Arizona Boxing News & News With Don Smith:
Boxing Fans, The final phase of Olympic selection for the 2016 USA men’s boxing squad took place on 12/7-13 with the national trials held in Reno, Nevada. Winning the US Trials doesn’t guarantee a berth on the USA Olympic team. It is a very convoluted process that most boxers find very upsetting and discouraging. Lightweight Carlos Balderas is the only American, thus far, to punch his ticket to Rio as a result of his international seeding. Other Americans wishing to join Carlos on the USA team must finish high enough at an international tournament held in Buenos Aires, Argentina March 8-20 to join Balderas; otherwise, they will watch the Summer Games on Television (NBC) at home or a friend’s house.
At the Reno finals, Shakur Stevenson (123 lbs. from New Jersey) won the Best Boxer Trophy at the tournament. When the process is complete and the team is assembled, ABNN will relay the names to our readers. Also, when the American Women’s team is announced, ABNN will report the selections. Here is the list of1st and second place winners at the Reno Tournament; good job, men.
108 lb. class- Nico Hernandez (Kansas), Leroy Davila (NJ) 114 lb. class-Antonio Vargas (Fla.), Brent Venegas (CA) 123 lb. class- Shakur Stevenson (NJ), Ruben Villa (CA) 132 lb. class-Teofimo Lopez (Fla.), 141 lb. class-Gary Russell (MD.), Jaron Ennis (Penn.) 152 lb. class-Paul Kroll (Penn.), Ardreal Holmes (Mich.) 165 lb. class-Charles Conwell (Ohio), Leshawn Rodriguez (NY), 178 lb. class-Jonathan Esquivel (CA), Elvis Figueroa (Conn) 201 lb. class-Cam F. Awesome (Kansas), DaRae Crane (Colo.) 201+ lb. class-Marlo Moore (CA), Brandon Lynch (NY).
Pride of Phoenix: Middleweight Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez aka “The Pride of Phoenix” promises to win a world title in 2016. I spoke to the charismatic 30 year old fighter via phone recently and he didn’t stutter when he made the prediction. Hernandez has never been described as shy; ask anyone who knows him. Our conversation took place a few days after he was seen sparring with Derek Edwards (27-6-1) at Sonny’s Gym in Good year Arizona. Fight fans will recall, Edwards owns a TKO victory over Badou Jack in 2014.
Hernandez hopes to fight before the end of the year on the East Coast against a highly touted fighter promoted by Al Haymon whom he wouldn’t name. If that deal falls through, Andrew is confident that his skill set will draw more than passing interest from promoters locally and nationally. Fight Hard Promotions (Glendale Arizona) has talked to him about fighting on their 2/6 and 3/12 cards in Phoenix at the Valentino’s Event Center. He knows there is a demand for him even though one local promoter might hesitate to sign Hernandez for ring action even if he was the last available fighter. Boxing is a tough and very personal business; after several receiving several intensely delivered verbal and physical threats, I should know.
Over the years, the South Mountain High School graduate has fought at various weights and the decision causes consternation amongst some of his fans. According to the newly wed (1 year) he will fight for championships at 160 and non-title bouts at upper weights; sounds like he succumbs to the temptation of an occasional cream filled donut.
I asked the UBF Inter-Continental Super Middleweight Titlist if he would fight Phoenix middleweight Joey Ruelas and he said there was no point at this time in his career. Allegedly there is bad blood between the two pugilists and there was talk about the men meeting center ring; but that anticipated match fell through.
He indicated that at age 30 (as of 12/29) he would rather concentrate on battling contenders; a path that would lead him to a championship. Jesse Hart (19-0-16 knockouts) has been mentioned, but at 168 he doesn’t meet the criteria set by Team Hernandez. Andrew is managed by Jerry “Schoolboy” Cheatham a member of Arizona’s Boxing Hall of Fame.
Hernandez (10-2-1) and I first crossed paths when he fought in Calgary, Alberta Canada twice in 2012, winning both contests by Majority decision. The fight with Steve Franjic in Canada was memorable. AH suffered a severe hand injury early in the fight and showed a lot of courage to stay the course and pullout the victory over a very angry Franjic who thought he won. To this day, Franjic wants a return match. I was told his corner wanted to throw in the towel, but Hernandez vetoed the plan and worked through enormous pain to salvage a victory that earned him a standing ovation. After the fight, he took a victory lap through a very appreciative Canadian crowd.
