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The Beast of Stillman's Gym, Part 4…TOLEDO

Springs Toledo

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Robinson nervously laughs, LaMotta looks over his shoulder. Is Bert Lytell in the house?

 

PART 4: SHADOWS AND SUGAR RAY

Promoter “Rip” Valenti, a product of Boston’s North End, finagled an agreement with uncrowned welterweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson to fight Bert Lytell in 1945. In May, that agreement had become “very definite plans” and Valenti assured reporters that Robinson and Lytell would meet during the outdoor season at Fenway Park.

Robinson had bigger things on his mind. The National Boxing Association would soon announce that the world titles were being unfrozen as World War II winded down and the champions came out of the armed services. Welterweight king Freddie Cochrane promised his navy pals that he would be an active champion and was making overtures to Robinson. Robinson pondered his options. With Cochrane making moves in his direction and that golden crown getting a little closer, why risk blowing it by taking on a high-risk challenge like Lytell? He wasn’t crazy like Jake LaMotta, so that summer saw him face a white fighter with a record of 7-11 instead of Bert.

At the end of 1948, Boston tried again. Promoter Sam Silverman offered Robinson a $15,000 guarantee to face Bert in early 1949 for the “Negro Middleweight Championship.” They told him that he could name the date. By this time Robinson was campaigning hard to face middleweight king Marcel Cerdan. Defeating the number-one contender who was touted as “the most-feared fighter in the country” would have made that campaign as politically persuasive as a gun to the head. But he passed again.

Meanwhile, Bert went right on facing hazardous fighters for fun.

For journalists who expected their boxers to be fearless, Robinson’s business acumen looked bad. One of his critics counted over 30 times that Robinson reneged or “ran out” on agreements to fight. Host cities left hanging dotted the national landscape between Boston, where Valenti shook his fist, and Houston, where an agreement to fight Cocoa Kid was left bleaching in the sun.

Robinson shrugged it off until he overheard Manhattan restaurateur Toots Shor grumbling within earshot. “There goes Robinson,” said Shor, “–-they ought to ban him from boxing.” That did it. Robinson penned a retort in the November 1950 issue of Ebony: “My critics would have the public believe that I’m a bad boy who hates all promoters and breaks contract with impunity. They seek to prove that I have caused bitterness, bad feeling, and confusion in boxing… this time I’ll have my say.” The media was biased, he charged; why else did typewriters rattle every time a promoter wailed about an alleged run-out but went strangely quiet when it came to his side of the story? Those “run-outs” weren’t run-outs at all, he said, they were misunderstandings motivated by wishful thinking. Fly-by-night promoters had a habit of mistaking his willingness to consider a fight with a signed contract, and if they chose to kick off expensive publicity campaigns based on that, it wasn’t his problem.

In his righteous indignation, Robinson’s pen did to him what most of our mouths do to us –-it spun off without him: “I fight all comers,” he wrote, “provided they can put up a good scrap and draw a decent gate.”

This, of course, wasn’t true. Bert Lytell was already drawing decent gates and after fighting on even terms with the best middleweight in the world in LaMotta, everyone knew he could put up a good scrap with anybody. Robinson knew it better than most -–Artie Towne was one of his stablemates as was Van McNutt, whom Bert cut to pieces in January 1945. “I want it known,” Robinson wrote, “that Ray Robinson never runs out on a bona-fide match contract.” He should have made an exception. What Rip Valenti called “very definite plans” in May 1945 to stage a Robinson-Lytell fight became “a signed contract” and still never came off. On August 1st Sammy Aaronson was complaining to the Baltimore Sun that “Lytell had a contract to fight Ray Robinson July 23rd at the Boston ball park but Robinson ran out.”

LaMotta himself may have had a hand in Robinson’s reluctance to fight the beast of Stillman’s Gym. His split decision win at the Boston Garden may be just a bland statistic now, but for a number of years afterward it was remembered as a scandal.

