Lopez Lassos Garcia Retains NABA Super Fly Belt!
Pro boxing returns to El Paso with "Rumble in El Chuco"
report by Ricardo Trujillo
photos by Gabe Hernandez
Last night, Speaking Rock Entertainment and Fresquez Productions brought the first boxing card of the year to El Paso in grand style with a near-capacity crowd of 900 on hand to witness “Rumble in El Chuco.”
In the main event, Cesar “El Gallito” Lopez got off to a slow start, but gathered his form after Round Three to win a unanimous decision over game Benjamin Garcia of San Francisco, Calif., retaining his NABA super flyweight belt over ten hard fought rounds.
In the opening stanza, Lopez was reluctant to trade and take the lead while Garcia stalked his prey. With hands high, Garcia forced Lopez to the ropes and counter punch. Content to lie on the ropes, Lopez was wailed upon to the body and head by Garcia.
In Round Two, Lopez was swinging for the fences trying to force a knockout . . . which didn’t come. Abandoning any body attack, Lopez went head-hunting , to no avail; at this point, you could tell Garcia wasn’t going anywhere. He was going to hang with the champ.
Later on, Garcia said, “I knew I probably lost the first two rounds. I just couldn’t find my jab. But I won the fight with my power punching after I got my engine started.”
Lopez’s engine did not rev up until after Round Three, at which point his trainer, Jorge Garcia, and promoter, Lenny Fresquez, were screaming at ‘El Gallito’ to go to the body. Finally he did, and it halted some of the momentum Garcia had established in the early rounds.
Coming forward with two-fisted volleys, Lopez pressured Garcia into his fight. The tactic worked and Lopez, throwing a higher volume of punches, had Garcia responding in kind, making for a great fight that had the crowd on its feet many times in the middle rounds.
In Round Seven, Garcia was deducted a point for excessive holding. Then, in the next few rounds, the fight swung in favor of Lopez after Garcia became visibly tired, sealing a decision victory for the El Pasoan with scores of 98-91 twice and 97-92.
Fightnews and NewMexicoboxing had it much closer: 96-94 for Lopez.
“Early on, he took me out of my game plan,” says Lopez. “But my corner made adjustments. They said, ‘Pressure, pressure, pressure,’ and ‘Hook to the body.’”
As for the point deduction for holding?
“The ref gave me no warning,” said a disconsolate Garcia in his dressing room, postfight. “He robbed me of a point in a round I was winning.
“But I won this fight. I don’t know what happened, I was in his home town, for sure, so that must be it.”
Lopez’s promoter, Fresquez, and trainer, Garcia, were judgmental of their fighter.
“This wasn’t vintage Cesar Lopez,” said Fresquez.
Garcia was less critical: “He got sucked into the crowd and didn’t execute early. But, basically, I’m pleased with his performance.”
Currently ranked #13 by the WBA, Lopez, now 13-1 with 4 KOs, could get a title shot by late next year.
Garcia falls to 7-3-3, 1 KO.
Fight of the Night: Valdez vs. Sierra
In the co-feature, which was the most entertaining fight of the night, “Fabulous” Bobby Joe Valdez (7-2-1, 3 KOs) squared off against rugged Colombian Fray Sierra (15-14, 13 KOs).
What a barnburner!
For eight non-stop rounds, Valdez and Sierra traded bombs, and, amazingly, there were no knockdowns.
While the southpaw Valdez had his way with Sierrra, the Columbian never stopped punching—it was like watching Rock’m-Sock’m Robots when I was a kid. This was no boxing match; this was war!
In Round One, it was pure give-and-take as each combatant did not ask for, nor receive quarter. Jabs were totally thrown out the window. Both were head hunting and setting a furious pace while the crowd went wild.
With the fight contested at close quarters throughout eight grueling rounds, this was a crowd pleaser. Sierra stood his ground for the first four rounds but was clearly outgunned by Valdez, who looked like he could go 15 rounds if need be.
In the 5th, coming out of one the few clinches in the fight, Sierra was rocked by a left cross and his knees buckled. Somehow, he stayed erect and used every bit of his ring savvy to keep Valdez off him until the bell rang.
By the 7th, Sierra was fighting on pure instinct. Valdez hammered him from pillar to post. Both fighters showed incredible heart and it was reflected on their respective faces. Valdez had an ugly mouse under his right eye and a flattened upper nose, while Sierra’s face was as puffy as the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
In the 8th, both were bleeding from the nose and fighting their hearts out until the final bell.
Sierra gets credit for coming to fight and withstanding the onslaught and torrid pace set by Valdez who had Isaiah 40:31 emblazoned on his trunks: “. . . They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary.”
Well, there was no weariness in Valdez this night. After eight solid rounds, he won by unanimous decision with scores of 80-72 twice and 79-73. Fightnews/NewMexicoboxing had it 78-74 for Valdez.
“I love to fight and give a good show,” said Valdez afterward. “He stunned me several times but I was not going to be defeated tonight.”
Next up for Valdez?
“I don’t know but I want Joaquin Zamora next. That was a premature stoppage because of the head-butt.”
Juarez pro debuter Sergio Santana showed skill and mettle by taking on tough 2-4 Colbert “Pitt Bull” Losoya from Las Cruces.
It was a pitched battle throughout, with the shorter Losoya trying to establish a jab while chasing the elusive Santana all over the ring. In the first round, the harder, cleaner shots were Santana’s; but Losoya was the busier, and made the fight.
In the 2nd, Losoya was whacked by a left right while pulling straight back. He took it well but was seemingly frustrated and angry. In the same round, he was warned for low blows.
In the 3rd, Losoya lost a point for yet another low blow, but Santana kept his composure while he took about three minutes to regain his feet. Losoya put the heat on and won the round, but to no avail; with the lost point, it went 9-9.
In the final round, a clash of heads opened a wicked gusher on the inside right orbit of Santana’s eye, simultaneously creating a grape-size mouse on Losoya’s forehead. With Santana bleeding profusely, the ref had the ringside physician take two looks and when the action resumed, Losoya went after his prey with vengeance.
But at 2:12, the ref had seen enough and, playing it safe, stopped the fight.
It was an even scrap to that point but a no-contest was declared as the four fight minimum had not been reached.
In one of the most vicious knockouts I’ve ever seen, Carlos Tapia came out with guns blazing and pole axed Allen Medina at 1:46 of Round One.
A left feint followed by a hard right, then culminating with a jolting left hook, dropped Medina in a heap with his head bouncing off the canvas like a basketball. Ref Burke did not even begin a count and called for medical attention, for Medina was unconscious. He rose after five anxious minutes.
The much-anticipated female flyweight fight former world champion Delia “Chikita” Gonzalez and Joanna Pena was a dud. No fireworks materialized as neither fighter was able to mount an effective attack.
The low crouching style of Pena befuddled Gonzalez from the first round on. Southpaw Pena used her right jab to keep Gonzalez away not allowing the shorter Gonzalez to dig to the body where she could slow down the Dominican. Unable to cut off the ring, Gonzalez threw wild punches that missed their mark to the retreating Pena.
Credit should be given to Gonzalez, however, for trying to make a fight of it—but she could not stop Pena’s movement and pin her against the ropes to wail away.
Final tallies: 57-57 twice and 59-55 for Pena.
All in all, it was a great night of boxing in El Chuco. Promoter Lenny Fresquez is looking at a late July date to return to Speaking Rock.
Gonzalez vs. Pena
Tapia vs. Medina
Losoya vs. Santana
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