'Bam Bam' goes boom boom
Conchas talks the talk, but Sanchez walks the walk for KO win

Ringside report, photos (and matchmaking) by Chris Cozzone

If words were punches, Richard “Bam Bam” Conchas would be the welterweight champion of the world.

Against hometown prospect Ray Sanchez III, that was all he was willing to throw--words.

Sanchez, on the other hand, preferred to let his fists do the talking when, last night in front of a near-sellout crowd of 2,200 at the Convention Center in Albuquerque, a left hand—and a glancing blow at that—had Conchas down and disheartened enough to let himself get counted out at 2:32 of the first round.

The card, billed as “Pride of Albuquerque” and co-promoted by Prize Fight Boxing and North Star Productions, featured six pro boxing, two mixed martial arts (MMA) and five amateur bouts.

Conchas strolled into town promising to knock out Sanchez. On the day of the fight, he spent the afternoon around town, and at Denny’s, passing out autographed photos of himself, telling everyone to come to the fight to watch “Sanchez get knocked out cold.”

“He’s got a glass jaw and two broken hands,” he said. “I’ll knock his ass out.”

In the ring, the only thing made of glass was Conchas’ words—and his heart.

After a tentative minute-and-a-half, with Sanchez and Conchas circling one another trying to measure up, Sanchez started to jab and move in. Then, in the final minute, after landing a body shot, Sanchez threw a quick straight land that glanced off Conchas’ chin.

That was all it took.

After a half-second delay, Conchas stumbled back against the ropes and crumbled into a heap on the canvas. The ref moved in for the count and while Conchas did not look like he was a finished man, he was not willing to continue, making Sanchez winner by TKO at just 2:32 of the first.

While Conchas (now 4-4) plodded back to his corner, Sanchez paraded around the ring and, taunting Conchas for his promises of a knockout, put his glove up to his ear as if to say, “I don’t hear you talking now . . .”

But it didn’t take Conchas long to renew his only line of offense. While the winner was announced, Conchas looked over at Sanchez and said, “I let you have that . . .”

Sanchez challenged him to mix it up yet again, right then and there, but the verbal exchange was squashed and Conchas was hustled out of the ring.

“I didn’t even hit him with 100% and I thought he was gonna get up,” said Sanchez. “I knew he was hurt but thought he could’ve gone on—but in the end, it would’ve been the same. One more shot and he would’ve gone down again.”

Sanchez said Conchas’ smack talk did not throw him out of his plan.

“I’ve dealt with that kind of mouth before. You can’t let it get to you. They want to lower you to their standards. They want to make a brawl out of it so you throw all your skills out the window But I wasn’t gonna let that happen, wasn’t gonna let him beat me in my hometown.

After eight months of inactivity due to hand surgery, Sanchez resumes his quest for greatness, hoping to fight for a minor title by the end of the year. He moves his record to 10-1, 8 KOs.

Sanchez is scheduled to fight in Mississippi next month on a Prize Fight Boxing card.

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Co-main: Holly gets mad, gets even

“She should’ve taken the money yesterday.”

That’s what Holly Holm said after her explosive victory over usually-rugged Janae Romero Archuleta. She was referring to the weigh-in when Holm came in a pound overweight; Archuleta’s camp had refused to take extra money and had forced an already-drained Holm to spend the next two hours sweating out the final round.

“She got me mad,” said Holm—and it showed.

In the opening moments of the bout, Holm snapped Archuleta’s head back with a stiff jab. In the next minute, she was on top of Archuleta, pounding her pillar to post from one corner to the next before the ref leapt in at 1:00 to stop the one-sided slaughter.

“She made it so easy for me,’ said Holm. “She came out with that slow jab and we’d been working on throwing hooks over a jab and timing it. When I had her up against the ropes, I knew she was hurting so I pushed for the end.”

Now a top ten contender, Holm should inch her way up a little more with her 7-0-1 (3 KOs) undefeated record. She expects to be on the Sky Ute card next month.

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MMA massacres

Two no-holds-barred bouts separated the boxing undercard from the main and co-main.

The first one had 271-pound, 6’9” “Big” Dan Christison, of Albuquerque, taking on 80-fight veteran from Carlsbad, Jimmy Westfall.

At first, Christison and Westfall traded kicks and punches, showing a fairly even exchange, until Westfall took Christison down to the canvas. Christison was able to reverse the action and straddling Westfall, let loose with a downpour of strikes to the head until ref Tony Rosales stepped in to stop the bout.

Christison was declared winner by TKO at 1:18 of the first round.

“Going all the way to the top,” Christison says. While now 3-4, two of those losses are to cage legend Dan “the Beast” Severn—and both controversial losses.

“I only want to fight the best,” says Christison, who’s goals are UFC and PRIDE level fights.

