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Beat The Press: Awkward Moments with Problematic Boxers

Jeffrey Freeman

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“Get him a straitjacket!”

That’s how all this craziness started.

In 2002, boxing writer Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski stood at the back of a Mike Tyson press conference in New York City and shouted his exasperation at the former baddest man on the planet. Tyson, having just bitten Lennox Lewis on the leg during a media face-off gone horribly wrong, was livid. Hearing what Malinowski said, Tyson turned his attention to the fedora-clad reporter and let loose with one of the most vulgar diatribes ever heard in professional sports.

“Put your mother in a straitjacket,” the crazy-eyed Tyson screamed back at the “white boy” newshound best known (until this moment) for his informative Biofile write-ups about boxers. It only got so much worse from there with a totally unhinged Iron Mike threatening to sodomize Malinowski in public.

Seventeen years later, it’s becoming more and more common for angry boxers to take their frustrations out on credentialed media members charged with asking them questions and covering the sport on their behalf. It’s happened to me on conference calls and at live events, most memorably with Andre Berto in the lead-up to his 2011 bout with Jan Zaveck. Triggered by my suggestion that he was now at risk of becoming a forgotten fighter, Berto got pugnacious.

“Is that what it is?” Berto responded to me on the media teleconference. “You lose one fight and now you’re forgotten about? Saying that kind of thing just blows my mind about you reporters.”

Berto continued to let me have it.

“You’ve seen a guy like Shane Mosley resurrect his career three or four times, a guy like Bernard Hopkins and all these other guys, and they have four, five, six losses. I went through a tough defeat. I had a bad night. I don’t care about what people think or what you’re gonna write. I’m doing this for me, my family, and the real Berto fans out there and that’s it.”

I definitely got under his skin.

Last week in Las Vegas, Adrien Broner got into beefs with Showtime’s Al Bernstein and with ESPN’s Dan Rafael. Before his January 19th PPV non-effort against Manny Pacquiao, Broner refused to answer softball questions tossed by Bernstein during the final press conference.

It was an ugly scene, AB vs. AB.

Bernstein, miffed but maintaining his professionalism, backed down when Broner disrespectfully told him he had nothing to say to him, calling him a “bitch ass nigga” and saying that he’d rather be questioned by Roy Jones Jr. or Stephen A. Smith.

No less indignant after losing a unanimous decision to Pacquiao, Broner was asked by Rafael if he really believed what he was saying about being robbed. Broner went for the low-hanging fruit.

He fat shamed Big Dan Rafael. “Hell ya I believe I won that fight,” he told the plus-sized writer. “It’s like when you believe you want cheese on that burger.” Broner, giggling like a goof, amused by his own mean-spirited sense of humor, threatened to go even lower before the mic was passed to South Central News.

Why are these confrontations with the fight media happening? Is it just a case of “fake news” getting what’s rightfully coming back at them by those they insult and otherwise misrepresent? Clearly, the days of Muhammad Ali verbally sparring with Howard Cosell and harmlessly playing with the man’s toupée are long gone. Is social media to blame or is it all just a sign of the times?

I don’t have all the answers.

What I do have are questions. That’s how this job is supposed to work for any working journalist. We ask you. You answer us. We then report to our readers and/or followers, the boxing fans.

Unfortunately, this dynamic is dying if it’s not already dead. Perhaps fighters no longer feel they need the boxing media to get their message out, particularly when they (like any President or entertainer) can use Twitter to say whatever the heck they want, whenever the hell they like.

Before going any further let me just say that the vast majority of boxers are exceedingly polite in their interactions with the media but boxing is a sport where passions run deep and tempers often flare. Sometimes we wordsmiths get burned. Here then are five infamous instances of boxers behaving truculently in the presence of writers, reporters, and television/radio announcers.

James Toney vs. Jim Gray: After becoming one of only two men to stop Evander Holyfield, ‘Lights Out’ Toney gave Showtime’s Jim Gray a little taste of the streets. Gray, interviewing Toney in the ring after the 2003 upset in Las Vegas, asked the tough talking former middleweight champion of the world if he was just “too quick and too fast” for the aging Holyfield. It seemed like a legitimate question but Toney responded as if Gray had personally disrespected him. “Don’t come up in here trying to give me no bad ass questions, trying to degrade me.”

