Denver based welterweight Daniel Calzada ultimately came up short in his clash with the talented and undefeated Brian Ceballo tonight at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Calzada showed Ceballo early on why the New Mexican was widely regarded as one of the cagiest fighters in Colorado. Although Ceballo was winning the round with activity he still seemed to have trouble with the defense of Calzada. At times Calzada would successfully move his head to such effect that he had Ceballo throwing three-punch combinations that would hit nothing but air. But in the end the speed and strength of Ceballo was too much for Calzada. By round two Ceballo began to find a home for his right hand, although Calzada showed his toughness in standing his ground. By round three Ceballo was in total control and seemed to snap Calzada’s head back with right hands and left hooks. Still, the New Mexico born brawler refused to take a backward step and certainly impressed the capacity crowd with his grit and toughness. After four rounds of action all theee judges scored the fight 40-36. With the win Ceballo improves to 6-0, 3 KOs while Calzada slips to 16-20-3, 2 KOs. Calzada has only been stopped twice in his 39-fight career.
Odessa, Texas may not be a boxing Mecca yet, but if undefeated Texan Desmond “Dez” Hill (3-0, 3 KOs) continues his winning ways that may change in 2019. The Odessa native will fight for the first time in his hometown on December 8th at the Ector County Coliseum and he will do it with boxing royalty watching.
The legendary Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran has been confirmed as a special guest for the Odessa show by promoter Isidro Castillo. Duran, a 2006 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, is one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities and is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters of the 20thcentury. He was perhaps best remembered for his trilogy against “Sugar” Ray Leonard as well as his reign as lightweight champion from June of 1972 to January of 1978. Interestingly enough, Duran’s appearance ringside for the Odessa fight card on December 8th will come 29-years and one day after his third and final fight with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Leonard defeated Duran by way of 12-round decision on December 7, 1989 in Las Vegas Nevada in one of the sports earliest PPV fights.
Although Duran will be available to meet with fans and sign autographs, West Texas boxing fans will nonetheless be excited to also see their native son as he takes his first major step up in class in the boxing ring. Hill, a former MMA fighter and King of the Cage veteran, will take on the cagy veteran Ricard “Rico” Urquizo (4-5-2, 2 KOs) in a four round light-heavyweight fight. Although Urquizo doesn’t possess the flashiest record he has proven to be a more than able gatekeeper in the southwest, who possess a veteran bag of tricks. Urquizo has already scored impressive wins over Michael Sanchez and Omar Acosta earlier this year and also challenged for the NABF Junior Cruiserweight title back in July. Although he came up short in his only title fight it still established Urquizo as the most seasoned fighter in the Permian Basin. Nonetheless Hill has shown flashes of brilliance in his three knockout wins and he has many fight fans talking world ranking…assuming he continues to dominate against the next tier of fighters like Urquizo.
In the co-main event undefeated lightweight Abel Mendoza (11-0, 8 KOs) of Pecos, Texas is scheduled to take on undefeated MExican welterweight Arturo Manriquez (2-0) in a four round fight. Mendoza has looked the part of a world class prospect in his eleven fights…but he has yet to fight a boxer with a winning record and in his last five fights his opponents have a less than stellar record of 8-35-1. Nonetheless matchmaker and promoter Isidro Castillo has earned a reputation in the Southwest of being an able matchmaker who can find gritty and tough opponents for just about anyone, and many are assuming that he unknown MExican will not disappoint when all is said and done.
Also rounding off the card will be Roman Huerta Hobbs against Mark Sanchez of Midland in a heavyweight matchup. Both Huerta and Sanchez will be making their professional debuts. Carlos Villalva (1-0) of Seminole will take on rookie Larry Sanchez of Odessa in a four round welterweight fight. Opening the night of boxing will be Jimmy Meza of Odessa as he makes his professional debut against Roswell New Mexico’s Tyler Cole (0-1). The fight card will be promoted by Isidro Castillo and Eric Gutierrez in partnership with Golden Eagle Promotions out of Texas. Tickets can be purchased at the Ector County Coliseum or by calling promoter Isidro Castillo at 1-575-263-4942.
New Mexico fight fans will be pleased to know that one of our own is fighting on the undercard of the ESPN televised Lomachenko-Pedraza fight in New York City on December 8th. At the weigh in Denver based Daniel Calzada (16-19-3, 2 KOs) weighed in at a ready 147.6 for his four round welterweight fight against undefeated Brian Ceballo (5-0, 3 KOs). Ceballo weighed in at 147.8. Although Calzada lives and fights out of Colorado he was originally from New Mexico and was born in Dona Ana.
Albuquerque New Mexico’s Josh Torres made short work of last minute sub Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez, stopping him in the opening round after just 1:16 of action last night. The fight, which took place at the Manuel Lujan Exhibition Hall at Expo New Mexico, was widely expected to be a difficult one for the New Mexican before the opening bell. And when Rodriguez came in at 155.4 (8.4 pounds over the contracted weight) many wondered if the size advantage might be a substantial factor in the fight. But Torres ultimately had little trouble with the former Mexican prospect. With the win Torres improves to 19-6-2, 11 KOs while Rodriguez drops to 15-6, 11 KOs.