The Aaronson office never stopped trying to get a rematch with LaMotta and let the whole world know it. Boxing weeklies as far away as San Francisco ran front-page challenges: “BERT LYTELL challenges the World’s Leading Middleweights –-wants Marcel Cerdan or Jake La Motta” declared the May 3rd 1947 issue of Referee and Redhead; “Recently Lytell boxed a whale of a close one with Jake LaMotta, in Boston. And since that memorable encounter, promoters throughout the Nation have tried in vain to make the rematch. But it seems that LaMotta (that guy who claims no one wants to fight him) wants no part of Lytell.” Over in New York City, insiders like Willie Schulkin were also calling out LaMotta. “Jake LaMotta has been licking light heavies and claims that middleweights don’t want any part of him. Does he forget Bert Lytell?” Schulkin wrote, “Lytell stands ready to go with LaMotta at a moment’s notice. Are ya listenin’ Jake?”

Jake wasn’t listenin’. Neither was Sugar Ray. One week after the summer of Bert’s discontent, they fought each other for the fifth time instead of him.

By the end of 1945, Bert hadn’t fought for three months and fell out the rankings. He was back in January, fighting as a substitute in a preliminary bout in Holyoke, MA and then crossed the border into Connecticut to score his second clean knockout inside of two weeks.

Two weeks after that he was in Rhode Island for a rematch against Walter “Popeye” Woods.

Woods was a balding thirty-two-year-old who owned a close decision win over Bert. He was known as a clown, even if it was usually the other guy acting silly after his right hand landed. He was ranked eighth among light heavyweights by the time he faced Bert again.

The fight was “an out-and-out stinker” according to the Providence Journal. Bert seemed to miss on purpose and Woods’s punches were no more serious than a squirting flower. The fans jeered and the referee repeatedly warned both fighters of disqualification. The Journal stated in no uncertain terms that “the pair of them” should have been tossed out of the building “as early as the fourth round and possibly sooner.” Woods took the decision, probably because Bert lost two rounds on low blows, though the whole thing looked like a collusion where one fighter agreed to lose a decision and the other agreed not to hurt him along the way.

If it was, it meant an agreement was made between managers, which likely involved gambling interests –-which likely meant that somewhere down the line stood Mr. Gray, alias Paolo Giovanni Carbo, alias Frankie Carbo.

Frankie Carbo made his bones not with La Cosa Nostra as would be expected, but with Jewish gangsters. He was a product of the lower East Side, an area of New York City overrun with Russian Jewish immigrants and their rebellious, American-born children. It was a breeding ground for crime and violence and produced enough Jewish fighters and gangsters to challenge the Irish and the Italians. One of Carbo’s neighbors was Meyer Lansky, a major force in the underworld for much of the twentieth century. Although the Jews and the Italians ran separate organizations and collaborated often, it was the Italians who emerged as the controlling partner, and they used Lansky’s guys as fronts. “They know better than to try to f*ck us,” said one with all due respect.

Carbo was managing fighters by the mid-thirties and was arrested on suspicion of murder five times. After an acquittal for one of them in 1942, he let his gats cool and stepped up operations in boxing. He was given the go-ahead to make millions by treating the boxing ring as if it were a prostitution ring with him as pimp. If Carbo didn’t manage a fighter through a front man, he owned a piece of him. If he didn’t own a piece of him, he probably owned his manager outright. If he owned neither, there were plenty of strings he could pull –-not to mention his well-documented persuasive skills of the “or/else” variety. In return for fealty, fighters got opportunities at Madison Square Garden and a $2500 payday which their managers usually fleeced.

His power was an open secret from the 1940s until the early 1960s. Few in or around the ring were not secretly owned or tapped now and then by boxing’s corrupt king. And he was particularly interested in middleweights.

Did he tap Lytell and Woods? Hints are found when you look for subsequent rewards. Bert got what he’d been after, a third match against Holman Williams who had ascended to the number two spot in the rankings despite the fact that he himself was no longer rated. Woods went to Los Angeles for the first time in his career; and faced Watson Jones at Olympic Stadium for the last win of his career.

