Tapia comes back, beats down sparring partner
Ringside report by Gerardo Martinez
Photo by Raymond Mares
Last night at the Ohkay Casino in Ohkay Owingeh, N.M., in a card billed as "Battle for Redemption", Johnny Tapia proved he can come back from life's setbacks, again, boxing bloodlines did not matter and knockouts dominated the fight card. The close-to-capacity crowd of 1,700 got its dollars worth of action with the six professional boxing matches and 11 amateur fights.
In the main event of the evening, in what seemed like a vintage Tapia fight, Johnny "Mi Vida Loca" Tapia defeated his watered down opponent, former sparring partner and friend, Jorge "El Gallito" Reyes, by way of TKO at 1:09 of the fourth round.
Tapia came out looking trimmer than expected, after having to lose 34 pounds to make the contract weight of 128, while Reyes came in heavier than planned, eight pounds over the contract, at 136.
Tapia was the aggressor in the first round, throwing combinations to the head and body of Reyes. Reyes barely let his hands in the first, content with circling the ring. In the second, Tapia once again came out swinging, connecting up and downstairs on Reyes. Reyes fired back with soft two punch combinations. After backing Reyes up, Tapia threw a flurry to the body and face of Reyes. Reyes' unresponsiveness caused referee Joe Valencia to give a standing eight count. Reyes survived the round.
The third looked much like the second, with Tapia landing straight rights and left to the face of Reyes. This time, Reyes offered some resistance, but was forced to take a knee after Tapia once again flurried to his body and face. Tapia came at Reyes again and, this time, he fell to the floor. Lucky for him it was towards the end of the round and Tapia ran out of time to end it.
End it, he did in the fourth. Tapia sliced and diced through the weak defense of Reyes, connecting mostly to his opponent's body. Reyes answered back with single punches in the middle of the ring. Tapia worked his opponent to the ropes and forced him to take a knee. Reyes' face said it all, but he used his hands to signal to referee Joe Valencia that he wanted no more of Tapia at 1:09 of the fourth.
Losing 18 of his last 20 bouts and unwon for a staggering decade now, Reyes' falls to 21-28-3 with 17 KOs. Tapia ends a three-year layoff, scoring his first KO since 2002 and rising to 57-5-2, 27 KOs.
In the post-fight press conference Tapia said "Jorge still hits hard." Reyes, likely to call it quits (again), reciprocated by saying "Johnny still has power and speed".
"It was a blessing to come back and now my main focus is staying clean" said Tapia, who looks forward to possibly fighting again in Espanola.
Sanchez knocks out late sub
In the co-main event of the evening, junior middleweight Carlos "El Gallo" Sanchez (5-1, 2 KOs) showed he could come back after his first loss a little over a month ago to Arturo Crespin, by knocking out late sub Eric "Bad Boy" Bradford (0-4).
Bradford, from Lincoln, Nebraska, was a last minute sub replacing Jeremiah "Jet" Torres. The Nebraskan offered nothing more than his record indicated in the first round. Sanchez came out hungry, but cautious, not knowing what his opponent had to offer.
Turned out it wasn't much. Sanchez backed Bradford up with hard power punches to the face and body causing Bradford to take a knee close to the ropes. Referee Joe Valencia give him the count and Bradford got up close to the end of the round. The bell rang and Sanchez ran out of time to finish him off.
In the second, Bradford thought it would be smart to exchange with Sanchez in the middle of the ring. Turns out Sanchez had the heavier hands and knocked down his opponent in the middle of the ring with a combination. This time, Bradford had enough and could not beat the count. Sanchez took it by KO at 0:31 seconds of the second round.
Montes - Sanchez steals show
In what was the most entertaining fight of the evening, between Albuquerque bantams, Raymond "Hollywood" Montes (3-1, 2 KOs) showed his mettle in overcoming a couple knockdowns by outpointing Alan Sanchez (2-1, 1 KO) after four rounds.
Both bantamweights went at it from the beginning of the first round, exchanging punches back and forth. The shorter Montes was able to land a hard right to the face of Sanchez. Sanchez fired back and, in another exchange, landed a right of his own, sending Montes to the canvas. Montes beat the count with wobbly legs and Sanchez came at him again knocking him down with a shower of punches. Again, Montes got up and a second later was saved by the bell.
Looking to have recovered from the multiple knockdowns, Montes won the second by landing the harder punches. There was no doubt who won the third round of the contest after referee Joe Valencia took three points from Sanchez: Two for chucking his mouthpiece excessively to the canvas and one for consecutive low blows. To Montes' credit, he did land the more meaningful punches in the round.
The fourth saw the taller Sanchez come out swinging and landing to the face of Montes. Montes landed in a couple of quick exchanges in the middle of the round. Both fighters ended the round swinging and wrestling each other down to canvas.
After four exciting rounds the judges at ringside had it 37-34 twice and 38-34 for Montes.
Grimaldo bombs out "Bombitas"
Denver's John Grimaldo (3-0, 2 KOs) defeated late sub Javier "Bombitas" (Spanish for Little Bombs) Conde (4-18, 4 KOs) in 2:05 of the 1st round.
Grimaldo looked much stronger than Conde and bombed away on him with power punches. Conde attempted to survive the power of Grimaldo, but went down from a hard straight right to the head and did not get back up in time to beat the count. Look for Grimaldo to continue knocking out future opponents in Colorado and New Mexico.
Cage fighter spoils Anaya's debut
In a battle of cruiserweights, MMA fighter turned boxer Manuel "Mano" Otero impressed the boisterous crowd by knocking out Henry "Poison" Anaya III in 1:38 of the first round.
Anaya, at 6'1", was the much taller and skilled fighter coming from a boxing bloodline, though he was ending an eight-year lapse between amateur and pro boxing. Otero, on the other hand, though debuting in boxing, was teh more seasoned fighter, having accumulated a 5-8 record in MMA.
Anaya began the round controlled and showing his superior boxing skills. Otero covered up, a la Arthur Abraham, to weather young Anaya's barrage of punches. Once Anaya took a break from his onslaught, Otero came out from under his defense, went forward and let loose a series of power punches flooring Anaya with a thunderous right hand to the face.
Anaya beat the count still dazed and confused with his not firmly under him. Otero, seeing his weakened opponent not fully recovered went in for the kill and KO'd Anaya with an assortment of punches.
Anaya seemed to have underestimated the power and skill of Otero. "I'm not much of a talker, I let my punches do the talking" said Otero after the win.
Let's hope Otero's punches keep talking and entertaining fight fans in New Mexico. The young Anaya should be able to bounce back from his first professional loss.
Tapia's son loses debut
In the curtain raiser of the professional bouts, Johnathon Tapia (0-1), son of Johnny Tapia, took on Matthew Salazar (1-0), both of Albuquerque.
The bantamweights traded blows back and forth in the first round with Tapia coming out more aggressive. The taller Salazar was able to land straight rights and lefts to the face of Tapia in the second.
In the third, Salazar continued to dominate with superior speed. Tapia tried to answer by trying to get around the long reach of Salazar. In his attempt to get in closer, Tapia got hit with a powerful straight right while coming in and dropped to the canvas. Tapia got right back up with encouragement from the elder Tapia who was at his corner and ended the round on his feet.
In the fourth, Tapia came out a bit more assertive willing to exchange with Salazar. Salazar slowed down somewhat but was still able to land punches.
At the end of four rounds the judges saw it 35-40 twice and 39-36 once, giving the fight to Salazar by unanimous decision.
The young Tapia's lack of experience in the amateurs showed, but he did show some promise.
In response to what he thought of his son's fight, the elder Tapia answered "I was a nervous wreck over watching my son fight."
At 127 lbs, Anthony Gutierrez (Team Tapia) decisioned Marcus Ewing (TNT Boxing) after three rounds.
At 142 lbs, Edgar Zubia (School of Hard Knocks) decisioned Joaquin Avila (Omega Boxing) after three.
At 112 lbs, Leroy Chavez (Team Tapia) decisioned Jiovani Ramirez (Campeon Boxing) after three.
At 175 lbs, Jonathon Abeyta (TUFF Boxing) decisioned Michael Trujillo (Los Tigres) after 3 rounds.
At 127 lbs, Jason Sanchez (Sanchez Brothers Boxing) decisioned Isidro Castillo (School of Hard Knocks) after three.
At 118 lbs, Luis Montano (Warriors Boxing) decisioned Edgar Mauricio (JSC Memorial) after three.
At 98 lbs, Pablo Lopez (TUFF Boxing) decisioned Eric Reyes (Martinez Boxing) after three rounds.
At 133 lbs, Christian Achando (Warriors Boxing) won by RSC over Fred Chavez (Team Tapia) in the third.
At 68 lbs, Isaac Perez (MVP Boxing) decisioned Ace Jiron (Albuquerque Boxing) after three rounds.
At 95 lbs, David Chavez (TUFF Boxing) vs Moises Pinon (Martinez Boxing) after three.
At 54 lbs, Santiago Giron (TUFF Boxing) decisioned Isaiah Perez (MVP Boxing) after three.