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Nevada Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas: Hearns, McCarter, Porter

David A. Avila

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Thomas “Hitman” Hearns leads a heavy duty roster of greats into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame this weekend in Las Vegas.

Detroit’s Hearns will be joined in the Hall of Fame along with departed inductees including Salvador Sanchez, Ken Norton and referee Davey Pearl. Several others will also be honored in a two-day affair at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that begins Friday afternoon and ends Saturday.

The Nevada Hall of Fame will also award several current boxers for their performances in 2017 including Layla McCarter and Shawn Porter as “Fighters of the Year.” This year amateurs are also awarded and those tabbed are Yarisel Ramirez and Emiliano Fernando Vargas.

McCarter, 38, defeated Szilvia Szabados by knockout last April and is considered the best female fighter pound for pound. She has not lost a fight in 10 years.

Porter, 29, won by knockout over Andre Berto in April and is considered one of the most exciting welterweights in the world today.

Prospects of the year are Latondria Jones and Kevin Newman.

A Humanitarian Award will be given to Jill Diamond and the President’s award to Jimmy Montoya.

Those inducted into the Hall of Fame this year are:

Lucia Rijker – considered by most experts the best female boxer of all time. “The Dutch Destroyer” was never defeated inside a boxing ring and fought from 1996 to 2004. She had the entire war chest of speed, power, skill and defense. The only thing that eluded her was the big payday and mega fight. But anyone who saw her perform was thoroughly impressed with her fighting skills. One classic fight was her battle with a young Chevelle Hallback. It was an explosive example of how good female boxing could be.

Michael Carbajal – the light flyweight from Phoenix, Arizona proved to the world that even the little guys could hit with power. Very few opponents could stand toe to toe with “Little Hands of Stone” including Mexico’s Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez who in 1993 was defeated by Carbajal in their first encounter in Las Vegas. The two light flyweights became the first in their weight class to break the million dollar barrier. Carbajal retired after winning the WBO light flyweight title in 1999 by knockout over Jorge Arce. Carbajal also won the 1988 Seoul Olympics silver medal.

Leon and Michael Spinks – were the first brothers to win gold medals in boxing in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. They were also the first brothers to win heavyweight world championships. Michael Spinks is considered one of the top light heavyweights of all time before heading toward the heavyweight division. He dethroned Larry Holmes who had reigned as heavyweight champion for seven-plus years. Older brother Leon Spinks made history by defeating the great Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight world title after only seven pro fights in February 1978. He lost the title back to Ali in September 1978.

Richie Sandoval – The Pomona prizefighter ended the long reign of Philadelphia great “Joltin” Jeff Chandler in April 1984 to win the world bantamweight title. Sandoval was a boxer-puncher who learned his craft while fighting primarily in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He lost only one fight in his professional career and now lives in Las Vegas where he now works with Top Rank in the boxing industry. It’s been a long time coming for the slick bantamweight champion.

Eric Morales – The Mexican fighter is perhaps the greatest boxer to ever come out of the boxing rich town of Tijuana. Morales engaged in some of the most riveting fights in the last 20 years including his wars with Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao and Marcos Maidana. His first clash with fellow Mexican Barrera is considered one of the greatest fights of all time. It was a mesmerizing affair that took place in Las Vegas in 2000. Morales won world titles as a super bantamweight, featherweight and super lightweight.

Tommy Hearns – Detroit’s “Hitman” Hearns was a fearsome sight with his long lean body and explosive speed and power. His welterweight battle between undefeated world champions in 1981 with Ray Leonard is considered a classic. He also battled against the best of his time including Roberto Duran, Wilfredo Benitez and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He won world titles as a welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight. He possessed shocking power in that lean body frame.

Gone But Not Forgotten:

Salvador Sanchez – hailed from a small town in Mexico and fought in some classic battles against Azumah Nelson, Danny “Lil Red” Lopez and Ruben Castillo. But perhaps his most famous clash came against Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez who at the time of their confrontation in August 1981 was considered pound for pound the best fighter in the world. Gomez had knocked out 32 consecutive opponents when he moved up a division to face Sanchez. In their fight the Mexican featherweight knocked down Gomez early then knocked him out in the eighth round. It was Gomez’s first defeat. Sadly, Sanchez would only fight three more times before dying in a car crash in the mountains of Mexico in August 1982. He was only 23 years old.