Jones was managed on-the-sneak by a matchmaker shaped like a witch’s brew called Babe McCoy. McCoy would have the dubious honor of getting himself banned for life from boxing in 1956 for fixing fights, managing fighters while functioning as matchmaker at the Olympic, and associating with known criminals. Among the witnesses against him was none other than Watson Jones. McCoy, said Jones, instructed him to take a dive on three occasions and routinely short-changed him. “He’d say let the crowd see me get hit on the chin so that it would look good,” Jones testified. “I never cheated Mr. McCoy. I brought him all the money. I brought him every nickel,” he went on, “I was McCoy’s little colored boy.” At the end of his testimony he broke down and cried.

How could McCoy, who operated on the west coast, have any connection to New York’s Frankie Carbo? First of all, McCoy wasn’t the real McCoy. He wasn’t even Irish. He was a New York Jew born Harry Rudolph who admitted under oath that he knew Carbo. He also admitted that the gangster had been to his hotel suite for private meetings and then came down with a sudden case of amnesia when asked about the purpose of those meetings. As far back as 1941, he was the manager of record for a fighter controlled by Carbo. The two were in bed together and everyone knew who was on top.

That isn’t all.

Carbo, it was whispered, owned a piece of Popeye Woods. And by the time Woods met McCoy’s fighter in 1946, Carbo was already making trips to Los Angeles and pulling strings behind the considerable girth of his old pal.

It was during one of those trips that he took time away from boxing to see another old friend, or so the story goes. Turncoat Jimmy “The Weasel” Frattiano” said that Carbo was given the contract to kill fellow East-sider and Vegas mogul Bugsy Siegel, and did so with an army carbine outside the window of the house Siegel was staying at in Beverly Hills.

“The fight racket, since its rotten beginnings,” spat Jimmy Cannon, “has been the red light district of sports.”

Those roses you smell are coming from Sugar Ray Robinson. Considering what he was up against in the 1940s and 50s, his obsessive self-interest and hardnosed negotiations take on a different light. They almost look noble. “I’m not really as bad as some make me out to be,” he tells us really, his modern critics, “I don’t intend to be exploited by any individual or syndicate in this business, where shrewdness counts and sentiment is just about worthless. I am an individualist, both in terms of my style in the ring and my business methods. I shall continue to be independent of boxing combines…”

Bert Lytell couldn’t afford to be an individualist.

While Robinson honored contracts with less dangerous fighters, most of whom sported a more marketable skin tone, Bert would never again face a nationally-known white fighter after LaMotta.

He would descend into the madhouse that was Murderers’ Row, swapping blows with other condemned fighters who were just as rough as he was. Years would be spent crisscrossing the United States by bus and train, flopping in fleabag motels, taking meals at YMCAs, and enduring separate entrances and segregated dressing rooms in the South. His dignity would be trampled when hick promoters handed him smaller purses than white fighters though the pain was the same. Inexplicable losses against hometown darlings would see him whip his robe across the ring and punch walls on the way to the dressing room, but soon that bell would ring again and he’d be back at it, fighting in a frenzy; fighting as if something was spurring him on, something like joy or desperate hope.

It wouldn’t matter to him who or when or for how much he fought; it wouldn’t matter whether big lights put a sheen on his shoulders or plaster fell from the ceiling –-because for that precious half-hour, his fate was in his hands.

And that felt good.

____________________________

The madhouse that was Murderers’ Row was nothing nice. Bert Lytell is gonna bleed in PART 5 OF “THE BEAST OF STILLMAN’S GYM.”

