Thunder from the undercard
Opening bouts steal show from snoozefest headliner on Kiva card
Ringside report by Chris Cozzone and Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Chris Cozzone
Sorely skewed in favor of the hometown corner, with a cast of foes whose combined records totaled 14-53-6, Saturday night's "Fight Night at the Kiva" could've easily have been a case of karma carrying out the kayo on Chavez-Crespin Promotions.
The crowd of 800 who showed up to watch the hometowners win ridiculous, obscure titles in gimme situations, however, should've gone home more than satisfied – thanks to a high-action undercard that could've flopped, but didn't.
What could've been a blundercard was more like a thundercard.
Stealing the show from the main eventers – and damn near everyone else – was the blitzkrieg curtain raiser between Albuquerque's Jose Luis Sanchez and San Ildelfonso's Angelo Sanchez.
Living up to its expectations as fight of the night and, hands down, the best four-rounder seen this year in New Mexico, Sanchez-Sanchez set a pace that just one other bout could match.
Somewhat outsized by welterweight Jose Luis, Angelo – really a 140-pounder – sought to close the gap and fight on the inside in round one. While both men connected, Angelo a master of the inside uppercut, Jose Luis was the one landing the harder punches, digging to the body and backing up his foe.
No quit in him, Angelo came out strong in the second, catching Jose Luis with a big right, but the Albuquerque kid responded with thunderous left-hand claps to the body. Somewhat slowed, Angelo continued to step forward in what escalated into a back-and-forth slugfest.
It was bombs galore by Jose Luis in round three. Somehow weathering the whirlwind shots leveled at him, Angelo showed a granite chin. Slightly staggering in the final round, Angelo bore in, trying to turn the fight around but the stronger Jose Luis remained in charge as the bell clanged.
All three judges scored it for Jose Luis, 40-36, 40-37 and 39-37. Now 2-0, 1 KO, Jose Luis Sanchez should find himself in high demand on future lineups. Ditto Angelo Sanchez, who falls in numbers, to 0-1-1, but not in esteem.
Slap-and-slug-fest girl fight
Finally given a fight where she has all the advantages, Albuquerque lightweight Victoria Cisneros (7-13-2, 3 KOs) slapped and slugged it out with Colorado featherweight DJ Morrison (3-16).
Round one was somewhat close, the much smaller Morrison determined to make it a fight, early on at least. Cisneros clinched the opener by a punch or two.
The sloppy slugfest that saw both fighters eating leather but Cisneros landing more of it, had the hometown girl pull ahead in the second. Morrison, still game in spots, wilted with every passing moment and every passing assault.
Morrison tried to hold through the third but Cisneros was having none of that. She continued to throw herself at her worn and weathered foe, dominating the fourth, as well.
When a very shaky Morrison stepped forward to continue in the fifth, referee Richard Espinoza needed but one second to stop the impending slaughter.
Official time for Cisneros' TKO win was :01 of round five.
Live underdog bites down into 'El Puma'
When an undefeated 4-0 youngster takes on a much older fighter with an 0-10 record, you can't help but cry, "Mismatch!"
Those who do, however, don't know Rio Rancho's Michael Coca Gallegos. Unwon in ten, Coca Gallegos has been New Mexico's hard-luck kid for years, due to bad calls, split decisions and near wins. Hard luck or not, though, not many were giving him much of a chance against the taller, bigger, younger Cristian "El Puma" Cabral.
But after six blazing rounds, New Mexico had a third candidate for fight of the year, the others being last month's scorcher between Raymond Montes and Tony Valdez, and the four-round Sanchez-Sanchez war on this same card.
How good is Cabral? How not bad is Coca Gallegos? Those questions were put to the test in this one.
"So much for being a live underdog," was on everyone's lips after the first two rounds that saw Cabral dominate. Too much speed, reach and movement had "El Puma" pocketing the openers while lining up big rights that crashed into Coca Gallegos' smiling mug.
That all changed in round three.
With one well-timed left hook, Coca Gallegos changed everything. Suddenly, Cabral was backing up and Coca Gallegos stepping into the pocket with a furious flurry of punches. Cabral recovered while moving, enough to fight back, but the impetus was now in the opponent's corner.
The question whether Cabral was hurt was answered quickly enough in the fourth, when he spent the first half on the run. Skirting around the ring, Cabral was pursued by a ravenous Coca Gallegos. After clearing the cobwebs, Cabral fired back, cutting Coca Gallegos over the left eye and hammering him with body shots to end the round. The round was a toss-up.
The fifth was close, but the edge went to Coca Gallegos, who was able to beat Cabral to the punch while weathering Puma's big right and a last-minute body attack.
Satisfied with fighting on the ropes, Cabral duked it out with Coca Gallegos in the clinch. A big overhand right by Coca Gallegos appeared to stun Cabral again, but he was able to end the round pounding his tiring opponent.
The scorecards varied. Judge Pino scored it for Coca Gallegos, 58-57. The other two, however, judges Tellez and Lopez, saw an even split, 57 apiece, ruling the fight a majority draw.
Both writers, on the other hand, saw Cabral edge a win, 58-56, with, admittingly, at least two very close rounds.
Cabral adds a draw to his 4-0 (3 KOs) record while Coca Gallegos, 0-10-1, puts a screeching, well-earned stop to his losing streak.
"The decision was horrible and I should've put him away four or five times," said Coca Gallegos. "But I give him respect for not getting KO'd."
Overweight Montoya wins belt anyway
In a six-round super flyweight bout, Brandi "Babi Doll" Montoya (5-2), though weighing in a pound over the limit, was awarded the WIBA Intercontinental super flyweight belt after outpointing gutsy-but- oversized, 111-pound flyweight Cristina Fuentes (1-2-3), of Laredo, Texas.
