*Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith:
Boxing Fans, after what has been described as a “homophobic rant” and verbal assault on the lawful compliance of same sex marriage, boxer Manny Pacquiao can still wear Nike Shoes, but the checks from the shoe manufacturer will no longer be sent to Manny’s mail box.
According to confirmed reports, the 37 year old fighter/ politician further infuriated “Gay Pride” supporters and the Nike hierarchy by espousing the belief that all gays should be put to death; needless to say, any chance of Manny becoming Grand Marshall of the next annual Gay Pride Parade is unforeseeable even if champion tells the GPP selecting committee , “Brokeback Mountain” is his favorite movie and follows that confession with a robust humming of “ A Love That Will Never Grow Old” a song from the film’s soundtrack.
And it is a safe bet that the boxing superstar won’t be ringside on March 4 to watch openly gay super featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz (22-4-1) battle Romulo Kasich (25-5) for the WBO NABO super featherweight title in Tampa, Florida. Manny’s remarks come after British world Heavyweight Champion uttered similar remarks in 2015 that were condemned universally by social media, newspapers and broadcast entities as being “vile and offensive.” In his fast and furiously delivered declaration, Fury also included scathing opinion on abortion and pedophilia. See what happens when you take out the mouthpiece.
Pac Man cited his intolerance to same sex marriage as incompatible with his religious beliefs as did Fury; however Nike knows that regardless of sexual preference, almost everyone shops for shoes and they don’t want buyers to say adios to Nike and lace up with Adidas or any other brand. Manny is a great champion and he like everyone else is entitled to speak freely; but must be aware the cost is sometimes prohibitive. He fights Timothy Bradley on April 9 and can be viewed on HBO. Hopefully, his remarks will be a mere footnote in a remarkable boxing career.
Iron Boy 32: The recent Iron Boy/Top Rank collaboration on Saturday 2/20 at the Celebrity Theatre drew praise from an appreciative crowd who witnessed 4 knockouts and three contested decisions that went the distance. The approximate1.5 % that found fault with the card expressed disappointment in the number of local fighters featured on the card. ABNN mentioned that sentiment to several boxing insiders attending the event and they told us that it was very astute for Top Rank and Iron Boy to bring in talented fighters from other states and countries such as the Philippines and Mexico. One local trainer was less than shy in pointing out that he was tired of watching boxing shows in Arizona that features almost the same lineup; show after show.
In reality, most of the professional boxers residing and fighting out of the Grand Canyon State-aren’t native born. One local fighter (also born out of state) missing from the card was undefeated Francisco C. De Vaca who had to sit out Iron Boy 32 due to a minor cut (over his right eye) suffered in his last fight on January 29th in California. He is expected to fight on the IB 33 card, April 23 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.
The Main event contest featured rising bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno (23-0-17 knockouts) Rey Perez (20-8) from the Philippines. Perez isn’t a big puncher, yet he kept loading up and waiting to throw one big right hand that would end it all; the 25 year old Filipino is still waiting! In his defense, the Asian journeyman took the fight on less than a week’s notice and he was overweight due to training time restraints.
He didn’t deserve the boos that began in the 5th stanza , but boxing fans can be brutal; some went as far to calling him Manny and making reference to the recent Nike shoe incident that made front page headlines and dominated sports talk for a few days. According to a few of my Filipino friends, he is a humble young man and what this defeat does for his future is worth watching.
At 2:51 into the 7th stanza of a 10 rounder, Magdaleno, fighting out of Las Vegas, caught a tired Perez with a well-placed body shot (liver) that forced Referee Wes Melton to stop the contest and Perez who failed to make the weight limit by 3 lbs.is now winless at 0-2 with bouts in America. I talked to him briefly outside his dressing room and he was very disappointed as he headed home for Manila; good kid, poor strategy! The win will strengthen Jessie’s bid for a well-deserved bantamweight title shot. Hopefully, Perez will be better prepared when he returns to the US to fight; if he does return.
Carlos “The Chosen One” Castro and Rafael Reyes went after each other like two alley cats fighting for the same supper. Castro won a unanimous decision in their highly competitive and rough battle that had referee Chris Flores on his toes throughout the match. Personally, I thought the victory margin was a way too generous and so did many fans. Reyes thought he won and climbed the ropes give a shout out to those who supported his opinion. Castro won and the victory moved his record to 15-0 while Reyes slipped to 6-6. The bout was definitely a highlight of the evening and a rematch would be okay with fans at the Celebrity on Saturday night.
