Avalos avalanche buries Nieves
Marquez outclasses Campos; Locals shine in dynamite undercard
Ringside report by Chris Cozzone and Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Chris Cozzone
While most of New Mexico spent their Friday digging out of a blizzard that swept through the state, hot California bantam Chris Avalos spent the evening sweeping through Jose Nieves, burying him with an avalanche of punches in just under four rounds.
An estimated crowd of 4,500 frenzied fight fans filled Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, N.M. to watch what turned out to be one of the best shows in years. The Gary Shaw-promoted show, headlined by Avalos and local hopeful Archie Ray Marquez, turned out a blistering-paced undercard of local talent, with the main and co-main televised on Showtime’s ShoBox.
A test was expected for Avalos, over the once-lost, never-stopped Puerto Rican southpaw. Besides a few stiff left hands, though, Avalos passed with ease, outboxing Nieves and knocking him down twice before the finish.
Nieves came out aggressive, landing a right hook, a straight left and a headbutt before Avalos took control. Forcing the action, Avalos found a regular home for his straight right. In the second, Nieves took his first trip to the canvas from a right. Surviving the knockdown, Nieves spent the next round-and-a-half becoming familiar with the ropes while Avalos pursued, switching stances and scoring with either fist.
In the fourth, Avalos took advantage of Nieves’ rope-a-dope, blasting to the body. Midway through the round, Nieves caved in, sinking to the floor. When the fight resumed, Nieves in rough shape, Avalos went in for the finish, flooring his foe with a right hook. Nieves was up on spaghetti legs as Referee Rocky Burke counted him out.
Official time was 2:20.
“I thought I’d catch him later but I’m happy it didn’t,” said Avalos, now 15-0, 12 KOs.
“He caught me with a good left and a right hook but that was it. I was never hurt. He started to weaken on the ropes and I stayed on the inside, hitting him to the body. He was tough, but I was the better man tonight.”
Avalos has his sights set on much bigger prey now.
“I want Abner,” he said. “Abner Mares. I know it’s a big step, but I think I’m ready. Then I want Cristian Mijares.”
With his second loss, Nieves drops to 17-2-3, 8 KOs.
Marquez clinics Campos
In the co-main event, Albuquerque jr. lightweight Archie Ray Marquez kept his record clean by boxing circles around tough-but-outclassed Derrick Campos, of Topeka, Kansas. On paper, it was a big step-up for Marquez, and though he was not able to stop his opponent, the local favorite breezed through all but the first round.
Campos’ aggression earned him the opening round. After that, it was all Marquez.
Campos was made to order, and was caught, time and again, whether he rushed forward with a sudden spurt of aggression, or just stood his ground, trying to cover up while Marquez moved around his human heavy bag. Whether it was jabbing or changing angles to set up a power shot, Campos was unable to land anything hard enough to dissuade Marquez, though he was able to time several hard counter left hooks.
Marquez, likewise, was unable to hurt Campos, though a right uppercut in round four momentarily startled the Kansan.
In the fifth, Campos returned his rushes, but effective countering by Marquez continued to frustrate him. The two traded heavily in the sixth but, once again, Marquez returned to boxing, his jab and uppercuts racking up another round.
Uppercuts sealed the seventh for Marquez and, in the eighth, he got credit for a knockdown when a leg trip, accompanied by a right to the back of Campos’ head, sent the doomed-to-lose opponent to the canvas.
Knockdown or no knockdown, the scores were – or should have been – a shade off shutout.
Judge Chris Tellez had it a shutout, 80-71; Judge Margaret Garcia was at 79-72; and Judge Tex Bagshaw was watching a completely different fight, with 77-74.
Fightnews/NewMexicoBoxing (FN/NMB) gave Campos round one, scoring it 79-72.
“I’m at a loss for words – this is my biggest win yet,” said Marquez, now 9-0, 1 NC, 7 KOs. “I knew he was tough and wasn’t looking for a knockout. But I stayed calm and kept to plan to just box him. I went out there to have fun – it’s what this sport is about.”
Trainer Sergio Chavez was happy with Marquez’s performance.
“He could have jabbed more, but overall, I’m pleased. He gets better every time.”
Marquez will fight next on the March 6 card in California headlining Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell.
With the loss, Campos drops two in a row, falling to 20-8, 11 KOs.
Mirabal edges Coca-Gallegos
In a four-round bout between Duke City welters, unofficial state champion Vincent “Li’l Man” Mirabal (5-0, 1 KO) won by split verdict over better-than-his-record-indicates Michael Coca-Gallegos (0-3).
Coca-Gallegos won a convincing first round, his forward aggression and big right finding its mark on Mirabal, who started to find his range in the final 30 seconds with a left. Coca-Gallegos was less aggressive in the second, though his bigger punches made scoring tough when considering Mirabal’s superior footwork, straight rights and body shots.