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No doubt New Mexico’s biggest no-holds-barred draw and best prospect Diego “the Nightmare” Sanchez was next.

Stepping in with just two days notice was “The Mighty Whitey,” a.k.a. “The Adorable Keebler Elf”, Travis Beachler (now 4-3 MMA).

Beachler gave it his best, but could do little to fend off the “Nightmare.” After several strikes up top, Sanchez lifted the 198-pound Beachler clear off the canvas and took him down in a ground-shaking takedown. On the canvas, he went to work, pummeling a striving-to-survive Beachler until the ref called it off at just :35.

Sanchez could be the most ferocious fighter in New Mexico—boxing or in the cage—and moves his clean record to 10-0 in MMA (1-0, 1 KO in boxing.)

Both Christison and Sanchez will fight in Brazil in May, against world class opponents.

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‘Donamite’ explodes against Condit

In a solid all-out war, undefeated MMA monster Carlos Condit made a pro boxing debut against fellow Albuquerque fighter Donnell “Donamite” Wade.

Originally, Condit was scheduled to fight Denver’s Donald Cerrone (0-1) but the opponent bailed out the night before the weigh-in, claiming a lower back injury—never mind that he’d been seen kicking a heavy bag that very night.

Stepping in last minute for Cerrone, at 11 PM Thursday night was an eager Donnell Wade, which made this fight a toss-up match.

In the first round, ‘Donamite’ exploded into action, taking the fight to the taller, rangier Condit by digging in to the body. Condit weathered the storm and threw back, but Wade showed a solid defense, keeping his gloves up. Round to Wade.

Round Two was closer. Condit was the busier fighter and Wade showed a bit of tiredness, but was probably trying to pace himself for a last-minute fight. Condit’s aggression might’ve given him the round, but Wade’s left hooks landed nearly every time he threw one and his flurries made the round a toss-up.

Both were tired in the third, and despite Condit’s output, his punches—most of them wide and loopy—were less effective than Wade’s overhands, hooks and uppercuts. Early on in the third, Condit’s nose started to bleed—the result of a left hook.

Round Four had some great toe-to-toe action but Condit was tiring and Wade’s flurries were scoring big.

At the end of four, my card read 39-37 for Wade.

Judges were split: 39-37 for Wade; 39-37 for Condit; and 40-36 for Wade, who pulled it off with a split decision win.

Wade moves to 2-1-1 while Condit, 11-0 in MMA, enters the boxing ranks at 0-1.

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Munoz goes to work on Manore

In his first six rounder, “Hurricane” Hector Munoz out-pummelled a very game, and always-rugged Robert Manore through close to six rounds before stopping him at 2:30 of the final stanza.

Munoz came out in the first, looking for an early night, winging punches while Manore sought to establish a game plan from the outside, trying to jab and move. Munoz missed more than connected with his bombs, but started to calm down and fall into a steady-but-aggressive pace to walk his man down.

By the middle of the second round, Munoz had bloodied Manore’s nose, and, unable to set up shop, Manore was getting a beating.

The third was marginally better for Manore, who fought on the retreat against Munoz. Manore was able to land several shots, but his punches had no effect on Munoz who was able to cut the ring off and unleash a bit of target practice on Manore.

In the fourth, Manore had his best round and was able to land a few of  his own, most of the time aiming for a growing mouse under Munoz’s right eye. Despite a better round, it was still not enough to win it and in the last twenty seconds, Munoz was able to stagger Manore with a furious flurry.

Manore, bleeding from nose and mouth, showed a solid chin and returned fire but Munoz took yet another round and scored the harder, cleaner punches.

Manore was on his way out and sensing the end, Munoz went to work, battering him down in the second minute. After making the count, Manore fought on the run until Munoz ran him down again and floored him with a right hand, prompting the ref to call it quits at 2:39.

Manore said he’d injured his right knuckle in the early fourth round but despite the injury, he certainly came to fight, and showed that he can take some punishment. 

While continuing to show improvement—grit and stamina over six rounds, and the ability to stick to his game—Munoz needs to take that next step up in opposition now and take on a Steve Marquez or Fernando Yguado level fighter.

The “Hurricane” boosts his record to 7-0, 5 KOs, while Manore falls to 3-13.

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Chavez wins controversial  split decision over Mercury

Against her toughest opponent to date, and her first six-rounder, Albuquerque’s Jackie Chavez managed to eke out a split decision win over Denver’s Mercedes Mercury.

After making her ring entrance, Mercury had to wait in the ring for several minutes for Chavez—but backstage, Chavez’s team did not know it was time to fight. Trainer Ray Sanchez, Jr. was just wrapping Chavez’s hands when they got the call to get into the ring. As a result, Chavez had to forego her warm-up and entered the ring cold.