Andrew’s toughness is a by- product from growing up in South Phoenix where he won a whole shelf full of boxing trophies and medals as an amateur. To his credit, he doesn’t blame other people for his costly and embarrassing mistakes. When he was suspended and fined by the Nevada Boxing Commission for testing positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs, he admitted he screwed up and told me he learned from the experience and when the blame was redirected to others, Andrew blamed no one but himself. Social media blurred the lines with some very nasty barbs aimed at Hernandez and yes, Steve Franjic was one of the loudest singing members of the choir.
He has mellowed since I first witnessed his ring action in Canada and he admits he wasted a lot of time since he turned professional in 2010; however the ultimate question remains unanswered: does he have enough time, skill and focus to become a world champion?… He thinks so….Happy Birthday, Mr. Hernandez!
Hausner Crime Spree: Filmmakers Benjamin James and Matthew Adams spent a few days in Phoenix recently to complete their low budget documentary: RV: Recreational Violence, tentatively to be aired on the Discovery Channel; sometime in 2016.
While in the city, the award winning duo and two associates stopped by the Central Boxing Gym for 2-3 hours of shooting boxing scenes with the permission of Central Gym manager Tom Garcia.
The film focuses on the bizarre plot conceived by former boxing talk show host Dale Hausner and his troubled roommate Samuel Dieteman. Together they conspired to execute a series of murders that prompted a huge reward offered for their capture and as a result of the viciousness and notoriety of their crimes; they became known as “The Phoenix Serial Shooters” and their “recreational shooting” spree continued until they were arrested on August 3, 2006, almost 14 months after the first victim, 20 year old David Estrada was found dead in Tolleson, Arizona.
Serial shooter Dale Hausner was convicted in six murders and attacks on 19 other people, several dogs and two horses. Hausner never admitted guilt; but his roommate (Samuel Dieteman), the star witness for the prosecution testified that he and Hausner had cruised around late at night looking for strangers to shoot. And sometimes, Hausner’s brother (Jeff) would accompany the two men during their drive around cruise to find targets.
For his limited but criminal role in the shootings, Jeff, a professional comedian, was sentenced to 18 years in prison; certainly no laughing matter. His appeal to commute or dismiss the charges was denied.
Dieteman was spared the death penalty in exchange for his cooperation and is currently serving a life sentence without any provisions for parole.
Dale Hausner never admitted guilt, but he did apologize to his family for putting them through an ordeal that would forever affect their lives. Hausner was sentenced to six death penalties on March 27, 2009. He waived his right to appeal his conviction and asked that the state of Arizona end his life as soon as possible. On June 19, 2013, Dale Hausner (40 years old) was found dead in his cell as a result of suicide by overdosing on Amitriptyline.
I knew Hausner quite well and three days before the two were arrested, I called to ask him if he wanted several event tickets that I was given; compliments of my press connections. Dale worked with a boys & girls club in the Phoenix area and I thought he could give them to a family that couldn’t afford a family outing. He sounded stressed over the phone and I later discovered that authorities were zeroing in on him and were waiting for authorization to arrest him at the time of my call. His answer to me was “let me get back to you”.
In retrospect, I would bet a six pack of root beer flavored life savers that my call was taped. After the trial date was set, I received a call from the Maricopa County Attorney’s office telling me that Dale Hausner had requested that I be placed on the list of defense witnesses. After a brief conversation and questions about my relationship with Dale, the investigator said goodbye and I was never called to testify.
According to a press release, the film promises to explore the concept of “drug Psychosis”, criminal co-dependency and the desire for validation among other factors which may have led two strangers to partner up and choose a life of crime that added up to more criminal counts than Jeffrey Dahmer and the Boston Strangler combined. The recreational killers were also accused of torching two Wal-Mart stores.
I don’t have a PHD in psychology; but, It was easy for me to come to the conclusion that Hausner was manic depressive or what is more commonly known as bi-polar disorder.
I always thought he was fighting demons. He lost two sons in a car accident when his alcohol drinking wife fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a creek, killing the couple’s two young sons. Dale divorced his wife and entered another relationship that produced a daughter; who died as a result of a rare blood disease. It seems that life dealt Hausner a card or two short from holding a full hand and he wasn’t able to overcome the resulting trials and tribulations that faced him.
I look forward to watching the documentary (RV: Recreational Violence) and hope it gives us a better understanding of mental illness and its’ underlying causes. The documentary will feature interviews with mental health experts and a conversation with Jodie Gonzales, girlfriend of Samuel Dieteman, convicted accomplice of Dale Hausner.
