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After Beating Robert Guerrero, David Peralta Finally Goes Pro

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After Beating Robert Guerrero

After Beating Robert Guerrero, David Peralta Finally Goes Pro – The classic story of the underdog dreaming about making it big while working odd jobs and living in a crime-ridden neighborhood has already been scripted, filmed and praised as a classic. But even the wildly fictional Rocky Balboa had the advantage of getting his big chance to turn his life around in a fight in his own hometown, among other perks.

Argentine welterweight contender David Emanuel Peralta, however, had a few more discouraging twists added to his not-yet-filmed biopic script.

Peralta (26-2-1, 14 KOs) is known now as the hard-punching, take-no-prisoners, crazy-legged-dancing fellow who derailed whatever was left of former multiple champion Robert Guerrero’s career back in August. But before that, even any random part-time butcher/boxer from present-day Philadelphia would have been deemed worthy of better odds to score an upset against “The Ghost” in his home state of California.

And as much as those failed pre-fight assessments are commonplace in boxing, in the case of Peralta someone should have seen it coming. And the fighter himself is the first one to acknowledge it.

“They do underestimate Argentine boxing – and look at how things end up for them,” said Peralta from his home in the neighborhood of Jose Diaz, in the city of Cordoba, right in the heartland of Argentina, during one of his first days of his life as a full-time professional prizefighter after scoring an upset for the ages. “Boxing has given a lot of pride to Argentina, and in spite of that it is a forgotten sport now, people don’t pay attention to it. And that’s bad.”

Had the boxing establishment paid closer attention to Peralta’s record, they would have seen that his two losses (a stoppage to Claudio Olmedo in 2011 and a split decision loss against Cristian Romero in 2015) were more than justifiable setbacks against legitimate contenders, and perhaps the boxing establishment would have made an effort to give him a chance to become a full-time pro, a situation he is only now being able to reach in his life with his imminent move to Miami to train under the orders of Herman Caicedo with his sights on a possible December 10 fight in the States – and perhaps even a dream title bout in 2017.

Peralta has his own justifications for those two losses.

“Against Olmedo I had my mom in the hospital, my mind was not in the fight and even so I beat him up real bad. His face was one big bruise after the fight. I was not in my best moment, and the time wasn’t right for me. Otherwise I would have won,” said Peralta. “And Romero didn’t beat me, and he knows it. He said he wanted to give me a rematch because no one had punched him as hard as me. And I told him, ‘you’re a fighter just like me, you didn’t rob me, the judges did. That’s it, I can’t get mad at you because you’re a fighter, it is the judges’ fault.’ Here in Argentina there are robberies like anywhere else.”

That kind of humility in his loss may have saved Romero and Olmedo from facing him in a rematch, but as karma would have it, Peralta ended up getting a much more important call.

“From what I hear, they offered the fight to other guys in the US and they didn’t want it. I was working at the time. I was happy because I took this as my last chance, so I sacrificed a lot, I trained very hard. Thank God, things went well. I trained one month in Cordoba and another one in Buenos Aires. I saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate my ability, not just to grab a check. I wanted a new chance in this sport, the sport that I love”, said Peralta in regards to his life-changing call to face Robert Guerrero in what is already being hailed as the upset of the year.

But the most defining moment of his career happened for him midway through his bout with Guerrero, when he finally realized he was on his way to finally exorcise his demons and become victorious in his first trip abroad against a former world champion.

“When the 6th round started I knew I had the fight under control”, said Peralta. “I could see that he was frustrated and I had to continue doing the work I had done. I had a plan and I knew I had to stick to it, and that’s what I did. In the fourth and fifth and the sixth were the best rounds I had. I told that to my corner. From then on I just had to keep it going and not leave the plan.”

Even though he scored a major upset and his emotions were running high at the moment, it was impressive to see Peralta restrain himself from an excessive celebration that would have been more than justified, considering his achievement. Instead, he chose to warmly embrace Guerrero and offer him kind words of appreciation for the opportunity.

“I knew I had won the fight, but I was just relaxed. The scorecards didn’t worry me,” said Peralta. “I had seen in his face that he felt he had lost, and he knew it as well. So when they called my name I felt I had to be humble and celebrate humbly, and then go over and thank him.”

What happened next had ringsiders and audience members scratching their heads for a while.

“When I turned towards my team, that’s when I started screaming and celebrating. I was overcome with joy, but I was in no position to disrespect a great champion like Robert, a three-division champ in his hometown,” said Peralta, who immediately engaged in a weird dance that he had already practiced prior to the bout, in fulfillment of a promise made to a friend.

