Elco Garcia scores five-knockdown kayo in seven over Joe Gomez at ‘Four Corners Showdown’ for local bragging rights
report & photos by Chris Cozzone
In a showdown years in the works, between the top two names of the last dozen years in the Four Corners area, Elco “The Animal” Garcia, of Ignacio, Colo., staked his claim as the reigning local champion with a dominating kayo win over Joe “Ironman” Gomez, of Bloomfield, N.M.
The long-awaited match-up was the first significant rivalry between Four Corners fighters since the Abie Chavez-Chuckers Hildebrand trilogy in the early ‘30s.
Fighting for the first time in a year, and before the biggest crowd ever to pack Ignacio’s Sky Ute Casino, Garcia fought with enough ‘Animal’ savagery to floor Gomez five times before the fight was stopped in round seven.
By the time the white towel sailed into the ring from Gomez’s corner, there was no doubt whose house this was.
And a newly-constructed house it was. The sold-out crowd of 1,600+ witnessed the inaugural card at the newly-built casino’s event center. It was also the first show in a year for the casino.
What wasn’t so new, was the local champion, Garcia.
A veteran of 12 years and turning 38 in a couple of weeks, Garcia was coming off a long layoff from last May, but he proved that while he has not been able to master the next level of his sport, in out-of-town TV fights, Garcia is the undisputed master of the local arena.
Peeved over a comment made two days before by Gomez to NewMexicoBoxing, that he’d been dropped while sparring the youngster two years before, Gomez sought to make his cross-state rival pay.
Though no one else present at those sparring sessions could recall the incident, whether it actually happened or not was a moot point, but one that fueled Garcia’s animal savagery in the ring.
Fact or fiction, Gomez might not have shown he has what it takes to hurt Garcia, let alone drop him, but he did prove to his half of the packed house that he not only has a heart equal to Garcia’s big right hand, but the Bloomfield fighter fulfilled his promise to slug it out with his rival.
Duking it out with Garcia, however, proved his undoing.
Unintimidated by Garcia’s bigger, ripped physique, Gomez took the fight to his foe seconds after the opening clang. For most of the first minute, he outboxed his opponent, though in the final 40 seconds, Garcia gave Gomez a taste of things to come by landing two big rights.
Gomez stood in the pocket with Garcia in the second, smothering his opponent’s big right while landing his best shots of the night—left hooks to the body—actually driving Garcia back.
Then, it happened. Garcia dropped a short right hand to the temple, and down went Gomez. Clearly stunned, Gomez got up, made the count, and the fight resumed. Rushing in for the kill, Garcia was all over Gomez, and it wasn’t long before a second knockdown was scored, with seconds left in the round.
Gomez came out unhurt for the third round—which is no surprise to Ignacio fight fans. In 2005, Gomez weathered two knockdowns and a broken jaw in a blistering ten-rounder with the late Vicente Garcia, but came back to eke out a split verdict.
This Garcia, however, gave Gomez little opportunity of a comeback.
For most of the third, Gomez outboxed Garcia from the outside, his superior speed piling up points but doing little damage to an irritated-but-patient Garcia who sought another big right hand opportunity.
It didn’t come in the third, but in the fourth, after two minutes of Gomez outhustling the stalking Garcia, the two stood toe-to-toe in the best action seen all night. Gomez’s pitter-patter combinations on the inside might’ve scored more points in amateur boxing, but Garcia’s big right bombs, several of which nearly spun Gomez’s head off his shoulders, clearly won the round.
Round five picked up where the fourth ended, with another phone booth exchange. Big lefts from Gomez, mixed in with his upstairs flurry of lighter punches, were no match for Garcia’s bigger short rights and rare left hook and, at about the 2:00 mark, down went Gomez again.
Gomez made the count but, with ten seconds left, was floored a fourth time. Battered and bruised, Gomez walked back to his corner, shaking his head.
Yet, Gomez did not give up but came out for the sixth, sticking and moving. Though outlanding Garcia, Gomez was on the receiving end of any real punishing blows. Patient, and knowing the end was on the way, Garcia stalked and continued to thump Gomez with stiff jabs and clouting rights.