Undeterred, Gray pressed on but to no avail. “I ain’t gotta answer nobody’s questions,” said Toney before knocking the mic out of Gray’s hand and onto the canvas; then turning his back on the announcer and starting to walk away. As Gray went to recover his fallen tool of the trade, Toney spun back around to accost Gray for “walking up” on him. “I don’t like you,” griped Toney.

Deontay Wilder vs. Radio Raheem: In L.A. last year to cover Wilder-Fury for the website Seconds Out, boxing personality Radio Raheem quickly fell afoul of the ‘Bronze Bomber’ at the final fight week press conference following Wilder’s face-off with Tyson Fury. Raheem made the mistake of bringing up the history of slavery. He reminded Wilder of comments he had made but had not elaborated on. “You said your people have been fighting for four hundred years…”

This upset Wilder more than Fury ever could.

“They your people too,” Wilder sneered at his brother from another mother. Raheem asked for clarification but Wilder was fuming, accusing the reporter of trying to “bait” him. Raheem asked again for an explanation. “I don’t have to explain what’s understood,” dismissed Wilder, now mocking ‘Radio Raheem’ for his on-air name. “Go Google that shit,” he angrily instructed. Wilder ripped off his own glasses and then asked Raheem how he could dare ask such a thing, getting in his face with a loud rant about their people still fighting “to this day, to this day, to this day!”

Tyson Fury vs. Elie Seckbach: The comebacking ‘Gypsy King’ won respect and admiration from the mainstream media for his brutal honesty about addiction and depression, but he got off on the wrong foot with American boxing media veteran and YouTube sensation Elie Seckbach.

During an in-ring media event held to promote his then upcoming WBC heavyweight title fight with Deontay Wilder, Fury was introduced to Seckbach and encouraged to be interviewed by him. Fury was having none of it. He waved his finger at Seckbach and told him to leave the ring immediately. The publicist in charge of media relations was surprised at Fury’s attitude towards the videographer. “I don’t want him,” Fury bluntly blurted. The publicist tried to tell Fury how good Seckbach had been for the fight’s promotion but Fury’s mind was already made up about him.

“Elie is a wanker, that’s who he is.”

“He’s a hater,” said Fury.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Larry Merchant: After winning an ugly dog fight on HBO PPV against Victor Ortiz by using a well-deserved cheap shot to win the WBC welterweight title by knockout, Mayweather took a few more cheap shots at Merchant during the post-fight interview. The result was a spectacularly uncomfortable exchange between a fighter and an announcer.

With Merchant congratulating the winner and commenting on how he was “in charge” of the fight, Mayweather suddenly snapped. “You never give me a fair shake,” he said. “HBO needs to fire you, you don’t know shit about boxing.” The deer in the headlights look on Merchant’s face told the whole story. “You ain’t shit,” Mayweather repeatedly told the 80-year-old broadcasting legend. Protecting himself at all times, Merchant shot back with a line that’s sure to go down in history as one of the great comebacks. “I wish I was 50 years younger, I’d kick your ass!”

Mayweather wasn’t done feuding with the media. In 2015, he revoked the May-Pac press credentials for three journos whose applications for press passes had already been approved. They were CNN’s Rachel Nichols, ESPN’s Michelle Beadle and TSS’s own Thomas Hauser.

Victor Ortiz vs. Joel Sebastianelli: More amusing than obnoxious, this case of vicious fighter versus writer happened in 2011, just five months before the aforementioned Mayweather-Ortiz bout. The scene was the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut. Ortiz had just won the WBC welterweight title; defeating Andre Berto in the ‘Fight of the Year’ on HBO. The post-fight press conference was buzzing with media eager to question the new champ. Then it happened.

A baby-faced writer for Ring News 24 stood up and put a well-crafted question to Ortiz. It had to do with Ortiz overcoming adversity in this fight after he’d failed to overcome it against Marcos Maidana two years prior. Stupefied by such an inquiry, Ortiz ducked the question and threatened to come down off the stage to “spank” the teenaged cub reporter with his newly won green belt.

Everyone laughed. Next question please.

I later hired that kid to do KO Digest interviews including fully fleshed out Q&A’s with Wladimir Klitschko, Ray Mancini, Keith Thurman, Paulie Malignaggi, Marlon Starling, Shannon Briggs, Steve Cunningham, Jeff Fenech, Virgil Hill, Mike Alvarado, and Mike Weaver among others.

