Posted by Don Smith on Dec 14, 2015
2016 wish list, Servin Update, Stone Trial & More

2016 wish list, Servin Update, Stone Trial & More

Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith:

Boxing Fans, ABNN is back from a short respite and ready to embrace a new year of boxing. We know December has 31 days and 2015 isn’t over until six days after Christmas, but boxing and other sports usually take a corner stool to college football bowl games in December and early January, so we asked select members of the Arizona boxing community (or whoever picked up the phone) to answer the following question: What fight would you like to see happen in 2016? We couldn’t find anyone, we surveyed, who didn’t have an answer.

Boxing Publicist Emily Pandelakis thinks a match between Manny Pacquiao and Terrence Crawford would be a good choice. Pac Man has said he wants to lace them up done more time on April 9 before becoming a full time politician. According to press reports, the future hall of famer has narrowed his choices to Terrence Crawford, Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan.

Crawford would be our choice because the Filipino legend has faced Bradley and Khan is aligned with Al Haymon, a bitter rival of Top Rank CEO Bob Arum; Manny’s boss! South Mountain boxing figure Juan Varela cast his support for Crawford against any top notch challenger. Central Gym overseer Tom Garcia shares Emily’s selection while boxing fan Miguel Sanchez would like to see Pacquiao end his career versus tough Argentinian Lucas Matthysse.

The overwhelming response of proposed match-ups was Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin; of course. I know a few boxing insiders who think the PPV viewership for that match-up might rival the interest and dinero power expected from the release of the new Star Wars flick, but Canelo’s disappointing performance against Mayweather may have lessened the k aching factor by a few million dollars.

I am sure IBF Sanctioned Referee Wes Melton (one of many readers polled) would like to work that bout if it came to fruition and Wes wasn’t the only reader with a hankering to see the charismatic duo face off. Boxing fan Harry Shapiro seconds the motion and he also listed Wilder vs. Fury as a fight he would give up his bowling night to watch. Harry sounds like a wild and crazy guy; don’t leave the porch light on or join him in a double date.

Cut man and trainer “Georgie” George Garcia also suggested GGG vs. Canelo and he added a couple of caveats to his wish list: Bradley vs. Cotto and Rigondeaux vs. Lomachenko. It wasn’t easy for most of the solicited arm chair promoters to pick just one tantalizing bout for 2016.

Iron Boy Promotions Photographer Rhonda Costa stayed local with her wish pick and said she would like to see local featherweight sensation Francisco C. De Vaca battle super bantamweight Edgar Brito. De Vaca has many more bouts under his belt, but the crack photographer thinks there might be a little friction between the two that could spark some heat in the ring. I don’t know how Rhonda is going to resolve the weight difference between the two young warriors.

Boxer/Trainer Rico Hoye emailed 3 suggestions: Ward vs. Kovalev, Kovalev vs. Stevenson and Mikey Garcia aka Miguel Angel Garcia Cortez vs. anybody top 10. Ward recently signed a 3 fight contract and according to press reports, the inclusion of Kovalev is mandated in the deal. Ward is currently rehabbing a knee and may retire instead of facing Kovalev or continue fighting. After all, we’re talking about Andre Ward; so who knows what the temperamental Olympic Gold Medal winner will do? Garcia is 5 times World Champion Michael Carbajal’s favorite fighter; at least the favorite when we spoke at his gym on 9th street and Fillmore in Phoenix a few months ago.

Super fan Geoff Ronning would like to watch Tim Bradley take on Kell Brooks in the upcoming year. Also, Mr. Ronning, he reads every column, would like to see David Benavidez, Mario Heredia and Trevor McCumby fight 3-4 times in 2016 against quality opponents. 18 year old Benavidez (11-0) is scheduled to meet Kevin Cobbs (10-1) in January. Is it possible, David heard Geoff? No word on next ring action for Senor McCumby and Heredia, both rising stars in the boxing world.

Judge/Referee Chris Valdez sent four interesting requests: GGG vs. Ward, Kovalev vs. Stevenson; Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux and Donnie Nietes vs. Roman Gonzales; good choices.

