By: Simon Ruvalcaba
Boxing is the theatre of the unexpected and the subjective nature of the sport can have two observers even sitting next to each other have different views of a bout. Much like is the dress Gold or Black? What do you see? Saturday night from Fresno, California’s Minor League ballpark Chukchansi Park the crowd was treated to a DAZN, Matchroom promoted event that looked to revive the historically proud fight city!
In the evening’s Main Event, Oxnard, CA’s Mikey Garcia came into the ring for what on paper was supposed to be a stay busy fight but Spain’s Sandor Martin was upset minded. Mikey was the heavy favored and the crowd was there to watch the four-time World Champion. The bout was like a sparring session that never reached a climax or a dramatic event. The crowd watched as the notorious slow starter Garcia came out studying Martin while Sandor looked for counter opportunities. It was a slow start as usual from Mikey in which the crowd seemed anxious for the pace to pick up and for Mikey to go for the kill as is his tradition? That never happened as the defense of Martin never allowed Garcia to land a solid power shot and Sandor was able to potshot straight lefts and right hooks from his southpaw stance. Sandor, the European Super-Lightweight Champion, appeared to find his range in the final two rounds but the ringside belief was that he wasn’t doing anything to take the fight from the former Champion in what was officially a non-title 10 round bout that had the feel of a title fight as we are used to seeing Mikey being a part of?
Punchline scored the bout 98-92 for Garcia, but Martin’s shots that where well timed did make the rounds tough to score and the official scorecards saw a much closer bout and in fact saw that Martin did indeed do enough and Spain got one of the biggest upsets in it’s boxing history. Scores where 95-95 and 97-93 (twice) for the young and fearless Martin. Garcia made $1.5 Million for the fight, while Martin made $150,000 but certainly earns more in the future after the upset victory. Martin improved his record in the process to 39-2 (13) while the future Hall of Famer Garcia falls to 40-2 (30) after suffering the 2nd defeat in three fights after a long time undefeated career.
In the fight that most local fans came to see and that was a special attraction just before the Main Event (mainly from fear that the crowd was leaving afterwards) Fresno, CA’s local former amateur stand-out Marc Castro made a successful hometown debut and improved to 4-0 (4) with a first round destruction over Dominican Angel Luna. The two time World Amateur Champion Castro, who always had a pro ready style, picked his shots and unloaded once he found his range. after a knockdown, the follow up assault forced the referee to step in at the 2:41 mark of the round. Luna falls to 14-8-1 (7).
In a battle for the WBO Light-Flyweight title, it was a matter of what bout you where watching as Puerto Rico’s Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez dethroned Mexico’s Elwin “La Pulga” Soto via split decision. While the majority of ringside thought that Soto’s aggression and combos when catching up to Gonzalez carried the night, others, including the DAZN crew, where more impressed with the movement and accurate angled shots of Gonzalez. Punchline scored the bout 116-112 for Soto, as did one of the official judges, but the card for Soto was sandwiched by two 116-112 scorecards for the winner…and NEW Champion Gonzalez who was successful in his second World Title opportunity and improves to 25-3-1(14). Soto falls to 19-2 (13).
If being from boxing tradition rich San Antonio, TX and on top of that being trained by Robert Garcia is supposed to be added pressure for a light-Flyweight prospect, you wouldn’t know it by the cool, calm and collective style of Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez who continued to shine and showed why he earned the nickname as he assaulted Baja, CA’s Jose Alejandro Burgos through three rounds before a solid straight left dropped Burgos in the fourth and the follow up barrage forced the referee stoppage at the 1:23 mark. The hard hitting Rodriguez is now 14-0 (10) while Burgos falls to 18-5-1 (15).
In the opening DAZN televised bout, it was a suspenseful lightweight bout when Australia’s latest banger Brock Jarvis won by TKO over Mexico’s Alejandro Frias. From the waist up, Jarvis is built like an 80’s Pro Wrestler with broad shoulders and buff arms and he used that strength to get Frias on the ropes and land barrages of snapping shots to the head and body. The suspense came in round 2 when Frias landed a solid shot that sent Jarvis reeling and the follow-up had him visiting all corners of the ring. At one time he fell back on the ropes with Rodriguez nailing him, it was unclear at first whether the referee was going to give an 8- count or if he had even stopped the fight as the ringside Doctor was starting to climb the steps to come into the ring, but it was just the referee allowing Jarvis to get back in ring and out of the ropes he had slipped through. Jarvis weathered the storm and Frias looked punched out as he wasted his punches trying to finish.
Jarvis got back on track and was landing solid shots to the head and body. At 2:04 of round 5, after a Jarvis combo, referee had seen enough and waved the fight off. The crowd was displeased, but it was an accumulative stoppage as Frias was taking hard shots throughout the bout. Jarvis is now 20-0 (18) while the dangerous Frias falls to 13-5-2 (6).
In the last of the non-televised series of bouts, South Central Los Angeles Super-Middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco improved to 12-0 while dropping lucas De Abreu to 12-1 with a TKO stoppage in the 8th and final stanza. Pacheco was in control, winning every round while getting ringside support from Promoter Eddie Hearn who was urging Pacheco to go to the body with his combos. In the end, it was head shots that had De Abreu reeling and forced the referee stoppage at 2:21.
22 year-old Middleweight Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy of Brooklyn scored a unanimous 8 round decision over Miami’s Sanny Duversonne. It was simply a case of Ababiy having a much higher work rate throughout the rounds. Punchline scored the bout 79-73 for Ababiy. Official scorecards where 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75 for “White Chocolate” who improves to 11-0 (6), Duversonne falls to 11-5-2 (8).
Former Amateur stand out from Brisbane, CA Charlie Sheehy made a succesful pro debut with a 4th round TKO victory over Argentina’s Luciano Ramos in a lightweight contest. Sheehy was well on his way to a four round victory before a vicous combo dropped Ramos and the follow up forced the referee stoppage. Ramos falls to 0-2.
In the opening bout Super-lightweight Houston, Texas’s latest prospect Oscar Alan Perez went the distance for the first time en-route to a unanimous 4 round decision victory over Durango, Mexico’s Raymundo Rios Cardiel. Perez fired at will throughout the fight and dropped Cardiel in the 2nd round. All three judges agreed with Punchline’s shutout scorecard of 40-35. Perez improves to 4-0 (3) while Cardiel falls to 3-7-2 (3).
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and MMA and Bareknuckle star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Sons Gabriel and Oscar! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!