Posted by Don Smith on Sep 7, 2015
Haymon Warned, Servin Ready for Olympic Try & More

Haymon Warned, Servin Ready for Olympic Try & More

Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith:

Boxing Fans, a major confirmation was announced at the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission special meeting held at the Arizona Gaming Department on Friday August 28. CEO Scott Maling (Ring Pros) requested and was granted a promoters license to produce and present a 9 bout boxing show in conjunction with ESPN Network on October 14at Gila River Arena aka Coyote Stadium in Glendale Arizona. Mr. Mailing is noted for his integral role in bringing the Kostya Tszyu vs. Shamba Mitchell IBF world Super Lightweight title tiff to the then named Glendale Arena on 11/6/ 2004.

Although absent at the meeting, Fight Hard Promotions was confirmed as co-promoter of the event on Monday, August 31. FHP will work primarily on sponsorships, media relations and advertising through social media. That role may expand as the event draws near.

Former Arizona Boxing Commissioner John Montano and controversial former promoter Peter McKinn were in attendance (8/28) but have no involvement in the project according to Mr. McKinn who spoke to ABNN prior to the release of this column segment.

The only out front recognizable name mentioned for the card at this time is former world champion and current welterweight contender Devon Alexander (28-3-w/ 14 knockouts). The info on the rest of the card is forthcoming and we are hearing of no local names on the bill; as of yet, but NABF Youth Champion David Benavidez (10-0-w 9 knockouts) would be a popular choice.

The idea that the local media wasn’t informed of the meeting irks most head scratching advocates of “Open Door” laws that encourage government officials to notify the public and working press members of such meetings. According to the commission calendar of events; the next official and “open to the public” meeting is scheduled for Monday September 14 at 10 am.

Elephant Enters Picture: Within 48 hours of the conclusion of the Arizona Commission meeting, syndicated boxing columnist Pedro Fernandez (an unofficial graduate of the Drew Pearson School of journalism) offered his written take on the ESPN show (Arizona Boxing Chief & Felon Peter McKinn)

Mr. Fernandez contends that prominent boxing advertising manager Al Haymon, a national component of the Glendale show, has tied his promotional wagon to Ring Pros and that decision may undermine the integrity and credibility of Hammond and the sport of boxing. In coming to this brash conclusion, he singles out Ring Pros CEO Scott Maling, former Arizona Boxing Promoter and his past relationship with convicted felon Peter McKinn and retired Arizona Boxing Commissioner John Montano who was replaced by Dennis O’Connell and now Matthew Valenzuela is the reigning Executive Director of the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission which is maintained under the auspices of the Arizona State Gaming Department.

Keep in mind, as far as I know, Mailing is a law abiding citizen without any prior criminal arrests or convictions. Guilt by association isn’t admissible in a court of law. And the allegation that John Montano used his former office to profit himself is believed by Fernandez, but never substantiated beyond speculation.

I contacted Mr. Montano via phone at his home and he said he wasn’t aware of the article and he wouldn’t take the time to read it. Furthermore, he went on to add that Mr. Fernandez must be a lonely man. When asked what he was doing at the Arizona State Boxing Commission meeting on 8/28, the former commissioner told me he was just visiting.

In his volatile piece, Fernandez tells his readers that Peter McKinn and Executive Director Valenzuela are (cousins); therefore the director must recuse himself of any professional boxing or combative fighting business association with Mr. McKinn. Ironically, McKinn submitted his application for a match maker’s license and Executive Director (Valenzuela) recused himself and McKinn withdrew his application. McKinn is a convicted felon (theft, conspiracy and perjury) and therefore not eligible to apply or accept a promoters or match makers license until his probation period is over in 2017 and his felony conviction is reduced to “designated” misdemeanors subject to review and commission approval.

Here is the Department of Gaming/Boxing Division’s official response to a question I sent after personally reading the Fernandez article; first the question.

ABNN: Peter Fernandez (Ring Talk) has written a scathing story (8/30) attacking the Arizona Boxing Commission and its’ director Matthew Valenzuela. Does your department have any response to the allegations? Silence will mean no comment!

Arizona Department of Gaming/Division of Boxing: “This agency always attempts to remain transparent and will look into any allegation that is brought to us from the public. At this time, Scott Mailing is a licensed promoter who has passed all the necessary requirements for the license.

Still in Quotes: Peter McKinn recently applied for a match making license. Due to the family relationship with Executive Director Matthew Valenzuela, Valenzuela removed himself from processing that application.