Castro Buzz: According to two reliable sources, Featherweight Carlos “The Chosen One” Castro (14-0-6 knockouts) has signed a 5 year national contract with highly regarded boxing manager Cameron Dunkin. Castro signed an exclusive 3 year Arizona boxing contract with Iron Boy Promotions a year and a half ago. According to an Iron Boy Spokesperson, the existing contract with IBP will not affect the new signing.
The undefeated featherweight last fought at the Tucson Convention Center 12/12/15 where he scored a 3rd round TKO victory over Sergio Najera. It was an impressive win for a fighter who seemed to lack the confidence level to become a contender early in his career. The past is past!
What the contract signing will do to his relationship with current trainer Jose Benavidez Jr. is anyone’s guess. Benavidez Sr. talked to the 22 year old pugilist recently and Phoenix fighter told the veteran trainer that he hadn’t signed with anybody and promised if he did make a decision, Benavidez would be by his side at the time of the signing. Once upon a time, Jose was under the impressions that Carlos would remain his fighter and he (Benavidez) would promote the vastly improved Castro. ABNN will eventually talk to Carlos and get his take on the matter.
An Official Rebuttal : Phoenix boxing trainer Andrew Soto called (13 second recorded statement) to express his dissatisfaction over alleged false press coverage of him and his boxers. He didn’t cite a specific example of when or how Arizona Boxing News & Notes maligned him or his fighters. Frankly, we can’t even name three of his fighters and if we did; it is our editorial policy to treat everyone equally.
In his recorded statement, Mr. Soto asked that this column (Arizona Boxing News & Notes) not ever mention his name or write a single word about his fighters. He prefaced the request with “please.” In our opinion, his directive smacks of censorship; therefore; his outrageous request is offensive and dismissed because it and goes against the principles and oath all journalists take in researching and reporting the truth.
We can assure Mr. Soto that ABNN will not harbor any ill feelings towards him because he is upset at the editor of Arizona Boxing News & Notes and our column will take every precaution to be fair to everyone mentioned in our effort to cover boxing.
In our research, we found the only recent mention of Mr. Soto in our column was to announce that he is a candidate for President of the USA Boxing Arizona chapter. We do not make endorsements; but, we are required by existing journalistic ethical standards to name his three opponents: Jacob Magallanez, Mike Sanchez and Seferino Rodriguez. All of the candidates have been involved in boxing for a long time.
The online election will be held in January of 2016. ABNN will post the results and all 4 presidential candidates are welcome to issue a statement detailing their reasons for seeking the position and ABNN will print it, unedited unless the statement contains profanity which will be exorcised.
In summation, we are sorry that ABNN was forced to sacrifice this space to respond to Mr. Soto’s assertion; however, it is our posture to defend when wrongfully attacked and apologize when a mistake is made.
Editors Note: This segment was written in third person as to represent a position shared by the journalistic community. It has become popular to attack the press and sometimes a challenge is in order; but to censor or silence honest, hardworking journalists maliciously is contradictory to the ideals of a free society.
Homecoming Recap: My apology to Top Rank Publicist Lee Samuels (Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame) for missing the Homecoming Card in Tucson on Saturday December 12. Had I gone, I would have seen #1 ranked Featherweight Oscar Valdez Jr. (18-0-16 knockouts) end Ernie Sanchez’s night near the half way mark of the third round. The defeat sent Sanchez home to the Philippines with a record of 15-7-1. Valdez’s victory should earn him a world title shot. An illness in the family was the reason for my absence.
WBO World super lightweight Champion Jose Benavidez Jr., 24-0-16 knockouts, went the distance (10 round non-title bout) with Brazilian Sidney Siqueira (21-10-1) to earn a unanimous decision. A spokesperson for Team Benavidez told me the champ became ill days before the tiff and the interruption affected the conditioning process and explained by the young champion was 4 pounds overweight (bout was listed as welterweight match) and not as strong as usual. He was booed during and at the end of the fight according to three spectators who called me after the event. His next outing will be very important to restore his image; boxing fans are tough.
Rising middleweight Jesse Hart (19-0-16 knockouts) used 45 seconds into the fight to end the night for Mexico’s Andre Saralegui (19-4-15). Hart is ready to meet stiffer competition. I talked to several boxing insiders who think he needs a little more seasoning before he climbs on the big stage.
Esquiva Falcao raised his record to 12-0-9 knockouts by stopping outmanned Hector Munoz in the 4th stanza. Munoz is now 22-14-1.
Californian Luis Ramos (25-2) bested Mexico’s Moises Delgadillo (17-13-2) in a 6 round super lightweight bout to earn a unanimous decision.
Undefeated Featherweight Carlos Castro (14-0) stopped Sergio Najera (10-23-2) 1:28 into the 3rd round. Najera has now lost six consecutive fights. I hope the check for Najera was big.
