The North American Boxing Federation released their December rankings last week and boxing fans in New Mexico will be pleased to see two of the state’s best fighters ranked by the regional sanctioning body.
In the Super Welterweight division Las Cruces’ Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KOs) moves up to #2 in the NABF rankings.
The current champion, Carlos Adames (15-0, 12 KOs), is currently scheduled to fight next month against Juan Ruiz. Although it is doubtful that Adames’s management would let him step in the ring against the more seasoned Trout at this stage of his career, it is not out of the question either. For Trout a world title is clearly his first priority, but a NABF title could be just the thing that propels him into a match with newly crowned WBC world champion Tony Harrison.
In the featherweight division undefeated Jason Sanchez (13-0, 6 KOs) moves into the NABF rankings at #19. It’s not as noteworthy as the #15 world ranking Sanchez has with the WBO but it is still an impressive distinction. After all, Sanchez never fought for a WBC belt and in fact is the current WBO Youth champion. The fact that he is moving into the NABF rankings despite not fighting for any WBC regional belts means he is attracting attention from a lot of movers and shakers in the sport.
Interestingly enough, at #17 in the NABF 126-pound rankings is Phoenix Arizona’s Francisco De Vaca (19-0, 6 KOs). It goes without saying that Southwest boxing fans would love to see the two undefeated prospects square off in 2019. The current NABF champion is undefeated Manny Robles III (17-0, 12 KOs) out of Los Angeles.
Our neighbors up north in Colorado also were excited to see undefeated Juaquin Trinidad Camarena (8-0, 8 KOs) of Denver move into the NABF rankings at #20 in the super bantamweight division. Trinidad is the son of Donald Camarena, a talented former contender who once held the WBC Continental America’s Super Lightweight title in 2005. However although Trinidad’s competition hasn’t been particularly outstanding, from what we’ve seen so far Trinidad has a lot of his dad’s boxing skills coupled with some serious punching power. He is certainly a prospect worth keeping an eye on in 2019.
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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.
Between 2003 and 2008 I covered a number of fights in the State of Colorado while I attended law school at the University of Denver. One of Colorado’s most popular boxers during this decade was the gritty Rob Frankel. Frankel started off in rather unspectacular fashion, getting stopped in his pro debut by Hector Munoz before winning a pair of uninspiring decisions over a pair of fighters with records of 0-7 and 0-6 respectively.
I won’t lie…I wasn’t expecting much from him.
Maybe a few more ugly wins before getting blown out against a top level prospect…and then either a slide into opponent status or an end to the boxing career.
But a funny thing happened on the way to obscurity. Frankel learned how to fight, and that coupled with his rock solid chin and his overall toughness led to Frankel becoming one of Colorado boxing’s most unexpected main event fighters. On April 9, 2005 Frankel scored a stunning upset over Martin O’Malley, a moment that gave birth to one of Colorado boxing’s most unexpected stories. Frankel gave as good as he got, and although he never quite pulled off that one big win that would put him into the world rankings, he gave a lot of Colorado boxing fans reason to believe in him nonetheless. He was tough and we just knew that one day he would find that one contender who was looking past him. One day he would march into the top ten and upend the apple cart. Since that inglorious pro debut, Rob Frankel would win a NABA belt in 2008, a WBC regional belt in 2012, he would defeat a former USBA champion named Michael Stewart in 2007 and even scored a win over a guy named Pacquiao (OK, it was Manny’s brother Bobby, but still a nice win).
But back on April 16, 2004 he was just another unknown undercard fighter who I expected would be done with the sport by the end of the year.
Fortunately I was wrong on that assessment.
Rob Frankel’s April 16, 2004 fight with Danny Almanza in Denver, Colorado: