"Battered at the Bosque"
Marquez gets saved by bell and ref from late sub Johnny Frazier
Ringside report by Chris Cozzone and Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Chris Cozzone
“Rising Stars Battle at the Bosque” turned “Falling Star Battered at the Bosque” last night when unbeaten Archie Ray Marquez came close to suffering his first professional loss against a last-minute sub.
The eight-round lightweight main event had originally featured the Albuquerque hopeful promoted by Gary Shaw against a no-hoper who’d dropped nine of his last ten bouts. Despite stepping in at the 11th hour, Nevada’s Johnny Frazier provided something of an upgrade, having lost only five of his last seven with none of those losses coming by way of knockout.
On paper, neither opponent justified a main event worth shelling out the dough for, but a very near capacity crowd at the 2,600 arena at the Santa Ana Star Casino in Bernalillo, N.M. must’ve thought otherwise – then again, who can resist glancing at a train wreck?
A train wreck is what nearly happened.
After a high-action, all-local undercard – alone worth the price of admission on the Crespin Boxing Promotion / Mirabal Boxing / Gary Shaw hybrid card – tainted with one terrible fight and several preposterous decisions by the three (sometimes two) blind mice sitting ringside, there was no indication that Marquez would do anything but floor the fodder lined up for him.
Round one was purely tactical and slow-going but Frazier was able to show a sharp counter right that would, later, come in handy. In the second, Marquez brought on his game, pressuring the tentative Frazier with hooks.
Frazier landed a clean overhand right in the third that Marquez took well. With the crowd chanting “Arr-chiieeee! Arrr-chieeeee!” the hometown hopeful bulled forward, through the third and fourth, taking counter shots by Frazier to get inside where he attacked the body.
Frazier’s jab went to work in the fifth but Marquez bulled forward, landing an occasional left hook to the body. After struggling to find his game in the first four, five frames, Marquez appeared to finally have the fight under control in the sixth. Frazier, content in his role as opponent, was mauled against the ropes where Marquez went to work softening him up. A cut over Frazier’s left eye accentuated the turn of the fight and what most thought would be a cruise to the finish line for Marquez.
Marquez won nearly all of the seventh round, big rights and bangs to the body – and that’s just when it happened.
Begged by his cornermen to let his hands go, Frazier did just that. Switching stances, Frazier unleashed a left hand that not only sent Marquez down, but nearly out of the ring, with the only the ropes holding him up. Clearly stunned, Marquez beat the count – just as the bell signaled the round’s end.
Quite possibly saved by the bell, Marquez regrouped in between rounds, and came out for the eighth and final round, intent on returning the favor. Frazier, suddenly awake, exchanged with Marquez, and both landed clean shots. Though clearly having Marquez’s number with his counter shots, Frazier, for some reason, backed off and let most of the round escape his attention while Marquez tried to find a home for his right hand up top.
That’s when “it” happened. Again, just as the round was nearly over.
The two exchanged hooks, both landing to the head – only Frazier’s shot was the one with impact. Marquez was sent on his way to the canvas, just as Frazier threw an instinctive follow-up right hand that grazed the back of his head.
The stunned crowd then watched as referee Tony Rosales not only discounted the super-clean knockdown but added insult to injury by zapping Frazier with an unwarranted point deduction for hitting Marquez to the back of the head.
The crowd booed and Frazier stared at the ref, in shock. Marquez, saved by the bell in the seventh, now saved by the ref in the eighth, had just seen a round go from 10-8 against him, to 10-8 for him.
The round ended before the two could trade another shot and the scorecards were tallied – which took an excruciatingly long time.
“Shouldn’t take this long,” Frazier muttered in the ring waiting for the announcement by ring announcer Mike Adams. “Better not get robbed.”
Judges Bagshaw and Gantt saw the bout 78-72 while Judge Ashe at least had it closer, 77-74, all for Marquez.
Fightnews/NewMexicoBoxing gave Frazier two of the first six rounds, which would’ve made it 58-56 going into the seventh, the round Marquez was floored. The knockdown would’ve made it 66-66 after seven and had the knockdown been recognized in the final round, Frazier should’ve won the fight, 76-74. With the referee’s questionable actions in the last round, the 76-74 score flip-flops in Marquez’s favor.