Boston tries to sign Robinson-Lytell in Boston Evening American 1/13, 2/5, and 3/2/45. Holyoke Daily Transcript and Telegram 5/31/45, Baltimore Sun 8/2/45. McNutt fight in Holyoke Daily Transcript and Telegram 5/25/45. “Why I’m The Bad Boy Of Boxing,” by Ray Robinson in Ebony, November 1950; Williams-Lytell in The Times-Picayune 8/15, 16, 17, 18/45. LaMotta on how to beat a southpaw in “The Great Middleweights Talk About The Fight” by Peter Heller, Boxing Scene Collector’s Edition “Duran Vs. Hagler: The Fight of the Century.” Williams II in The Times-Picayune 8/31/45. Wade in The Sun 10/2, 3 /45; see also Holyoke Daily Transcript and Telegram 1/8/46, Hartford Courant 1/22/46. Woods-Lytell II in Providence Journal 2/3, 5/46; Watson Jones’ testimony in International 3/30/1956, Honolulu Record 11/15/56, and Sports Illustrated, 11/19/56. Babe McCoy’s problems in Los Angeles Times, and New York Times 3/30/1956 and Chicago Daily Tribune, 3/31/1956. Carbo’s career recounted in Life 5/26/1952, The Last Mafioso: Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno by Ovid DeMaris, pp. 54-56, Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires by Selwyn Raab, pp. 104-5.

Springs Toledo can be contacted at scalinatella@hotmail.com.

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A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

Thomas Hauser

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Book Review by Thomas Hauser — Carlos Monzon was born into extreme poverty in Argentina on August 7, 1942. He was mean, violent, surly, brutal, arrogant, occasionally charming, handsome with a smoldering sensuality, and remorseless. His life was marked by street fighting, drunken behavior, domestic violence, and more than forty arrests. In the midst of it all, he found boxing.

Monzon’s story is told by Don Stradley in A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon. It’s the latest in a series of short books from Hamilcar Publications published under the imprint Hamilcar Noir that deal with boxers whose lives were marked and often terminated by violent crime. Told in 128 pages, the story moves at a brisk pace.

Monzon had one hundred professional fights in a career that began in 1962. He reigned as middleweight champion from 1970 until his retirement in 1977 and was honored as the 1972 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America. All told, he compiled an 87-3-9 (59 KOs) record with 1 no contest. The three losses came during the first two years of his career when he was a novice.

Monzon was a big, strong, tough fighter with a good chin and a basic skill set: stand tall, throw a sharp jab, and follow with a hard right behind it. Mark Kram described him as “a perfectly shaped middleweight, tall with long arms and with style running through every sinew up to his dramatic Belmondo face.”

By contrast, British boxing commentator Reg Gutteridge described Monzon as having “little ring grace” and added “he clubs as if wearing a Roman cestus on his fist.”

Those who question Monzon’s greatness point to the fact that the best of the fighters he beat were past their prime (e.g. Nino Benvenuti) or past their prime and naturally smaller men (e.g. Emile Griffith and Jose Napoles). Monzon was also held to a draw by Benny Briscoe before besting Briscoe on a close decision in a rematch. And he only narrowly defeated Rodrigo Valdez in the last two fights of his ring career.

But as Stradley writes, “A strange thing happened to Monzon in retirement. He became a better fighter. The boxer who had often been dismissed as a classless thug was now revered as an all-time great. During the next decade when lists were made of the top middleweights or of great championship reigns, Monzon’s name would always be near the top.”

How good was Monzon?

Hall of Fame matchmaker Bruce Trampler says that he would have been competitive with any middleweight in any era. More significantly, in 2007, I had a conversation with Bernard Hopkins in which I asked Bernard to speculate as to how he would have fared in the ring against Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler, and Monzon. Hopkins’ answer is instructive:

“Sugar Ray Robinson at 147 pounds was close to perfect,” Bernard said. “But at middleweight, he was beatable. I would have fought Ray Robinson in close and not given him room to do his thing. He’d make me pay a physical price. But at middleweight, I think I’d wear him down and win. Me and Marvin Hagler would have been a war. We’d both be in the hospital afterward with straws in our mouth. We’d destroy each other. My game-plan would be, rough him up, box, rough him up, box. You wouldn’t use judges for that fight. You’d go by the doctors’ reports. Carlos Monzon? I could lose that fight. Monzon was tall, rangy, did everything right. I see myself losing that fight more than winning it.”

Stradley’s recounting of Monzon’s ring career is largely pro forma. The more compelling portions of the book lie in the portrait he paints of Monzon’s personal life.

Monzon had virtually no formal education and was close to illiterate. At age 19, he married 15-year-old Mercedes Beatriz Garcia. The newly-wed couple lived with her family in a two-room shack where they slept on a mattress on the floor.

“In many ways,” Stradley writes, “Monzon was the typical wife abuser. He was obsessed with control; he had an evil temper; he drank too much.” In 1973, Mercedes shot her husband in the arm and shoulder after a quarrel between them.

Monzon’s pattern of physically abusing women, assaulting people in public, reckless driving, and other anti-social acts was a constant in his life before, during, and after his championship reign. But as his fame grew, so did his following.

“Monzon,” Stradley notes, “didn’t look like other fighters of the day. He was photographed to look like a stylish Latin pop star, usually in a long leather coat, with plenty of gold jewelry. Argentina’s El Grafico [a popular magazine] treated Monzon like a model, featuring him in regular photo spreads.”

In 1974, while married to Mercedes, Monzon met Susana Gimenez (a popular actress and talk show host). Soon, they were involved in a torrid affair that lasted for four years. At one point, Mercedes complained to her husband about Susana and he punched her in the face, breaking the superciliary arch above her eye. Monzon was arrested and avoided a prison term by pleading temporary insanity. A divorce followed.

Susana’s film credits included adult-oriented comedies. In Stradley’s words, “Monzon had abandoned the mother of his children for a slutty clown. It didn’t help that her sartorial sense ran towards pink denim.”

Even so, Stradley recounts, “Monzon and Susana were now the most photographed twosome in Argentina. Journalist Alfredo Serra estimated they appeared on more than three hundred magazine covers, describing the pair as combining ‘the strength, beauty, fame and glamour of the world in a single couple.'”

During his championship reign, Monzon parleyed his fame as a fighter into several film roles. Then he retired; his relationship with Susana ended; and he met Alicia Muniz Calatayud.

Alicia had worked as a model and belly dancer in addition to once managing a hair salon. She and Monzon married in Miami because his divorce from Mercedes wasn’t recognized under Argentine law. They lived together from May 1979 through August 1986 and again during a brief reconciliation in 1987. On several occasions, Alicia filed complaints with the police alleging that Monzon had beaten her.

By 1988, Stradley writes, “Monzon was still famous but no longer important. Most of the time he was drunk.”

On February 14, 1988, during a weekend they were spending together, Monzon murdered his estranged wife.

“Here’s what probably happened,” Stradley posits. “When Alicia came for the weekend, she reminded him that he was late with his monthly payments [for child support]. They returned from their night out, a night where they’d been unfriendly to each other and a witness had seen Monzon hitting Alicia. At some point before 6 a.m., she said something that made the dynamite in his head go off.”

Monzon told conflicting stories after Alicia’s death, all of which centered on the claim that she’d accidentally fallen over a balcony railing during an argument between them. Then an autopsy report revealed that Alicia had been strangled to death.

“Medical examiners,” Stradley recounts, “estimated thirty-five pounds of pressure or more had been applied to Alicia’s throat. Strangling only requires eleven pounds. They estimated it had been done with a two-fingered grip, probably thumb and forefinger in a kind of one-handed death clamp. It takes only twenty seconds or so to strangle someone into unconsciousness. The damage to Alicia’s throat would take much longer. It wasn’t done by accident or in the heat of the moment. It took a few minutes of full-on rage. Alicia had been strangled long after she had passed out. It’s also rare that a strangling victim has visible marks on the neck or throat. The imprints on Alicia were clear and deep, as if someone had tried to squeeze her head off at the neck. He dumped her body over the balcony to make it look like she’d fallen.”

Monzon was charged with murder. The trial was broadcast live on radio throughout Argentina. Monzon testified that he and Alicia had argued about money and admitted that he had slapped her. “I have hit women on other occasions and nothing happened to any of them,” he told the court. “I hit all of my women except one. My mother.”

A three-judge panel found Monzon guilty of murder. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison with the possibility of time off for good behavior.

By 1993, Monzon was allowed to spend daytime hours and weekends outside of prison. On Sunday, January 8, 1995, after attending a barbeque, he was behind the wheel of a car, probably drunk and definitely speeding.

“By the rules of his furlough agreement,” Stradley writes, “he had to be back at the Las Flores prison by 8 p.m. He didn’t want to risk being late. He only had a short time left to serve on his sentence and didn’t want any infractions on his record. So he drove fast. He’d always been a terrible driver. Being in prison hadn’t made him any better at it.”

While speeding back to the prison, Monzon lost control of the vehicle which turned over multiple times, killing him instantly. Two other passengers also died in the accident. He was 52 years old.

After Monzon’s death, his body lay in state at City Hall in his hometown of Santa Fe. An estimated ten thousand people filed past it. Twenty thousand more lined the route to the Municipal Cemetery while six thousand mourners waited at the cemetery entrance.

Argentine president Carlos Menem told the nation. “Remember Carlos Monzon as a champion, not as a man jailed for murder.” But Argentinian journalist and political commentator Bernardo Neustadt took a contrary view, declaring, “We are a macho society that idolizes a man who beats or violates a woman; a macho society that taught Monzon to dress up, to speak a bit better, but didn’t teach him to think; a macho society that wasn’t horrified when Monzon said he beat all his women.”

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His next book – Staredown: Another Year Inside Boxing – will be published by the University of Arkansas Press this autumn. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. He will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the Class of 2020.

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Lipinets and Clayton Battle to a Draw at the Mohegan Sun

Arne K. Lang

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Tonight’s PBC show at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino, billed as a “Showtime Special Edition,” was to feature Sergey Lipinets against Kudratillo Abdukakhorov in the main event. That match-up would have pit fighters born in neighboring countries in Central Asia, the first major fight of its kind on American soil, but Uzbekistan’s Abdukakhorov had visa problems and a Canadian filled the breach.

Custio Clayton, whose 18-0 record was suspect because he had done all his fighting in Eastern Canada, proved to be more than just a worthy opponent. The 33-year-old ex-Olympian from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia held Lipinets (now 16-1-1) to a draw and the general feeling was that he had done just enough to edge it out. Don Trella scored the 12-round welterweight bout for him (115-113), but Trella’s counterparts Glen Feldman and Tom Schreck both had it even at 114 apiece.

Conspicuously bigger than Lipinets – to the eyes if not on the scale – Clayton did his best work in the late rounds. Lipinets, briefly the IBF world 140-pound title-holder (he lost the belt to Mikey Garcia; no shame there) is something of a one-dimensional fighter and as the rounds wore on he connected with fewer punches on the more multi-dimensional Canadian.

In theory, the winner would have been in line for a match with Errol Spence.

Martinez-Marrero

Prior to tonight, Sacramento junior lightweight Xavier Martinez had never fought beyond the eighth round and tonight it appeared that he wouldn’t see the ninth. He was on the deck twice in round eight and nearly didn’t make it to the bell. But he lasted the full 12 to win a well-earned unanimous decision over Claudio Marrero

Marrero, a 31-year-old southpaw from Santo Domingo, DR, was well behind on the scorecards when he caught Martinez with a big right hook shortly after the start of the eighth round. He pressed his advantage and knocked him down again with a flurry of punches. But Martinez recuperated and prevailed on scores of 115-111, 114-112, and 114-112 to keep his undefeated record intact, advancing to 16-0.

