Boxer Update: In January of this year, I reported a tragic car rollover accident involving Arizona amateur boxer Humberto Avila and his lovely wife, Nicolette. Their harrowing experience happened on Christmas Eve of 2012. The couple were on HWY 85 headed east to Ajo, Arizona where they planned to spend Christmas with their in-laws. Unfortunately, Mr. Avila fell asleep at the wheel and as a result; their vehicle drifted off the road and rolled several times before coming to a stop. Nicolette,miraculously, escaped the wrecked car with non-life threatening injures; but, Humberto suffered life altering injuries and according to doctors and family members, will probably be confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life.Humberto is now home where his undergoing intense rehabilitation. His father-in-law called to thank everyone in the boxing community who sent prayers, flowers, love and money. Humberto, you’re not alone....good luck and our prayers are with you and your family.
Ghost Busted: On Wednesday 3/28, 4 time world boxing champ Roberto Guerrero was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York for attempting to board a plane with a hand gun in his suitcase. In fairness, the gun wasn’t loaded and he did provide proper registration and proof of ownership. Guerrero resides in Gilroy, California faces a hearing over the matter after his highly anticipated bout with Floyd Mayweather on May 4 in Las Vegas. Perhaps he needs a nanny (with a law degree) to travel with him and oversee his packing. I can just hear her now: no,no Roberto, I said gum not gun. The weapon was in a lock box. If the 30 year old Californian makes the same mistake again; he might be placed in a lock box with Bubba.
Iron Boy 6: 2012 U.S.A. Olympian Michael Hunter had more problems with the scale than he did with journeyman Chad Davis in their abbreviated bout at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on 3/9/13. Hunter, at his own written request, stated he would fight at 212, but, hit the scales at 214 while his older foe did make the 212 mark. Hunter made the request because he didn’t want to face a huge heavyweight in his professional debut. There isn’t a max weight required in the division; but since he wrote his own prescription, he reluctantly complied with his personal request. At one time, Davis weighed over 240. Mr. Hunter had a sheepish grin on his face after making a weight he didn’t have to make....strange! No word on whether or not the fighter from Nevada will appear on the Iron Boy 7 May 17 Card at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Bet he wont add a weight clause next time.For the record, he has sparred with the world champion Klitschko Brothers who are ring giants in both stature and size.
According to publicist Emily Pandelakis, 2,500 boxing fans,a near sellout, turned out for the show. Some were disappointed after finding out that popular
Franciso C De Vaca wouldn’t be making his professional debut because his scheduled opponent weighed five pounds over the limit and he didn’t want to make the required limit. The young man was asked;but no cigar. Vaca and his promoter Roberto Vargss were genuinely upset. For the record, the weigh-in was held at Senor Sushi’s in Phoenix. Amateur sensation Sulem Urbina Soto was awarded a "walkover" when Iann Vazquez ,her scheduled opponent, failed to show. Amateurs America Valdez and Ariel Arismendez faced off with America winning a decision over her younger opponent.
In action that did go down, Chris Lopez won a unanimous decision over Rocco Espinosa in a 6 rounder. Undefeated Victor Castro (9-0) scored a 5th round TKO victory over Jason Thompson who was making his professional debut. Castro is expected to fight on the Iron Boy 7 card on May 17 at the Celebrity Theatre. I asked a member of his management team if Victor would be taking on stiffer competition and more specifically, Javier Loya (7-2). Loya has called out Victor on several occasions. The answer was maybe if Loya would come down to 133 lbs. Loya reads this column, so the answer is on its’ way. A more probable opponent is Arlo "Encino Man" Arguetta who sports a 6-0 record. Castro and his peeps have been criticized for taking on "mediocre" foes. In his defense, Castro is only 20 and still searching for a boxing identity. If offered, I think both Arguetta and Loya would agree to meet Castro; not at the same time, of course. Loya has lost his last two fights.
Juan Garcia pleased his fans with a 4th round TKO victory over Raul Duhart, a last minute replacement. Undefeated Carlos Castro scored a unanimous decision over Jazzma Hogue. Castro and his trainer Andrew Soto have known each other for almost a dozen years and the union is a winning combination, so far. Castro is expected to return for the May 17 Iron Boy 7 Card. Raul Carrillo lost a unanimous decision to undefeated Fernando Samaniego and highly touted amateur Edgar Brito scored a win over Jose Herrera. Brito told me he wasn’t satisfied with his perform ace despite a win; so, back to the gym for more practice. He plans to turn professional this year. Expect him to be on the May 17 card.
In a six round contest, Alexis Santiago won over John Herrera. Sergio Lopez and Jesus Guerrero fought to a majority draw after four rounds.