In most so-called "championship" bouts, fighters must make weight to fight for a given belt. Not so with Ryan Wissow's WIBA "sanctioning body." Despite failing to make the 115-pound limit, for the 115-pound belt at stake, she was allowed to fight for the bogus belt.
Unfortunately, there was even worse to come from the WIBA and its off-shoot male counterpart, the UBC, before the night was finito.
As far the fight itself went, Montoya-Fuentes was a decent scrap despite the tarnished belt situation.
Fuentes was tougher than expected, not to mention a decent boxer with a slick and speedy counterpunch. But she was too small against the bigger "Babi Doll," who bullied her against the ropes where she battered her caught prey. In the middle of the ring, however, Fuentes was able to sharpshoot Montoya, catching her with cleaner, precise shots.
Quantity won out over quality and Montoya, who'd made remarkable progress in the past year, slipped a notch or three in finesse, resorting to slugging wildly to pick up the rounds.
All three judges scored it for Montoya, 59-56 and 58-56 twice.
Crespin stops Garcia for unknown belt
The sanctioning body circus continued with the next three bouts. Fortunately, for those who could look past the worthless strap at stake, the fight itself was solid, Las Vegas jr. middleweight Arturo "El Toro" Crespin (8-2-1, 3 KOs) wearing down scrappy 39-year-old Jose Garcia (3-5, 2 KOs), of Albuquerque.
The belt at stake was the mysterious UBC Intercontinental belt. We're pretty sure UBC stands for Universal Boxing Council, but the U could also stand for "Unknown," "Unearned," or "Underhanded," just as easily.
We also assume the belt at stake was the middleweight version, since Crespin was 157 and Garcia, 154. But with the farce already displayed with the WIBA belt giveaway at 115, we cannot be too sure. We couldn't ask Mr. Wissow either, for he had the good sense to stay at home this night.
"El Toro," on the other hand, did show up, to put on a good show.
Slow to start, Garcia was on the receiving end of "Toro's" charges for the first few rounds. Battering Garcia around, Crespin attacked the body with increasing effectiveness.
In the third, however, as Garcia fought his way into the fight, Crespin saw fit to add a Victor Ortiz-like head butt to his arsenal, which was completely unnecessary. Ref Espinosa warned Crespin but, one round later, he did it again, this time opening up a bloody cut in the middle of Garcia's forehead. Crespin got another warning.
Despite the blood streaming down his face, Garcia dug in and took the fight to Crespin in the fifth for what was the only close round. Crespin took back the fight, hammering Garcia in spots, then went to town in the sixth, backing up the elder opponent against the ropes and blasting away until the ref called off the action at 2:27.
Amanda Crespin wins belt without fighting
The co-main event had been a scheduled eight-round fight between Las Vegas' Amanda Crespin (6-4-1, 2 KOs) and Colorado's Mercedes Mercury (3-11, 1 KO) for an unnamed WIBA Intercontinental belt at some weight. Again, we assume it was the junior lightweight belt since the opponents weighed between 127 and 128. When one opponent – Mercury, of course – has lost eight straight bouts, does it really matter?
And when one opponent bails out of a fight minutes before having to go on – again, Mercury – does it really matter if the aforementioned belt is awarded to Crespin?
Of course not! Not with the WIBA, and certainly not in a state that goes, for the most part, unnoticed.
Claiming an injured ankle and bailing, virtually last minute, Mercury will, no doubt, end up on someone's suspension list, at least until some other obscure state decides it's okay for her to lose again, maybe even against someone for yet another WIBA title.
Disappointed in losing her chance to beat further retrograde Mercury, Crespin, with her hands still wrapped, accepted her shiny new, blue belt with humor.
The Walking Dead shuffles into town
If Fidel "The Atrisco Kid" learned one thing last night, it's that you can't take out a zombie without a solid head shot.
All but groaning and moaning as he draped himself over, around and under his 5'9" opponent, 6' living corpse, inhuman punching bag Trenton Titsworth hugged, lazily shuffled and drifted dreamily about through eight snooze-filled rounds.
If pitting a 13-2 guy against 4-13-1 wasn't funny enough, or if the comic physicality of watching Maldonado try to land a punch on a mug floating yards over his head didn't spark hysterics, than the sheer absurdity of the belt at stake should be enough to send you into a sidesplitting stupor.
At stake was the ever-popular UBC junior welterweight title. And, once again, both fighters had weighed in .2 pounds over the limit. Never mind that Maldonado was coming off two losses and fighting at 140 for the first time, or that Titsworth's titular worthiness was backed up with a record of 4-13-1, this was title fighting at its best in the territory (or, are we a state yet?) of New Mexico.
The crowd booed, in between naps. Maldonado, unable to hurt Titsworth with punches, resorted to taunts and name-calling for much of the fight. And Titsworth? He did what he does best, shuffle like a zombie, hug and shrug and lug his string-bean shape around the ring while pawing lazily at the space before Maldonado's face.
To be fair to Maldonado, he did what he could. Without a step ladder. He wrestled, he unpeeled Titsworth' yards of sticker-dotted octopus arms from his neck and torso, he even picked up his foe once or twice, as if considering bashing him to the canvas.
Referee Richard Espinoza did equal damage to Titsworth, zapping the unwilling contestant with a point in the fourth, and two points in the fifth, for continuous embracing.
At the end of eight awful rounds, the judges got out their abacuses to tally up a win for Maldonado with weirdly impossible scores of 80-58 and 80-59.
The writers had it 80-69, giving every round to Maldonado, of course, minus three more points for fouling.
With the win, Maldonado ups his numbers to 14-2, 11 KOs.
And, of course, enters the junior welter ranks as the UBC 140-pound-or-so intercontinental champion.