McKinn has recently informed the department that he is voluntarily rescinding his application request, which we will honor. At this time, we have no current license applications for John Montano”-Greg Stiles, Arizona Department of Gaming/Division of Boxing.

We suggest our readers read the Fernandez story and keep in mind that Mr. Fernandez began covering Peter McKinn more than a decade when the former Arizona Boxing Promoter was the in-state promoter for Top Rank Boxing.

In 2004, McKinn entered into a business relationship with Phoenix Boxing Trainer Joe Diaz who managed Top Level Gym near downtown Phoenix. Joe and Peter decided to co-promote a boxing show at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, since renamed Comerica Theatre. The headliner was former middleweight champion Luis Ramon“Yori Boy” Campas (103-17-3) who was managed by Diaz. The show was a bomb; not the bomb. Diaz lost money although he told me and another reputable journalist (Norm Frauenheim) that we couldn’t see the high paying fans who sat inside the darkened upstairs sets. Objective is one thing, but stupid is another.

Sometime later, Diaz called members of the local and national press and loudly proclaimed that he was holding a $5,000.00 from Peter McKinn and it was no good. He said he took it to the McKinn’s bank and was told there were insufficient funds to cash it.

McKinn had a different spin on the story and said he paid Diaz $5,000.00 in cash and told the boxing trainer to tear up the check; Diaz denied the conversation ever too place. I printed both sides of the story without supporting either party. On the other hand, local writer Linda Bentley (Sonoran News) and Pedro Fernandez (Ring Talk) began trot out a steady stream of bias reporting that nailed him to a cross of guilt before his trial started. I defend their right to do so, but don’t call it objective journalism.

Diaz hired attorney Ed Moriarity, since disbarred, and together they pulled out legal and Guerilla tactics to rattle McKinn including stalking and coercing a life-long and disabled McKinn associate to wear a wire and record incriminating evidence. McKinn cracked under the intense Diaz attack campaign and served jail time and paid $7,500.00 restitution to Joe Diaz who shared the collected bounty with Luis Yori Boy Campas. He won, but his crusade put a pock mark on Arizona for several years until Iron Boy Promotions put a stop to the drought in Arizona boxing and then other promoters followed.

Diaz, in fragile health, has since moved to Montana after closing his gym in Phoenix and I can still recall these immortal words that were etched on a wooden sign that hung inside his fenced in compound: Solution: “Execution”, he who comes to destroy shall himself be destroyed”-The Bagpiper!

You can argue that Joe Diaz had a right to seek revenge. However, I find it hard to condone Mr. Fernandez’s continuing pursuit of a story already written and I question his motive. You’re welcome to agree or disagree with my cautionary take on the relevance of Mr. Fernandez’s comments.

Mayweather vs. Berto: Not a whole lot of hype surrounding the Mayweather vs. Berto clash in Vegas on September 12 and the steep Showtime PPV price ($65.00-$75.00) may be putting a fork in the deal.

Most of my boxing cronies are headed to a sports bar to watch the event. I unabashedly recommend Twin Peaks (on Camelback Road in Phoenix) because it is a safe environment and bosses Caroline and Andy Bayless are tied into the Arizona boxing community. Their giving is a well-kept secret because they don’t use their benevolence as a weapon for profit. No one is talking under-card, but here it is (subject to change):

Co-feature: George Groves vs. Badou Jack-WBC super-middleweight title

Special Bout: Roman Martinez vs. Orlando Salido WBC super featherweight title-Super Welterweight Battle (on tape) Vanes Martirosyan vs. Ishe Smith (on tape).

There is another bout on the card, but fans may have trouble watching it unless a ticket is purchased. Highly regarded Al Haymon and Mayweather Protégé 24 year old Chris Pierson (12-0 w/9 knockouts) takes on Irish Canadian concrete worker Janks Trotter (9-1-1 w/9 knockouts)who fights out of Calgary, Alberta Canada and the 31 year old blue collar worker is trained by Canadian boxing icon “Cowboy” Dale Brown. Pierson is the prohibitive favorite, but Trotter is a tough hombre and always comes to fight.

Twin Peaks has a $10.00 cover charge and a $15.00 beverage and food spend minimum if you decide to visit their establishment to watch, drink and munch. I encourage all fight fans to see the event because it is the farewell bout for the undefeated and all-t-me great Mayweather, enjoy!

