Foreman grills meat
Easy win for George "Monk" Foreman III tops boxing's return to Las Cruces, N.M.

Ringside report by Chris Cozzone & Ricardo Trujillo
Photos by Chris Cozzone /

“I’ve had no amateur bouts. Zero.”

If you took one thing home with you from last night’s fight card in Las Cruces, N.M., it was that George “Monk” Foreman III speaks no lie.

So green he makes grass look pink, Foreman might’ve been able to grill his unseasoned meat – one George Burrage, pre-cooked at 0-5 – in four or so minutes, but the painfully obvious lack of skills had most of the 2,000-plus fans at the Pan American Center cringing with every arm punch, windmill slap and accidental uppercut.

The scheduled four-round heavyweight bout topped (or bottomed) off a card that, despite its lopsided lineup, produced two local upsets. The show, promoted by Powerhouse Promotions, marked a return to pro boxing in southern New Mexico while showcasing local undefeated near-contender Austin “No Doubt” Trout, El Paso knockerouter Abie Han and former amateur star Jennifer Han.

The night did not go as scripted as you might think, even for those who were pitted against winless guys or those who were 0-9-1 in their last ten.

For Foreman, however, the expected win came with the weight of a name rather than the weight of a punch.
Rushed to the forefront as a main eventer in his second pro bout, Foreman might’ve pulled off the victory, but was showcased a wee bit early to be touted as the next great American heavyweight, or even as a work in progress.

Showing a bit of patience and a lot of chin, Foreman went to work on Burrage, walking his opponent down. Burrage, the more experienced fighter (more experienced opponent), was on the receiving end of Foreman’s cuffs, but landed when he threw back against his bigger-named, bigger-framed foe.

Throwing wide and wild, Foreman opened up in the second, trapping Burrage against the ropes. Playing the role he knows best, Burrage covered up and waited for Referee Rocky Burke to stop the fight, which he did at 1:10.

“I give myself a ‘7,’” said Foreman III, now 2-0 (2 KOs). “He walked into my wide shots. I need to straighten them out, I know, but this was only by second time in the ring.

“My main objective is to get better and better. The next step is to watch the video and work on my flaws. Relaxing is the hardest thing about being in the ring.”

With yet another loss, Burrage falls to 0-6, with four losses coming by way of kayo.

“No Doubt” about Trout’s bout

There was no doubt about the outcome of the co-main bout, featuring Austin “No Doubt” Trout, who is on the verge of top ten contention in the WBA. Trout’s opponent, Marcos Primera, though an experienced journeyman, was coming off a two-and-a-half-year layoff and was a safe 3-7 in his last ten outings.

The only question was, what round would the faster, younger Trout knock out his worn, weathered opponent. The answer? No round.

Forcing fans to watch a dizzying display of backward-pedaling and one-sided peppering of an opponent too slow and shopworn to force a fight, Trout outclassed, outboxed and outhustled Primera moment after moment, round after round.

Eight rounds became eight rounds too many to watch the sparring session of a fighter who could’ve, should’ve been able to stow away his man in half the scheduled time. Trout peppered his opponent with a right jab in the first while circling backward around the ring, then added big right hooks to the body and straight lefts in the next two rounds.

The pattern was set and neither fighter stepped out of the circular, repetition. Primera plodded forward, Trout popped away, with predictable ease and breeze.

By the fifth, Primera sported a mouse under his left eye from Trout’s jab. Though easily outclassing his foe, Trout continued dancing back while popping away, though there was half an exchange at the end of the sixth.

In the seventh, Trout stood in one place long enough to trade again, but instead of even a half step forward, he fell back into the disappointing backtrack groove. Primera didn’t help things, but slowly moved forward – it was only after the final bell rang did the veteran decide to get desperate with an all-out attack, but it was too little, too late.
All three judges were in agreement, scoring the fight a shutout for Trout, at 80-72.

Trout, now 19-0, 13 KOs, rated himself a “7.”

“I should’ve been busier,” he said. “I need to sit down on my punches more, but I’m just glad I had a chance to fight at home.”

South Carolina’s Primera, who will, hopefully, return to retirement, falls to 20-18-2, 13 KOs.

Han drops decision in pro debut

After nearly two years of trying to turn pro, former amateur star Jennifer Han finally got her chance.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as planned when 0-1-1 Melissa St. Vil, of Las Vegas, Nev., not only showed up to fight, but to win.

Han let the shorter, stocky St. Vil come at her in the first round, which was a big mistake, for the opponent knew just how to close the gap and land a big right hand. Han settled down in the last minute to use her jab, but St. Vil, now counter-punching, had taken the round.