Way to go Scoop, way to go!

Boxing writer Jeffrey Freeman grew up in the City of Champions, Brockton, Massachusetts from 1973 to 1987, during the marvelous career of Marvin Hagler. He then lived in Lowell, Mass during the best years of Micky Ward’s illustrious career. A new member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Freeman covers boxing for The Sweet Science in New England.

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Late-Bloomer Jersey Joe Walcott Goes the Distance Again With Statue in Camden

Bernard Fernandez

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It may not always be apparent to those with untrained eyes, but there is genuine art in boxing for those who understand the beauty and majesty of a perfectly timed left hook. Just such a masterful moment of the sweet science was authored by Jersey Joe Walcott on July 18, 1951, in the seventh round of his fifth and likely final shot at the heavyweight championship he had been clawing and scratching his way toward since he turned pro at 16 in 1930.

Again a longshot against the great Ezzard Charles, against whom he already was 0-2 in title bouts, a frozen moment in time that fateful night at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field transformed Walcott from a symbol of his sport’s relentless but mostly unrewarded grinders to instant-legend status. At 37, he not only had become the oldest man to that point ever to win boxing’s most prestigious prize (a distinction he would hold for 43 years, until 45-year-old George Foreman dethroned WBA/IBF champ Michael Moorer on another incredible, bolt-from-the-blue knockout, on Nov. 5, 1994, in Las Vegas), but the patron saint of fighters with iron wills and vision quests they would see through to completion or die trying.

In a story that appeared on this site on July 16, 2018, I ranked Walcott’s blasting of Charles No. 1 on my personal list of all-time one-punch knockouts, which I described thusly:

Entering the seventh round, Walcott led the scoring, in rounds, by 5-1, 4-1-1 and 3-3. Moving forward while rocking side to side, the 9-1 underdog dipped to his left and exploded upward with a thunderous left hook that caught Charles flush on the jaw. The semi-conscious champion pitched forward onto his face.

It is difficult to encapsulate the full scope of such a historically significant and aesthetically flawless a punch into any inanimate object, like a statue, but sculptor Carl LeVotch perhaps came as close as is humanly possible with his eight-foot bronze of Walcott, which was unveiled this past Saturday during a celebratory day of festivities in Camden, N.J., the hometown of the beloved fighter whose real name was Arnold Cream. The unveiling took place along the Camden waterfront, at the Wiggins Park Promenade, following a 3½-mile parade that featured marching bands and other attractions.

For medical reasons I was unable to attend an event I had very much been looking forward to, but the spirit of the occasion – and the 20-year march from concept to completion for those who wanted the Walcott/Cream statue to be more than just another item on someone’s wish list – closely mirrored the ring career of an inspirational figure who fueled the imaginations of so many attendees. Chief among those is Vincent Cream, 61, the grandson of Jersey Joe who spearheaded the drawn-out efforts to raise the $185,000 required to fund the project, which is still not entirely paid for.

“It was an overwhelming moment,” Vincent Cream told Boxing Writers Association of America president Joseph Santoliquito, who covered the event for another media outlet. “Everyone who never met my grandfather met him today.

“No one ever dies. He’s here with us. When I look at his statue, and you see who’s gathered here – white, black, old, young, everyone coming together – his timelessness has come. To persevere for 23 years, it represents who my grandfather was as a man and his fortitude as a person. When you have a dream, it’s important to set goals between the dream and the achievement. Every time I brought up the idea of a statue, people would tell me, `Good luck with that.’ That was 10 years ago. We achieved it, a little at a time – like my grandfather.”

LeVotch, with whom I have long been acquainted, has nearly as long a track record in his boxing-related field as did Walcott, who took his ring nom de guerre in tribute to Joe “The Barbados Demon” Walcott, a welterweight champion whose career ended in 1911. The original fighting Walcott was a hero to young Arnold Cream’s father, Joseph Cream, who came to New Jersey from the British Virgin Islands. I first met LeVotch for a story I did on him that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News editions of July 2, 2003, when he took me through the process of his creation of a 17-inch cold-cast bronze statuette he called The Spirit of Boxing, reproductions of which are owned by any number of boxing notables. His goal, he told me, was to create something more meaningful than the statue of the fictional heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa that was used as a movie prop for 1982’s Rocky III.

