Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.com"The Next Chapter" has scrapbook setting
Zamora, Marquez, Torres win; Eastman-Anaya III II fight of the night

Ringside report by Chris Cozzone and Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Jose Leon Castillo III

Team Tapia Presents' "The Next Chapter" should've read like a cookie cutter storyline, the hometown protagonists picking off set-up adversaries with all the hardship of a sparring session.

While you don't have to read between the lines to know who wins when an 8-2 youngster takes on an 0-5 senior, last night's booking at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albuquerque had its share of surprises and solid scraps. A full house of 800 fans cheering on the home team couldn't prevent a night of struggle and at least one topsy-turvy upset.

In the main event, former contender, Santa Fe southpaw Joaquin Zamora closed the book on a year-and-a-half layoff to fend off scrappy border battler Bernardo Guereca to earn an eight-round unanimous decision.

With age, size and weight stacked against him, no one expected a miracle out of Guereca, who'd suffered seven losses in his last eight bouts. But the 39-year-old El Pasoan who'd once upset the likes of Hector Munoz and Joe Gomez, while going the distance with Lee Montoya, all in enemy territory, showed his old, scrappy self against Zamora.

Guereca pressured the taller, bigger Zamora in the first, winning the round with sheer aggression. Zamora kept off his feisty foe with a jab, and spent the three minutes trying to figure out what to do next.

Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comBy the second, Zamora had it figured out – though it wasn't the easiest plan to implement. Zamora had to weather several overhand rights while trying to catch Guereca coming in, closing the distance.

In the third and fourth, Zamora was effectively using distance, pinning Guereca against the ropes and landing. Uppercuts inside and an occasional straight left took the steam out of Guereca in the fourth and fifth.

Just when it looked as if it was time to bid adieu, Guereca threw himself back into the fight, pressuring Zamora and making ample use of his hardened cranium. Zamora continued to land the better shots, and, between tying up his foe and frustrating him with windmilling overhands, Guereca remained competitive in the last three rounds.

At the end of eight, all three judges gave Zamora the thumbs up: 80-72, 79-73 and 79-74. NewMexicoBoxing.com/Fightnews gave Guereca round one but Zamora, the remainder, 79-73.

"I was happy with the win," said Zamora, now 19-4-1, 12 KOs. "I had a lot of ring rust to get rid of. He was the toughest guy on the list of opponents I had, and that's what I wanted. He gave me just what I needed."

With the loss, Guereca falls to 16-15-1, 3 KOs.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comNothing tricky from Ricky for Archie

Not a single bout on the card proved as predictable as the scheduled co-main between Albuquerque lightweight Archie Ray Marquez (14-2, 9 KOs) and Ricky Alexander (8-10, 6 KOs), of Stillwater, Okla., who'd lost four of his last five, all by knockout.

Though Alexander came out punching, Marquez ho-hummedly weathered the storm – more like a breeze, really – then blew out his fragile foe with a snappy right hand. Alexander made it back up, on Twizzler legs barely able to keep him upright. When the fight resumed, a vicious one-two from Marquez finished the job, with the official time of 1:29 of the first.

It was when Marquez was being declared winner that the real drama started. Longtime crosstown rival Fidel "The Atrisco Kid" Maldonado had worked his way up to the front row where he caught the attention of Marquez. The two traded lewd gestures and words, before security escorted Maldonado back down the aisle.

Maldonado, who is also coming off a ho-hum tune-up win, over Trenton Titsworth last month, is looking at another TV fight under Golden Boy. Local fans, however, continue to clamor for a showdown between the Atrisco Kid and Marquez.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comTorres goes distance with Quevedo

In a ridiculous match-up between Albuquerque welterweights, somehow approved by the state athletic commission, Josh "Pitt Bull" Torres (9-2-1, 4 KOs) went the surprise distance with unwon Omar Quevedo (0-6), who, at least, picked up the moral victory.

Torres patiently stalked Quevedo the first two rounds, though the handpicked opponent showed guts, coming at the Pitt Bull with several flurries.

Quevedo tired in the third and fourth, when Torres ripped into his softer torso. Still, when it looked as if he was going to sink to the canvas, Quevedo launched himself at Torres, who blocked and countered.