Flyweight Luis Espinoza (1-0) made his debut successful by eking out a majority decision over Johnny Tejerina (0-1) trained by five times World Champion Michael Carbajal. The crowd was estimated at 3,000.
Short Jabs: Roy Jones Promotions promises to release details soon on their upcoming show at the Casino Del Sol Resort in Tucson…..No word on Bout Maker Boxing Promotions next event. I asked BMBP CEO Maritza Miranda Saenz (via email) if the rumor about her mulling over a possible run for Arizona State Senate legislative district 27 is true and so far no response. Her stepmother Catherine Miranda currently holds the seat and I was told by her office that Ms. Miranda plans to run for reelection. Maritza’s late father (Ben) was a highly decorated military veteran, attorney and a distinguished member of the Arizona legislature. We wish Maritza the best in all of her endeavors. If she does run and win; will she have to separate herself from boxing due to legislative ties?
More Stuff: After stepping away from boxing for a few months, 125 lb. warrior Walter Santibanes is expected to return to the ring in Georgia after the arrival of 2016:no official date….Bantamweight Alex Rangel (16-5-2) is a possibility for the Fight Hard show at Valentino’s Event Center on 2/6/16. Alex has won only 1 bout of his last 4; time to get busy…Promoter Don King is alive and reasonably feeling well despite being a victim of a recent death hoax circulated over the internet.
More Boxing Chatter: Rumors have undefeated Alexis Zazueta fighting next month; smaller guys are harder to find fights for.…amateur Adrian Servin plans to move up from 108 to 114lbs in the near future. Servin came close to making the 2016 USA Olympic team and he plans to stay an amateur and be patient until he builds on what he learned from the Olympic box-off experience….The Arizona Boxing Commission is slow to post planned events in 2016; no official word on the date for the next Arizona Boxing Commission meeting….Javier Loya (7-4) is ticketed for the Fight Hard Promotions Boxing show at Valentino’s on 2/6; so is Alexis Rangel and FH is trying to sign Andrew Hernandez and Elihu Soto is a possibility. Javier Loya has lost 4 straight, a win would make the family happy & Javier…. Unbeaten Phoenix sensation David Benavidez (11-0-10 knockouts) is fighting Kevin Cobbs (10-1) January 23 on the Premier Boxing Champion Danny Garcia vs. Roberto Guerreo Card. The show will be televised live on Fox Deportes from the Staples Center, home of the once proud Los Angeles Lakers…..WBA super lightweight Adrien Broner is reportedly in the mix for Manny Pacquiao’s farewell fight on April 9. Promoter Floyd Mayweather, yes promoter, says his friend (Broner) will fight 35 year old Ashley Theophane next, dispelling any rumors that Broner will climb in the ring with Pac-Man in April…..Phoenix boxer Keenan Carbajal is rumored to be fighting on the Casino Del Sol Resort card in Tucson and Fight Hard Promotions has thoughts about signing him for one of the two upcoming bouts at the Valentino Event Center in Phoenix.
Court Action: The Law firm of Buchalter-Nemer in Scottsdale, Arizona filed, on November 30, 2015, a complaint (CV 2015-053584) against Defendant Danny Carbajal on behalf of the Plaintiff: Carbajal’s Ninth Street Gym in Phoenix, Arizona.
The complaint will be heard in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona in and for the county of Maricopa on an unspecified date. Arizona Boxing News and Notes was sent a copy of the complaint and we will follow the case until a verdict is rendered.
Danny is the grandfather of Phoenix Boxer Keenan Scott Carbajal and his grandson’s trainer and manager. The allegations against the controversial trainer are numerous and the recorded document is available for viewing over the internet.
Boxing Commission: Amanda Jacinto (PIO AZ Gaming Department) was gracious in sending ABNN the highlights from the most recent (12/17) AZ Boxing/MMA Commission meeting; read and take notes, please.
At the meeting, the minutes were approved; both World Fighting Federation LLC and Aggression Session LLC were approved for a renewal Corporate License. Also, WWF’s MMA event will be held November 19th, 2016 at Wild Horse Pass Casino was approved.
New license applications for Amateur MMA were tabled for Manuel Ramirez and Daniel Ortiz because their documentation was incomplete.
From the updated Commission website is word of two new boxing events at Valentino’s Event Center located at 4344 W. Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona 85031.The dates are 2/6/16 and 3/12/16. Weigh-Ins are scheduled the night before the event at Valentino’s……….May the Force be with you…..Until Next Time…Merry Christmas!