Fail Safe
Torres, Zamora win bouts on card lacking quality; Duke City scene continues to deteriorate

Ringside report by Chris Cozzone
Photos by Jose Leon Castillo III

Biologist Thomas Huxley once wrote, "Misery is a match that never goes out."

Huxley was, of course, referring to the sort of match that lights a candle or a powder keg, and definitely not a boxing match, but, lacking any sort of potential pop and with bouts unending, uneventful, last night's local smoker at Crowne Plaza in Albuquerque just plain bombed.

That's bombed, as in tanked, and not in any sense of a word related to a display of fireworks.

The Johnny Tapia Presents card, ambiguously titled "The Next Chapter, Part Four," was supposed to be a one-year memorial to the fallen champ, but the matches provided did little but affirm the continuous decline in quality of local boxing.

The sparse crowd of 300 that faithfully showed up to watch local homeboys Josh "Pittbull" Torres and Joaquin Zamora rack up made-to-order wins in the tiny-but-empty ballroom were a testament to that. Topping off a card of embarrassing, completely unwarranted rematches, Torres and Zamora were handed wins against opponents who were, either, completely outmatched and outsized (Zamora's foe), or picked for their inability or unwillingness to fight back (Torres).

In retrospect, however, it wasn't as if the fights disappointed. Disappointment came weeks before, when the line-up was announced, therefore most of us were already prepared for a night of non-action, which we were sorely served.

If there were moments to remember, they were few, but still noteworthy. "Pittbull" and "Toro" – Arturo Crespin – fought with a fevered frenzy against their sacrificial lambs. Intent on winning by knockout, Torres tore into his foe, though had to settle for the shutout win against a shutdown opponent. Crespin, on the other hand, completely unleashed, picked up the only knockout on the card.

Believe it or not, one bout actually matched up even.

Gomez, Munoz debut with a draw

In the only decent match on the card, debuting flyweights Brandon Munoz and Julio Gomez duked it out for four solid rounds, resulting in a majority draw.

For the first two rounds, it was Munoz's fight. Fighting at range, Munoz was busier, swinging wide but hard rights at Gomez, who sought to make things cozier. In the final moments of the second, Gomez worked his way inside to land uppercuts and left hooks. During the next two rounds, Munoz, tiring, sought to keep Gomez at range, but was unable to. The last round saw the best action of the night, with both landing solid shots in the final 30 seconds.

Two judges scored it even (Gant & Pino-Martinez) while the third saw Gomez the winner, 39-37 (Martinez). NewMexicoBoxing/Fightnews concurred with the third judge, 39-37 for Gomez.

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Lopez beats Villafuerte … again

In a rematch nobody asked for, light-heavyweight Adrian Lopez (5-1-1, 1 KO) scored a second lopsided decision over improved-but-still-outclassed Ricky Villafuerte (0-2).

Instead of slugging it out, Lopez boxed most of the time, though Villafuerte sought to mix – and had surprising success, landing a left hand nearly every time he threw it.

The effect on Lopez was minimal however, and the much more experienced "Mexican Monstro" dictated the fight, taking his time and bombing away with body shots when he felt like it.

All three judges agreed on the shutout decision for this mismatch.

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Crespin creams Alderete

In yet another rematch, and another mismatch, this one from 2010, Arturo "Toro" Crespin (9-2-1, 4 Kos) tore into Charles "The Beast" Alderete (1-3), forcing his corner to let loose no less than three white towels into the ring in the last stanza.

Alderete, coming off a year's layoff and now having lost three straight bouts, was no match for Crespin, who fought with a newfound ferocity no one had seen before. Instead of the shoe-shining hit-and-hold techniques he's displayed time to time, Crespin refused to go the distance, letting loose with shots meant to capsize his drowning opponent.

Alderete had no answer, no defense, and an unwillingness to take a step forward and force Crespin back – the only way to fight "Toro." "The Beast" was tamed early. Staggered with a left in the first and second, implored by his corner – "Charles, stop looking at him and fight!" – and too confused to do anything but throw an overextended, reaching right, Alderete nearly went down in the fifth with a left.

