Rise and shine at Sky City
Mirabal, Sanchez elevate their stock while five of six hit the floor in knockdown fight night
Ringside report & photos by Chris Cozzone
Sending a packed house home early and putting to bed their opponents with knockout wins, last night at Sky City Casino in Acoma, N.M., Vincent “Li’l Man” Mirabal and Carlos “El Gallo” Sanchez elevated their fighting stock while plummeting their respective challengers to the canvas.
Stopping Freddy Cisneros in two, Mirabal stamped his claim on the New Mexico state welterweight title while, in the co-main, jr. middleweight Sanchez, now targeting 147, became the only New Mexican to take out durable Daniel “Latin Heat” Gonzales – and doing so in less than one round.
The two kayo wins headlined an eight-hour pro-am card promoted by Mirabal Boxing. The pro portion of the show included several more spills to the canvas, an upset or two and an impressive performance by welterweight Antonio Ortiz, whose win garners him as much stock as those of Mirabal and Sanchez.
The main event was supposed to be an official state welterweight clash, as approved by the New Mexico State Athletic Commission, but a glitch in organization turned it into an unofficial fight for state honors. Then, at the weigh-in, when Cisneros failed to make the contractual limit of 147, weighing in an astounding six pounds heavy, even that was tossed out.
Making weight, however, Albuquerque’s Mirabal solidified his claim to the state’s No. 1 spot with his win, earning a fatter paycheck by $200 when the overweight Cisneros was hit with a penalty.
He was hit with more than a penalty during his two rounds with Mirabal.
As seen in his last fight, against Gonzales, Mirabal was expected to box on his bicycle against the forward-moving Cisneros. Instead, the only backward movement seen by Mirabal was when the referee ordered him to a neutral corner after flooring Cisneros not once, but twice, with body shots.
Mirabal took the lead in the first, coming at Cisneros with jabs and landing straight lefts. Cisneros, trying to figure out a game plan, did little but cover up against the ropes during the two significant flurries launched by Mirabal.
In the second, Mirabal continued his aggression, landing up, then down, and driving an increasingly stunned Cisneros all over the ring. When a big left to the ribs had Cisneros grimacing in pain, backing up to the ropes, Mirabal went in for the kill, blasting away until Cisneros folded to the canvas. Cisneros left his fight on the canvas and, while making the count, was manhandled to another section of ropes where he flopped down to the floor. With Cisneros face down and in pain, Referee Richard Espinosa stopped the bout at 2:40.
“I’m so happy I can’t even talk,” said Mirabal, rising to 4-0, with his first kayo. “I knew his body was going to be weak because he came in too heavy. So I fought smart, hit him upstairs to open up the body, then went to the body. It wasn’t my plan, originally, but you have to be ready to change your plan when you see something.”
Mirabal stands ready to take on any state challengers but admits he wants to make a name for himself out of New Mexico.
“If it comes, fighting other state welters, I’ll do it,” says Mirabal. “But I want bring New Mexico out of the state by moving up. Whatever happens, I’ll be ready.”
With his second pro loss, Cisneros falls to 1-2-1.
Sanchez cools “Latin Heat”
In the co-main event, Albuquerque’s Carlos “El Gallo” Sanchez, jr. middle on his way to welter, continued to impress by taking out the usually-durable Daniel “Latin Heat” Gonzales in less than one round, for his first kayo win.
In his last bout, Sanchez scored one of the year’s biggest local upsets when he handed former amateur star Carlos Crespin his first loss. This time out, he accomplished what Mirabal and Crespin could not do – knock out Gonzales.
Gonzales, usually a slugger who stays directly in front of you, tried a new style of box-and-move, perhaps, to limit the wear and tear he’s been absorbing in the local arena. Ironically, against Sanchez, he became an even greater sponge for punishment in this short-lived bout.
With Sanchez on the prowl, Gonzales aimed to get away from the big right hand that followed him around the edge of the ring. But just after the two-minute mark, Sanchez’s paw found its mark and Gonzales crashed to the canvas in what was the biggest punch of the night.
Dazed and confused, Gonzales struggled to get to his feet but he was counted out by Referee Rocky Burke at 2:16.
“Now you see what I can do when I’m fighting closer to my weight,” said Sanchez, rising to 4-0, 1 KO. “I am going to welterweight and will fight anyone. I am happy with the win and I like coming from nowhere to make a name for myself.”
Henry Anaya, Sanchez’s pilot, would like to see Sanchez get a shot at the state welter belt – which would mean matching him with headliner Mirabal.
With his latest loss and with his career in jeopardy, with six straight losses, Gonzales drops to 2-6, 2 KOs.