“It doesn’t move me,” LeVotch said. “A true piece of art is capable of moving the man on the street. It is an instrument to inspire. It’s been that way since antiquity. I have a great affinity for Rodin (that would be Auguste Rodin, the French sculptor, not Rodan, the Japanese movie monster). His The Thinker is a sacrament, if you will, of an inner grace.

“I’m one of those guys who believe boxing is a metaphor for life. I also think of it as an art form. Those who do it well are, in their own way, artists.”

In addition to his sculpted improvements of several awards the BWAA presents as its annual dinner, LeVotch’s other life-sized commemoration of a boxing life, that of former middleweight champion Joey Giardello (real name: Carmine Tilelli), was unveiled on May 21, 2011, in Giardelli’s old South Philadelphia neighborhood. Like Walcott, Giardelli – father of four sons, one of whom was born with Down Syndrome – was more than just a fighter, something LeVotch sought to convey through his art.

“I saw Joey not only as a terrific fighter, but as a father who cared deeply for his disabled son,” Carl told me a decade ago. “How do you convey all these different sides of a man in coagulated metal? My challenge was to capture the essence of the man as well as a physical likeness.”

Brought to tears by LeVotch’s artistic interpretation of who her husband was and what he represented in meaningful ways that extended beyond the ring, Rosalie Tilelli said, “I’m overwhelmed. I call Carl LeVotch my Michelangelo.”

Jersey Joe Walcott was demonstrably statue-worthy even if he hadn’t moved on from boxing to a full and rich later phase of his life in which he served as the first African-American elected sheriff of Camden County, serving from 1971 to ’74, and chairman of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board until 1984. His wife, Riletta Cream, also was committed to public service as a city educator and county freeholder from 1994 to 2011.

But it is Walcott the boxer who set records inside the ropes that almost certainly will never be matched, much less surpassed. Fighting in an era when there was just one heavyweight champion, not a bunch of alphabet title-holders, he fought eight times for boxing’s grandest prize, going 2-6 with two losses apiece to Joe Louis and Charles before he broke through against Charles with that museum-quality left hook in Pittsburgh. Five of those title bouts, incredibly, were in succession. There are more than a few historians who believe Jersey Joe should have won on points in his first go at Louis, in which he floored the “Brown Bomber” in the first and fourth rounds. No wonder Walcott’s most ardent fans, even those in his own family, were hesitant to risk seeing him come up short again when he again squared off against Charles in the home stadium of baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I was 12 when my dad won the heavyweight title and there he is, so real,” Ruth Cream, now 82, told Santoliquito at the unveiling. “I remember that night like it happened clearly. I was the only one downstairs at our house with reporters in our living room watching the fight on TV. Everyone else was upstairs in bed because they didn’t want to watch it.

insert

“After my father won, I remember running up the stairs to tell my family, `Daddy won!’”

After a successful defense on points against familiar foe Charles, Walcott, well ahead on points through 12 of the scheduled 15 rounds, was dethroned by Rocky Marciano on a 13th-round knockout on Sept. 23, 1952, in Philadelphia. He fought just once more, this time being stopped in one round by Marciano, before hanging up his gloves with a 51-18-2 (32) record. He was part of the 1990 charter class of inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Camden officials are hoping their hometown hero’s statue becomes something of a tourist attraction, as is the case with the Rocky statue at the base of the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and the 12-foot Joe Frazier statue, created by sculptor Stephen Layne and located outside the Xfinity Live! bar/restaurant in the South Philly sports complex. As splendid as it is, the Giardello statue draws fewer eyes given its location in a less-bustling and attraction-loaded neighborhood.

But in a metropolitan area where bronze tributes to sports stars of the four local professional franchises (Eagles, Phillies, 76ers and Flyers) are fairly commonplace, the statues of Frazier, Giardello, Walcott and, yes, Stallone are at least a signal that boxing, for so long Philadelphia’s fifth pro sport and a veritable cradle of champions, is recognizing a part of its past that is worthy of being preserved and treasured.

Editor’s Note: Bernard Fernandez, named to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Observer category with the class of 2020, was the recipient of numerous awards for writing excellence during his 28-year career as a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Daily News. Fernandez’s first book, “Championship Rounds,” a compendium of previously published material, was released in May of last year. The sequel, “Championship Rounds, Vol. 2,” with a foreword by Jim Lampley, arrives this fall. The book can be ordered through Amazon.com, in hard or soft cover, and other book-selling websites and outlets.