Ken Norton – was known as the heavyweight whose style always gave the great Muhammad Ali problems whenever they fought. Though he never captured a heavyweight world title he was an important factor in the golden era of heavyweights. Aside from clashing with Ali three times he also fought George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and Jerry Quarry. Norton fought several times in Las Vegas including his contests against Holmes and Jimmy Young. He passed away in 2013.

Contributors to Boxing’s Glory

Debbie Munch – vice president of public relations at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and its affiliate properties for more than 30 years. Many of the most historic prize fights took place at Caesars Palace during her tenure including Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, Oscar De La Hoya vs. Julio Cesar Chavez and Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney.

Rafael Garcia – corner man for Floyd Mayweather and numerous other fighters. He was born in Mexico City and rose through the boxing ranks as a trainer for many boxers, then as a cut man for Mayweather. He’s famous for always wearing a dark hat with medals attached to it. He’s considered one of the best in the boxing business in wrapping hands and treating cuts during a fight.

Mel Greb – a boxing promoter and matchmaker during the 1970s and 1980s in Nevada. He was a part of some of the biggest boxing collaborations that took part in Nevada. Muhammad Ali reportedly fought in Las Vegas because of Greb, who inadvertently introduced him to wrestler Gorgeous George on a radio show. Ali is said to have been impressed by his braggadocio and implemented the tactics for his own career. Greb also worked at Caesars Palace to help pay the phone bills of his matchmaking career. He passed away in 1997 at age 75. He helped stage Ali vs. Jerry Quarry II, Leon Spinks vs. Scott LeDoux and Sonny Liston vs Floyd Patterson II.

Dr. Elias Ghanem – First appointed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission in 1987, he headed the commission from 1997 to 2001. Under his watch he resided over the famous ear biting incident involving Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. He passed away in August 2001 at age 62.

Davey Pearl – a veteran boxing referee and judge who worked more than 70 world title fights in his career including Ray Leonard vs Tommy Hearns and Salvador Sanchez vs. Juan La Porte. The last world title bout he refereed was a cruiserweight bout between Evander Holyfield vs. Rickey Parkey in 1987. Pearl passed away at age 88 in 2006.

Events Calendar

Fri. – A meet and greet with boxers will take place at the Palace Ballroom in Caesars Palace between 12 noon and 4 p.m.

Sat. – Amateur fights will take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Roman Ballroom in Caesars Palace.

Sat. – Celebrity red carpet begins at 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sat. – Hall of Fame induction gala from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information call (702) 368-2463.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel. 

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

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Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

Here come some more hardcore fights.

As the end of the year approaches contracts must be honored. That’s a good thing for fight fans even during a pandemic.

Golden Boy Promotions brings a loaded fight card led by Mexican swing-from-the-heels fighter Jaime Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs) moving into the middleweight division against Tureano Johnson (21-2-1, 15 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. DAZN will stream the Friday night fight card on Oct. 30.

Munguia (pictured opposite Johnson) just recently turned 24 years old; a couple of weeks ago. The former super welterweight world titlist out of Tijuana grew out of the division and now is mentored by boxing great Erik “El Terrible” Morales. No more swinging at anything that moves. Now it’s technical savagery.

Johnson, 36, hasn’t fought in over a year but in that last fight he knocked off Ireland’s undefeated Jason Quigley. That was not supposed to happen. The Bahamian native only has two losses and those were stoppages in the last round by Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Curtis Stevens. He has the technique, but does he have the chin?

Another savage battle involves welterweights.

New England’s Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) faces Orange County’s Alexis Rocha (16-0, 10 KOs) a hard-hitting southpaw in a showdown set for 12 rounds. Will it go that long?

Both have power and I doubt the fight goes beyond seven rounds. Both have ended fights in the opening rounds before. If someone blinks at the wrong time it could be over quickly.

Others on the card including super featherweight contender Lamont Roach and super middleweight prospect Bektemir Melikuziev. Also, female contenders Sulem Urbina and Marlen Esparza square off. Opening bout begins at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Crazy Saturday

A Matchroom Boxing fight card stemming from England showcases a Southern California-based world champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) meeting Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) in the heavyweight main event.