Sanchez edges Dennison
In the only bout that did not see a knockdown, between local female featherweights, Jessica “Diamond” Sanchez (1-1-1) eked out a split decision win over Nohime Dennison (1-1), who’d scored the year’s biggest local upset in female boxing with her win over debuting Amanda Crespin.
Dennison, cornered by world champ and top New Mexico draw Holly Holm, was a late sub for Serrina Pino, who was out for medical reasons.
With a kangaroo-like gait and unorthodox movements, Dennison outpointed Sanchez through the first two rounds. Rather than pursue Dennison, Sanchez planted herself in one spot, trying to catch the awkward Dennison coming in. The fighter from Jackson/Winkeljohn’s, however, not only confused Sanchez, but caught her opponent with the harder shots – usually rights – through round two.
The fight changed in the third, though, when Sanchez went on the attack. Somewhat familiar with Dennison now, Sanchez had her best round in the third, launching an attack, occasionally jabbing and finding a place for her long right. Sanchez eked out the fourth in the same fashion, Dennison unable to confound her opponent as she had in the first two rounds.
In what must’ve been a headache to officially score (NewMexicoBoxing/Fightnews had it two arounds apiece, 38-38), the judges were all over the place. Judge Chris Tellez had it for Dennison, 39-37 while Judge Margaret Garcia scored it the same, but for Sanchez. Judge Levi Martinez, however, somehow saw a clean sweep, ruling the fight in favor of Sanchez, 40-36.
Needless to say, neither Holm nor Dennison were thrilled with the scores.
Espinoza makes a monkey out of “Monkey” Armendarez
In what was the only paper mismatch on the card, featherweight Jorge Espinoza (5-0, 2 KOs), of Bakersfield, Calif., had a ridiculously easy time taking out local beat-up guy Miguel “Monkey” Armendarez (0-3), who’d stepped in on a few days notice to replace reluctant comebacker Victor Barela.
What didn’t Espinoza land, in flooring Armendarez twice for the TKO win at 1:02 of the first round?
Armendarez was dropped against the ropes before a half-minute had elapsed. There, entangled in the ropes, one glove down and his butt on the bottom rope, Espinoza got in a bonus blast to the body, striking his fallen foe.
Somehow, Armendarez survived, only to be hammered down again, this time for the stoppage.
Underestimated Ortiz spoils “Torito’s” debut
Spoiling the long-awaited debut of Anthony “El Torito” Contreras (0-1) with a gutsy performance and making a case that, perhaps, it shouldn’t have been Mirabal-Cisneros in the main event, but Mirabal-Ortiz (Cisneros and Ortiz fought a draw earlier this year), Ortiz (2-2-1) silenced the huge bulk of fans wearing black “Torito” T-shirts in the crowd with a unanimous decision win.
Round one was close, Ortiz coming forward and Contreras, letting his opponent lead, picking his spots and jabbing. In the second, Contreras had a better round, landing one or two quick counter hooks and a right. Though showing himself the better boxer, Contreras could not dissuade the ever-aggressive Ortiz. There is no give in Ortiz, and Contreras found out the hard way.
After edging the first and losing the second, Ortiz stepped it up in the third. Contreras’ counterpunching made several decent exchanges, with both landing, but it was a big right hand late in the round that sealed “Torito’s” fate. Though several ringsiders saw a trip, the right did land and Contreras, likewise, landed – on the canvas for a legal knockdown.
The crowd – and Contreras – appeared stunned. Contreras made the count and weathered the few seconds left in the round. But in the last round – the best yet between the two – Ortiz’s relentless pressure forced Contreras to slug it out rather than box. Contreras pulled slightly ahead in the first minute, but was no match for Ortiz’s gritty attack in the last two minutes. Eating big rights, Contreras made it to the end only to lose on the cards.
Scorecards read 39-37, 39-36 and 39-35, all for Ortiz.
NMB/FN had it for Ortiz, 39-36.
Old School beatdown
In a bout thrown together on a couple days notice, after would-be comebacking veteran Rudy “Bad Boy” Lovato pulled out of a four-rounder with Rio Rancho southpaw Lucas Galle, longtime kickboxer Fernando Calleros (1-0-1), trainer of Jessica Sanchez, also on the card, stepped in to fight previously undefeated Freddie Montoya (3-1, 2 KOs), native New Mexican, also of California, who’s been hiding out at the Romero’s Hideout Gym.
The local commission had shot down a Galle-Calleros match-up because, on paper, Galle’s record of 6-4 against an 0-0-1 sub looked bad – never mind 68 or so pro kickboxing matches and a handful of world titles. Instead, what looked bad, was a ten-pound weight difference and a matchup that had the outpowered, outsized Montoya taken to school.
Round one was a tentative round, but for an overhand right thrown by an all-too-relaxed Calleros, that all-but-knocked-out Montoya. The stunned Montoya beat the count, made it to the end of the round and came out with a fresh start in the second.
