Fresquez Productions & Sky City Casino - Sky City Casino - Friday, August 17, 2001 - Acoma, NM
Almager Nets the Iron Butterfly
The day before the fight, Mary Ann Almager told me that before her first fight with Trina Ortegon, she was contemplating retirement. Snaggin’ Trina’s WIBA belt changed things for her—even though that first fight was a close fight.
night’s fight was not.
night, Mary Ann Almager might’ve lost two rounds—but the rest was hers. The
first couple rounds had it lookin’ like the original fight; that this was
going to go the distance, and that it would be close and difficult to score—a
matter of preference for judges having to choose between awarding the busier,
more aggressive fighter who lands more, or the fighter who picks her spots and
lands the more telling blows. Unfortunately, for Trina, scoring last night’s
rematch wasn’t difficult to score at all.
spent her time pursuing Almager around the ring, trying to cut it off, trying to
corner her, trying to land her shots, trying to hurt the woman who would
ultimately double the number in her “L” column.
Mary Ann Almager was in control. Her defense was tight enough to render most of
Trina’s attacks ineffective; the punches that got in did not seem to have any
damaging effect on Almager. Mary Ann’s own offensive moves slowly started to
dismantle the Iron Butterfly until, by the 9th Round, Trina was
getting hit in the head too often; taking too many shots that rocked her. Trina
was taking unnecessary punishment.
Ortegon was not going to go down; and she was not going to quit. So, Trina’s
trainer and manager, Irene Garcia, did the right thing. She climbed onto the
apron and waved a white towel at referee Tony Rosales until he waved it over.
to be honest here. Last night’s rematch had to be the hardest fight I’ve
ever shot or written about.
Boxing, it’s always a struggle to remain objective. It’s easier to do when
covering fights in Vegas. But here in New Mexico, when you’re covering all the
local fighters; when you’re getting to know them all; when you end up calling
many of them friends, it’s nearly impossible to be totally objective. Still,
you give it your best shot.
gets hard to do is watch—cover, photograph—someone you know well and like
get beaten, the way Trina was beaten Friday night.
when the winner’s announced and it’s your job to shoot the champ pumping her
fists in the air, it’s hard to keep your eyes from wandering over to the
not-so-fortunate opponent, consoled by her corner, now crushed by two defeats in
a row and possibly headed for a knockdown had the fight continued.
the Iron Butterfly’s got an iron chin. Most likely, she would’ve found a way
to take the punishment, to last the round, to go the distance and to keep on
trying for that only-chance to win; that one knockout punch that did not seem
likely to materialize last night. Trina’s persistence was an even better
reason for Irene Garcia to throw in that towel.
night might’ve seemed like Trina’s toughest fight yet but I got a
hunch that her biggest battle is only beginning. Trina’s biggest challenge
will be fought over the next several months, as she finds the strength and will
power to come back from this loss. But if I know Trina, we’ll be seeing her in
the gym soon enough . . . trying to figure out what went wrong and how to
for Mary Ann, her options are many, at least, as far as women’s boxing goes.
After the fight, she called out Laila Ali. But after last night, Ali wouldn’t
be too smart to take on Almager. Could be, the loss might work better in
Trina’s favor in getting a shot at Ali.
as far as retirement for Mary Ann Almager? Not too likely after her show of
skills last night . . . not too likely. She’s going to be around for a while.
Brady Steps Up
main event last night wasn’t the only surprise of the night. The co-main—a
real, ugly bang-‘em-up scrap—between the “South San Jose Assassin”
Joseph Brady and Tucson’s Jo Jo Varela was my pick for Most Entertaining Fight
of the Night.
been criticizing Brady from Day One; for fighting guys without heartbeats,
mainly. I’ve also doubted his skills. From what I’ve seen of Brady, against
the weak opposition he’s been up against, I’ve seen little of the skills
everyone’s raved about the amateur star.
night, I had to eat my words.
faced his first big test in Tucson’s Jo Jo Varela. Varela was a top amateur in
Arizona and with a record of 9-2, was coming off a big win in Dallas over a
local prospect. Varela said he liked winning in his opponents’ backyards; he
liked upsetting and in Brady, that’s what he’d come to do.
was a helluva ugly fight (and I’ll get to that.) A slugfest. But at the end of
six rounds, Brady had not only won but he’d dropped the tough Tucson fighter
three times—four times if you count the one time the ref missed, ruling it a
slip. (But that works both ways: ref Rocky Burke also ruled a damaging body blow
Varela landed on Brady a low blow. Brady took advantage of the ruling and took a
between the slugging-about and the wrestling moves, Brady showed a tight
defense. He was also able to take advantage of openings to land clean, flush
shots that had Varela hurt . . . and on the canvas. The fight came close to
ending in a TKO-KO victory for Brady.
won’t say jack about Brady’s ability to outbox Varela last night. The kid
shined . . .
much as I’d like to leave it at that, I can’t. It would be irresponsible of
me to overlook Brady’s behavior in the ring last night.
alone should’ve prevailed for Brady last night. Should’ve. Would’ve.