Round three was a definitive one for Mirabal, who outboxed a tiring Coca-Gallegos from the outside. In the fourth, though, both landed consistently, slugging it out in spots in a tough-to-score round.
Scorecards ranged from 39-37 twice, for Mirabal (judges Garcia and Bagshaw) to 39-37, Coca-Gallegos (Tellez).
Both FN/NMB writers had it even, 38-38, but recognized the nightmare of having to judge at least two rounds that were flip-a-coin.
“Gallegos came to fight and was hard to deal with because of his style,” said Mirabal, who is hoping to sign with a top promoter. “I just want to keep on fighting and building my record.”
Proa steals the show, earns redemption
In what was, by far, the best fight of the night – and the best performance by a New Mexican fighter since Holly Holm schooled Christy Martin back in ’05 – Duke City powerhouse, super bantamweight David Proa (7-1, 7 KOs) not only earned redemption from his sole loss last month, but scored the biggest win of his career by forcing the “no mas” on former amateur standout Adam Ochoa (2-1, 1 KO), of Amarillo, Texas.
After blazing through his first six foes, Proa was deserted by his hometown followers in December, when, after losing two rounds, he quit between rounds, claiming weakness due to shoddy conditioning and rapid weight loss. Pegged as a quitter, Proa, swallowing the talk behind his back, did not hesitate when offered Ochoa – by far, his most superior opponent to date.
For most, the fight was seen as a sending-off, a finale for Proa, who was, no doubt, due to be kayoed.
But what was supposed to be a funeral wake for Proa, became a wake-up call for the local fight communitydestined to eat crow. Not only did Proa show he had the biggest heart in New Mexico, but he showed the suddenly-Proa-friendly crowd at Tingley last night that he was much more than the flash-in-the-pan slugger he was made out to be.
Round one went as expected, Ochoa taking his time and easily outboxing Proa, who weathered an uppercut early on. Following his quicker, bigger opponent around the ring, Proa had one good exchange that Ochoa took all too well.
Midway through the second, it happened: Ochoa landed the punch that was supposed to finish Proa’s short-lived career. Down went Proa, crashing into his corner in a tangle of arms and legs. For a couple seconds, it didn’t look like Proa was going to get up, for his legs failed him twice before he was able to stand straight up. When the fight was resumed, Ochoa went in for the kill, blasting Proa to the body.
Proa, however, suddenly showed a solid defense no one knew he had – and he not only weathered the storm but, in the final 45 seconds, blasted back at Ochoa.
Still, no one expected Proa to finish the third . . . but that’s when it all changed. Proa came out behind a tight defense, boxing Ochoa and picking his spots to hammer back at the Amarillo fighter. Now it was Ochoa on the defense, and Proa going to the body, and landing big rights to the head. By the end of the round, the crowd was back behind Proa, as if they’d never left.
When the fourth round bell rang, Proa came out hungry, stalking Ochoa who appeared to be fading fast. After a flurry to the body, Ochoa left the fans gasping when he took a knee to buy himself time. He was up at nine, but winded. And Proa went for the kill, blasting away to the body until Ochoa backed off, signaling to Referee Burke that he’d had enough.
Official time for Proa’s TKO win was 2:38.
Before his loss, Proa was well on his way to become New Mexico’s top draw behind Holm. With his latest win, that following is inevitable.
Dennison repeats win over Crespin
In another blazing battle, a rematch between female featherweights, Albuquerque’s Nohime Dennison (2-1) repeated a win over former amateur standout Amanda Crespin (0-2-1), of Las Vegas, N.M.
Last summer in her hometown, Crespin made her debut, only to lose by upset to Dennison. This time around, a much-improved, much-busier and better conditioned Crespin entered the ring to even the score – though the judges didn’t exactly see it that way.
In the first fight, Dennison’s movement had confounded Crespin. This time she was ready, for, in round one, Crespin outsmarted Dennison, countering her in-and-out movement with well-timed left hooks and rights. Dennison mixed up her one-two routine with body shots.
In the second, Crespin tossed out her plan to outsmart Dennison and, to the delight of the crowd, slugged it out. Crespin’s nose bloodied and Dennison got the upper hand with her steady jab and fast right.
Crespin mixed it up in the third, boxing a bit more but throwing caution to the wind to duke it out again with Dennison. This time, Crespin landed the cleaner, harder shots.
Though looking the worse for wear, blood freely flowing from her nose, Crespin continued to land the harder shots in the fourth, though Dennison was busier, making a thrilling, yet-hard-to-score round.
All three judges saw the fight for Dennison, 39-37, which brought upon a chorus of boos from the crowd.
A vast improvement over her first two bouts and owner of what just might be the best - though a largely unused - left hook in New Mexico, male or female, Crespin, at worst, deserved a draw, according to FN/NMB who scored it 39-37 for the Las Vegas fighter.