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Weekend Boxing Recap: The Mikey Garcia Stunner and More

Arne K. Lang

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Weekend Boxing Recap: The Mikey Garcia Stunner and More

Boxing was all over the map on the third Saturday of October with many of the shows pulled together on short notice as promoters took advantage of relaxed COVID constraints to return to business as usual. When the smoke cleared, a monster upset in Fresno overshadowed the other events.

Mikey Garcia, a shoo-in to make the Hall of Fame, was on the wrong side of it. Spain’s Sandor Martin, in his USA debut, won a well-deserved decision over Garcia at a Triple-A baseball park in Fresno.

Garcia, a former four-division belt-holder, was 40-1 coming in with his only loss coming at the hands of Errol Spence. Martin, a 28-year-old southpaw, brought a nice record with him from Europe (38-2) but with only 13 wins coming by way of stoppage it was plain that he wasn’t a heavy hitter. His only chance was to out-box Garcia and that seemed far-fetched.

But Martin did exactly that, counter-punching effectively to win a 10-round majority decision. Two judges had it 97-93 with the third turning in a 95-95 tally.

Neither Garcia nor Martin were natural welterweights. The bout was fought at a catch-weight of 145 pounds. After the bout, the Spaniard indicated a preference for dropping back to 140 where enticing opportunities await.

There was another upset, albeit a much milder one, in the co-feature where Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez improved to 25-3-1 (14) while shearing the WBO world flyweight title from the shoulders of Mexicali’s Elwin Soto (19-2).

Soto was making his fourth defense of the title and rode into the match with a 17-fight winning streak. Gonzalez, a southpaw, had formerly fought for the WBO world flyweight title, getting stopped in seven rounds by Kosei Tanaka in Nagoya, Japan.

One of the judges favored Soto 116-112, but he was properly out-voted by his colleagues who had it 116-112 the other way.

Riga, Latvia

The first major fight on Saturday took place in Riga, Latvia, where hometown hero Mairis Briedis successfully defended his IBF cruiserweight title with a third-round stoppage of Germany’s Artur Mann who was on the deck three times before the match was halted at the 1:54 mark.

Briedis (28-1, 20 KOs) was making his first start since dismantling KO artist Yuniel Dorticos in the finals of season two of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament. He scored the first of his three knockdowns in the waning seconds of round two when he deposited Mann (17-2) on the canvas with a straight right hand.

Although boosters of fast-rising WBO champ Lawrence Okolie would disagree, the Latvian is widely regarded as the best cruiserweight in the world. His only setback came when he lost a narrow decision to current WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk in this ring in January of 2018. Now 36 years old, Briedis has yet to appear in a main event outside Europe. That’s undoubtedly about to change and a rematch with Usyk is well within the realm of possibility.

Newcastle, England

Chris Eubank Jr, whose fight two weeks ago in London with late sub Anati Muratov was cancelled at the 11th hour when Muratov failed his medical exam, was added to this Matchroom card and his bout with Wanik Awdijan became the de facto main event. A 26-year-old German, born in Armenia, Awdijan was 28-1 and had won 21 straight (against very limited opposition), but he was no match for Eubank Jr who broke him down with body shots, likely breaking his ribs and forcing him to quit on his stool after five frames.

Eubank Jr, 32, improved to 31-2 (23) His only defeats came at the hands of former world title-holder George Groves and BJ Saunders. He dedicated this fight to his late brother Sebastian Eubank who died in July while swimming in the Persian Gulf.

In other bouts, Hughie Fury, the cousin of Tyson Fury, stayed relevant in the heavyweight division with a stoppage of well-traveled German Christian Hammer and Savannah Marshall successfully defended her WBO world middleweight title with a second-round TKO of Lolita Muzeya.

Akin to Eubank-Awdijan, the Fury-Hammer fight also ended with the loser bowing out after five frames. A biceps injury allegedly caused Hammer to say “no mas,” but Fury, in what was arguably his career-best performance, was well ahead on the cards.

The Marshall-Muzeya fight was a battle of unbeatens, but Muzeya’s 16-0 record was suspicious as the Zambian had never fought outside the continent of Africa. She came out blazing, but Marshall, who improved to 11-0 (9) had her number and retained her title.