One of New Mexico’s most popular boxers will return to the ring today (December 1st) at the Manuel Lujan Jr. Exhibit Complex at the Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque as local boy Josh Torres (18-6-2, 10 KOs) looks to extend his three fight win streak against last minute sub Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez (15-5, 11 KOs) of Los Mochis, Mexico.
For Torres there is a recognition that it is now or never for the notoriously streaky boxer. Torres is a former WBC USNBC junior welterweight champion, having won the belt against Ranee Ganoy (a fighter who at one point in his career fought in an IBF world title fight eliminator). And Torres is perhaps best remembered for giving former WBO junior welterweight champion Mike Alvarado all he could handle back in 2016, losing a close majority decision to Alvarado in Texas. But his record is also peppered with inexplicable losses to fighters like Rufino Flores (2-5, 0 KOs), Cameron Krael (14-13-3, 3 KOs), Jose Marrufo (11-8-2, 1 KO) as well as a four round draw with Joel Vargas (4-16-2, 4 KOs). Nonetheless, despite these setbacks there is recognition by many boxing fans in New Mexico that when he is on point he can compete with many world class fighters in the welterweight division and can still make one more serious run for contention.
However, Torres can ill afford another setback and after his original opponent, Texan Mohamed Rodriguez (11-6-1, 4 KOs), was forced to drop out of the fight earlier this week due to a shoulder injury he may actually be in with a considerably more dangerous opponent. Torres’s new opponent, Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez, is a former undefeated prospect who is best remembered for his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov in 2015. Rodriguez entered that fight with an impressive 15-0 record, but he was ultimately dominated by the former WBO world champion, getting stopped in four rounds.
And unfortunately for Rodriguez he has had little opportunity to right the ship since then. Rodriguez was thrown in with the wolves, fighting (and losing to) four undefeated world class prospects since his loss to Provodnikov. His fight with Torres is widely recognized as a considerably more reasonable matchup for a young boxer looking to rebuild his career and much like Torres, he has his back to the wall. A loss to Torres would undoubtedly end his dreams of contention, something that is not lost on either fighter. Although Torres and Rodriguez is seen as an even matchup, many boxing insiders nonetheless recognize that it is hard to gauge exactly what sort of test Rodriguez would provide for the New Mexican. His losses were ultimately to undefeated world class prospects and one former world champion whereas his wins tended to come against little known journeymen. Whereas his first fifteen fights saw him defeat opponents with a combined record of 27-108-11 his last four fights saw him lose to fighters with a combined record of 49-0-1. It is this mystery surrounding Rodriguez that makes the Torres-Rodriguez match so interesting, and why many boxing fans regard Rodriguez as a much more dangerous opponent that his original foe.
The Torres-Rodriguez fight is scheduled for eight rounds in the welterweight division.
In the co-main event Aztec, New Mexico’s Joe Gomez (21-7-1, 10 KOs) looks to extend his three fight win streak as he takes on Moris Rodriguez (7-11-1, 5 KOs) of Sacramento in a six round junior middleweight fight. Gomez has once fought Alfredo Angulo in a WBC Continental Americas super welterweight title back in 2011 (losing in the opening round). However, he has seen limited action in the ring since then, fighting only six times in the last seven years. However Gomez has picked up the pace slightly in 2018, with his fight against Rodriguez being his second this year. Rodriguez was stopped in six rounds by main event fighter Josh Torres in his last fight in March of this year.
Rounding off the undefeated Matthew Esquibel (10-0-1, 5 KOs) of Albuquerque takes on journeyman Ricardo Fernandez (3-10-4, 0 KOs) of Juarez, Mexico in a six round junior middleweight fight. Although the fight doesn’t appear to be much of a contest on paper, with Fernandez coming in on the heels of an eight fight losing streak, the conventional wisdom is that the Mexican may still surprise some people. Esquibel struggled in his last fight, being held to a draw by lightly regarded Tavorus Teague back in June and if the same Esquibel that showed up against Teague were to show up tonight fans may be treated to a more competitive fight than expected.
Albuquerque’s Lorenzo Benavidez (0-1) looks for his first win against Michael Sanchez (2-2, 2 KOs) in a four round cruiserweight fight. Jose Luis Sanchez (7-1, 3 KOs) of Albuquerque takes on Oklahoma’s Anthony Hill (1-25, 0 KOs) in a six round junior middleweight fight. And in the opening fight of the night Las Cruces New Mexico’s Jamie Aguilera makes his professional debut against Levi Lucero (0-2) in a four round lightweight fight. Tickets for the event, billed “Expo Explosion II,” start at $25 for general admission and $80 for front row seating.