Luis “Magic Man” Oliveras (Busted Knuckle Boxing) continues to impress fans with his growing boxing IQ and ring poise. His opponent, super lightweight Omar Garcia came to fight with a 4-1 record; but, it was obvious his experience and ring skills don’t match the talents of the “Magic Man.” Oliveras (10-0-7 knockouts) said goodbye to an evening’s work toward the end of the 1st round. One thing for certain, the Glendale Arizona super lightweight pugilist comes to fight each and every time and it is easy to see why rapper 50 Cent signed him to his brand of boxing (SMS). The loss drops Garcia to 4-2. Olivares doesn’t know his next fight date
Trevor McCumby (22-0-17 knockouts) is currently ranked #7 on the WBO light heavyweight list of ranking and he continues to serve notice that he is ready to tangle with anyone ranked ahead of him including Ward and Stevenson.
On Saturday, he wasn’t fighting Ward and Stevenson; instead he was fighting James Freeman who stood in front of McCumby in the center of the ring. In retrospect, Freeman knows better after the hard punching McCumby hit the power punch button and leveled Freeman with a deeply felt liver shot that ended the night (1;28 2nd round) for the brave Texan who departed the ring with 9-8 record and a healthy respect for McCumby..
McCumby’s people (Top Rank) are reportedly talking about a future name opponent for the Illinois Native and Glendale, Arizona resident; good performance… Here is a suggestion: match him with Jean Pascal away from Canada.
Paul “Ziggy” Romero (7-0-1) maintained his rabid fan base with an exciting victory over fellow super bantamweight Jamie Gutierrez (5-11) fighting out of New Mexico. Romero graduated from Maryvale High School in Phoenix and his “Black Panther (Mascot) loyalists show up and make noise at all of his fights. It was definitely one of the best action bouts of the night with Romero starting very strong and holding off a persistent Gutierrez who didn’t back down after being rocked in the first round. Romero, winner by unanimous decision is expected to fight on the April 23 Iron Boy Card at the Celebrity; it was a night for the Black Panthers from Maryvale to celebrate with their honorary panther after his celebrated with his family.
Luis Espinoza (2-0) left Luis Guerrero winless (0-2); but, no apologies needed after a spirited non-stop battle that was greatly appreciated by those few patrons who came early. The house was near capacity after the final fight; but, some fans don’t show until the third bout or later-shame on them. It was a very competitive match with Espinoza throwing and landing more shots. He asked he what I thought and I complimented him for his effort; but, he needs a little bit more work on his defense.
A future store in the making: Unless he loses focus or interest in boxing, 20 year old Jesse Garcia has the tools to be a champion. Super Featherweight Garcia (2-0-2 knockouts) respects the sweet science of boxing and gave boxing fans a glimpse of his promise as he knocked Derrick Bartley (0-2) around over 2 rounds and polished him off early in the 3rd round. Garcia is a Cameron Dunkin signee and I think he will cash a lot of big checks before his career is over….good night for boxing. The following suspensions were handed out after the fight: 60 days to Jaime Gutierrez for broken nose, 60 days to Freeman due to TKO, 30 days to Garcia due to KO, 30 days to Bartleemay due to TKO, 30 days to Perez due to TKO.
War-Fare: The Battle Begins is almost set for March 12 at Valentino’s Event Center in Phoenix with a few modifications to announce: prospect Donovan Cameron is off the card and Ryan Riddell is iffy until a suitable opponent is found.
Tough Welterweight Abel Ramos 14-1-2 remains the headliner and the co-main event honor goes to either super middleweight Andrew Hernandez (10-4-1) or bantamweight Alex Rangel 16-5-2) aka Gabriel Alejandro Lopez Rangel; one more surname and Sir Alex could have a stadium named after him. Other fighters on the Warfare boxing menu include: Luis Guerreo 0-2, (better than his record) vs. Matthew Grieg 1-0, welterweight Carlos Sanchez 2-0vs. Stephen Koesterer 0-1, Edward Ceballos 2-1 vs. Damon Simon 0-3, Edgar Ortiz 0-1 vs. Ryan Riddell, Karel Sangster vs. William North- debut bout, Oleg Zubenko (debut) vs. Raudel Gaxiola 1-0, Genaro Mendez 10-2-1 vs. Alfonso Olivera 6-2, Ryan Riddell 1-0 vs. TBA, Muhammad Waseem 2-0 vs. TBA, Daron “Sweet Tay” Williams 1-0 vs. TBA. FHP may add on a bout or 2; if so, we will update our readers; 1st fight starts at 5 p.m. and ticket prices are set at $35.00 for General Admission and $55.00 for Ringside. Doors open at 4 p.m. and ticket stub will be placed in a free raffle for a flat screen television set. A cautionary note: FHP employees aren’t eligible to enter the raffle even if they lie. Valentino’s is located at 43rd Avenue and Indian School in Phoenix.