Brooklyn

In the featured bout of a TrillerVerz show at Barclays Center, Long Island’s Cletus Seldin, the Hebrew Hammer, knocked out William Silva in the seventh round. It was the fifth-straight win for the 35-year-old Seldin, a junior welterweight who was making his first start in 20 months.

Silva, a 34-year-old Brazilian who fights out of Florida, brought a 28-3 record. His previous losses had come at the hands of Felix Verdejo, Teofimo Lopez, and Arnold Barboza Jr. Seldin improved to 26-1 (22 KOs).

In other bouts, junior welterweight Petros Ananyan, a Brooklyn-based Armenian, improved to 16-2-2 (7) with a 10-round majority decision over local fighter Daniel Gonzalez (20-3-1) and Will Madera of Albany, NY, scored a mild upset when he stopped Jamshidbek Najmitdinov who was pulled out after five rounds with an apparent shoulder injury.

Najmitdinov, from Uzbekistan, was making his U.S. debut but he brought a 17-1 record blemished only by former world title-holder Viktor Postol. Madera improved to 17-1-3.

Photo credit: Ed Mulholand / Matchroom

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Emanuel Navarrete Retains WBO Featherweight Title in a San Diego Firefight

David A. Avila

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SAN DIEGO-WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete won by unanimous decision over Joet Gonzalez in a slugfest that had fans cheering nonstop on Friday night. Fans were mesmerized by the savagery.

More than 2,000 fans saw Mexico City’s Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) and Southern California’s Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) bounce brutal shots off each other for 12 successive rounds at Pechanga Sports Arena.

Both Navarrete and Gonzalez were about equal in height with the champion maybe a slight taller, but not by much. As soon as the first bell rang the two featherweights opened up in furious fashion.

Gonzalez was making his second attempt to grab a world title. His first attempt fell short a year ago. He was eager to atone for the defeat by clobbering Navarrete. Body shots were the weapon of choice.

The Mexican fighter Navarrete was accustomed to battling shorter fighters, this time the two were equal in size and in fury. Blows were flying in bunches and by the third round Gonzalez suffered a cut on his right cheek.

At several points Navarrete would connect with a solid blow and eagerly seek to finish the fight. Each time it happened Gonzalez would fight back even more furiously and beat back the champions attacks.

Gonzalez also connected with big shots and moved in for the kill only find Navarrete take a stand and fire back. Neither was able to truly gain a significant edge. After 12 rounds of nonstop action the decision was given to the judges. One scored it 118-110, two others saw it 116-112 all for Navarrete.

Fans were pleased by the decision and even more pleased by the breath-taking action they had witnessed.

Welterweights

Local fighter Giovani Santillan (28-0, 15 KOs) remained undefeated by unanimous decision after 10 rounds versus Tijuana’s Angel Ruiz (17-2, 12 KOs). The two southpaws were evenly matched.

San Diego’s Santillan was able to outwork Ruiz in almost every round. Though Ruiz has heavy hands he was not able to hurt Santillan even with uppercuts. It was clear very early in the fight that Santillan was the more technical and busier of the two. No knockdowns were scored.

After 10 rounds two judges scored it 100-90 for Santillan and a third saw it 99-91.

Other Results

Lindolfo Delgado (14-0, 12 KOs) battered and knocked down fellow Mexican Juan Garcia Mendez (21-5-2) in the last round of an 8-round super lightweight bout, but could not score the knockout win.

Delgado, a Mexican Olympian, was the quicker and stronger fighter yet discovered Garcia Mendez has a solid chin. All three judges scored it 80-71 for Delgado.

Puerto Rico’s Henry Lebron (14-0, 9 KOs) defeated Manuel Rey Rojas (21-6) by decision after eight rounds in a lightweight match.

Javier Martinez (5-0, 2 KOs) soundly defeated Darryl Jones (4-3-1) by decision after six rounds in a middleweight clash. Jones was tough.

Las Vegas bantamweight Floyd Diaz (3-0) knocked down Tucson’s Jose Ramirez (1-1) in the first round but was unable to end the fight early. Diaz won by decision.

Heavyweight Antonio Mireles (1-0) knocked out Demonte Randle (2-2) at 2:07 of the first round.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank for Getty Images

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