“I am disgusted,” Frazier, now 2-6-3, 2 KOs, said in the ring, shaking his head. “I thought I won. I was cruising through the rounds because I thought I’d won the rounds – and then the last round? That was a knockdown.”
Welcome to New Mexico.
Marquez ups his record to 11-0, 8 KOs, 1 NC, while avoiding a near disaster.
“He was awkward and had no power at all,” he said of Frazier. “He just caught me off guard. I wasn’t dazed at all.”
Controversy No. 2: Crespin loses decision to Torres
What do you call a six-rounder between fighters coming off losses?
In New Mexico? That’s a title fight.
Originally, Amanda Crespin (4-4-1, 1 KO), of Las Vegas, N.M., and Carla Torres (2-1), of Cleveland, were scheduled to go eight for the oh-so-coveted WIBA Intercontinental something-or-other trinket, but, to their credit, the Santa Ana Athletic Commission (no intended sarcasm – really) reduced it to a sixer on account of Torres having only fought two four-rounders.
If you could get past the “title” at stake, the fight was decent, unlike the decision rendered.
Torres picked up the first round, fighting from the outside and slickly countering Crespin’s bull rushes. The local favorite started to get her way halfway through the second, trapping Torres against the ropes and landing a flurry of shots.
The fight was clearly Crespin’s in the pocket – but Torres controlled the game from the outside. In the third, Torres’ jab went to work and Crespin had to work her way in and force the action. Round four saw Crespin land her money shot – the left hook – while Torres took too long to fire.
Crespin took the fifth with forced action and in the final round, the two exchanged in the middle of the ring, Crespin, again, forcing the action.
The judges were all over the place, scoring it 58-56 Crespin (Bagshaw), 58-56 for Torres (Gantt) and, somehow, 59-56 Torres (Ashe), giving the win to the out-of-towner by split verdict.
FN/NMB had it a close-but-clear win for Crespin, 58-56.
What do you call a six-round fight between an undefeated 7-0 fighter and a guy who’s dropped nine of 10 bouts?
In New Mexico? Title fight!
Fighting like a zombie on Thorazine, Trenton Titsworth (3-11-1, 2 KOs), of Las Vegas, was too drowsy to throw a single power punch in six rounds, but graciously allowed welterweight Vincent “Li’l Man” Mirabal (8-0, 1 KO) of Albuquerque to win something called the UBC youth belt after six rounds of target practice.
There’s only thing more embarrassing than fighting a bop bag like Titsworth, however, and that’s not being able to take him out.
Backed by living legend, five-time world champ Johnny Tapia in his corner, Mirabal put in six rounds on the disinterested elongated heavy bag that stood before him. Threatened by a pawing jab hardly worth the effort it took to lift it, Mirabal’s only concern was getting tired from having to hurl his glove skyward toward his taller opponent’s head.
Titsworth’ only effort – and this is no exaggeration – was an accidental punch in the last round that landed on Mirabal, throwing him off balance. For a brief moment, it looked like the Walking Dead had arisen, but after a half-hearted combination (all of which landed), he abandoned the Ali Shuffle for the Thorazine shuffle once more.
The biggest surprise was that all three judges got it right, scoring it 60-54 for Mirabal.
At super flyweight, Santa Fe’s Natalie Roy (3-0) took on Albuquerque debuter Brandi “Baby Doll” Montoya (0-1) in a sloppy-but-fun girl fight that saw yet another questionable decision.
Though both fighters would’ve been better suited to remain amateur longer to develop something called “defense,” the two had no trouble showing the guys how to fearlessly throw punches. Through four rounds, Roy and Montoya let loose at one another, Montoya playing the aggressor and outpunching her Santa Fe foe.
Unfortunately for her, the judges were watching a completely different fight, scoring it 38-38 (Gantt) and, disbelievingly, 40-46 (Bagshaw), 40-37 (Ashe) for Roy.
FN/NMB ranged from 38-38 (Martinez) to 39-37 (Cozzone), for Montoya.
By any Means, Lopez robbed
If the ref’s antics in the Marquez were bad, and both the Roy-Montoya and Crespin-Torres decisions questionable, the judges’ rendering of a four-round cruiserweight bout between Tim Means (2-1), of Albuquerque, and Adrian Lopez (1-1-1, 1 KO), of Socorro, was downright criminal.