Just when it looked as if he was on his way down, in the fifth, Alderete answered with a short right that put down Crespin. The ref ruled it a slip and later explained that Crespin's legs had been entwined with Alderete's. When the fight resumed, Alderete finally relented to slugging it out, but Crespin, like a bull bent on bedlam, battered away at a bloodied "Beast."

In the sixth, Alderete went down, though a tangle of legs appeared to be the cause of it. That didn't stop Crespin who was hell-bent on hammering his foe down – he resumed the slaughter until a handful of towels flew from the sky.

Official time of stoppage was 1:19, round six.

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Zamora's sparring session rematch

A rematch between local favorite Joaquin Zamora (20-4-1, 12 Kos) and El Paso's Bernardo Guereca (17-18-1, 4 Kos) wasn't on anyone's wish list. The two had fought in November, resulting in a lopsided, near-shutout decision for a somewhat rusty Zamora.

Nobody wanted to see it again, and nobody should've been subjected to a second fight, especially since Guereca was a welter and Zamora, a junior middleweight. That, of course, didn't stop matchmakers from finding an easy 'W' for their home-cornered man.

Simply put, it was a sparring session.

Zamora, who usually can't help but give exciting fights, might've forgotten he was fighting before a crowd – well, a cluster, anyway – for he was content to spar Guereca for eight, long, dreadful rounds. Ignoring his corner's advice to throw a left and right hook combo (except for the fifth round, when such a combination downed Guereca), Zamora jabbed, moved and weathered Guereca's occasional spurts of activity, all the while dictating the pace and picking up rounds.

Rather than relive it in words, let it be said that the scorecards reflected the one-sidedness: 79-72 trice.

Somewhat disappointed in his performance, Zamora said he'd been looking for the knockout but couldn't find it, citing infrequent fight activity as the reason.

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Torres proposes to girlfriend … oh, and picks up a win

Though he fought relentlessly, as much as anyone can against an opponent who refuses to come out from behind his castle walls, Josh "Pittbull" Torres (12-2-1, 5 Kos) or his handlers might think about fighting someone with a heartbeat next time around.

Actually, it was all about heartbeats. Unwilling Marcus Brashears (9-16-1, 2 Kos) the non-thrilla from Amarillo, might've not had one, but the "Pittbull's" girlfriend, the lovely Arii Rae, had her heart flutteringly madly when Torres proposed to her in the ring following his victory.

It was sweet and alla that, but for cranky ol' ringbirds who'd been promised a "special announcement" following the fight, thinking that the promoters were going to announce a real match (and not a match made in heaven, or out of love) for Torres, it was a bit of a letdown – of course, nothing like Marcus Brashears, as far as letdowns go.

Torres went to work on Brashears, and Brashears hid behind his gloves and elbows, rarely doing anything but let the hometown kid batter his shoulders and arms. There was an occasional jab from Brashears, and a hook or two in the second and third, then he was back in turtle mode. Torres worked on the punching bag in the fourth, finally landed some big rights past Brashears' airtight shell in the fifth, enough to inspire the Amarillo Turtle to come alive for as long as three or four seconds before the bell signaled the end to round five.

Round six was the best round, for Brashears actually stepped forward once, then quickly shot back into his shell to lay against the ropes. In the last minute, Brashears looked like he was going to do more than pick up a paycheck and, in the last minute, brawled with Pittbull, bloodying his nose, too, but in moments, it was over.

For most of the seventh and eighth, Brashears did nothing rash, while Torres did his damnedest to give his fans – and soon-to-be-fiancé – a knockout win. Big rights tore past Brashears' guard, once again, inspiring the Testudinidae Amarillae to fight a few seconds before resorting to yet another loss.

Minutes later, the fans remaining in attendance soon forgot about Brashears for Torres had donned a "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" T-shirt and was asking his girl to spend the rest of his life with him.

If nothing else, it was an endearing moment to end a dreadfully unendearing evening at the fights.

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2013 by Chris Cozzone