“One of the guys in the team tried out those spicy Mexican peppers that they serve in California, and well…”, said Peralta, who went on to describe his friend’s tribulations in the toilet next morning, with his buttocks feeling as if they were in raw flesh. “I told him that if I won I would walk around like a mandrill, and I did,” said Peralta, as he mimics once again the moves of the red-bottomed ape.

The scream directed towards his team, which later became his war chant to the point of becoming a hashtag and the subject of a t-shirt design in his honor, has an even crazier origin.

“That’s from the first day in our training there, when we were about to cross paths with Robert and his people, on Wednesday. My trainer (Colo Fernandez) told me to be relaxed and unafraid, and I told him I was feeling great, but he said ‘keep calm because Robert is a humble guy, but his dad and his uncle act as if they had the biggest (penises) in the room’. And I said, ‘what does that mean? They didn’t go through what I went through, they didn’t experience hunger and other needs like myself. They wouldn’t have survived where I survived. They wouldn’t even exist. I couldn’t possibly be afraid of him, I am the one with the biggest dick in here’. And now it’s my trademark,” said Peralta, who has seen the words “el más poronga”, loosely translated as “the most (endowed),” become a sensation in his homeland.

But now, the 34-year-old Peralta will find himself working out next to several world-class names including Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, Juan Carlos Payano, Claudio Marrero, Yenifel Vicente, Ramon Luis and many more top professionals, and the size of his privates will matter less than his actual ability to fight.

His promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, known for finding hidden gems in foreign boxing markets such as Manny Pacquiao and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez among many others, says Peralta is on the prowl for his next victim. And Peralta agrees, knowing that his new full-time dedication to the sport will bring a new beginning to his career.

“There are almost no fighters making a living out of boxing exclusively here, they all have to work,” says Peralta about his native Argentina. “There are great fighters all over the country, and they all have to sacrifice outside the ring, working odd jobs to make ends meet. What I saw in the States is that fighters are like racing horses: they train and they rest, and that’s it. That’s why they are always looking great physically.”

Peralta hopes that the tale of a boxer who was retired for more than a year and who achieved such a stellar record while driving a cab, hauling furniture in his dad’s moving truck, unloading fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market and going through hell and high water will not only inspire others to follow in his footsteps, but also to shine a light on his compatriots and make him the spearhead of a new golden era of welterweights from Argentina.

“That would be beautiful for the people of boxing, a sport that requires so much sacrifice,” said Peralta, hoping that the rippling effect on the rest of Argentine boxing could one day take some of his friends and even former enemies to be considered for greater challenges. “This fight was great for me because everyone saw it as an uphill battle for me, even the people who support me. But I knew it had to happen, because I had faith in myself, and I had a great amateur career but as a pro things went off the rails, my trainer died, a lot of things happened to me, and I said things have to go my way some day and they did.”

As he gets ready for his new beginning as a full-fledged professional, Peralta can’t help but remember how close he was to giving it all up, only to have destiny turn him into an Argentine version of Rocky and put him on a Rambo mission in his future.

“I quit boxing after a chat I had with my wife, about things not going right, and the need to make money. And then I just trained whenever I could, and I worked a lot because when you have a family things are more difficult,” said Peralta. “I never had the chance to have some continuity, and I’ve been doing this for 11 years in October and I don’t even have 30 fights. But I thought about my trainer Carlos Tello who had just passed away, my grandpa Chichino and everyone who supported me, and I felt I had to go on.”

There are two more reasons that inspired Peralta to trudge on in his comeback trail. And they are both emblazoned in his chest.

“It’s a map of Cordoba and the Belgrano badge,” said Peralta about the tattoo that sits right over his heart. Cordoba, of course, is his province, and Belgrano is the third-tier soccer club from which he drew the extra inspiration he needed.

“They are the club that I love, I follow them wherever they go. They have more downs than ups, just like me,” he said. “It is great to be a fan of Belgrano, to feel their struggle and suffer along with them, and to represent them because they were the first to congratulate me after I won,” said Peralta, who is scheduled to be the recipient of a plaque in the field during Belgrano’s next game in honor of his victory.

True to his spirit as a natural-born jester, he can’t help but recollect a recent episode in which he was the not-so-proud recipient of a much different acknowledgment.

“There were a couple of police cars chasing a suspect around the neighborhood, and they stopped me to frisk me because I looked suspicious,” said Peralta. “But when they recognized me, they asked me to forgive them for the mistake. And just when they were going away they screamed ‘congrats, champ!’ from the patrol car. I told my mom and she didn’t believe me!!. ‘The cops recognized me, mom! First they told me to ****, and then they congratulated me.”