I’ve covered fights all across the globe and have sat ringside for some of the biggest fights in boxing history…but I think every boxing writer laments the one that got away. And for me that was the night of May 26, 2001.
I was just kicking off my career as a freelance boxing writer in Michigan. I had submitted some material to a few smaller boxing websites and was 11 days away from covering my first fight card for Fightnews.com: a club show in a VFW hall in Durand, Michigan. (for the record, Fightnews didn’t end up posting it, my first published fight report was from a show in Washington D.C.).
But even if I wasn’t a boxing writer at that point I was still a fight fan, which makes May 26, 2001 inexcusable.
That was the day that “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. defended his WBC Super Featherweight title in Grand Rapids, Michigan against Carlos Hernandez of Argentina. I don’t know why I didn’t make the drive out from Flint to Grand Rapids to see that fight. Floyd was already established as one of boxing’s best champions and although he would dominate Hernandez it would prove to be a historic night: the only knockdown of Mayweather’s career (for the record it wasn’t much of a knockdown).
I would go on to see Mayweather in action in the future…April 8, 2006, when he won a decision over Zab Judah in Las Vegas. But by then Mayweather was a superstar. In Grand Rapids he wasn’t the most recognizable fighter on the planet yet. Hell, he wasn’t even the most recognizable fighter in Michigan yet. He was talented…we all saw it. But somehow that talent wasn’t enough to motivate me to drive one and a half hours to see him in action live.
I guess I just didn’t appreciate how close to greatness I was back on May 26, 2001. And I guess that is why I often pay special attention to those four round fights on the undercard. You never know if that 3-0 kid on the undercard might just be something special. Admittedly they are usually in against a softer touch…but how many of you would say you wouldn’t drive up to Albuquerque to have seen a young Floyd Mayweather Jr. in action, even if it was against a journeyman? Sure the fight featuring that young prospect ends up being pretty lopsided, but you still get to see a young prospect in action…and sometimes that young prospect turns out to be something really, really special. You see the flashes of brilliance…and sometimes you even get to see the rough edges that you know will be polished out before he fights for his first world title.
Yeah, I may have May 26, 2001 as my missed opportunity to see greatness rising…but I am not alone. Just about every fight fan in New Mexico has a date they also have to carry with them: November 30, 1996. 22-years ago to the day.
Because on that day Floyd Mayweather came to Albuquerque.
In an ESPN televised fight card featuring then WBO Super Flyweight champion Johnny Tapia in a title defense, Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped by for a four round clash with a little know journeyman from Indiana named Reggie Sanders. And if you are a fight fans from New Mexico who for whatever reason didn’t go to the Tingley Coliseum on November 30, 1996 then watching the fight now on YouTube will be painful. You will see hundreds of empty seats all around the ring. Sure we didn’t know that Floyd would become “Money” but it doesn’t change the fact that you missed this golden opportunity. You missed a chance to see an all time great in his only fight in New Mexico.
And interestingly enough, even though the matchup wasn’t exactly a major test for Mayweather, history was made that night at the Tingley Coliseum. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was taken the distance for the first time. Reggie Sanders was able to last the four-round distance with Mayweather and although judges Levi Martinez and William Gantt had Mayweather winning 40-36, one judge (Sandy Pino, a familiar face to fight fans in New Mexico) actually had Sanders winning one round and scored the fight 39-37. So another bit of boxing history occurred in Albuquerque 22-years ago today and New Mexico fight fans in attendance were able to witness it.
Albuquerque saw the first round Floyd Mayweather Jr. would lose as a professional.
Admittedly a lot of fans were probably not paying much attention to the then young boxer from Grand Rapids who was fighting as a professional for only the second time in his career. But those who did…well, they witnessed history in the making. They saw the Beatles with Pete Best on the drums. They saw Michael Jordan playing basketball in college. They saw a young Floyd Mayweather Jr. go the distance for the first time ever. And who knows, maybe they even realized they were watching something special.
There is a fight coming up this weekend in Albuquerque, and although I won’t claim that any of the fighters on that card will become the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. I have to admit…back in 2001 I didn’t think Floyd Mayweather Jr. would become the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. So what do I know? Maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it and you should head down to the Manuel Lujan Building in Albuquerque Saturday night just to make sure you don’t miss something special. A week after that show boxing will head to to Odessa, Texas where a pair of undefeated fighters in Desmond Hill and Abel Mendoza are slated to fight in two separate fights at the Ector County Coliseum. Are either of them the next Canelo Alvarez or Manny Pacquiao? Most people would say no. But those are the same people who didn’t buy these five empty ringside seats for Canelo Alvarez fight agaist Raul Pinzon in Miami back in 2008. Don’t be the five guys not sitting in those seats on Saturday in Albuquerque or on December 8 in Odessa.
And for those of you who missed Albuquerque’s brush with greatness on November 30th, 1996…for those fight fans in New Mexico who were old enough to have gone to that fight card at the Tingley Coliseum and for whatever reason didn’t…