In the fifth and sixth, Quevedo was forced to survive. Torres went to work, hammering his body and landing hooks upstairs. Again, Quevedo took it, occasionally fired back, and made it to the final round.

All three judges had Torres pitching a shutout, 60-54.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comEastman becomes Beastman, upsets Anaya in Fight of Night

In a rematch, super middleweight Manuel Eastman (1-3) not only evened the score with easily-favored Henry Anaya III (1-2), but severely punished his former conqueror.

It was, hands down, fight of the night, due to Eastman's improved aggression – and Anaya's tremendous heart.

Anaya was in control for the first minute. Then it was all Eastman. Eastman staggered Anaya early on and applied pressure from start to finish, battering away so severely that most of us expected referee Rocky Burke to pull the plug on Anaya. But just when you could justify a stoppage, Anaya, seemingly drifting toward the canvas, would rear up and fire back with a gusto that, despite two losses now, marks him as a real fighter who refuses to lose.

Winning, however, was just not in the cards, last night.

Anaya tired in the second, but the two exchanged heartily in the third – advantage Eastman. In the fourth, Anaya lost a point for dropping his mouthpiece for the third time. The extra recovery time may have helped, but Eastman's big rights nearly finished Anaya before the bell clanged the end.

All three judges had Eastman winning the decision, 39-36.

"I was worried about the judges, but knew from the second round on, that it was mine," said Eastman. "Sure, we can do it again, if he wants."

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comLopez defeats Otero

In a high-action battle of cruisers, Adrian Lopez (3-1-1, 1 KO) outboxed and outslugged former cage fighter Manny Otero (2-5-1, 1 KO).

Weathering Otero's battering ram of a forehead and boxing rather than slugging it out, Lopez kept to plan.

The two exchanged hard shots in the first, but Lopez fought smarter, timing big shots to the body and a left-hook combo in the second.

In the third, Otero resorted to dirty boxing, but Lopez kept cool, boxing while trying to avoid a skull to the chin or a low blow. Lopez let loose in the fourth, tearing into Otero in the middle of the ring, cementing the win.

Scores were 40-36, 40-37 and 39-38, all for Lopez.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comSanchez dominates Martinez in disappointment

Though it was kept low-key, the fight most in the know pegged as war of the night, was a four-rounder between Albuquerque welters Donald Sanchez (2-0, 1 KO) and James Martinez (1-1, 1 KO).

With nearly 90 pro fights between the former cage fighter and Muay Thai kickboxer (but with two boxing bouts), most expected this bout to steal the show – and maybe it would have, if Sanchez hadn't been so effective and Martinez, so clueless about how to fight his opponent.

Martinez kept Sanchez at bay for the first minute, but Sanchez, not having to worry about his foe's lethal kicking ability, stepped right into the pocket and went to work with surprising ease.

Showing boxing ability better than most younger boxers have shown, the former King of the Cage battler tore into Martinez through the first two minutes, prompting an early TKO stoppage at 2:16.

Throwing up his arms, Sanchez said, "It was surprisingly easy. But, it is what it is . . . ."

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comLeo edges Pacheco in battle of debuters

In a battle of debuting bantams out of the Duke City, Angelo Leo (1-0) was fortunate to make his entrance into the pros with a win, edging tough Jesus Pacheco (0-1) with a majority decision.

Pacheco was a monster in the first, coming at Leo and forcing the fight. Leo kept in turtle mode, blocking most of the damage but taking too long to fire back. Though he connected with two hard counter rights, it was all Pacheco.

In the second and third, Leo came out of his shell, landing savvy countershots and not waiting so long to fire back. Pacheco, in the mean time, threw more shots, most of which were blocked, and applied steady pressure. Pacheco went to the body in the second and caught Leo with a big hook at the end of the round. In the third, Leo landed his best shot – a big straight right.

In the fourth, Leo went to the body, but it was Pacheco's renewed aggression that took the round. Keeping Leo on the defensive, Pacheco threw one-twos, landing more than he had since the first.

The judges differed. One judge (Tellez) somehow had a shutout for Leo, 40-36. Another (Pino-Martinez) had it 39-37, also for Leo. The third (Gant) had it even, 38-38.

NMB/FN also had it even, giving Pacheco rounds one and four; Leo, two and three.

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2012 by Chris Cozzone