Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comMolina nails Williams in crossroads trial
Holmes dazzles Santa Fe; Coca Gallegos nets win; Renova-Trujillo steals show

Ringside report by Chris Cozzone and Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Chris Cozzone

Lightweight title hopes, an emerging local and the first win for New Mexico's perennial "Hard Luck Kid" brought out close to 800 fight fans, Friday night at the Indian School's Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe, N.M.

The card, televised by ESPN2 and promoted by Goossen-Tutor and Holmes Boxing of Santa Fe, featured a 10-round must-win fight between former lightweight contenders hoping to break back into contention.

John Molina Jr., of Covina, Calif., trained by 2012 Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia, was hoping to bounce back from a devastating TKO to former champ Antonio DeMarco, while St. Louis' "Dangerous" Dannie Williams, two fights back, had lost his standing by dropping a decision to Henry Lundy nine months ago.

Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comLast night in Santa Fe, Williams lost even more standing – and his footing, as well – when Molina chopped him down with a devastating right.

Both men started out cautiously, but Williams pecked away at a gun shy Molina until the final moments, when a big right found its mark. Despite the big shot, Molina held out during the second, while Williams picked up the round with straight lefts and overhand rights.

With Molina merely following Williams around, the schemata for a loss was slowly being drafted, that is, until an accidental headbutt halted the action. Williams went down to the canvas, clutching his damaged dome. Referee Rocky Burke gave him five minutes to recover; Williams took one. When the fight resumed, however, Molina was a different fighter, suddenly anxious to unleash left hook after left hook. Williams fought back, edging the round with more effective shots.

Williams continued his peppering and pecking away in the fourth, though the occasional one or two-punch shot from Molina had him quickly embracing his foe, as if hurt. That Molina's shots were twice as dangerous as "Dangerous" Dannie's was evident when, in the third minute, a big right had Williams crashing into, nearly out of, the ropes and to the canvas where he was counted out.

The official time of stoppage was 2:16.

Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.com"I was just doing what Robert [Garcia] said," stated Molina, now 25-2, 20 Kos. "When he told me to change the pace, I did. I think it was very noticeable. I just followed instructions and landed a nice right hand and got 'em outta there. Williams had decent pop in his left hand, but he never hurt me."

The Williams fight was Molina's first bout under trainer Garcia.

"He's taught me how to set up punches," said Molina. "He's a confidence boost in your corner."

Molina mentioned Ricky Burns, Miguel Vasquez, and rising superstar Adrian Broner as possible fights.

"In the DeMarco fight, I was never hurt, but people misconstrue and think I can get hurt easily," Molina explained. "I was never hurt in the sense that I lost consciousness. If you think I can et hurt, then, hey, step up to the plate and we can get it on."

With the loss, Williams drops to 22-3, 18 KOs.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comGonzales decisions Mouton

In the co-main event, unbeaten super middleweight Brandon Gonzales (17-0, 10 Kos), of Sacramento, Calif., had to settle for a somewhat lackluster decision over tough Don Mouton (12-5-1, 10 Kos), of Houston.

The crowd, restless and somewhat bored, had to settle for listening to top trainer Virgil Hunter's endless stream of directions, which often went unheeded for the eight long rounds.

Gonzales played with his jab in the first but Mouton began pressuring in the second. Occasional shots to the midsection, at the request of trainer Hunter, kept Mouton at bay. Gonzales, using the ring and landing sporadically, took the third with body hooks and jabs. Mouton kept an increasingly longer period of time against the ropes in the fourth, blocking but letting the rounds go to Gonzales.

By the fifth, Mouton decided it was time to do more than just follow Gonzales around. Hooks upstairs landed for him, though left hooks to the body had him retreating.

In the sixth, body shots continued to put Mouton in reverse, until he discovered that it wasn't all that difficult to land on Gonzales. By the end of the round, Mouton was opening up. In the seventh, Gonzales let Mouton back into the fight – that nearly proved his undoing. Though occasionally countering effectively in the eighth and final frame, Mouton went to town in the last 30 seconds, staggering Gonzales moments before the final bell. The unbeaten Gonzales, smiling awkwardly, walked unsurely toward his corner, where he placed a glove on the top rope to keep his legs from swaying.

All three cards went to Gonzales: 78-75 and 77-75 twice.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comMarquez struggles with Griffin

In what would've been tagged the local headliner, and the walkout bout of the night, Albuquerque lightweight Archie Ray Marquez (15-2, 9 Kos) racked up his third straight win over a soft opponent . . . only New Orleans' Rynell Griffin (6-12-2, 2 Kos), unwon in his last 11 bouts, proved anything but soft for Marquez.

Marquez played the aggressor throughout the six rounds, outboxing Griffin who stuck to defense and the occasional counterpunch. For the first two rounds, Griffin stayed in turtle mode.

In the third, Griffin started to open up, catching Marquez in the midsection, though not nearly enough to take the round. In the fourth, taking everything Marquez threw at him, Griffin returned fire, catching the Albuquerquean with right hooks. The fifth saw Griffin effectively on the attack, but combos by Marquez had the round a toss-up.

In the final round, Marquez worked for a finish over Griffin, who'd previously gone seven with headliner Dannie Williams. A hard left hook to the head wobbled Griffin's knees, but he was able to weather the storm.

All three judges ruled the win for Marquez, 58-56 twice and 59-55.