Usyk, now 33, just recently conquered the cruiserweight division and was undisputed world champion and now deigns to move up in weight where the money is much better fighting the big boys. He’s a speedy Ukrainian southpaw who uses plenty of movement and has shocking power when he sets his feet.

Chisora, 36, has fought all of the top European heavyweights including another Ukrainian heavyweight named Vitali Klitschko. Though it hasn’t always been violets and roses for Chisora, he does pack a wallop and if he catches Usyk it could be all over. But his feet are made of stone and he will have problems moving in rhythm with the fleet-footed Usyk.

A co-main event features lightweight contenders Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) pitted against George Kambosos Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs) in a Great Britain versus Australia battle.

Two female bouts with extra power are also on the card as Savannah Marshall (8-0) battles Hannah Rankin (9-4) for the vacant WBO middleweight title; and Amy Timlin (4-0) meets Carly Skelly (3-0) in a battle of undefeated super bantamweights.

The fight card will be streamed on DAZN at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

Showtime

World champions collide with three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz daring to move up yet another weight division and challenge the ultimate danger in super featherweight and lightweight world titlist Gervonta “Tank” Davis for his titles.

Danger is written all over this Showtime pay-per-view card on Saturday Oct. 31.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) has yet to be truly challenged by anyone. Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) has always been a risk taker and could be going way over his limit against Tank.

“I’m facing the best fighter in the division. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I have to go against the best fighter,” said Santa Cruz. “I wanted to challenge myself. I know this is a dangerous fight for me, but I want to test myself.”

If Santa Cruz is still standing after 12 rounds then a big salute to him. Davis won’t allow that to happen. He’s not a guy who looks to win by decision. Tank looks to knock opponents unconscious so he can take pictures of them asleep.

“I don’t think I have to knock him out, I just have to go out there and be great. Forget everything else, I just have to go out there and show everyone that I’m the top guy in the boxing world. That’s my main goal,” said Davis.

Right.

It’s not the only good fight on the card.

Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA super lightweight title against Ryan Karl (18-2) in the co-main event.

Also, on the same card Regis Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) meets Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10KOs) in a super lightweight matchup. Whoever wins will probably meet Barrios for his title soon after. That’s if Barrios beats Karl.

It’s a boxing card that could see the end of the line for one or two of the fighters.

Monster and Mayer

Japan’s Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles against Australia’s Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas on Saturday October 31. It will be his Las Vegas debut and will be televised on ESPN+.

Inoue will be a big favorite and how can you blame odds makers when Moloney’s only loss was to Emmanuel Rodriguez who was blown out by the Monster?

But you never know.

“There are a lot of expectations, and I want to meet those expectations. I take those big expectations, and I use them as motivation and power to keep getting better with every fight,” said Inoue.

Inoue’s last fight nearly a year ago was an epic clash against Nonito Donaire in a classic battle that saw both deliver bombs and take them in a 12-round fight that ended in a close but unanimous victory for the Japanese star.

Boy was it close.

Until the 11th round it was nip and tuck as Donaire proved why he is destined to be a surefire Hall of Fame inductee when he retires.

Both punished each other and during their confrontation it was evident that Inoue does indeed have a solid chin. One big question will be if Inoue took too much punishment and can he handle a rough customer like Moloney.

“Every fighter should want to fight the best. That’s why we’re in this sport. My dream and my goal is to be the best bantamweight in the world, and the only way to make that happen is to beat Inoue,” said Moloney.

It should be an interesting match.

Also, female American Olympian Mikaela Mayer (13-0) challenges Poland’s Ewa Brodnicka (19-0) for the WBO super featherweight world title. Expect no quarter given by Mayer who has been gunning for a title challenge for the past two years with most of the titleholders in Europe ignoring her.

Brodnicka expects a tough fight.

“I have a lot of things against me. But I’m ready. I don’t care if she says that she doesn’t respect me. She makes a lot of mistakes, and I’m going to take advantage of all of them,” Brodnicka said.

Mayer is not in a good mood.