Heyman cruises to win as a cruiser
Returning to the ring after a three-year layoff to campaign at cruiser, former middleweight, supermiddle and light-heavyweight “Mad” Max Heyman (23-10-4, 13 KOs) of Albuquerque won an all-too-easy, way-too-boring six-round shutout over unwilling Roy Ashworth (5-7, 1 KO) of Lake Charles, La.
To be fair to Heyman, it wasn’t really his fault that the fight was a snoozer. Then again, he did spend nearly as much time engaged in conversation with Ashworth as he did engaged in fighting. Ashworth, in turn, spent nearly twice as much time talking as he did running, and virtually zero time throwing punches.
Heyman shook off the rust in the first couple rounds, while, before our very eyes, Ashworth gained rust, ignoring the pleas of his corner to, for God’s sake, throw something, will ya? Jabs and shots to the belly picked up round after round after round. Clinch after clinch after clinch followed for Ashworth, the referee having to break the lack of action with a crowbar.
Heyman increased his body attack in the second half while Ashworth intensified his verbal assault on the grinning aggressor before him. After several warnings for holding in the fourth, Ashworth fired one good shot at Heyman, then stomached six hooks to his torso, until he could stomach no more and had to take a knee.
In the fifth, the Louisiana Lip took another knee, but found such a sudden surge of oomph in the last round that he spent much of it sprinting around the ring with Max in minimal pursuit.
Needless to say, all three judges, the crowd and those able to keep from snoozing, scored the bout 60-52.
Crespin evens the score with Sanchez
In a rematch from ’09, Las Vegas jr. middleweight Arturo “Tudy” Crespin (4-1, 1 KO) evened the score with Albuquerque’s Carlos “El Gallo” Sanchez (4-1, 1 KO), who’d scored one of last year’s biggest upsets over the former amateur standout.
It wasn’t pretty – that much was for sure, but Crespin pulled it off, showing up in much better shape and mixing in flashes of superior boxing, a higher punch rate, not to mention a headbutt or two or three, to edge Sanchez for the majority decision victory.
Sanchez, the aggressor throughout, landed a left hook that began to swell Crespin’s right eye in round one. He was met head on by Crespin – figuratively, that is, but literally, later on – who blasted him to the body in a solid-paced round. Both traded shots to the body in the second, though Crespin edged the round with increased aggression. Though landing clean punches upstairs, Crespin failed to faze the unblinking Sanchez, though at least one shot to the ribs momentarily paused his forward-moving foe.
Sanchez hit the gas pedal in the third, giving Crespin a taste of his own medicine by tattooing the body. A hard right by Sanchez forced Crespin to tie up. Clinching and inside fighting had Crespin outsmarting Sanchez in the fourth. Though clearly landing the harder shots, Sanchez was thrown off course by Crespin’s inside tactics – a battery that included a point-piling shoe-shining and at least two skull thumpers that went unnoticed by the ref despite Sanchez’s attempts to complain.
After four, the judges ranged from even, 38-38 (Bagshaw) to 39-37 (Garcia) to a way off course 40-36 (Tellez), making Crespin winner by majority vote.
FN/NMB saw it 39-37, Crespin.
“I’m still young and I have a lot to learn,” says Crespin. “I felt a bit weak from cutting weight in such a short amount of time.”
Neither fighter expressed an interest in a rubber match. Sanchez will go on to fight Lucas Galle on the Tapia card March 6.
“I would not like a third fight with Sanchez,” says Crespin. “I want to move on.”
“Mo Bettah” less filling
In a less-than-spectacular heavyweight opener that actually looked like Morales-Barrera I when compared to Heyman-Ashworth, Newark’s Maurice “Mo Bettah” Harris (21-14-2, 10 KOs) outjabbed Billy Zimbrun (23-11-1, 13 KOs), 228, of Ogden, Utah, over six uneventful rounds.
Harris won the first couple by his occasional jab and less-occasional right hand while Zimbrun spent his time thinking about getting inside, but not acting on it. Zimbrun pepped up in the third, though landed nothing special while “Mo’ Bettah” landed mo’ and mo’ jabs, snapping Zimbrun from catching Z’s with an occasional hook or grazing right hand.
Zimbrun landed on Harris with a sudden flurry in the fifth while Harris went to work on uppercuts. In the sixth, the two finished up stronger, Harris jabbing and Zimbrun trying to launch something too late to start.
The scores ranged from 60-54 twice, to 58-54.
The stars of New Mexico, past and present, came out to support local boxing. Light-heavyweight legend Bob Foster, five-time world champion Johnny Tapia, two-time champ Danny Romero and Holly Holm topped off a list that also included MMA stars Carlos Condit, Damacio Page, Joey Villasenor. Governor Bill Richardson also sat at ringside.
The show also marked the return of one of boxing’s good guys, commentator Nick Charles, who returned to action after a tough battle with bladder cancer, now in remission. Steve Farhood and guest analyst, former champ Antonio Tarver accompanied Charles.