Tale of Two Torres'
Undercard enthralls, “Pittbull” Torres galls Guereca, “Jet” Torres calls it a day vs. Munoz
Ringside report by Chris Cozzone and Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Jose Leon Castillo III
If you joined the near-capacity crowd late, last night at Crowne Plaza in Albuquerque, you would've been served a sugar-coated dessert, having missed the meat of the evening's menu.
As expected, Johnny Tapia Presents' hometown boys Josh "Pittbull" Torres and "Hurricane" Hector Munoz picked up wins set up for them. But, stealing the limelight away from their respective humdrum headliner and contemptible co-main, were the openers well worth the price of a ticket.
In a back-and-forth fight full of spitfire and grit, Saunitu Hogue and Paul "The Prince" Castillo opened the show. That was followed by a feisty female four-rounder between two "Boom-Booms," and a lop-sided hammering given by top prospect Siju Shabazz to a much less capable 'fro-domed clone.
In the main, however, Albuquerque's "Pittbull," Josh Torres, had to work his tail off to score a win over cagey Chuco veteran Bernardo Guereca.
Having dropped nine of his last ten bouts and with but three kayos in 32 bouts, Guereca wasn't exactly pegged to mar the hometown kid's record, but go rounds, which is exactly what happened. Though hurt once or twice, Guereca did what he does best: provide a somewhat decent tussle and, ultimately, lose.
Guereca did hound the "Pittbull," picking up a round here and there, depending on the scorecard. But, from the opening round, Torres' youth, speed and punching power painted a predictable picture.
Guereca spent the first round studying Torres, who landed combos and hooks where he pleased. The crafty El Pasoan had his best round in the second stanza, mauling and brawling Torres for most of the three minutes.
In the third, Torres took over the reins and the rounds repeated themselves. Cleaner punches punctuated the third and, from the fourth on, Guereca resorted to clinching rather than punching.
Though he had to maneuver often to find his openings, and untie himself from the ever-clingy Guereca, Torres started to find a frequent home for his power shots in the fifth. At the end of the sixth, several combos staggered Guereca. One round later, Guereca spat out his mouthpiece to recover from a big uppercut that buckled the veteran's pins.
Guereca tried to mount a final attack in the eighth, but Torres retained control, landing big rights and winning the exchanges.
All three judges saw a lopsided score for Torres: 80-72, 79-74 and 78-74.
NewMexicoBoxing.com/Fightnews had a similar score, giving Guereca just one round (the second), with 79-73.
"He was very awkward," said Torres, now 10-2-1, 4 Kos. "It was hard to figure him out – and the dude had a chin. I used my movement and angles and had him figured out in the last three rounds.
"It was a learning experience and I rate my performance as a '7.'"
With the loss, Guereca drops off the edge of .500, to 16-17-1, 3 Kos.
Torres retires himself
In a shameful matchup, Jeremiah "Jet" Torres (7-21, 1 Ko) was thrown to the dogs against "Hurricane" Hector Munoz (21-9-1, 14 Kos).
It was bad enough that Torres hadn't won since 2005 and lost 13 straight bouts. But, with but two weeks to prepare, against a guy who'd already knocked him out, Torres was given the green light to fight, despite the previous incarnation of the New Mexico Athletic Commission having placed him on indefinite suspension following more than one scary knockout.
While there is nothing surprising about a dangerous mismatch approved for the local arena by the current commish, it appears as if everyone's already forgotten about Raymond "Hollewood" Montes, who narrowly escaped a life-threatening brain injury during a fight in December.
Ironically, it was Montes himself who walked his sparmate Torres into the ring, for his mismatch with Munoz.
On shaky legs, Torres was outgunned in the opening seconds when Munoz tried to call it an early night. Torres got his legs underneath him and, to his credit – no one ever called the "Jet" less than game – he fought back, landing on the "Hurricane."
Munoz backed up Torres through the second, but had to eat his share of leather to do so, for Torres had come to fight – at least for two rounds.
In between the second and third, Torres proved he had more sense than, both, the state commission and the promoter, by calling it quits.
"This is it for me," Torres said on his way back to the dressing room. "I officially retire now."
We do hope he means it, for the temptation of a few hundred bucks may yet lure Torres back. And in a state like New Mexico, with willing promoters and a lax commission, Torres would, no doubt, get another shot at a serious injury.
Shabazz blasts clone
In a scheduled four-rounder between two 'fro-domed light heavyweights, former National Golden Gloves and Olympic alternate Siju Shabazz (2-0, 2 Kos), from the land of Trout in Las Cruces, moved his pro game forward (or ''froward") with a beatdown of Anthony "The Lion of Judah" Jones (0-1).
With a similar 'do and a muscular frame, Jones looked like Shabazz's bro; the 'fro, though, proved no pillow for the blows that sent the foe below.
Jones tried to trade with Shabazz early, but the Las Crucen landed hard and clean enough to prompt the outgunned Albuquerque pug to cover up. Taking his time, Shabazz went to work and, in the last minute, dropped Jones in the corner. Jones beat the count and the round ended.
In the second, Jones tried again to land something, but Shabazz took over. After two more knockdowns, it was over for the "Lion," who ended the bout counted out on all fours. Official time was 1:40, round two.
"Boom Boom" beats "Boom Boom"
In a four-round women's bout, a battle of "Boom Booms," Amanda "Boom Boom" Crespin (7-4-1, 2 Kos), of Las Vegas, outpointed Brenda "Boom Boom" Gonzales (2-1), of Albuquerque.
Neither woman landed much in the opening round, though Crespin proved busier. In the second, Gonzales started to open up with a big left hook and a right. Jabbing Crespin, suddenly gun shy, Gonzales added a jab and sealed the round with ease.
In the third and fourth rounds, Crespin turned on the pressure. Though Gonzales sought to use her reach, Crespin landed hooks and fought her way inside. In the fourth, battling Gonzales' jab, Crespin continued with rights and hooks.
All three judges scored the bout for Crespin, 39-37, which caused the Gonzales-friendly crowd to howl in disagreement.
NMB/FN writers differed slightly, Martinez scoring it even 38-38 while Cozzone had it 39-37 for Crespin.
"She had a crowd behind her but I thought I won the fight," said Crespin. "I outpunched her and used my jab and landed more shots. But she's a tough girl and definitely has power on her."
Castillo outhustles Hogue in thriller
In a four-round featherweight bout, Albuquerque's Paul "The Prince" Castillo (2-0, 1 KO) made a return to the ring against longtime amateur favorite Saunitu Hogue (0-1), of Fruitland, N.M.
Giving up weight and the hometown advantage to Team Tapia's Castillo, Hogue was at a disadvantage – especially when, in the first round, he went down from a big right hook.
Castillo sought to go home early, but could never finish Hogue. In fact, Hogue not only recovered but gave as good as he got as the fight wore on.
The second was Castillo's, as well. Landing cleaner, harder shots, he outbombed the Fruitland fighter, whose punches came off as fruitless slaps.
Those so-called slaps found some density in the third when a big left hook from Hogue staggered Castillo. The grandson of the infamous "Trementina Terror," in the '30s, returned the favor, hurting Hogue, who lost his mouthpiece for the second time, soon after.
In the fourth, Castillo's hooked to the body but it wasn't enough to dissuade Hogue from hooking back, up top. Again, Castillo appeared stunned, but not enough to cover up and back down, for the two ended the fight past the bell, fighting in the middle of the ring to a cheering crowd.
All three judges saw Castillo ahead, from 40-36 to 39-36 twice. NMB/FN had a similar score, 39-36.