Servin to Philly: How time flies; Andre Ward won a Gold medal at Athens in 2004, Deontay Lushun Wilder and Andre Dirrell left Beijing in 2008 with Bronze medals around their necks. 18 year old Arizona Boxer  Adrian Servin (light flyweight 49kg) would like to bolster America’s recent disappointing Olympic legacy in the sport, but first he must qualify for the U.S.A. Team before he can take on international rivals competing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The wiry Phoenician believes his has the right stuff and confidence is an important ingredient to winning.

The Sierra Linda High School graduate and Honor Roll student and his dad (Mike) climbed aboard American Airlines Flight 1746 and departed at 12”50 a.m. on Saturday 9/5 arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 10:30 a.m. and then checked into the Holiday Inn Philadelphia Stadium where the majority of the boxers will stay and the qualifiers will be held. Adrian will begin his competition on Monday (9/7) and at the end of the 3 qualifiers; he must be in the final two to advance to the Olympics. The winner of each weight division represents his or her country while second place serves as alternative in case of injury or personal issues. The results will be known on 9/13.

Adrian is the only male boxer representing Arizona in the qualifiers while Arizona female boxing hopeful Ariel Arismendez is in Baltimore, Maryland to duplicate the same dream. KC McPherson and Eben Vargas, potential hopefuls, were forced to cancel their qualifying plans due to personal reasons. It is a difficult road to hoe in qualifying for the Olympics, an issue that should be addressed by the powers in charge.

Adrian began boxing at age 8 under the tutelage of Mike his father. As Adrian progressed, Mike found well known Arizona boxing coach Andrew Soto to work with son. Soto is a now a member of the USA Olympic Boxing coaching staff so he recused himself as personal coach to young Servin who has been working with Guadalupe boxing coach Carlos Moreno in the interim. Moreno hopes to join Team Servin if Adrian makes it to the finals of the box-offs. The issue is all about paying for an extra team member. In the meantime, Mike Servin will serve as his son’s coach.

Servin has won numerous amateur medals, but past glory means nothing. It is all about qualifying for the Olympics and Arizona is 100 % behind Adrian and Ariel; good luck!


Boxing Noise: Undefeated Light Heavyweight Trevor McCumby (Busted Knuckle Gym in Tempe, Arizona) is set to fight Brian Holstein in Studio City California (Sportsman Lodge) on September 19; special thanks to Busted Knuckle and Top Rank for the information…. Super lightweight Luis Olivares (8-0-5 knockouts) hasn’t fought since the day after my birthday in March of this year; may fight on the October 17/ Iron Boy-Top Rank Card on October 17 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Olivares, in my humble opinion, belongs in the top tier of Arizona fighters that includes titlists Jose Benavidez Jr. (23-0- 16 knockouts-interim WBA World super lightweight champion) and super middleweight David Ben Benavidez (NABF Junior Youth light heavyweight champion 10-0-9 knockouts) also Trevor McCumby (19-0-15 knockouts), plus Carlos Castro 12-0-w/5 knockouts, Abel Ramos, lightweight Victor Castro 15-0-7 knockouts, Francisco de Vaca 12-0-4 knockouts and featherweight Cesar Valenzuela 11-4-1. My list includes fighters with 8 or more professional victories. In my haste to finish my column, I may have left off one or two deserving pugilists, sorry!

More Boxing News: An amateur boxing event sponsored by the socially conscious Hell’s Angels at their club house in Chino Valley on 8/23 was shut down 2-3 bouts into the show. According to Chino Valley Police; the Arizona State Gaming Department executed the shutdown allegedly based on a public protest. I talked to a HA member and he said that he would rather not comment on the closure and the Arizona Gaming Department didn’t share a wealth of information either. It is possible, the legal team for the motorcycle group will file action in protest of the event closure……..Central Boxing Gym Manager Tom Garcia raised $500.00 for muscular Dystrophy and his reward was to be ceremoniously handcuffed by a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy at the comfortable Stand Up Live Comedy Club in Downtown Phoenix. It wasn’t “Tent City” and Tom recommends the Standup Live Hamburger. Mr. Garcia claims to be an authentic connoisseur and he describes the burger as the best he has every devoured. Tom will be hosting a smoker on Saturday, September 5 fat the Central Boxing Gym on Central Avenue in Phoenix with 1st bout commencing at 1 pm……. Boxing host Ricky Ricardo Rodriguez and his Madison Boxing Club is on the USA Boxing Arizona calendar for a show at the Greenfield Elementary School (South Phoenix) on 9/19 at 2 pm…..The Gene Lewis Boxing Club in Mesa, Arizona will host their annual tournament on 11/12-13-14 at 59 E. Broadway in the city of Mesa; contact Josh (480-834-1216) for more details or check-out the USA Boxing Arizona calendar of events. Boxing fans willing to volunteer to work events, please call Richard Soto at 602-702-7053…..Copper Gloves in October (waiting for date) at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix; boxing is free with general admission ticket and same ticket allows access to concert if scheduled on same day during the two day Copper Gloves event.