News & Notes: Phoenix Super Featherweight Emmanuel Nieves (4-0) hasn’t fought in a year; but, his supportive dad (Sr.) said his prized son will be back in action soon without giving a specific date…..middleweight Joey Ruelas is working on an April return to the ring. His son (Jr.) is a promising young amateur…..Phoenix welterweight Cliff Jordan (Hammer Boxing) is working out to be ready for a tentative ring return in April; he is finally healthy….. Ring announcer Ralph Velez Jr. was miffed at ABNN for reporting that he went to Dodge City Kansas to cover a boxing event as a photographer instead of working the event as the official ring announcer. Our source was wrong and ABNN always apologizes when a mistake is duly noted. He didn’t address yours truly directly; instead he preferred to stand 8 feet away and bellow his complaint to a handful of my colleagues and one member of his captive audience just shrugged and said “that’s Ralph.”….Lightweight contender Ray Beltran was ringside at the Celebrity theatre and he is working with young Phoenix boxing prospect Eben Vargas at Busted Knuckle Boxing. Beltran hopes to showcase the kid sometime in the near future before Vargas turns professional; few people can match Ray’s willingness and ability to help young boxers without monetary compensation…..Carlos “The Chosen One” Castro took several low blows during his recent bout at the Celebrity; so often that I thought his shorts was a short stringed kite that took flight on several occasions; after 3 corner pocket shots, I began to wince and grab my ankles. Carlos and I talked about his recent departure from Benavidez Boxing and he said the exit came because Jose Benavidez Sr. wasn’t able to spend enough time working with him; so, he said adios and switched to Andrew Soto –Knockout Boxing Club.
More News: Miller’s Boxing Gym LLC, on 35th Avenue in Phoenix, is now open between 4-9 p.m. on weekdays and getting some positive reviews. No truth to the rumor that owner Bob Miller will turn promoter and produce professional boxing shows in the near future….boxing promoter Robert Vargas and publicist Emily Pandelakis have recovered from their respective illnesses; their next Iron Boy show is scheduled for April 23 at the Celebrity Theatre….senior boxing writer Norm Frauenheim (Ring Magazine) is busy this spring covering the LA Dodgers during their Cactus League stay in Arizona. If you drive by Central Gym; you can spot a younger version of his face featured on the outside wall (Westside) with a myriad of boxing legends including 5 time world champion Michael Carbajal; we all age!…..every year we get 4-5 readers who want to know if the Arizona Golden Gloves is a franchised operation? In actuality, it is a sub-franchise operated by Kelly Fenn and her family who made a winning bid several years ago through Dawn Barry, franchise holder for the Arizona, Washington State, Nevada and Oregon franchises. Ms. Barry seemed dumbfounded that a legitimate reporter would call in such an inquiry. ABNN was amused that she was perplexed by the question. The 69th Annual Arizona State Golden Gloves Championships will be held at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa Arizona 2-26-27-28; call 602-779-8536 or 480-779-7716 during normal business hours (10-6) for further information. Thank you, Ms. Barry for your co-operation…..local promoters are having a bit of difficulty in matching lighter weight bouts 123 lbs. and under. As a result, local favorites such as Elihu Soto, Ryan Riddell and others are becoming last minutes scratches on bout sheets. The answer may be for local boxers to fight outside of Arizona…..junior middleweight Justin Mayweather Jones (1-0) (1/2 brother of Floyd “Money” Mayweather fought in Tijuana on Friday 2/26 on the “Young Guns” card and middleweight Janks Trotter did battle in Calgary, Alberta Canada on same date. ABNN will report results in next column. Justin didn’t know Floyd Sr. was his father until his 18th birthday had passed. Jones faced Alfred Tisdale from Fresno, California in a 4 rounder. It is always sad when a child grows up without knowing the true identify of a parent…. Top Rank has dropped five fighters including Chris Avalos who was once considered a prospect. Chris decisional Rey Perez who was on the Iron Boy 32 card….. …Jesus “El Martillo” Gonzales and I chatted for a minute or two at the Celebrity Theatre and he said all is well and he is working and going to school; he didn’t elaborate. According to sources, he is still working out occasionally; but didn’t mention returning to boxing. Boxing publicist Michelle Rosado has opted out of continuing to move forward with the application for an Arizona Boxing promoters license and her decision to wait at this time probably means she won’t go ahead with her rumored April 1 boxing show. Until Next Time!