The lineup for the May 17 is still tenative; however, super middleweight David Benavidez is penciled in for the card. The 15 year old is considering turning professional at 16. The legal age in the U.S.A. is 18; but David could go to Mexico after his 16th Birthday and become a pro and then continue fighting in the America with written permission from his father, Jose Benavidez Sr. Other fighters expected to join David on the card are Franciso C De Vaca, Victor Castro, Carlos Castro, Sulem Urbina Soto and Michael Hunter. Keep in mind, nothing in boxing is official until it happens. Tickets available at the Celebrity.
Boxing Notes: Jose Benavidez Jr. (17-0-13 Knockouts) continues to take time off to mend his injured hand while rumors swirl that he is timid about returning to the ring after getting tagged hard in the 8th round of his last fight. Team Benavidez categorically denies the suggestion and a spokesperson for the young fighter told me, Jose is getting ready to start working out soon at the Power MMA Gym in Gilbert. In the meantime, his schedule includes an appearance at theNight of Miracles Concert on Saturday May 4, 2013 and the Comerica Theatre in Downtown Phoenix. Proceeds will benefit Breast Cancer patients and Jose will join more than 30 active and retired athletes who are lending their celebrity to help find a cure for a disease that impacts so many lives including victims and their family members. Claudette Robinson, co-founder of the Miracles, and Sydney Justin, a member of the Miracles, will reprise classic hits that continue to get airplay around the world. It promises to be a night of nostalgia and great fun. Comerica Theatre is located at 400 West Street in Phoenix. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Comerica Box Office Monday -Friday. You save a dollar or two if you buy at the theatre in advance. If you go and singalong, I second that emotion.
Arizona boxing coach Juan Varela sends an email invite to all amateur boxing fans to watch the Arizona vs. California 2 show at the Victory Outreach facility located at 4655 West McDowell Road in Phoenix, Arizona. General admission tickets are $10.00 and fans can grab a ringside seat for the affordable price of $25.00. The event will feature 20-25 bouts and all winners will receive a belt. Juan will take calls at 602-327-6901 or email him at:firstname.lastname@example.org Sounds like fun.
More Boxing Notes: Top Rank and Golden Boy didn’t snag him even though they scouted him at various tournaments. 50 Cent and his company (SMS Promotions) signed him and the move has proven to be golden, so far. The fighter is Luis Olivares, who hails from Glendale , Arizona, best known for being the home of the Phoenix Coyotes. Luis may changer that. Since turning professional , the 20 year old has fought twice and won both bouts by knockouts. And both victories were road wins in New York and Connecticut. His next bout is set for April 4 in New York.
Luis, a light welterweight, is getting good advice. First, he took his show on the road instead of staying home and kissing up to the hometown folk. Nothing wrong with community support; however, most trainers prefer the road first because the road experience matures the fighter quicker. After a few wins on the road, then book the fighter in his or her hometown. It doesn’t take brain surgery to groom a fighter the right way.
Hurricane Sighting: Super Middleweight boxer Andrew Hernandez was at the Iron Boy 6 weigh-in (Senor Sushi’s) chilling with his vivacious girl friend. His drug suspension is over in August and the "Hurricane" man is scheduled to fight on the September Iron Boy Card at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Andrew didn’t say a whole lot to me, she is very pretty. It is my understanding that he has parted ways with his long time Jerry Cheatham who told me recently, he was steeping away from boxing. Hopefully the experience was a teachable moment...lesson learned.
Parole Request: Michigan Boxing Writer Brian Fogg, leave It In The Ring Contributor, is doing research on the possible parole of imprisoned boxer Ike "The President" Ibeabuchi who faces a May parole hearing in Nevada. Ike is representing himself and we all know what the consensus is about an inmate who doesn’t have experienced representation: Good luck and see you at next year’s Parole hearing.
Ike was a top ranked heavyweight contender (20-0 w/16 knockouts) until he was arrested for sexual assault and battery at a posh hotel on the strip in Las Vegas where the alleged crime took place in 1999. A jury in Nevada found him guilty of sexually assaulting a Escort Service employee who testified against him. Ibeabuchi is expected to tell the board tat he is a changed person, thanks in part to mental health care administered at the institution where he has spent the last 13 years. If he is granted a parole, Curtis Cokes, his former manager, thinks he will be deported to Nigeria, his birthplace. Curtis said he hasn’t spoken or heard from Ike in over two years. The former world boxing champion talked to me for a few minutes. I called him back to wish him an early birthday. The happy day falls on June 15. Many more Champ! He keeps busy training fighters and working with disadvantaged youth in Texas.
Good Job: Arizolna boxer Alexis Zazueta beat the best in his division at the Golden Gloves Regionals in Nevada. Savor the Moment! Until Next Time!
April 2, 2013