BMBP Recap: Bout Maker Boxing Promotions was gracious enough to send results from their August 29 boxing show at La Princesa in Phoenix. Cesar Valenzuela, under rated Phoenix fighter, won a UD over Ricardo Proano in the 6 round main event. Valenzuela (10-4-1) travels to Nevada on 9/11 to take on Erick Deleon (10-0). The loss drops Propano’s record to 11-2. Special thanks to an Arizona Boxing News & Notes surrogate who called in the attendance as near capacity (700); I was on assignment.

In other action at La Princesa: David Damore 1-1-3 picked up his first victory with a UD over Roger Davis (1-1) in a four round contest, Francisco Muro (1-1) scored a 4 round UD win over Edgar Ortiz, Elihu Soto (2-0) remained undefeated with a UD victory over Victor Torres (1-3), Francisco Chavez (1-0) won his debut bout over Marco Sustaita (0-1) in a four stanza tiff, Jesse Ruiz (0-3-1 remained winless against Jose Gallegos JR. (2-1) in a 4 round loss and Manuel Romero upped his record to 2-3-2 after beating Bradley Tsosie (0-2) in a four round opening bout. Check website for next BMBP event. One fan wants to know how to buy Bout Maker advance tickets online…don’t know?

It’s Official: A press conference was held at Sonny’s Boxing Gym in Goodyear Arizona to announce Fight Hard Promotions signing of undefeated Junior NABF light heavyweight David Benavidez (10-0 with 9 knockouts) who is currently fighting as a super middleweight with hopes of dropping his weight even farther down the scale.

According to a Benavidez spokesperson, David had other local and national offers, but Team Benavidez liked the length of the FHP deal (1 year with an option) because it allowed their fighter flexibility. The plan is keep David very active and direct him toward a world championship. His first fight under the FHP banner was September 5 against Alberto Gutierrez. We will report the result in our next column. Team Benavidez didn’t disclose the amount of money paid out, but it apparently it was enough to get the kid’s signature on the dotted line.

More than a hundred adults and children were on hand, including FHP execs Rigoberto Ledezma and Sonny Gutierrez, to watch Benavidez slip on a FHP shirt/hat and sign autographs and pose for pictures. Olympic Hopeful Ariel Arismendez was among the spectators and I wished her well with her qualifying box-off test in Baltimore, Maryland. As we departed, she flashed a big smile and replied thanks.

Boxing Weekend: Special thanks to Andy and Caroline Bayless for inviting me to watch Santa Cruz/ Mares and Mosley/Mayorga onscreen fights at their Camelback Road located Twin Peaks sports bar and Restaurant in Phoenix on August 29. It was a monumental task to watch two different fights simultaneously while taking notes and occasionally smiling at the attractive and efficient Twin Peak servers. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wide selection of tantalizing appetizers and entrees on the menu. At the end of the evening, I was ready to be treated by a team of understanding chiropractors.

The ESPN televised Mares/Santa Cruz fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles was the best bout of the evening and the total of more than 2,000 thrown punches was astounding; some fans are calling it the fight of the year, but the call is too early for me to make. On the same card, Julio Ceja won the interim WBC World super bantamweight title (KO-5th round) over Hugo Ruiz after a sluggish start.

The Mosley/ Mayorga fight was a reprisal of their first meeting in 2008 when Mosley knocked out his heavier opponent in the 6th round. I had Mayorga winning a single round and he was ahead in the final stanza (6th round) until Mosley ended the contest with a barrage of punches. Mosley looked fit, while Mayorga needs a personal trainer.

The best televised performance on the Mosley card was delivered by lightweight prospect Joel Diaz Jr. (20-0-16 knockouts) and the scored draw awarded decision in the IBF super bantamweight contest between champion Yulihan Luna Avila and challenger Maureen Shea was very memorable . I had Avila slightly ahead because of the strength of her punches and she had the much cleaner looking face at the end; I would like to see a rematch….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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