“I have been calling out the champs for a while. It’s been something I feel like I’ve been ready for a few fights, but now in hindsight looking back, I think everything worked out perfectly. Like Bob Arum said, I’ve had some really great fights, and I’ve really been able to settle in to my pro style. I’m more ready than ever to take on these world champions. I feel like I’m the best in this division,” said Mayer.

Sunday

A Sunday afternoon boxing card by Thompson Boxing Promotions takes place at the Omega Products International in Corona, CA but will not include fans.

Undefeated lightweights Mike Sanchez (6-0-1, 2 KOs) faces Israel Mercado (8-0, 7 KOs) in the main event on Sunday Nov. 1. It will stream on Thompson Boxing Promotions web page and also on its Facebook page beginning at 4 p.m. PT.

Go to this link to watch the fight card: www.thompsonboxing.com

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

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It’s been largely lost in the ragout, at least on this side of the pond, but Saturday’s busy fight docket includes the return of Oleksandr Usyk, the former Olympic gold medalist who left the cruiserweight ranks as a legitimate four-belt champion. The 33-year-old Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), opposes tough but erratic Dereck Chisora, a 36-year old Londoner by way of Zimbabwe. Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), has won five of his last six, the setback occurring in his second encounter with arch-rival Dillian Whyte.

Usyk vs. Chisora, a Matchroom promotion, will play out at Wembley Arena with no fans in attendance. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked among the top three heavyweight contenders by all four major sanctioning bodies although he has fought only once as a heavyweight, turning away under-trained late sub Chazz Witherspoon who was all in after seven frames. Usyk weighed 215 for that contest and is expected to come in about 230 for Chisora.

Usyk, who has anglicized his first name to Alexander on his English-language twitter feed, is a big favorite, but this is a tricky fight for him. The consensus 2018 Fighter of the Year, Usyk has fought only twice since unifying the cruiserweight title with a lopsided decision over Murat Gassiev in July of that year and 55 weeks have elapsed since his last start. If he needs the early rounds to shake off ring rust, he could find himself clawing out of a hole, and sometimes the hole is too deep as Usyk’s stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko can attest. Moreover, Usyk has yet to face a naturally bigger man who can bang as hard as “Del Boy.”

The Usyk-Chisora card will air in North America on DAZN with the main event ring walks anticipated about 6 pm ET.

The tiff is hitched to an interesting undercard. Once-beaten Welshman Lee Selby, briefly the IBF featherweight champion, tangles with Australia’s undefeated (18-0) George Kambosos Jr. Savannah Marshall, who saddled Claressa Shields with her only amateur loss, meets former Shields opponent Hannah Rankin with a vacant world middleweight title at stake, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy opposes Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune for a domestic cruiserweight title, and then there’s the heavyweight fight attracting buzz between popular Yorkshireman David Allen and Christopher Lovejoy.

The buzz surrounds the mysterious 36-year-old Lovejoy who is 19-0 as a pro with all but two of those KOs coming in the opening round.

All of Lovejoy’s fights were staged in Tijuana. Only one of his opponents brought a winning record. For a certain stripe of fighter, Tijuana is the equivalent of a feed lot, a place where livestock go to get fattened up before they are sent off to the slaughterhouse. David Allen is limited, but the most likely scenario in this fight is that it ends with Lovejoy sitting on his stool.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Arne K. Lang

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Diego Armando Magdaleno, the son of a former semi-pro soccer player, was named for Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona. But Diego’s father Jesus is hardly disappointed that his son devoted his energies to a different sport than soccer as Diego, the oldest of Jesus’s three boys, has carved out a nice career as a boxer. On Saturday, he faces Isaac Cruz at the San Antonio Alamodome and a win could thrust him into a third crack at a world lightweight title. Magdaleno vs. Cruz will be televised as part of a SHOWTIME PPV event anchored by a battle between title-holders Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Leo Santa Cruz.

The bookies don’t know what to do with the Magdaleno-Cruz matchup. One can find odds on fights of lesser importance, but with the fight only four days away the pricemakers were in quandary. Team Magdaleno, however, is approaching the fight as if they are the “B” side. Mexico City’s Isaac Cruz, who boasts a 19-1-1 record and is undefeated in his last 15 starts, has a fan-friendly style and is only 22 years old. In theory, he has more value to the promoter going forward than Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) who turns 34 this week.