But his power punches, his determination to win, his boxing skills were
supplemented by a steady salvo of dirty tactics.
Ironic, that a fighter who is winning the fight would have to resort to
fouling but that’s just what the crowd saw (and booed) last night at Sky City.
Brady hit on the break two, maybe three times; he body slammed Varela at least
once; he pushed Varela through the ropes . . . Hell, Brady made Bernard Hopkins
look like Mother Teresa.
there was no need.
Brady was in control from Round Two on, especially with all the knockdowns. There was no reason for dirty fighting.
Rocky Burke had a rare ‘off’ night--which is understandable since he spent
the majority of the time trying to get both fighters to stop wrestling. Still,
there should’ve been
points taken off—that would’ve, or should’ve put an
end to it, and without changing the outcome. Brady still would’ve won the
fight, even with a couple points off for bad behavior; but the threat of a loss
by DQ might’ve given him incentive to quit fouling. It also would’ve saved
him the massive chorus of boos Brady received at the end of the fight when he
was announced the winner.
wants a rematch. He said his defense was lacking and next time around, he’d be
ready. Brady said he’d give him one.
this a fight we want to see again? Sure thing. But let’s box . . . not
wrestle, not street-fight.
so I’ve seen Brady’s potential . . . but let’s not shadow skills with
opening bout of the night saw the return of lightheavyweight hopeful Max Heyman—his
first fight in New Mexico in three and a half years.
night, Max was matched up against El Paso’s Francisco Stevens. From Round One,
you could see the two fighters were in different skill levels. Heyman had a few
specks of ring rust, not having fought since last November, but he still won
every round before Stevens quit on his stool after the 4th. The first
two rounds saw an aggressive Heyman dominating Stevens. Stevens came back in the
3rd and 4th—well, maybe not “came back,” but,
rather, was able to survive and land some quality shots on Heyman who was not as
aggressive as the first two rounds. Still, Heyman took the rounds and Stevens
did not answer the 5th Round bell.
has taken a different route in his career than most NM fighters. Max is a road
warrior, and has taken on tough guys out-of-state in NV. If he’d had someone
to groom him, we’d be seeing a 20-0-or-something top ten contender right now
instead of the 12-3-3 fighter he is now. But things are changing for Heyman.
Last November, he nearly beat Julian Letterlough, before a disputed stoppage
gave the TKO win to Letterlough. It was a loss but it also boosted Heyman’s
the Maloof Brothers signed Max. Just a few weeks before they picked up Danny
Romero. The plan is to build his record, keep him busy and get him a match
that’ll put him get him ranked in the top ten.
Aragon and Estrada Show Improvement
great match on the card was Steve Aragon vs. Lorenzo Estrada. Whatever both guys
are doing in the gym, they need to continue and do more of, because it’s
working. Both fighters showed a side I hadn’t seen before.
who usually plods in straight ahead and tries to go toe-to-toe, switched styles
and had Steve runnin’ all over the ring getting frustrated and tired as he
tried to catch him. Then, when Aragon would not expect it, Estrada would rush in
and pot-shot him. It very nearly worked and certainly gave Estrada two of the
first four rounds.
Steve, on the other hand, also showed a different side to his style by using his
speed and skills rather than his usual move-in and bang-it-out style.
fight was even through the 4th but then Aragon’s speed and
conditioning gave him the edge. And, by the 5th, Aragon had figured
out a way to crack Estrada’s new style.
takes another win, rising to 5-1 now; and Lorenzo Estrada, slips to 2-13.
Estrada shouldn’t be discouraged, though. He looks like he’s improving and
if he can stay away from accepting fights from heavier fighters (and being used
so often as an opponent), he can begin to even out his win and loss columns.
Payne Wins Again
Payne had an easy fight against last-minute sub Jose Chavirez from Denver.
It’s hard to say how good Payne looked—Payne always shows his skills—but Chavirez
wasn’t exactly top opposition.
though, did come to fight. But he was no match for Vern who had him down
in the first, and again, in the second . . .and then again before his corner
threw in the towel.
next for Vernon Payne?
wants fights. More fights. Tougher competition.
showdown with Joseph Brady is not an impossibility, although Payne would like to
see that fight at a catch weight between 154 and 147.
for the next Fresquez card to be on October 5th, again, at Sky City.
Headlining the show will be Frankie Archuleta, who will take on the unheralded
Roberto Lopez. Also scheduled on the card: Adriana Delgado, Vernon Payne, Isaac
Cruz and Kenny Maldonado.
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© 2001 by New Mexico Boxing.com.