By Andrew Rivera: The Boxing highlight in New Mexico in 2016, was the election of former multi weight world Champion Johnny Tapia,59-5-2. The late Tapia will be inducted with Heavyweight Legend Evander Holyfield and Tapia conqueror Marco Antonio Barrera.
Secondsout winners for yearly awards always get the people excited for what’s to come in the new year.
Bob Foster Fighter of the Year.
Jason Sanchez and Matthew Griego
This year we have co-fighters of the year with Jason Sanchez 9-0 Sanchez the top featherweight in the area, he went 4-0 (3kos) including halting the previous never stopped John Herrera. Sanchez destroyed Herrera in one round. He is a force to be reckoned with in 2017 and we hope will see the showdown everyone including Sanchez wants is a fight with another New Mexico fighter,Brandon Holmes 9-0.
Flyweight Matthew Griego shares the honor with his 5-0 record in 2017. Griego gets praise for his potential and looking to have the goods in all his wins. Like previous winner and Griego’s teammate Brian Mendoza. Griego’s opponents haven’t been stellar, having a combined record of 1-24. Griego did tell me he wants to step up competition in 2017 and for that we can’t fault him.
"I do want to fight better people so I can show the fans all my skills." Stated Griego. Let’s hope we see his true skills shine in 2017.
Johnny Tapia Fight of the Year Award.
Josh Torres majority loss to Mike Alvarado.
Not that the fight had fast pace action, but it was a fight that had significance to the landscape in boxing locally.
Many felt Torres should have gotten the edge or very least a draw against the former Jr welterweight champion Alvarado.
Torres, unlike many locally was willing to step it up not once but twice in 2017. Earlier in the year he was slated to fight another former champion Zab Judah, yet the fight card was canceled the day before due to Judah’s people not getting in "proper paperwork".
Torres 15-6, always puts on a good showing and this fight showed the importance for a local fighter to go to the next level.
Comeback of the Year.
Brother to Jason, the Jr middleweight who sports a 7-1 record went 4-0, with a standout win over tough Arturo Crespin in September.
Sanchez along with his brother had suffered personal tragedies in 2015-16 first older brother Alan, died in a car accident followed by the family home destroyed by fire. Anyone one who can get their career in track after that defiantly is comeback worthy.
Hector Munoz I’ll Fight Anyone Award.
The Award named after Albuquerque Jr middleweight Hector Munoz . Munoz with limited skills and amateur background, yet will fight a who’s who in boxing, from former champions to future ones giving his all for the love of sport.
The Award goes to MMA fighter Conrad Padilla who dropped a bad decision to Antone Martinez in Padilla’s pro debut.
Many felt Padilla won the fight as did I after seeing video, yet with limited Boxing experience Padilla was willing to take a chance and battle Martinez.
"It was fun and I wanted to see how Id do." Said Padilla.
When too many boxers pad records Padilla stepped it up and almost pulled it off.
Promoter of the Year.
Considering there are three promoters in New Mexico that put on cards in New Mexico Legacy headed by Eric Martinez and the Perez brothers wins the top honor with 4 cards put on during the year.
They have showed the willingness in the beginning to put on competitive fights and giving New Mexico fighters an avenue to fight which is awesome.
The only two set back is the fights are starting to be carbon copies with other promotions. The same house fighters fighting the same fighters the other promotions Josie fighters fight.
The other is when announcing the fight cards all the promoters break a Muhammad Ali act law.
The announcement of the all the house fighters on the card but "No opponents "? Hopefully the commissions will work on that in 2017.
Dan Sisneros Community Service Award
Josh Torres and Fidel Maldonado.
A few years ago I asked the Albuquerque welterweights if they could come sign pictures for an event for kids prior to the school year. The event Kutz for Kids, is an annual event to give free haircuts and school supplies to kids. Both happily accepted.
This year both donated they’re time and barber skills (both are barbers) and gave kids free hair cuts for the day. The event gets hundreds of kids throughout the day. Great job !
Maldonado looks to have a big 2017 as New Mexico’s top Jr welterweight. He always ready to fight Antonio Orosco this last December with a possible world title shot given to the winner. Having trained for 8 weeks and ready to weigh in the fright was suddenly canceled. Orosco supposedly suffering from dehydration was taken to the hospital and canceled.
Hopefully Maldonado will get the same chance soon to get into boxing main stream.