Jabbing and setting up rights on the casually fighting Calleros worked for a while, until the smiling veteran hurled another right Montoya’s way. Down went Montoya again. After beating another count, Montoya spent the remainder of the round on cautious survival while Calleros showboated.
The last two rounds were better ones for Montoya – meaning, he didn’t taste canvas again – and, while taking a pair of big rights in the third, came out to win the fourth round with a series of uppercuts that had Calleros’ head popping back like a Pez candy dispenser.
With Calleros way ahead, though, it was too late to turn the tide, and all three judges voted against the no-longer-undefeated Montoya, 39-35 trice.
Afternoon amateur card
At 50 lbs., Isaiah Perez (MVP) jab outworked Santiago Tewahaftewa (Isleta) with a jab and straight punch but, near the end of round two, and throughout the last round, the increasingly aggressive Tewahaftewa poured it on, making it a closer fight. Judges awarded the win to Perez.
At jr. welter, Eddie Givens (Henry’s GG) was somewhat slick and willing to bang, but was no match for the hard-hitting Ben Vasquez (Maverick). Vasquez rattled Givens in the second, but in the third, Givens gave his all, outworking a tiring Vasquez. The decision went to Vasquez.
At featherweight, Anthony Gutierrez (Team Tapia) outclassed the slower, less-experienced Brandon Martinez (Campeon Espanola) through the first two rounds. Martinez, however, finished strong, taking the fight to Gutierrez through the third. Gutierrez copped the win.
At lightweight, Enrique Palomino (Double D) definitely won round one with his bigger punches, but Jorge Hernandez (Maverick) came on strong in the second, throwing more at his shorter opponent. In the final stanza, Hernandez came on even stronger, staggering Hernandez for an eight-count, then for a stoppage, late in the round.
At bantamweight, more or less, jr. flyweight Leroy Chavez (Team Tapia) could not overcome the height, reach, aggression, speed and big right of bantam Tyrone Serna (Campeon Espanola). In the second, Serna wilted and the gutsy Chavez closed the gap to trade shots in an even round. In the final frame, Serna caught a second wind and took over again, outboxing Chavez for the decision.
At featherweight, Luis Trevizo (Double D) and David Ordirica (The Rocks) slugged it out for a round-and-a-half, but the heavier shots coming from Trevizo eventually got to Oridica. The ref stopped the contest at around the minute mark.
At catchweights, welterweight Christian Ortega (Unattached) was outhustled by the cleaner punches and superior boxing of jr. welter Joel Vizcarra (DCDSJC). Ortega was game, though on the clumsy side, and the generalship displayed by Vizcarra brought on a referee’s stoppage late in the third.
At paperweight, Alejandro Arguilles (The Rocks) and Lucas Shaw (Maverick) duked it out for all three rounds, but it was the slightly busier, cleaner-punching Arguilles who earned the victory.
At bantam, Orestes Castro (Henry’s GG) was outgeneraled by the taller, longer-reaching Pedro Anchondo (Albuquerque PAL) through the first. Anchondo used long rights to bloody Castro’s face in the second and, in the last round, unable to close the gap to land anything significant, Castro remained at the punishing end of Anchondo’s right. Decision went to Anchondo.
At paperweight, Fidel Castro (Henry’s GG) came on a buzzsaw to win the first round-and-a-half, but that’s about the time Kevin Morales (Team Mirabal) woke up. From there on, Morales, his mouth bloody, pushed forward, aggressively taking back the fight. In a close match, Castro edged the win.
At strawweight, females Cecila Renova (Warriors) and Brittany Salas (Maverick) gave the crowd the first completely non-stop slugfest of the afternoon. If you liked busier, Renova was your girl – but if slightly cleaner, straighter shots are your bag, Salas had the edge. Judges gave the ‘W’ to Renova for an edge in outpointing the tough Salas.
At jr. middle, Shannon Vigil (Campeon Espanola) got better as the fight progressed, taking it to Nicole Arvaelo (DC Boxing) in the last round, but it was the big shots thrown continually by Arvaelo in the first and second that earned her the decision.
At paperweight, in a fast and furious fight, Chris Suize (Campeon Espanola) and Cruz Abeyta (Isleta) battled back and forth in a close one. Suize was, primarily, the aggressor but Abeyta’s counter attacks made the fight a flip-a-coin match. The judges saw it for Suize. Rematch anyone?
At bantam, Monique Maez (DC) was too strong and her punches, too straight, for still-green Ashley Guerro (Unattached). After too many straight right hands, and a standing eight count, the fight was stopped halfway through the first.
At 70-75 lbs., southpaw Sergio Madrid’s (Campeon Espanola) quicker hands and straight left edged out a still-competitive Justice Jiron (Albuquerque PAL) for a decision win.