The end came halfway through the seventh when Gomez, trying to jab and move, was on the receiving end of a final right hand. While trying to recover on the canvas, Gomez’s corner hurled in the white towel of surrender, official time 1:29.
Prior to the stoppage, Garcia had won but three rounds between two judges, with scores of 60-50, 59-51 and 57-53. Fightnews/NewMexicoBoxing.com had it 58-52 for Garcia before the TKO.
“I feel like a fool for trading with him but I wanted to show the fans a good fight,” said Gomez, 16-2-1 (8 KOs).
“He beat me fair and square. I didn’t take him for granted. He’s a tough fighter, but it’s my fault for not keeping my hands up and protecting myself.”
Garcia, rising to 21-7 (10 KOs), had nothing but respect for his former rival.
“I take nothing from the kid,” he said. “He can fight-he came to fight—and he’ll recover from the loss. He showed his heart.
“But I did it. I think I’ll retire now . . . well, maybe in a few fights or a few years. If I take a beating, I’ll know it’s time to go. But I feel good.
“Not bad for an old man, eh?”
Filerio debuts at home
In a four-round co-main event, fighting for the first time before a hometown crowd, light-heavyweight Victor Filerio (2-0, 1 KO), of nearby Bloomfield, N.M., seen by many as the next local star, had absolutely no trouble with overmatched Dustin Hendrick (1-3), of Kearney, Nebr.
That Hendrick was outclassed was an understatment—but he was game, at least for the first minute. After a few of the southpaw Filerio’s straight lefts landed, a silly grin on Hendrick’s face was a clear indication that he was in over his head.
Filerio trapped him in a corner and pounded away until Referee Stephen Blea stopped the slaughter at 1:59.
Filerio, who was a top amateur in the heavyweight division, says he is working his way down to super middleweight.
“The Ghost” not Abel
In an eight-round bout at welterweight, Abel Perry (10-3, 3 KOs), of Colorado Springs, Colo., outclassed, bruised and bloodied Lucas “The Ghost” Galle (5-4) of Rio Rancho, N.M.
Though much of the fight was a dizzying chess match between two awkward styles, the blood spurting out of Galle’s proboscis and the occasional big right by Perry warmed up the action.
Round one was a sleeper but a big left by Galle, and a counter right by Perry, woke fans up near the end of the round.
Galle edged the second, though neither one landed anything significant. Perry stalked and Galle moved. Having figured out his foe, Perry closed the distance in the third, landing big rights on Galle—enough to bust his beak and begin the surge of blood.
It was all Perry, from that point on. Galle, blowing out spouts of blood, clearly having difficulty breathing, forgot his right jab and fancy footwork.
Perry took over, landing more than enough right hands to win each subsequent round, but not willing to close the show. Perry held back in the fifth, but let the right go in the sixth, though only in singles.
Galle came back briefly in the seventh, and was on his way to winning the round when a clobbering left hook from Perry took away his chances.
In the eighth, blistering rights and the best shot of the night – an inside right uppercut – staggered Galle.
All three judges scored it unanimous and lop-sided, for Perry, 80-72 and 79-73.
FN/NMB gave Galle one round, scoring it 79-73.
‘Li’l Man’ beats little man, barely
In a four-rounder at jr. welterweight, Vincent “Li’l Man” Mirabal (2-0), of Albuquerque, N.M., ended a one-year layoff by squeaking by, and surviving, late sub and overblown jr. bantamweight Pedro Davila (1-4), of Juarez, Mexico.
Clearly outsizing the diminutive-but-game Davila, Mirabal took the fight to his opponent, patiently pressuring the Mexican through the first. Unlike his debut a year ago, in which he came out reckless, Mirabal showed a game plan, going to the body, but was countered several times by crisp lefts from Davila.
Mirabal turned up the heat in the second, pounding Davila against the ropes with hooks and rights, but his domination came to a sudden screeching halt with 12 seconds left in the round.
Bloodying Mirabal with another counter left, Davila followed up with a booming right hand that dropped the towering Mirabal to the canvas like a load of wet laundry. Mirabal got up at six but his shaky legs was a telltale sign that he can be hurt.
