has pulled out of a fight for health reasons. The first time was last month when he was going up against Steve Aragon on the Tapia-Gomez undercard. He’d hurt his hand and had to cancel out.

It’s also been the second time Shawn Gallegos showed up for a fight with no opponent. Last November, his opponent pulled a no-show.

Both Shawn and Frankie Archuleta, though, are sure to be on the next Fresquez card: it’ll be in their hometown of Las Vegas, NM next month.

Stay tuned . . . .

Mary Ann Almager (12-4, 8 KO's) W 10 Trina Ortegon (9-3, 2 KO's)
Frankie Archuleta (19-1-1, 13 KO's) KO 1 Russell Mosley (10-22, 4 KO's)
Adriano Sanchez (11-2-1, 8 KO's) W 6 Juan Barreto (7-23-3, 1 KO)
Vernon Payne (5-0, 3 KO's) W 6 Marcos Rodriguez (7-4, 6 KO's)
Steve Aragon (3-1, 2 KO's) W 4 Juan Cortes (0-2)

© 2001 by New Mexico
Site & photos by cozzone