Matchmaker Edward Rodriquez, a knowledgeable boxing figure on the west coast, would like to see featherweight Oscar Valdez (17-0) take on Guy Robb (17-1) in 2016. Valdez fought in Tucson on 12/12 and a solid win should give him a title shot: Robb may have to wait.

Comment: I would like to thank everyone who responded with a 2016 fight in mind and I look forward to a continuation of providing information and opinion in every installment of Arizona Boxing News & Notes. I know the year has two more weeks, but I am very appreciative of my readers even those that disagree with me. In light of recent episodes of violence fueled by extreme views in the area of religion and politics; I hope people from all walks of life regardless of color , creed or religious conviction will simply chill before the level of intolerance escalates even more . As the New Year draws closer, let us all make a resolution to get along and agree to disagree with respect for one another regardless of our differences.

Take a bow: 108 lb. Arizona amateur Adrian Servin had his heart set on making the 2016 USA Olympic boxing team, but the dream ended on 12/9 after he was eliminated in the double elimination tournament held in Reno, Nevada.

The 18 year old boxer from Phoenix won his first bout against Melik Elliston 3-0 from Colorado then lost a controversial decision to New Jersey native Leroy Davila 2-1. In his final match, Adrian met Pablo Ramirez and the Texan won the decision 3-0.

The day after his demise, I talked to Adrian’s supportive father (Mike) who told me the family was very proud of Adrian and he hopes his son will continue as an amateur and consider competing in the 2020 Olympics. Mike Servin said the decision was up to Adrian and he also suggested that if Top Rank or another legitimate promotional company were to offer a contract with a signing bonus, it would be something to consider. Adrian has a girlfriend and together they’re parents to a young child who could test his dedication to the sport; Adrian is very mature for his age. And he will do what is best for his family.

Mr. Servin knows the path to boxing glory for Adrian won’t be easy; but Team Servin seems bound and determined to make that journey-time will tell where the road leads.

Stone Trial: Former Gym manager and boxing coach Damien Stone was scheduled to stand trial at Maricopa County Superior Court on Thursday December 10, 2015; but Stone’s legal representative (Nathaniel Carr III) asked for and was granted a continuance. The new trial dates is set for January 25, 2016 and the court proceeding is open to the public.

The 41 year old Stone was arrested and charged in 2014 with soliciting sexual favors from an undercover female police officer who told the interested male she was a mere 16 years old. Stone agreed to meet her at a nearby hotel with the monetary amount discussed over the phone. Once again, during their taped conversation, she asked the then married father if being 16 was a problem and he responded “not at all.” Stone is free on bail and USA Boxing Arizona has revoked his membership while the Chicago, Illinois native awaits judgment.

The Homecoming: Heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz, a late addition to the 12/12 Homecoming card in Tucson was scratched; no word on why. Iron Boy Publicist Emily Pandelakis played a key role in publicizing the event and on the eve of the show, ticket sales were brisk. A recap of the show will be carried in our next column. The poor health of a dear friend prevented ABNN from attending the event. In missing the show, a planned interview with Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Publicist Lee Samuels was regrettably postponed. I emailed Lee who understood the situation and the gentleman accepted my reason for missing the show at the Tucson Convention Center.

I was present for an informal “Homecoming” Media workout held at the Benavidez Gym in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It was my first visit to the upstairs located facility (39 East Jackson Street) despite a standing invitation since the grand opening several months ago. After I reached the top of the stairs and reached the family man cave, Jose sr. greeted me with “boy am I glad to see you.” It is a standing joke between us.

Five Times World Champion Michael Carbajal was there with his protégé Johnny Tejerina who was set to make his debut against Luis Espinoza on the card. It also spotlights the professional coaching debut of the Hall of Fame Champion. Neither protégé nor coach said much. The champ has a tendency to act shy around a small or large crowd of people. He did become animated when a boxing scribe asked the champ (now nearing 50) if he would consider fighting one more time. The Phoenix legend looked at the writer as if he were on crack and replied: “Are you kidding, I quit while I was still a winner, I didn’t want to stay too long like most boxers do.”

