Belt of Chucky!
Boxing is back in Juarez!
Salvador Sanchez's nephew proves no “Child’s Play” for “Chucky” Lazcano – but new Juarez draw pulls off win for WBC World Youth super bantamweight belt
report by Chris Cozzone and Ricardo Trujillo
Photos by Chris Cozzone
Boxing staged a bold comeback last night—and early morning—at the Poliforo Juan Gabriel in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, before a two-thirds capacity house.
Leon Productions, in their second fight there, not only managed to rekindle the fight flame in the border town, but, somehow, were able to give the seedy-but-steadfast site a makeover.
Ringside tables, a posh rug, red satin draped along the ring and the gold-emblazoned lion’s head logo of Leon Productions had the joint looking something like an MGM Grand knockoff—but with a knockout night of action.
Sure, there were gold-glittered girls, made up to look like naughty lionesses, and a demented dwarf in a “Chucky” mask, that rated high among non-pugilistic entertainment, but the fights rocked the house while heralding the rise of a possible new border star who shares the nickname of a killer doll.
Eduardo “Chucky” Lazcano, complete with walk-in dwarf and a mounting fan base, has become this year’s model, replacing now-unpopular Miguel “Mickey Mouse” Roman, who, last year, had crowds of 5,000 chanting the Mickey Mouse march chant as the No. 1 box-office draw.
After two disgracefully-hometown wins over former champ Cesar Soto, last year at the Poliforo, Roman’s popularity took an overnight plummet. The drop in popularity sent Roman on the road, where, recently he dropped his first pro loss in Sacramento, Calif.
In the meantime, long-standing promoter, Promociones del Pueblo, under Oswaldo Kuchle, has relinquished their reign on the Juarez fight scene to set up shop in Chihuahua.
Until Roman and Promociones del Pueblo return to challenge the new scene, it looks as if Leon Productions is fast becoming the best damn show in town, with Lazcano, the kid to watch.
Last night, Lazcano fought his toughest opponent to date—a name fighter in a different sense of the word. Borrowing his name from Uncle Salvador, Salvador “Sal” Sanchez, nephew to the great featherweight champion of the ‘70s and ‘80s, proved that, with this relative-of-a-legend, there was, at least, a bit of spillover pedigree.
Though far from being the dynamo that was the original Sanchez, this latest incarnation showed remarkable composure, stamina and determination, earlier this morning, in his ten-round thriller against Lazcano.
Adding enticement to a future showdown between Lazcano and Roman, the fight was for the vacant WBC World Youth super bantamweight title—a strap once worn by Roman while on his rise to power in his hometown.
Now, Chucky wears the belt.
The fighters made their way into the ring at 2 a.m., with the distance fight reaching nearly 3 a.m. before the masses were herded out of the Poliforo. Sanchez, wearing the very trunks worn 27 years ago by Uncle Salvador when he fought Danny ‘Little Red’ Lopez in Las Vegas, entered first.
Lazcano, preceded by the Chucky-masked dwarf, entered next, and the two were laced up in the ring—a tradition in Old Mexico.
No one wanted to commit to a fight in the pocket in the first—but by the end of the fight, that would dramatically change. For the first five frames, however, Lazcano moved forward, landed harder, cleaner shots, while keeping Sanchez bouncing and moving from a distance, patiently trying to figure out a way into the fight.
The southpaw Lazcano swept the first five rounds, jabbing and making the fight to a less-willing Sanchez. Wearing an wickedly impish grin, at least as charming as the one worn by the killer doll after which he is named, Lazcano kept the legend’s nephew on retreat.
But by the fourth, Chucky was landing with authority, and landing more than single shots and one-two’s. Driven to the ropes with hard combinations, Sanchez was on survival status, throwing away the rounds Chucky stuffed into his pocket.
But then, in the sixth, Sanchez scored a right to the body and, finally, showed success in evading Lazcano’s straight left hands. Jabbing his way in and out of range, Sanchez started to score, having finally figured out the Juarez hopeful.
Landing more often—jabs and rights—won Sanchez his first round over Lazcano, who spent more time smiling impishly than throwing punches.
Hardly breathing and looking like the fresher fighter, Sanchez carried success into the second, committing left hooks to Lazcano’s body and beating the hometown kid to the punch.
Sanchez started to show the fans that, maybe—just maybe—he could score the upset, if the fight came down to who was in better shape. Barely breathing, Sanchez, one cool customer, was a rough contrast to Lazcano, who now had his mouth open, sucking air. But, unwilling to lose this keystone fight, Lazcano stepped into the pocket, late in the eighth, and let loose, landing hard lefts and right hooks on Sanchez, who frustrated Chucky by barely blinking with each impacting punch.
Swinging wildly and rushing Sanchez, Lazcano sought to take the fight back. Trapping his man in the corner, he unloaded big shots on his foe, enough to take the ninth and, most likely, seal the fight if it went to the cards.
Sanchez and Lazcano thrilled the crowd with a whirlwind tenth and final round. Picking up the pace and making a statement, Chucky pounced on Sanchez, who might’ve had the upper hand in quantity, but lacked the quality unleashed by Lazcano.
The best action all night was the final 30 seconds, when the two stepped into the pocket and let loose with everything they had left. Both landed clean, both, hard, but both remained on their feet when the final bell rang.
Despite the late rally by Sanchez, Lazcano’s early lead and aggressive counters gave him the rightful nod by unanimous verdict.
Scorecards ranged from 98-92 to 97-93 to 96-94.
Fightnews/NewMexicoBoxing (FN/NMB) had it 97-93.
“It was a tough fight,” admitted Lazcano, now 14-0, 9 KOs. “Sanchez was very durable. I was winning the first five rounds and I knew I had to be strong in the end.”
Sanchez suffers his third loss, all by decision, dropping to 8-3-2, 4 KOs.
Soto wins by split over Marquez
Juarez’s only former world champion had a rare night in his role as a house fighter, but, once again, living up to his up-and-down reputation, won while losing.
Sometimes, Soto loses while winning—as he did in his two controversial fights against crosstown rival Mickey Roman.
Last night, Soto’s foe was Hector “Chocolate” who, like Marquez, has fought everybody in Juarez—except each other.
Finally, they were pitted against each other, two well-respected warriors, though past their prime.
The anticipated ten-round jr. lightweight showdown, however, didn’t quite live up to expectations.
For three rounds, Soto wowed the crowd. If he’d fought Roman with that intensity, the judges would not have been able to find any reason to score the fight for Roman (though even with a knockout, Roman would’ve woken up after a ten-count to find out he’d won that decision.)
But past is past, as they say, and Soto, part of the golden oldies crew of Juarez’s new boxing regime, greatly impressed, for a portion of the fight, anyway.
“Cobra” struck early. While Marquez sought to grab and hold, Soto kept the fight on the outside, blasting his shorter adversary with quick left hooks and rights.
Double left hooks by Soto won him the second. While Marquez wanted to be held, or hold, Soto put another round in the bank by sheer volume, then picked up the pace in the third, breaking down Marquez and ripping into him with a variety of punches thrown at distance.
With “Chocolate” on the meltdown, it looked like an eventual win by stoppage by Soto . . . until the fourth.
Soto edged another round in the fourth, though, by now, Marquez was starting to get his licks in, too. The two engaged in the heated toe-to-toe, with Marquez on the aggressive, for once, and Soto countering with hooks to the body and head.
The fight started to slip away from Soto in the fifth and sixth—rounds that were not marred by the constant holding seen in the final four frames.
Marquez bum rushed Soto in the fifth, managing to land cleaner shots as Soto started to wilt. With a little more fire in him, Marquez carried his attacks into the sixth, but Soto fought back, mainly left hooks that drove his opponent back.
With both fighters swelling under their left eyes, the seventh through the tenth became a phone booth war on the inside—minus the “war” portion of the famous boxing axiom.
Clinch, hit, hold, break, clinch, hit, hold, rabbit punch, warning, hold, hit, clinch, break became the rhythm—or lack of rhythm—while the restless crowd, no longer cheering, started to jeer.
The jeers turned to boos, and the slow-dance shuffle brought the fight to a slow, crawling finish.