If his luck has indeed changed as much as his recent streak may suggest, Peralta may never find himself in that humiliating and dismissing position again. Boxing is in desperate need of a few dozen Cinderella Men just like him to continue being the one sport in which victory is still possible for a 70-1 underdog making $30,000 to defeat a guy making half a million dollars. His courage and his defiance will hardly ever be questioned again.

After all, he may not be ‘the most endowed’ fighter out there, but he has at least demonstrated that boxing takes much more than just balls.

After Beating Robert Guerrero / Check for more boxing news and videos at The Boxing Channel.

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The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

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In an unprecedented development, the Boxing Writers Association of America has started a “watch list” to lift the curtain on ring officials who have “screwed up.” Veteran Texas referee Laurence Cole and Nebraska judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett have the unwelcome distinction of being the first “honorees.”

“Boxing is a sport where judges and referees are rarely held accountable for poor performances that unfairly change the course of a fighter’s career and, in some instances, endanger lives,” says the BWAA in a preamble to the new feature. Hence the watch list, which is designed to “call attention to ‘egregious’ errors in scoring by judges and unacceptable conduct by referees.”

Contreras and Sinnett, residents of Omaha, were singled out for their scorecards in the match between lightweights Thomas Mattice and Zhora Hamazaryan, an eight round contest staged at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa on July 20. They both scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice, enabling the Ohio fighter to keep his undefeated record intact via a split decision.

Although Mattice vs. Hamazaryan was a supporting bout, it aired live on ShoBox. Analyst Steve Farhood, who was been with ShoBox since the inception of the series in 2001, called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. Lead announcer Barry Tompkins went further, calling it the worst decision he has seen in his 40 years of covering the sport.

Laurence Cole (pictured alongside his father) was singled out for his behavior as the third man in the ring for the fight between Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on July 14. The bout was televised live on ESPN.

In his rationale for calling out Cole, BWAA prexy Joseph Santoliquito leaned heavily on Thomas Hauser’s critique of Cole’s performance in The Sweet Science. “Velasco fought courageously and as well as he could,” noted Hauser. “But at the end of round seven he was a thoroughly beaten fighter.”

His chief second bullied him into coming out for another round. Forty-five seconds into round eight, after being knocked down for a third time, Velasco spit out his mouthpiece and indicated to Cole that he was finished. But Cole insisted that the match continue and then, after another knockdown that he ruled a slip, let it continue for another 35 seconds before Velasco’s corner mercifully threw in the towel.

Controversy has dogged Laurence Cole for well over a decade.

Cole was the third man in the ring for the Nov. 25, 2006 bout in Hildalgo, Texas, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca. In the fifth round, Marquez sustained a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt. In round eight, another accidental head butt widened and deepened the gash. As Marquez was being examined by the ring doctor, Cole informed Marquez that he was ahead on the scorecards, volunteering this information while holding his hand over his HBO wireless mike. The inference was that Marquez was free to quit right then without tarnishing his record. (Marquez elected to continue and stopped Jaca in the next round.)

This was improper. For this indiscretion, Cole was prohibited from working a significant fight in Texas for the next six months.

More recently, Cole worked the 2014 fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido at the San Antonio Alamodome. During the fight, Salido made a mockery of the Queensberry rules for which he received no point deductions and only one warning. Cole’s performance, said Matt McGrain, was “astonishingly bad,” an opinion echoed by many other boxing writers. And one could site numerous other incidents where Cole’s performance came under scrutiny.

Laurence Cole is the son of Richard “Dickie” Cole. The elder Cole, now 87 years old, served 21 years as head of the Texas Department of Combat Sports Regulation before stepping down on April 30, 2014. At various times during his tenure, Dickie Cole held high executive posts with the World Boxing Council and North American Boxing Federation. He was the first and only inductee into the inaugural class of the Texas Boxing Hall of Fame, an organization founded by El Paso promoter Lester Bedford in 2015.

From an administrative standpoint, boxing in Texas during the reign of Dickie Cole was frequently described in terms befitting a banana republic. Whenever there was a big fight in the Lone Star State, his son was the favorite to draw the coveted refereeing assignment.

Boxing is a sideline for Laurence Cole who runs an independent insurance agency in Dallas. By law in Texas (and in most other states), a boxing promoter must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the event that one or more of the fighters on his show is seriously injured. Cole’s agency is purportedly in the top two nationally in writing these policies. Make of that what you will.