This was quite a departure from Martinez’s previous bout when he knocked out his opponent in 21 seconds. Marrero (24-5) lost for the fourth time in his last five outings. The match was billed as a WBA 130-pound title eliminator.

Matias-Hawkins

The TV opener was a 10-round junior lightweight contest between Malik Hawkins and Subriel Matias. Hawkins, a former National Golden Gloves champion from the same Baltimore gym that produced Gervonta Davis, came in undefeated (18-0). Puerto Rico’s Matias, who opened his career with 15 straight knockouts, was looking to rebound from his first defeat, having lost a 10-round decision to Petros Ananyan on the Wilder-Fury II undercard.

Matias’s bout with Ananyan was his first start since his match will ill-fated Maxim Dadashev. The Dadashev tragedy may have preyed on his mind, but according to his promoter Juan Orengo, he was lax in his training for Ananyan. Whatever the case, Matias rebounded from that defeat tonight, saddling Hawkins with his first pro loss.

Matias forged ahead in the sixth, knocking Hawkins to his knees and then pursuing him around the ring to apply the finisher. Hawkins survived the onslaught but had no argument when he was pulled out by the ring physician before the next frame.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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Juan Francisco Estrada KOs Carlos Cuadras; Chocolatito Wins Too

David A. Avila

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WBC super flyweight world titlist Juan Francisco Estrada led a triumvirate of world title fights with a sizzling knockout victory over Mexican rival Carlos Cuadras to retain the world title and set up a future clash with former foe Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez who won his bout in the co-feature.

In front of a small Mexico City crowd Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) proved he could defeat Cuadras (39-4-1, 27 KOs) again and did it emphatically to retain his title by knockout. There was no squabbling about scorecards in this clash like their first encounter in 2017 that ended with Estrada by decision.

It did not begin well for Estrada who endured Cuadras imposing his strength and speed behind a very strong left jab in the first three rounds. And then a sneaky right uppercut followed by a left hook sent Estrada down for the count in the third round.

But that only proved to be a spark for the fighter known as “El Gallo.”

Estrada realized he was falling behind, especially after the knockdown. Instead of counter-punching, the boxer from Sonora, Mexico began moving forward and became an aggressor. The dynamics of the fight changed suddenly.

Cuadras was hurt by a body shot in the sixth round and spent most of his time looking to avoid more contact. Estrada was in full control.

Despite the change in momentum no round was easy for either Mexican pugilist. Both exchanged freely always looking to end the fight with a big blow. Though each were hurt at times, neither showed signs of relenting.

From the eighth through the 10th round Cuadras seemed to find a second wind, or maybe it was desperation. The Mexico City native known as “Principe” fought possessed and managed to swing the momentum back toward his way for maybe two of those rounds.

In the 11th round both exchanged blows and Estrada connected with a left and right and down went Cuadras. The former world champion got up and was then floored with a counter right cross. He got up again a little shaky and Estrada attacked with a four-punch combination that forced referee Lupe Garcia to stop the fight for a technical knockout at 2:22 of the round.

Estrada retained the WBC super flyweight world title and will now meet Chocolatito.

Chocolatito

Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) proved that an opponent like Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez (25-3) can be faster, taller, longer and younger but the Nicaraguan will find a way to beat you. He did that with a convincing unanimous decision win after 12 rounds to retain the WBA super flyweight world title.

Chocolatito will now probably meet Juan Francisco Estrada for a long-expected rematch. In their first encounter back in 2012, the Nicaraguan won by decision in Los Angeles.

Chocolatito looked dominant in his ability to deflect the speedy combinations by the young Mexican fighter Gonzalez. Nothing worked against the Nicaraguan who skillfully manipulated his way through barrage after barrage and connected inside with body shots and uppercuts.

It was a masterful performance.

JC Martinez

Mexico City’s Julio Cesar Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs) was defending his WBC flyweight world title against Moises Calleros (33-10-1) a virtual bantamweight weighing more than 7 pounds over the 112-pound flyweight limit. Even the extra weight could not help him.