I didn’t recognize Jose Benavidez at first glance even though his heavily tattooed left arm is easily recognizable. I told him so and he said it was his hair which he decided to let grow. He laughed when I told him about rumors of his huge weight gain up to reports to 170 instead of the 147 pounds mandated in his contract. His kid brother David was also in the gym and we talked about his next opponent (Kevin Cobbs) and I watched him workout son the heavy bag, fast hands. We also talked about the quality of equoipment and how it could make a difference in bout preparation.

Carlos Castro set to fight Sergio Najara on the card was there and beaming with confidence, a definite change from days gone by. I told him if he adds two or three impressive wins to his 13-0 record, his promoter (Iron Boy) might set him up with an NABF type title shot, he smiled and thanked me; good kid who has matured in the last couple of years.

It was a comfortable hour and a half and the hostess (Daisy Benavidez) served sandwiches catered from Blimpies and everyone, even the capricious members of the media, appeared happy. Mrs. Benavidez made me smile when she told me that she had never read my column and never would. I didn’t probe. Special thanks to publicist Emily Pandelakis for the invitation.

Boxing Notes:Previously unbeaten Arizona boxer Abel Ramos (14-1-2) suffered a stunning 9th round TKO on 12/11 in Houston (Bayou Event Center) at the hands of still undefeated super lightweight Regis Prograis 16-0. It was a dominant victory for Prograis who captured the vacant NABF Junior Super lightweight championship with his win over a game but outmanned Ramos….2016 USA Boxing elections have been moved from 12/7-14 to January; evidently, voting online for the first time is causing a delay in the proceedings; technology can cause headaches……. Alex Saucedo was scheduled to meet Miguel Zuniga in a 6 round welterweight contest on the Homecoming card in Tucson, but the bout was cancelled; no specifics…Central Gym manager Tom Garcia was involved in a car accident on Friday 12/11 and he suffered a few scrapes and bruises – we wish him a speedy and full recovery….. Former WBO Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Maccarinelli knocked out 46 year old boxing superstar Roy Jones in the fourth round, on Saturday, December 12 in Moscow, Russia. The loss may spell the end to a long and storied boxing career.

More Notes: Heavyweight boxer Anetelea Opetaia has left the warm confines of Arizona to continue his pugilistic career in the ice cold state of Alaska. Word is he found a fight in the home state of Sarah Palin which is sometimes difficult for a heavyweight living in Arizona….Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez is an occasional sparring partner with now world champion Jose Benavidez Jr. The World Boxing Association removed the interim tag and the change has put a big smile on the face of the 23 year old “world” champion. Longtime Benavidez family friend Alfredo Escarcega would like to see Jose Benavidez face Adrien Broner in 2016. Rico Hoye, former boxing champion, thinks the rumored bout is premature. Hernandez has agreed to sit down with ABNN for an interview; but reaching him via phone is more difficult than dunking on the late Hall of Fame NBA star Wilt Chamberlain. Until Next Time!





About Don Smith

Don Smith has written 79 post in this blog.

Don Smith became interest in boxing from age 8 when his Dad gave him a pair of gloves, he eventually wore them out. During his Don Smith served in the US Army as a Military Police Desk SGT. The skills he learned while writing reports laid the foundation for him becoming a journalist. According to Don “I didn’t really flip the switch to journalism until I was detained in Belfast Ireland for taking pictures during my vacation in Ireland. I made the questionable mistake of trying to albii my way out of the situation by claiming to be a journalist, wrong move. No diplomatic immunity, ha ha. II returned to college in Texas, wrote for my college paper as a paid staffer”. He grew up during the Friday Night Era, and In his role as a sports writer, he has rubbed elbos with Leonard, Norton, Ali, Mancini, Cokes, Paez and other champion boxers. His his works have been high lighted and published by Community Newspapers in Texas, Sports Stringer, Dallas Morning News, WRR Radio Critic Dallas Texas, KCHU Radio Talk Show Host Dallas, Texas, Talk Shoow host, Plano Texas, Interviewer for OPUS & STARSHINE Networks, Interviewed more than 1,000 celebrities including 7 US Presidents, Athletes, Movie Stars, etc.

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