Han found her rhythm in the second round, but ran into a right lead time and time again. With a little-used jab, landing when thrown, Han had success with an occasional right and a hook or two, but St. Vil’s slick counter-punching right made the round a toss-up.

Ditto for round three: Han utilized her hooks but when an accidental clash of heads opened up a cut over her left eye, St. Vil’s slicker counter-punching and occasional successful right hand attack made yet another close round.

Han might’ve made St. Vil miss more than she landed, but the thick-thighed Las Vegan’s sheer aggression easily snagged her the fourth and final round. Unable to turn the fight around or launch a successful attack, Han was beaten to the punch by the wild-swinging and lateral moving St. Vil.

The judges did not agree on the outcome, though ringsiders thought the right woman had won. Judge Levi Martinez scored it 38-38 while Judges Margaret Garcia and Joe Perez had St. Vil winning by shutout, 40-36.
Fightnews/NewMexicoBoxing writers agreed with Martinez, scoring it 38-38.

“I thought I won,” said a disappointed Han. “Oh well. The cut didn’t bother me, but I knew it was bad.”

Han enters the pro ranks at 0-1, while St. Vil earns her first win, evening out her record to 1-1-1.

“I’m so happy for my first win,” said St. Vil. “My punches were stronger and I controlled the space. The game plan was to stay relaxed.”

Sanchez kayos Abraham

In a six-round special attraction super bantamweight bout, Mexico’s Salvador Sanchez (15-3-2, 7 KOs), nephew to the featherweight legend of the same name, scored a fourth round knockout over gutsy-but-tiny Benito Abraham (10-16-4, 6 KOs), of San Diego, Calif.

Unwon in his last ten outings, the diminutive Abraham – a blow-up flyweight, really – gave a game performance but, in the end, could not stand up when put down by the much bigger Sanchez.

Sanchez appeared awkward in the first two frames, but it could’ve been Abraham’s height – or lack, thereof – that showed the legend’s nephew searching for his rhythm. Though losing rounds to the busier Sanchez, Abraham’s sudden overhand right made the most impact, or would have, if he’d been of equal size.

Still pocketing a jab, Sanchez stepped on the gas in the third, wearing Abraham down until, in the fourth, a left hook dropped Abraham to his knees. There he stayed until counted out, looking he was more unwilling than unable to continue.

Official time of stoppage was 1:14.

No roar from Lyons

Brought in as an opponent and 0-9-1 in his last ten, Charles Davis (18-17-1, 4 KOs), of Tucson, Ariz., looked like a world champion against slugging, lugging Arron Lyons (9-6, 7 KOs), of Las Cruces.

The local heavyweight might’ve been the more aggressive of the two in the first round, but the busier Davis, looking like Pernell Whittaker against Lyons, counterpunched and outslicked his way to capture the round.

It only got easier for Davis, who sped up as Lyons sagged, round after round. Easily countering the lumbering Lyons, whose telegraphed shots sloshed their way through air, Davis had the rare occasion of controlling the space.

Lyons was stunned in the third, and blasted to the body in the fourth while continually made to miss throughout the fight. With the crowd alternating booing with snoring, they woke up to yell “Beso!” (Kiss) when, in the opening of the sixth and final round, the two exchanged hugs instead of the usual glove tapping, that nearly called for Ref Burke to call, “Break!”

After another dominating round for Davis, the judges scored it unanimously, 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
NMB/FN differed on one round, Cozzone scoring it 60-54 and Trujillo, 59-55.

Han hands it to Santana

In the opening boxing bout of the evening, after two mixed martial arts bouts, El Paso powerhouse Abie Han (7-0, 6 KOs) had absolutely little trouble with Juarez’s Sergio Santana (0-2-1).

Coming out of a four-year layoff and fighting 20 pounds north against the solid near-middleweight, Santana didn’t have a chance with the formidable Han, who’d fought just seven days earlier in El Paso.

The oversized, outpowered Santana didn’t land a single punch in the first round, while Han pursued his easy prey, landing around the Mexican’s guard. A short right cross put Santana down, but it was ruled a slip.

After the patient first, Han went to work in the second, especially after Santana smacked his gloves together after eating a right, as if to say, “Let’s bring it on.”

Han did – bring it on, that is – smacking Santana around with a variety of punches, though the somewhat game opponent was able to get in two loopy right hand counters. Ending the round with a bad cut over his left eye, Santana hobbled back to his corner where he retired on his stool before the third round bell rang.

“I broke him down,” said Han. “My left finally got in and my looping right cut him. He took some good punches. I need to keep my chin down, though.

“It’s great to fight locally – I could fight every week.”

Trainer Felipe de la Torre said he waved the fight off for his fighter, Santana. “There was no need for more punishment,” he said.

Bonus Pics

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