While Means has improved dramatically since turning pro in boxing, he was clearly no match for Lopez, a former amateur standout who returned to the sport last year.
Lopez shook off a bit of rust in the third but was clearly the aggressor, clearly the winner in round one. In the second, Lopez weathered a nice straight left from Means but otherwise controlled the bout with rights up top and enough body shots to pocket the round.
Lopez brought out his jab in the third and, letting Means come forward, hammered him with a big right. The two exchanged heavily in the middle of the ring in what was a close round, and possibly Means.
In the final round, Lopez outboxed Means, catching him with rights and an uppercut. After another great exchange in the last minute, Lopez punctuated what should have been his win with hard left hooks to Means’ mug.
When the first score was announced – 38 even (Bagshaw)– those ringside were taken back. But then the remaining scores were called – 40-36 (Gantt) and 40-37 (Ashe) – all seemed in order.
Only problem was, the two judges had ruled it for the wrong guy, making what is clearly the frontrunner candidate for “Worst Decision of the Year.”
Leo a lion
In a four-rounder at super flyweight, Cuban-born Leonardo Sanchez (1-0) showed promise of becoming a local favorite with a clear decision (yet ruled majority – go figure) over Taos-born Coloradoan Michael Herrera (1-1, 1 KO).
The Bad Boyz-trained Sanchez had the crowd chanting “Lee-ooo!” early on and he came out swinging for the more methodical Herrera, who sought to establish his jab and fight from the distance. Sanchez was relentless through four rounds, however, and kept Herrera backtracking for most of the fight.
Herrera had success in the third, landing cleanly on the shorter Sanchez, but by the fourth, the explosive Albuquerquean was bombing away at Herrera, left hook after left hook.
On the scorecards, at least the judges gave it to the right guy (40-37 – Gantt, 40-36 – Bagshaw) though one had it even, 38-38 (Ashe).
NMB/FN card was 40-36 Sanchez.
Cage fighter impressive
On the short end of close and questionable decisions, Michael Coca-Gallegos (0-9) has been called the “Hard Luck Kid” of New Mexico. But when it was announced he was up against yet another cage fighter going pro in boxing, almost everyone was convinced he’d be earning his first bonafide win.
Unfortunately for him, there was very little evidence that former King of the Cage champ Donald Sanchez was a mixed martial artist. Looking more like a boxer than most of the boxers on the card, Sanchez made an impressive debut in dismantling, bloodying and nearly finishing Coca-Gallegos over the course of four rounds at welterweight.
Coca-Gallegos either had another off-night, or he might be better advised to hang it up. After nine straight losses, he might lean toward the latter.
Sanchez had little trouble taking the fight to Coca-Gallegos, jabbing his way in and landing rights. Clearly the aggressor, clearly the harder puncher, clearly the superior fighter in every aspect, Sanchez blasted away at Coca-Gallegos, who tried to rally in desperate counterpunches against the ropes. Though able to return the favor of a bloody schnozz, Coca-Gallegos’ face was painted red by the third and a stoppage was on the horizon when the fight ended.
All three judges get gold stars for their no-brain decision: 40-36 x 3 for Sanchez.
Martinez, Herrera draw in opener
In a four-rounder between fan-friendly lightweights, Espanola’s Antonio “Tone” Martinez (1-1, 1 KO) and Roswell’s John “Smiley” Herrera (1-1-1) ended in a majority draw.
As Edgar Zubia found out last year in Hobbs, Herrera may smile a lot but he’s not all fun and games. Behind the Joker-like grin lies explosive counters, which Martinez found out early.
With Martinez wading in, Herrera blasted him with hooks and rights in the first. Round Two saw Martinez land uppercuts, but the several exchanges between the two in the center of the ring favored Herrera.
Martinez rallied in the third with sheer aggression, but halfway through the round, faded somewhat when Herrera moved in for the attack. The Espanolan had a better fourth and final round when Herrera tired.
Judges saw it 39-38 Herrera (Ashe) and 38-38 twice (Bagshaw, Gantt), making it a majority draw.
FN/NMB had it a clear win for Herrera, 39-37.
“He’s a tough guy,” admitted Martinez. “I just don’t like his attitude. I’d like to rematch him.”