Despite resorting to Marquez’s fight, after a brilliant start, Soto had enough rounds in the bank to score a win, with scores ranging from a lop-sided 99-92, 99-91, on two cards, to a surprising 96-95 for Marquez, making the former champ winner by split verdict.
Fightnews/NewMexicoBoxing (FN/NMB) had it 97-93 for Soto.
“I’m going to savor this win,” said Soto, who improves his record to 58-18-3, 40 KOs.
“I know the fans wanted a KO, but I haven’t had a KO in a long time. He held me all night. I couldn’t get space for my punches.
“I want to be active, I still have a lot of fight left in me.”
Marquez drops to 28-19, 5 KOs, losing his seventh straight fight.
“Gallero” returns in jaw-breaker
Ending a two-year layoff, local favorite Adrian “Gallero” Valdez, weathering a flash knockdown, made his return to the squared circle with a jaw-breaking win over aged veteran Julio Cesar Hernandez.
Round one was a feeler of a round, not much of anything going on, but won by the Valdez who applied a cautious pressure while Hernandez warmed up his running shoes by keeping a healthy distance between him and his soon-to-be conqueror.
The non-excitement continued into the second, though Valdez started to land his shots on Hernandez, who, despite his rough-hewn appearance, in his efforts to play keep away, showed stamina with his sprinting along the length of the ropes.
Hernandez stood in place long enough to throw something in the third—and it paid off. A left on the inside caught Valdez by surprise, depositing him on the canvas for a flash knockdown. Unhurt, unfazed, Valdez got up and resumed his pressure, though losing the round in a now-even fight.
There was nothing even about the fourth, however, and Valdez, determined to rid himself of his fleeing foe and deal payback for the knockdown, cut off the ring and blasted Hernandez with combinations.
While on his bike, Hernandez motioned for the referee to stop the fight, and spitting out his mouthpiece, rubbed his jaw to indicate that not only was it broken—but he was quitting.
The crowd booed their displeasure as the ref called the official end at 2:45.
“Basically, he quit after the knockdown,” said Valdez. “I knew I had to pick up the pace and finish it.”
Valdez, now 18-5-3, 10 KOs, says he’s rejuvenated after a rough two-year absence from the ring.
“I have a new promoter and new trainer,” he says. “It has been a tough two years but my career will take off now. I feel good about the direction I’m taking.”
The elder Hernandez drops his record to 3-7-3, 2 KOs.
Son of Cuevas pounds Garcia, calls out Son of Paez
In the first of four ten-round feature fights, lightweight Gerardo Pipino Cuevas, son of the legend of the same name, battered down Genaro “El Chicanito” Garcia in a bout cut short, via TKO, by eight rounds.
Round one lacked action. It was one shot at a time for a cautious Cuevas, who had Garcia out of range, going backwards.
In the second, Cuevas closed the gap and a big right hand from the rangy Cuevas dropped Garcia in his corner. When the fight resumed, Cuevas used a left hook for his second knockdown
After spending most of the round in survival mode, Garcia ate a jab, then was force-fed a big overhand right, which dropped him to the mat for the third and final knockdown.
Garcia wanted no more and the referee helped him to his feet while stopping the action at 2:59.
“I knew I had him in the first,” said Cuevas, now 13-1, 11 KOs. “I wanted a kayo, and I got it.
“I’m calling out ‘Maromerito’ Paez. He has a fight coming up in October or November. I want to fight him in El Paso or Juarez.”
With the loss, Garcia evens his record to 7-7, 5 KOs.
Dominguez-Murillo revs up crowd
The first feature bout of the night, a sixer at featherweight, might’ve been ‘Fight of the Night,’ if not for the early morning, fast action of the main go.
Despite a losing record, Arturo “Sombra” Murillo, walked into the ring by brother “Tacubayo,” proved that records just don’t matter in Juarez, if the fighter is game—and Murillo has yet to put on a sleeper.
Against “Panchito” Dominguez, however, Murillo lacked the necessary physical tools beyond his big heart, to deal effectively with his bigger, stronger opponent.