Complaints of ineptitude, says the WBAA, will be evaluated by a “rotating committee of select BWAA members and respected boxing experts.” In subsequent years, says the press release, the watch list will be published quarterly in the months of April, August, and December (must be the new math).

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Popo vs. “La Hiena”: Blast From the Past – Episode Two

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Freitas

When WBA/WBO super featherweight champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas met Jorge Rodrigo “Il Hiena” Barrios in Miami on August 8, 2003, there was more on the line than just the titles. This was a roughhousing 39-1-1 Argentinian fighting an equally tough 33-0 Brazilian. The crowd was divided between Brazilian fans and those from Argentina. To them this was a Mega-Fight; this was BIG.

When Acelino Freitas turned professional in 1995, he streaked from the gate with 29 straight KOs, one of the longest knockout win streaks in boxing history. He was fan-friendly and idolized in Brazil. Barrios turned professional in 1996 and went 14-0 before a DQ loss after which he went 25-0-1 with 1 no decision.

The Fight

The wild swinging “Hyena” literally turned into one as he attacked from the beginning and did not let up until the last second of the eleventh round. Barrios wanted to turn the fight into a street fight and was reasonably successful with that strategy. It became a case of brawler vs. boxer/puncher and when the brawler caught the more athletic Popo—who could slip and duck skillfully—and decked him with a straight left in the eighth, the title suddenly was up for grabs.

The Brazilian fans urged their hero on but to no avail as Barrios rendered a pure beat down on Popo during virtually the entirety of the 11th round—one of the most exciting in boxing history. Freitas went down early from a straight right. He was hurt, and at this point it looked like it might be over. Barrios was like a madman pounding Popo with a variety of wild shots, but with exactly one half of one second to go before the bell ending the round, Freitas caught La Hiena with a monster right hand that caused the Hyena to do the South American version of the chicken dance before he went down with his face horribly bloodied. When he got up, he had no idea where he was but his corner worked furiously to get him ready for the final round. All he had to do was hang in there and the title would change hands on points.

The anonymous architect of “In Boxing We Trust,” a web site that went dormant in 2010, wrote this description:

“Near the end of round 11, about a milli-second before the bell rang, Freitas landed a ROCK HARD right hand shot flush on Barrios’ chin. Barrios stood dazed for a moment, frozen in time, and then down he went, WOW WOW WOW!!!! Barrios got up at the count of 4, he didn’t know where he was as he looked around towards the crowd like a kid separated from his family at a theme park, but Barrios turned to the ref at the count of 8 and signaled that he was okay, SAVED BY THE BELL. It was panic time in the Barrios corner, as the blood continued to flow like lava, and he was bleeding from his ear (due to a ruptured ear drum). In the beginning of round 12, Freitas was able to score an early knockdown, and as Barrios stood up on wobbly legs and Freitas went straight at him and with a couple more shots, Barrios was clearly in bad shape and badly discombobulated and the fight was stopped. Freitas had won a TKO victory in round 12, amazing!!!!”

Later, Freitas tarnished his image with a “No Mas” against Diego Corrales, but he had gone down three times and knew there was no way out. He went on to claim the WBO world lightweight title with a split decision over Zahir Raheem, but that fight was a snoozefest and he lost the title in his first defense against Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz.

Freitas looked out of shape coming in to the Diaz fight and that proved to be the case as he was so gassed at the end of the eighth round that he quit on his stool. This was yet another shocker, but others (including Kostya Tszyu, Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya and even Ali) had done so and the criticism this time seemed disproportionate.

Popo had grown old. It happens. Yet, against Barrios, he had proven without a doubt that he possessed the heart of a warrior.

The Brazilian boxing hero retired in 2007, but came back in 2012 and schooled and KOd the cocky Michael “The Brazilian Rocky” Oliveira. He won another fight in 2015 and though by now he was visibly paunchy, he still managed to go 10 rounds to beat Gabriel Martinez in 2017 with occasional flashes of his old explosive volleys. These later wins, though against lower level opposition, somewhat softened the memories of the Corrales and Diaz fights, both of which this writer attended at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut. They would be his only defeats in 43 pro bouts.

Like Manny Pacquiao, Freitas had a difficult childhood but was determined to make a better life for himself and his family. And, like Manny, he did and he also pursued a career in politics. Whether he makes it into the Hall will depend on how much a ‘No Mas’ can count against one, but he warrants serious consideration when he becomes eligible.

As for the Hyena, on April 8, 2005, he won the WBO junior lightweight title with a fourth round stoppage of undefeated but overweight Mike Anchondo. In January 2010 he was involved in a hit and run accident in which a 20-year-old pregnant woman was killed. On April 4, 2012 Barrios was declared guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to four years in prison. He served 27 months and never fought again, retiring with a record of 50-4-1.

