Holm socks Saccurato
Holm shows power; Hallback wins split decision over Cisneros at Route 66
Ringside report by Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Jose Leon Castillo III
Boom. Boom. Boom.
By the time the eighth round came around, that's all that could be heard - Holly Holm's repeatedly socking it to New York's Ann Marie Saccurato. That is, before their 10-round rematch was cut short after Saccurato's trainer signaled Referee Rocky Burke to end the slaughter at :51 of round eight.
Though the crowd was less than the usual 2,800 or so seen at Holm fights, the 1,800 crowd at the Legends Theater of Route 66, west of Albuquerque, did not leave disappointed.
"I wanted to flip it on Ann Marie," said Holm's trainer, Mike Winkeljohn. "Last time, Holly moved and all of Holly's old fights that people have a tendency to scout, they see Holly moving and lunging.
"Flip it" is exactly what Holm did, from the second round on, in her rematch with Saccurato. In the first, Holm came forward, punching as Saccurato waited to counter. That was the last time in the fight Holm would do so - from then on she turned down the volume of her punches, sitting down on them and waiting for her opponent to come forward.
Knowing that she had to push the action and score points so that she would not get outpointed, Saccurato began going after Holm in the middle rounds. Every time she did, Holm was waiting to counter and land power shots. In the sixth round one of those power shots landed above the left eye of Saccurato and immediately caused a lump to rise on the New Yorker's forehead. Saccurato was landing some of her own shots, but with a lot less steam and speed than those being delivered by Holm.
Looking discouraged and confused coming into the seventh round Saccurato seemed to have no Plan B to deal with her opponent's change of style. Holm took charge and began going forward, seeing her opponent had tired a bit. Holm's domination became more obvious as the round went on, and she landed cleaner power punches to the face and body.
In between rounds, Saccurato's corner took a long time to get her set for the eighth. As soon as the bell rang for the eighth, Holm rushed towards her weakened opponent and Saccurato had no answer to the attack. Saccurato's corner had seen enough.
Holly fans got to see a rerun of the Holly show as she took care of another of one of her former foes, keeping her IBA junior welterweight title and earning the WBAN's version of a championship.
Who's next? Well if you were there last night, it might not matter because Holm looked unstoppable.
Hallback wins split decision over Cisneros
Looking less conditioned than her warrior-hearted opponent, Chevelle "Fists of Steel" Hallback (28-6-2, 11 KOs) sucked in enough air to land big shots and impress two of three judges for a victory over Albuquerque's Victoria "La Reina de la Guerra" Cisneros (5-11-2, 3 KOs).
Cisneros had a bigger stake in the contest as she was promised a rematch with Holm by promoter Lenny Fresquez if she defeated the Tampa, Florida fighter. Hallback showed speed and skill throughout the first three rounds using movement and to score and make her opponent miss.
It continued in the fourth when Hallback landed a powerful hook that caused a swelling on the left eye of Cisneros. Cisneros was able to land some of her own punches but with no visible effect to Hallback.
Hallback continued to reorganize Cisneros' face up until the seventh round when the altitude seemed to get to the Floridian. Tired, she allowed Cisneros to land some hard shots.
In the eighth and final round, Cisneros had more fuel left in her tank and attacked her tired opponent. Hallback responded with looping hooks that landed against her forward-coming opponent. They both took a breather in the middle of the round but ended with a furious exchange.
After eight, the judges scored it 77-75, 78-74 for Hallback and 77-75 for Cisneros, a split decision win for the steel fisted Hallback.
Hallback showed her superior speed and skill and it looks like Cisneros lost out on another shot at Holm. Hallback admitted after the fight she faced a tough opponent and that the altitude effected her punch output.
Mirabal returns, remains undefeated
After taking a little bit of a break from brawling, Vincent "Lil Man" Mirabal (7-0, 1 KO) provided the audience with an exciting fight, outhustling his Dodge City, Kansas opponent Joel Vargas (3-2-1, 3 KO’s) and keeping his record unblemished.
Mirabal replaced Josh "Pittbull" Torres on short notice, who pulled out due to an injury.
The heavier-handed Vargas tried throughout the entire fight to land a KO punch, but was unsuccessful thanks to the movement and defense of Mirabal. The two went right after each other from the start. The first three rounds saw Vargas being the aggressor and Mirabal countering and scoring.
In the fourth, Vargas connected with a hard three-punch combination to the head that seemed to daze Mirabal. Mirabal responded with a flurry of punches that connected, keeping Vargas from thinking about a KO. Showing greater skill and ring knowledge, Mirabal continued to land more often against his KO-minded opponent in seventh.
Vargas' corner urged him to look for the KO in the last round, realizing that he was losing on points and Vargas complied. The only problem was that Mirabal outsmarted him, landing and throwing more until the final bell.
The judges ranged in scores, from close to a shutout: 58-56, 60-59 and 59-55, all for Mirabal.
“He took some good shots, I took some good shots”, said Mirabal.
"Tone" turns pro
Espanola's debuting Antonio "Tone" Martinez (1-0, 1 KO’s) made short work of Raton's Michael Montalbano (0-3) in a lightweight contest.
For the first 30 seconds of the fight it looked like a competitive bout with both men exchanging and connecting in the middle of the round.
Then Martinez' heavy hands dazed the lankier Montalbano. Martinez drove Montalbano towards the ropes and bombed away as the referee looked for a response to come from Montalbano.
Seeing no such response, the referee ended the slaughter at 1:03.
Esquibel ends losing streak
Coming off almost a year of inaction and three straight losses, Albuquerque's Jodie Esquibel (6-5-1, 2 KOs) got a "W" against her Little Rock, Arkansas opponent Savanna "The Lioness" Hill (7-7, 4 KO’s).
It was the Jodie Esquibel show throughout the six round female straw weight contest. Hill had no answer for the Winklejohn-trained Esquibel, who dominated her taller opponent with speed and movement. Hill first showed visible signs of the beating in the fifth after her face swelled and nose began to bleed. Hill never quit even though Esquibel was landing leather from all angles.
After six rounds all three judges had it 60-54 for Esquibel.
"I have the best sparring partner in the world" said Esquibel after the fight, referring to Holly Holm.
Thompson KOs Bruffy-Holmes
In the curtain raiser, Kansas light heavyweight Emmanuel Thompson (1-0, 1 KO) made a successful New Mexico debut against Albuquerque's Christian Bruffy-Holmes (0-2) by knocking him out in 0:58 seconds of the first round.
Thompson showed more speed and power than the Albuquerquean dropping Holmes twice from right hands to the face. Both times Bruffy-Holmes beat the count, but looked unsteady on his feet. After the second knockdown, referee Richard Espinosa halted the bout.