Miraculously, Mirabal recovered between rounds, and he went right back to pressuring Davila, who did not care to capitalize on the success of round two. Mirabal took the attack to the man who’d floored him, picking up rounds three and four with a steady attack, Davila fighting only in spurts.
With ten seconds left in the fourth, Davila opened up and landed crisp lefts and rights on the hittable Mirabal, but, this time, the Albuquerquean’s legs stayed underneath him.
The judges were split in their scores: 38-37 Mirabal, 38-37 Davila and 39-37 Mirabal.
FN/NMB had it 38-37 Mirabal.
Mirabal is in for a much tougher fight than Davila on the May 16 Isleta card, when he is scheduled to go six with Albuquerque’s Daniel "Latin Heat" Gonzales.
Blair ends 11-bout losing streak
In a battle of perpetual opponents, LeShaun “Li’l Bossman” Blair (4-17), of Knoxville, Tenn., ended an 11-bout losing streak by decisioning Javier “El Bombitas” Segura (4-15, 4 KOs), of Los Angeles and Mitchell, Nebr., who extended his ‘L’ streak to seven straight.
Outweighing his foe eight pounds and having a reach and height advantage did little to help Segura in round one. While he threw a lot, he appeared to miss more than he threw, if that’s possible. The craftier Blair was able to counter-punch his way through the first.
A reluctant aggressor – meaning, he was moving forward yet not throwing – Segura started to warm up in the second, and, at 2:30, had Blair in trouble against the ropes.
Unable to repeat the success in round two, Segura was outhustled in the third and fourth stanzas. Segura tired while Blair, spurred on by the crowd’s cries of “Go, Shortie!” and “C’mon, little man!”, increased his precise counters and jabs.
All three judges scored it for Blair, 39-37, as did FN/NMB.
In a 135 lb. match, 18 yrs., Jesonna Ollis (GIBC) took out Nikita Bennally (Badonis) with the prettiest knockout punch of the amateur card—a straight right hand that glued her foe to the canvas in the first round.
At 74 lbs., 11 yrs., Jose Frias (Martinez) won a decision over Sergio Madrid (Espanola). Both came out swinging. Madrid was more aggressive in the second, but Frias edged him in the first and third.
At 90 lbs., 12 yrs., Eagle Kassenvoid (Unattached) was outclassed by Andrew Abeyta (Isleta). Looking sharp and taking the attack to Kassenvoid, Abeyta won by RSC in the second.
At 127 lbs., 16 yrs., Britany Hadley (Badoni’s) won by RSC in the second over Monica Cruz (Isleta). Cruz started out outboxing Hadley, but the aggressive Badoni fighter dug in and battered Cruz until, in the second, the ref stopped the contest.
At 88 lbs, 14 yrs., Gabriel Young (GIBC) won by first round RSC over Cruz Abeyta (Isleta) due to a bloody nose.
At 195 lbs., 15 yrs., Valente Talavera (Espanola) won by third round disqualification over Jonathan Abeyta (Martinez). Abeyta, in no condition to fight by the time the fight was stopped, had lost his mouthpiece three times.
At 155 lbs., 16 yrs., Zamer Young (GIBC) won by retirement in the first over Jesus Gonzales (Delta). The two mixed early, and Young was taking it to Gonzales when his opponent was forced to say ‘no mas’ due to an injured knee.
At 160 lbs., 19 yrs., the fight between Devon Jojola (Isleta) and Carlos Carrasco (Delta) was nixed halfway through the first when the blue corner’s glove sprung a leak. A replacement pair could not be found.
At 190 lbs., Sylvester Tracy (Unattached) lost the first round by tardiness but came on like a freight train against Darrel Yazzi (11th Street) . . . but as soon as the attack had begun, it ended, with Tracy tiring. Exhausted, he retired late in the second.
In the sole open division bout, Tyler Cobb (11th Street) won by second-round retirement over Noel Talavera (Espanola). The first round was close, with Talavera edging the round while Cobb fought back, his nose gushing blood. In the second, Cobb took the fight to Talavera, forcing the tiring fighter back until he gave up the fight.
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