It was fast action from the opening stanza, Dominguez taking the fight to Murillo, who rallied in spots. “Sombra” snapped to in the second, battering Dominguez back with big lefts and evening the score against the bigger man.
Murillo launched a body attack against Dominguez, who, in the second half of the round, outboxed Murillo from the outside to take back the round. Though Murillo countered well in the third, Dominguez stepped up his pace and drove the Juarez battler to the ropes.
Always game, Murillo tried to make a brawl of it in the fourth—Dominguez obliged, and won at close quarters, with some of the best exchanges seen all night.
In the final frame, Murillo’s left uppercut found its mark on Dominguez, and, again, in some heated toe-to-toe action, the shorter-but-determined Murillo finished strong.
Winning one, maybe two rounds, however, wasn’t enough for the judges to score it for the local favorite.
At the end of six, all three judges scored it for Dominguez, 59-55, 58-56 and 59-57 for Dominguez, who ups his stats to 6-2, 1 KO.
Murillo, still a crowd favorite, falls to 4-7-1, 2 KOs.
Preceding the prelim bouts were three three-round amateur bouts, adding nine scheduled rounds to the already-slated 70 pro rounds.
Battle of debuters
First up for the pros, beginning at a time when most shows in the States are wrapping up the evening’s action, was a four-round super featherweight bout between two pro debuters, Isaac Torres, of Mexico City, and outclassed local, Francisco Castro.
Castro never had a chance against the younger, faster Torres, who went from outworking and outboxing his foe in the first, to completely dominating, by the middle of the second. Unable to turn the fight around and make a stand, Castro, bruised and was battered about until, in the final stanza, the referee halted the action at 2:12 after a big right hand crashed into the local pug’s already-bleeding mug.
Lomeli makes short work of Fernandez
In a four-round lightweight bout, Daniel Lomeli (6-0, 6 KOs), of Jalisco, Mexico, kept his record squeaky-clean with a first-round stoppage over Roberto Fernandez (1-3, 2 KOs), of Veracruz.
For as long as it lasted, the bout was a free-swinging scrap, with Lomeli getting the best of it. Just past the two-minute mark, Fernandez was floored in his corner and, though beating the count, was woozy enough for the ref to rightfully halt the action at 2:25.
Martinez more macho than Camacho
In a scheduled sixer, at super welter, hot Juarez prospect Freddy Martinez (2-0, 1 KO) proved too strong, too long for same-city foe Hector Camacho (record unknown).
Bigger, straighter punches rained down on the shorter Camacho from the sound of the gong. Unable to cope with Martinez’s height and reach, Camacho was forced into survival mode. Though made a last-ditch attempt to get into the game in the second, Martinez’s big rights floored him in the neutral corner, hurting him enough for the ref to stop the bout at 2:25.
Martinez dedicated his win to his good friend, and former Juarez headliner, David “Tacubayo” Murillo.
Guzman beats Guzman
In a battle of featherweight Guzmans, unbeaten Carlos Raul “Kalin” Guzman (2-0, 1 KO) of Juarez, under the tutelage of former Juarez contender Juan Carlos “Ranchero” Ramirez, and unwon Luis Guzman (0-3), of Mexico City, the crowd saw its first distance fight, in an entertaining four-rounder.
The Juarez version of Guzman was clearly seen as master from the get-go, but the pouncing, bouncing bunny rabbit peleador from Mexico City did not stay in one place long enough to absorb too many straight right hands.
Fighting off the ropes, and absorbing more rope burns than shots in the second, due to his hasty retreats, the Mexico City Guzman made a close round, but the consistent pressure from the Juarez Guzman sealed his win in the third and fourth, due to cleaner punches.
At the end of four, all four judges, and FN/NMB, had it for the Juarez Guzman, 39-37 across the board.
Zamora KOs Medina
In the final preliminary bout, Juarez featherweight Salvador Zamora (2-0, 2 KOs) made short work of Ciudad Chihuahua’s Hugo Antonio Medina (0-1), knocking him out in just 1:14.
Coming out firing, Zamora landed a right uppercut that dropped Medina to the canvas. Shaking his head no mas, Medina stayed on his knees while the referee counted him out.
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