Ted Sares is one of the oldest active full power lifters in the world. A member of Ring 10, and Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, he was recently cited by Hannibal Boxing as one of three “Must-Read” boxing writers.

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The Avila Perspective Chapter 6: Munguia, Cruiserweights and Pacman

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Adjoining states

Adjoining states in the west host a number of boxing cards including a world title contest that features a newcomer who, before knocking out a world champion, was erroneously categorized by a Nevada official as unworthy of a title challenge.

Welcome to the world of Mexico’s Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) the WBO super welterweight world titlist who meets England’s Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 21. HBO will televise

Back in April when middleweight titan Gennady “GGG” Golovkin was seeking an opponent to replace Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who was facing suspension for performance enhancement drug use, it was the 21-year-old from Tijuana who volunteered his services for a May 5th date in Las Vegas.

Bob Bennett, the Executive Director for Nevada State Athletic Commission, denied allowing Munguia an opportunity to fight Golovkin for the middleweight titles. Bennett claimed that the slender Mexican fighter had not proven worthy of contesting for the championship though the tall Mexican wielded an undefeated record of 28 wins with 24 coming by knockout.

To be fair, Bennett has seen many fighters in the past with undefeated records who were not up to challenges, especially against the likes of Golovkin. But on the other hand, how can an official involved in prizefighting deny any fighter the right to make a million dollar payday if both parties are willing?

That is the bigger question.

Munguia stopped by Los Angeles to meet with the media last week and spoke about Bennett and his upcoming first world title defense. He admitted to being in the middle of a whirlwind that is spinning beyond his expectations. But he likes it.

“I’ve never won any kind of award before in my life,” said Munguia at the Westside Boxing Club in the western portion of Los Angeles. “I’ve always wanted to be a world champion since I was old enough to fight.”

When asked how he felt about Nevada’s denying him an attempt to fight Golovkin, a wide grin appeared on the Mexican youngster.

“I would like to thank him,” said Munguia about Bennett’s refusal to allow him to fight Golovkin. “Everything happens for a reason.”

That reason is clear now.

Two months ago Munguia put on a frightening display of raw power in knocking down then WBO super welterweight titlist Sadam Ali numerous times in front of New York fans. It reminded me of George Foreman’s obliteration of Joe Frazier back in the 1970s. World champions are not supposed get battered like that but when someone packs that kind of power those can be the terrifying results.

Still beaming over his newfound recognition, Munguia has grand plans for his future including challenging all of the other champions in his weight category and the next weight division.

“I want to be a great champion,” said Munguia. “I want to make history.”

The first step toward history begins on Saturday when he faces former world champion Smith who was dethroned by another Mexican named Canelo.

Cruiserweight championship

It’s not getting a large amount of attention in my neighborhood but this unification clash between WBA and IBF cruiserweight titlist Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) and WBC and WBO cruiserweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) has historic ramifications tagged all over it.

The first time I ever saw Russia’s 24-year-old Gassiev was three years ago when he made his American debut at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello. It’s a small venue near East L.A. and the fight was attended by numerous boxing celebrities such as James “Lights Out” Toney, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. One entire section was filled by Russian supporters and Gassiev did not disappoint in winning by stoppage that night. His opponent hung on for dear life.

Ukraine’s Usyk, 31, made his American debut in late 2016 on a Golden Boy Promotions card that staged boxing great Bernard Hopkins’ final prizefight. That night the cruiserweight southpaw Usyk bored audiences with his slap happy style until lowering the boom on South Africa’s Thabiso Mchunu in round nine at the Inglewood Forum. The sudden result stunned the audience.

Now it’s Gassiev versus Usyk and four world titles are at stake. The unification fight takes place in Moscow, Russia and will be streamed via Klowd TV at 12 p.m. PT/ 3 p.m. ET.

Seldom are cruiserweight matchups as enticing to watch as this one.

Another Look

A couple of significant fights took place last weekend, but Manny Pacquiao’s knockout win over Lucas Matthysse for the WBO welterweight world title heads the list.

Neither fighter looked good in their fight in Malaysia but when Pacquiao floored Matthysse several times during the fight, it raised some red flags.

The last time Pacquiao knocked out a welterweight was in 2009 against Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas. Since then he had not stopped an opponent. What changed?

In this age of PEDs there was no mention of testing for the Pacquiao/Matthysse fight. For the curiosity of the media and the fans, someone should come forward with proof of testing. Otherwise any future fights for the Philippine great will not be forthcoming.

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