In the first round, Martinez exploded with a blistering three-punch combination the sent Calleros to the floor dazed and confused. He beat the count and survived the round.

The second round wasn’t too kind for Calleros who became the punching bag for the quick-fisted Martinez who opened up with a nine-punch salvo that forced the referee Cesar Castanon to end the slaughter at 2:42 of the second round.

Other Bouts

Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs) used his height and reach to score a knockout with a snapping right uppercut to the chin of Mexico’s Juan Mendez (12-3-2) in a super middleweight fight. The end came at 2:02 of the second round with Mexican referee Rafael Saldana stopping the fight at the perfect moment.

Austin “Ammo” Williams (6-0, 5 KOs) powered through Esau Herrera (19-12-1) with body shots and combination punches to win by knockout in a middleweight battle. The end came at 1:36 of the fifth round.

Otha Jones III (5-0-1, 2 KOs) and Mexico City fighter Kevin Montiel (6-0-1) fought to a split draw after six rounds in a super featherweight clash. Both fighters started quickly with Jones having good rounds in the middle portion of the six-round fight, but he tired and allowed Montiel to rally from behind. The scores were split with 58-56 for Jones, 58-56 for Montiel and 57-57.

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland / Matchroom

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In-Defense-of-Julie-Lederman
Featured Articles5 days ago

In Defense of Julie Lederman

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Emerging Heavyweights: Three to Watch

-C'mon
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“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

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RIP Ricardo Jimenez: One of Boxing’s Most Beloved

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Jermell Charlo Unifies Super Welterweights Via Solar Plexus Punch

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The Official TSS Lomachenko-Lopez Prediction Page

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Jose Zepeda Wins Knockdown Battle with Ivan Baranchyk at the MGM Bubble

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Avila Perspective. Chap. 107: El Flaco, the Charlo twins and More

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Johnny Bos: Large in Life, A Cult Figure in Death (A TSS Classic by Randy Gordon)

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Jermall Charlo UD 12 Derevyanchenko; Figueroa and Casimero Also Triumphant

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Conor McGregor vs. Pac-Man: The Circus is Back in Town

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 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

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Does Lomachenko Still Have Enough Blue-Book Value to Motor Past Lopez?

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Matchroom Fight Results: Buatsi TKOs Calic; Chantelle Cameron Wins a World Title

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Mairis Briedis and Josh Taylor Impress on a Busy Fight Day in Europe

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The Top Ten Superflyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

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Las Vegas Trainer Bones Adams Talks About Life on the Bubble Circuit

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Navarrete Powers Way to WBO Featherweight Title

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 109: Lopez vs. Loma and More

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A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

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Featured Articles21 hours ago

Lipinets and Clayton Battle to a Draw at the Mohegan Sun

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Juan Francisco Estrada KOs Carlos Cuadras; Chocolatito Wins Too

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Fury’s Next Opponent, Lomachenko Redux and More

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 110: Chocolatito, Lipinets and More

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The Top Ten Flyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

In-Defense-of-Julie-Lederman
Featured Articles5 days ago

In Defense of Julie Lederman

-C'mon
Featured Articles6 days ago

“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

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Kelsey McCarson’s HITS and MISSES: Takeover Edition

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 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

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Lewis Ritson Nips Hard-Luck Miguel Vazquez Plus Undercard Results

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Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 109: Lopez vs. Loma and More

loma
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Official TSS Lomachenko-Lopez Prediction Page

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Does Lomachenko Still Have Enough Blue-Book Value to Motor Past Lopez?

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RIP Ricardo Jimenez: One of Boxing’s Most Beloved

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The WBC’s ‘Franchise’ Sticker and More Judges Add to Boxing’s Numbers Glut

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Navarrete Powers Way to WBO Featherweight Title

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Charles Conwell Breaks Down and Stops Wendy Toussaint at the Mohegan Sun

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