It showed—it took Chavez some time to get into her zone.

In the first round, Chavez had a difficult time getting into the groove and Mercury’s difficult southpaw style gave her the edge. Other than a hard overhand right thrown by Chavez in the final moments, the round was in favor of Mercury, who established her jab and continued to catch Chavez coming in with her left hand.

Mercury’s right hand jab continued to keep Chavez at bay in the second, followed by hard left hands every time she tried to fight her way in. It was, easily, Mercury’s fight, so far.

Chavez was, simply, unable to get in and Mercury, taunting Chavez with a lazy right hand jab, controlled the pace. In the final 20 seconds, however, Chavez barreled her way inside and started to land hooks and rights, but not enough to steal the round.

Chavez retaliated in the fourth, outlanding a less-busy Mercury with solid right hands for her first solid round. The Fifth was an all-out war and toss-up round pitting Chavez’s short right hands against Mercury’s devastating straight lefts.

Sensing desperation, Chavez went all out in the sixth, pressuring Mercury with close-quarter brawling. Mercury gave as good as she got, but Chavez’s aggression won her the round—but not the fight, at least on my scorecard.

At the end of six, I had Mercury ahead four rounds to two, 58-56.

Only one judge was in agreement (58-56); the other two had it for Chavez, 58-56, making her the winner by split decision.

“It’s all a learning experience,” Chavez said later. Her record moves to 7-0, with 3 KOs

Mercury was visibly upset after the fight, and said she’d thought she won the fight easily. Her corner vowed never to return to Albuquerque and has offered Chavez a rematch in May—this time in Denver.

Mercury falls to 3-4 (3 KOs), ending a three-fight winning streak.

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Brixx gets flattened in pro debut

In the opening pro bout of the night, Albuquerque’s Joey Brixx made a pro debut against Larry Gonzales of Denver, Colo.

Brixx and his team knew he was in over his head against the former amateur star from Denver, but he was confident he’d be able to score the upset, and by knockout.

It was a serious blunder, and after a tentative first minute, Gonzalez went to work. A jab pushed Brixx back and ten seconds later, Gonzalez landed his first, and only, right hand of the night—immediately flooring Brixx.

Not only was Brixx counted out, but he remained on the canvas for several minutes, tended by his corner and medics.

Gonzalez rises to 3-0, 2 KOs.

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Amateur Action

Six USA Boxing-sanctioned bouts preceded the pro show, opening with a three-round thriller with 80-pound Mark Padilla of Mirabel’s Boxing Club decisioning Adrian Maestas of Sanchez Boxing Club.

In the 100-pound category, Las Cruces PAL’s Sammy DiPace outhustled a very game Fidel Maldonado of Atrisco’s Boxing Club. Maldonado was tough, and landed several solid punches through DiPace’s lax defense, but was, overall, outclassed by the nine-time national amateur champion. DiPace remains one of New Mexico’s top prospects in the amateur division.

The third bout was razor thin, but judges saw Ricky Vasquez of Las Cruces PAL edging James Piar of Esquibel’s Boxing.

In the fourth bout, Crespin Boxing's Amanda Crespin took care of business against Victoria Romero of Atencio Boxing. Romero was game but Crespin put her punches together for the decision win.

Bout Five had Archie Marquez of M&A throwing one of the best punches of the night when a right hand floored Marcos Herrera of Los Tigres for the RSC win in the 2nd.

Top amateur Matthew Esquibel of Esquibel’s Boxing outhustling Suanitu Hogue of Badoni’s for the decision win. Hogue was fearless and continued to stalk Esquibel, who was faster and busier, digging in with body shots and uppercuts.

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Etc.

Big props go to New Mexico’s premier ring announcer, Mike Adams, who does an excellent job, as always; and Carmella Munoz, who brought in New Mexico’s hottest ring girls.

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Results:
Ray Sanchez III (10-1, 8 KOs) KO 1 Richard Conchas (4-4, 2 KOs)
Holly Holm (7-0-1, 3 KOs) TKO 1 Janae Romero Archuleta (3-4, 2 KOs)
Diego Sanchez (10-0 MMA) TKO 1 Travis Beachler (4-3, MMA)
Dan Christison (3-4, MMA) TKO 1 Jimmy Westfall (67-10-4, MMA)
Donnell Wade (2-1-1) SD4 Carlos Condit (0-1)
Hector Munoz (7-0, 4 KOs) TKO 6 Robert Manore (3-13)
Jackie Chavez (7-0, 3 KOs) SD6 Mercedes Mercury (3-4, 3 KOs)
Larry Gonzalez (3-0, 2 KOs) KO 1 Joey Brixx (0-1)


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