At 80 lbs., Pablo Lopez (TUFF) had a tough time getting within range of the much taller, rangier Moises Pinon (Martinez), in one round, but closed the gap in the second, to land overhand rights upstairs. In the third, Lopez was all over Pinon, earning enough to win the decision.
At 80 lbs., in a tactical battle, Alan Sanchez (TUFF) let Jose Luis Frias (Martinez) lead, but consistently caught his opponent coming in with fast combinations. Frias went for broke in the third but Sanchez’s superior ring generalship awarded him the win.
At strawweight, Terry Jimenez (Maverick) and Juan Andrade (Atrisco) duked it out in a rough scrap. Round one was close. Jimenez picked up the second with his shorter, harder shots but Andrade won the third with his increased aggression. The judges awarded Jimenez the win.
At 91 lbs., southpaw Walker Jiminez (Maverick) might’ve been the slicker, cleaner, more active fighter, but Cesar Munoz (Alderete) nearly had him with a body blow in the first and from repeated right hands in the third. The judges liked Munoz’s heavier hands, awarding him the decision.
In the best fight of the amateur card, at jr. middle, Peter Gonzales (DC) pummeled Wesley Brown (Gallup PAL) all over the ring through the first, but, after becoming gassed, Brown let loose with a nice flurry as the bell rang. In the second, Gonzales went on the attack again, but Brown staggered his pursuer with a straight left and it became a different fight. The Gallup southpaw blasted away at a hurt but still game Gonzales, becoming, once again, the hunted in the final 30 seconds. In the last round, the fight went back and forth, Brown staggering Gonzales with straight lefts, but Gonzales still coming forward and throwing (usually missing) to hurt. Brown closed the show, nearly toppling Gonzales. The judges had it for Brown, as did NMB. If Brown is any indication of what’s happening at the newly-formed Gallup club, expect to see a winning team in the future.
At lightweight, in another impressive performance from the Gallup PAL, Reyes Castillo (Gallup PAL) blasted Daniel Saiz (The Rocks) with big shots until the ref stopped the contest in the second minute.
At 70 lbs., lightning-quick speedsters Ace Jiron (Albuquerque PAL) and Isaac Perez (MVP) fought a fast one. Jiron had the edge in speed and punching power, but the judges gave the win to Perez, for a slightly higher number of punches.
At lightweight, southpaw Brian Mojica (Maverick) landed the heavier shots in the first, but Damond Torres (TNT) caught up in the second. In the third was a slugfest, momentum swinging back and forth in what might’ve been the best round of the afternoon. After sweating out over the scorecards, the judges gave it to Mojica.
At jr. welter, William Griego (PC) and Joel Gonzales (Atrisco) spent the first round circling one another, pawing at air. Gonzales staggered Griego with a left, but did nothing else, while Griego did even less. In the last round, Gonzales increased his punching percentage 800% - but that meant he only threw a half dozen shots all around. Still, it was more than enough to beat Griego, who did barely anything but stay away from Gonzales’ big punch in the last round.
At 85 lbs., Matthew Griego (Team Mirabal) and Israel Fresquez (Barron Boxing) fought a close first, with Fresquez’s lefts leaving a stronger impression. In the second, Fresquez edged a close round but in the final round, both rocked one another, Griego finishing strong. The judges gave the decision to Fresquez.
At cruiserweight, in the main event of the amateur card, Johnny Baca (Gallup PAL) and John Ramos (Maverick) blasted away at each other, Baca landing the harder shots but Ramos taking them with staggering. In the second, big hooks from Ramos rocked Baca. The two traded solid rights but Ramos, the fresher of the two, evened the score by taking most of the round round. By the bell, both fighters looked gassed, but Baca slammed away at Ramos for a strong finish. In the final round, Ramos was in control, with Baca wilting, but both landed their share of big shots. The judges gave the fight to Baca, in what was a strong finish to an afternoon of great fights.
Team Trophy went to Team Maverick, of Amarillo, Texas. Johnny Baca won the Fighter of the Night award while Cecila Renova picked up the Best Female Fighter of the Night.
In addition to the trophies mentioned above, NewMexicoBoxing.com's props for the day would have to go to the Gallup PAL for three big winners, in three exciting fights. In respect to the pro card, Carlos Sanchez gets best punch of the night (his KO of Gonzales).
Keeping the action going and revving up a rowdy crowd was ring announcer Dennis "DC" Chavez. Ranting "It's gonna be raining pain" and demands to the crowd to answer "What time is it?" ("FIGHT time!") only added to the action. A sidenote: Several years after the untimely demise of Vicente "Picosito" Garcia, there are still plenty of fight fans who skipped the "Fight time!" response to shout out "It's PICO time!"