"I wasn't looking for the knockout," said Marquez. "I was working on the body – I didn't know he could take a punch that well. I also didn't know he was a leftie."

Trainer Chris Chavez remarked on Marquez's conditioning, saying, "He could've gone 12 rounds. But we gotta sit down, give him some time and see where he's going."

If New Mexico fight fans have anything to say on the matter, Marquez would be training hard for a crosstown rival match with Fidel "Atrisco Kid" Maldonado. In the annual poll held at NewMexicoBoxing.com, a Marquez-Maldonado has been voted as the No. 1 fight fans want to see – for the third straight year.

"The fight with Fidel will happen eventually," said Marquez. "But I got other things in mind. Right now, there's no money if I fight him. So why fight him?"

As for money, both fighters have been recently approached by Fresquez Productions to headline an upcoming card at Route 66. Stay tuned as negotiations progress . . . or tank.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comSanta Fe lands a hopeful

Carrying the local crowd, Santa Fe junior welterweight Brandon Holmes (1-0, 1 KO) wowed his followers with an impressive pro debut, battering down Albuquerque's Abelardo Javier Esparza (0-1) in just over three rounds.

Big rights from Holmes on a somewhat unwilling Esparza marked the opening round. But for winging counter punches, Esparza, who took the bout on a week's notice, was at the mercy of Holmes, who took his time breaking down his man.

In the second, Holmes committed to the body. One round later, he was backing Esparza up with a jab, then pressuring him with more body shots that were showing their damage.

The fourth didn't last too long: Holmes came out swinging, connecting to a wilting Esparza. A big shot to the head and Esparza sank to the canvas where he was counted out.

Official time of knockout was :36.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comCoca Gallegos gets his win

After eleven bouts and years of fighting, unwon "Hard Luck Kid" Michael Coca Gallegos (1-10-1, 1 KO), of Las Vegas and Albuquerque, netted his first win, over late sub, virtually unknown debuter Alejandro Hernandez (0-1).

Bringing a cluster of fans from Albuquerque, Coca Gallegos had absolutely no trouble from Hernandez, who came out of nowhere to accept a payday for his time.

Coca Gallegos approached Hernandez slowly, then, just as soon as he opened up, the fight was over. A straight right, with the intensity of a pawing jab, knocked down Hernandez in the first minute. The opponent got up but a barrage of shots had the ref waving off a fight the New Mexico Athletic Commission should never have approved in the first place.

"My first win felt good," said Coca Gallegos. "But I need to get back into top competition. I had a little bit more fun fighting undefeated guys – people see my record, they see who I've lost to. But I give him all the credit for getting in there with me."

Coca Gallegos had originally been slated to fight Arturo Crespin, who pulled out due to a family illness.

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Photos by Chris Cozzone/cozzone.comRenova – Trujillo steals show

Though Brandon Holmes might've been the local star of the night, the four-round girl fight, between Albuquerque's Cecelia Renova (1-0) and Espanola's Amber Trujillo (0-1) stole the show for action.

No one expected much from Trujillo – these writers, especially – for she had zero experience in the ring. "She can crack," assured matchmaker Pat Holmes. "You'll see . . . ."

See, we did. Despite a 20-bout record in the amateurs, Renova might've had the edge in boxing, straight punches and ring generalship, but there was no give in Trujillo. Despite a bloody face and outclassed in skill, she hurled herself time and again at her foe, revving up, both, the Albuquerque fans who'd made the drive, as well as a flock of Espanola fans.

Renova came out landing hard shots, but Trujillo, backed up early, responded with winging counter bombs that made their mark with more and more accuracy as the bout progressed. The bloodier Trujillo's pink garb was stained, the more tired Renova got, the harder she bombed away.

The first two rounds were easily Renova's. Renova tired in the third, enabling Trujillo to land her big rights. Hooks from Renova never missed, but as she came close to completely wilting in the fourth, Trujillo fought her hardest.

In the end, Renova picked up a shutout decision of 40-36, though NewMexicoBoxing/Fightnews gave Trujillo one solid round – the fourth – with the third closer than the cards indicated.

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Dominguez takes Montoya

At junior welterweight, Los Lunas' Eduardo Dominguez (1-0) outpointed Joshua Montoya (0-2), of Albuquerque.

For the first three rounds, Montoya gave away he fight, letting Dominguez coming at him. Though clearly unhurt in the fight, Montoya was in sparring mode, working on defense, while Dominguez pressured, landing here and there.

In the fourth, Montoya decided to do something, and he landed uppercut after uppercut, first grazing, then dazing Dominguez until, as the bell rang, he was on his way to, at least, a knockdown.

All three scorecards favored Dominguez, 39-37 twice and, somehow, 40-36. NMB/FN had it 39-37 – but you'd have to be blind not to give the final round to Montoya.

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Etcetera

Raymond "Hollewood" Montes was in attendance. For the record, the fight media is going to miss the drama and entertainment Montes brought to the local arena. In December, Montes was seriously hurt in a rematch with Tony Valdez; he was forced to retire.

Champ in the house: WBA light middleweight Austin "No Doubt" Trout was in attendance, fresh from his historic December win over Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden.

Pros in attendance: Espanola's pride Tony Valdez was also at hand, as was Siju Shabazz, Joaquin Zamora, Fidel Maldonado, Josh Torres, Hector Munoz and Amanda Crespin.

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2013 by Chris Cozzone