Magdaleno relishes the underdog role. He was the “B” side in his most recent fight when he opposed Austin Dulay in Dulay’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and he carved out a clear-cut 10-round decision. Dulay, the younger man by nine years and less experienced at the pro level, was in over his head. Their fight was nationally televised on FOX.

Diego Magdaleno was born in Beverly Hills, California, but unlike many folks born there wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. “We were more like the Beverly Hillbillies,” says Diego, a reference to the popular sitcom that ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

For many years, Diego’s father, an immigrant from Sahuayo in the Mexican state of Michoacan, worked at the flagship West LA branch of an iconic Greater Los Angeles hamburger chain. Diego’s parents now manage a 7-11 in Las Vegas.

When Magdaleno first laced on the gloves it was at the Brooklyn Avenue boxing gym in the gritty Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, the same gym where Oscar De La Hoya trained for the Olympic Trials. He continued with the sport after his family – he has three older sisters – moved to Las Vegas.

Diego influenced both of his younger brothers to become boxers. Jessie Magdaleno surpassed him in name recognition when he upset Nonito Nonaire in November of 2016, earning him the WBO world super bantamweight title. Jessie lost the belt in his second defense, succumbing to Isaac Dogboe, but has won three straight since that mishap, advancing his record to 28-1. The youngest Magdaleno brother, Marco, was 4-0 as a pro when he abandoned the sport, having secured a job with good pay and benefits in the construction field.

Diego has applied some of his ring earnings toward a real estate investment in Scipio, Utah, where he owns a parcel of land adjacent to a pioneer home. Scipio is a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and figuratively a million miles away. What does one do for fun in Scipio, pop. 288? The first thing that popped up in our internet search was to go grab a sandwich at the Burger Barn.

There’s a back story there. The pioneer home, built in 1886, was recently purchased by Diego’s fiancée Shannon Torres, a descendent of one of Scipio’s founding families. She and Diego are restoring it. Diego professes to be amazed at the craftsmanship. “When we pulled up the carpets,” he said, “the original hardwood floors were still in great condition.”

Shannon Torres has a boxing background, having fought as an amateur and having sparred with the likes of Mia St. John. She is also a nutritionist. Diego confesses to having a sweet tooth, being fond of cheesecake and anything with peanut butter. “She knows how to make those things for me so they are not as unhealthy,” he says.

Magdaleno’s first loss came in April of 2013 when he lost a split decision to Ramon Martinez in Macau. Diego thought he won the fight, but only one of the judges concurred. At stake was Martinez’s WBO 130-pound world title. His second world title opportunity came against WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan on Flanagan’s turf in Manchester, England. That didn’t go well.

“When I got in the ring, it felt like there was sand under my shoes,” said Diego. “My right foot was sliding underneath me. I overcompensated and that caused me trouble.” Magdaleno loaded up on his punches, a fatal mistake, and was knocked out in the second round.

Top Rank dropped Magdaleno after that fight but would eventually bring him back to fight their rising star Teofimo Lopez. His fight with Austin Dulay was his first fight back after his loss to Lopez (TKO by 7) and his first with new trainer Bones Adams (pictured on the left) in his corner.

Mag

Isaac Cruz poses a different threat than Dulay partly because Cruz, who stands only 5’4 ½”, is a lot shorter. But Magdaleno is confident the result will be the same.

“His style is attack, attack, attack; it’s one-dimensional,” says Diego. “I have been in there and done things that this kid has never seen. I am a big step up for him.”

Unlike many prizefighters, Diego Magdaleno knows where he is heading after his career is finished; he is already a licensed real estate salesman with one listing to his credit. He’s bi-lingual despite having spent only three months living in Mexico, that as a first-grader, and his linguistic versatility will come in handy in his second career. “I know just enough Spanish to get by,” he says, but having heard him speak in his parents’ native tongue we can attest that he’s being much too modest.

For the time being, however, Diego isn’t looking past Saturday night. Magdaleno vs. Cruz is expected to go first on the four-fight PPV portion of the card which kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Magdaleno/Dulay photo credit: Stephanie Trapp

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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