Connect with us

Featured Articles

The Hauser Report: A Sad Night for Fans of Chris Arreola

Thomas Hauser

Published

on

The-Hauser-Report-A-Sad-Night-for-fans-of-Chris-Arreola

The August 3 fight at Barclays Center between Chris Arreola and Adam Kownacki highlighted what’s enthralling about boxing and also a sad side of the sport.

When Arreola turned pro in 2003, he seemed destined for success. He was a heavyweight with a good amateur pedigree, power, solid ring skills, and a crowd-pleasing, hit-me-and-I’ll-hit-you-back style. He was media-friendly and likable with refreshing candor and a good sense of humor. His Mexican-American heritage was a plus. And he was guided by Al Haymon at a time when HBO Championship Boxing and Boxing After Dark were all but programmed by Haymon, with Arreola, Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto, and Robert Guerrero being anointed “stars of the future.”

There were times when Arreola trained less diligently than he should have. A fighter doesn’t get more out of boxing than he puts into it, and Chris was rarely in top shape. Indeed, Henry Ramirez (who trained Arreola for most of his ring career) acknowledged, “Sometimes I don’t think he gives us the best chance to win. Sometimes he comes in a little too far out of shape.” But that was part of the package.

“Who gives a f*** if I’m fat?” Arreola asked rhetorically. “There’s plenty of guys who look like Tarzan and fight like Jane.”

Other “Arreolaisms” included:

*          “Boxing is two guys in the ring who hardly know each other, beating the crap out of each other. The crowd oohs and aahs, and I want to get my oohs and aahs in. Then it’s over and you shake hands and hug each other. Go figure.”

*          “My defense has to get better. I’m ugly and I don’t want to get any more uglier.”

*          “I’m not big-headed. I’m one of the guys, a regular Joe Schmo. But it makes me angry when people think I’m dumb, when they talk down to me, when they think I’m a meathead because I’m a fighter.”

Ten years ago, Arreola’s record stood at 27-0 with only one opponent going the distance against him. Then, on September 26, 2009, he challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight crown. Chris fought with honor but was outclassed from the opening bell. The outcome of the fight was never in doubt. Klitschko out-landed him 301 to 86 and turned him into a human bobblehead doll. Ramirez called a halt to the beating after ten one-sided rounds.

Arreola has been on a long downhill slide since then. Seven months after losing to Klitschko, he was outpointed by Tomasz Adamek. “He beat my ass,” Chris said in a post-fight interview. “I look like f****** Shrek right now.”

After being complimented on his “toughness” after losing a twelve-round decision to Bermane Stiverne in 2013, Arreola responded, “It doesn’t matter how tough you are. I lost the fight.”

Subsequent title opportunities against Stiverne (2014) and Deontay Wilder (2016) ended in knockout defeats.

Asked prior to fighting Wilder if he thought that, given his recent ring performances, he deserved another title opportunity, Arreola replied, “Let’s be honest, man. Do I deserve it? Come on. No. But when a title shot comes knocking, you don’t turn it down.”

The gaping hole in Arreola’s ring resume is that he has never beat a world-class opponent. His biggest win was a first-round stoppage of former Michigan State linebacker Seth Mitchell (who was 26-1-1 at the time). “He better bring his helmet if he expects to beat me,” Chris said before that fight. He also stopped a faded 39-year-old Jameel McCline short of the distance.

Readying to fight Kownacki, Arreola was 38 years old with a 38-5 (33 KOs, 3 KOs by) ring record that arguably wasn’t as good as it looked.

At the June 18 kick-off press conference for Kownacki-Arreola, Chris had a pensive look in his eyes. He was born with a fighter’s face that has been forged further in the fire of combat, adding scar tissue and a nose that has been ground every which way while being broken multiple times.

Once upon a time, Arreola was the A-side in main events. Not anymore. The 30-year-old Kownacki had built a 19-0 (15 KOs) record against the same class of fighter that Chris used to beat. Adam is a big strong guy who throws punches with abandon, wears opponents down, has minimal defense, and is being groomed as an opponent for Deontay Wilder.

Arreola was seated on the B-side of the dais. His name was listed after Kownacki’s on all promotional material. On fight night, he would be in the red (designated loser) corner. If the powers that be at Premier Boxing Champions thought he had a realistic chance of beating Adam, they wouldn’t have made the fight.

“How did Arreola feel about being the B-side of the promotion?”

“I’m okay with it,” Chris said. “It’s part of the game. Once I was a young lion and now I’m the old veteran. Boxing humbles you. But I’m not a stepping stone for anyone.”

How did he feel about Andy Ruiz upsetting Anthony Joshua to become boxing’s first Mexican-American heavyweight champion?

“I’m happy for Andy. The difference between Andy and me is, he made the best of his opportunities and I didn’t. Good for him. The first time we sparred together, Andy was seventeen years old. Back then, he wanted to be like me. Now I want to be like him.”

Kownacki’s fortunes have also changed but he’s going in a different direction. In 2015, Adam had made his Barclays Center debut in a swing bout on the undercard of Amir Khan versus Chris Algieri. Now he anticipated beating Arreola which, in his words, “would make me a top ten heavyweight on everyone’s list.”

“On paper, it’s the perfect fight,” Adam added. “Now it’s in my hands to do what I gotta do, which is get a knockout and put on a great performance.”

There were more sound bites from Arreola as the build-up to the fight progressed:

*          (when asked to define himself): “I’m brash but respectful of other people. I’m a kind-hearted, old-school in a lot of ways. I’m at peace with myself. I’m me.”

*          (about being a role model): “People ask me, ‘What do you say to kids?’ And I tell them, ‘I don’t say shit to kids. I talk to their parents and tell them to be there for their children.”

*          (about his family): “My wife and I have two children, a 17-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. That’s thirteen years apart. But same father, same mother. Make sure you write that.”

*          (about fighting Kownacki): “It’s not personal. I like Adam and I think he likes me. But I’m going to try to punch him in the face and knock him out, and that’s what he’s going to try to do to me.”

“How big a puncher is Adam?” Chris was asked.

“I’ll find out on Saturday night,” Arreola answered. “He’s fought some good fighters, but I’ve fought better.”

But the better fighters that Arreola had fought beat him.

The most pressing question in advance of the fight was, “How much did Chris have left?”

At a certain age, a fighter knows what to do in the ring better than he did before but he can’t do it anymore. And at 38, a fighter doesn’t take punches as well as he did when he was young. Arreola used to hate the rigors of training but liked sparring. Now he acknowledged, “I don’t mind training but I hate sparring. My body isn’t the same anymore. When I get hit now, it hurts more and the pain lasts longer.”

Arreola’s weight – an issue in the past – was down. He would enter the ring at 244 pounds, a better number than Kownacki’s career high 266. But was Chris in fighting shape? And with what he had left, would it matter?

Kownacki was a heavy betting favorite and noted that Arreola was “a little bit past his prime.”

“This is my last chance,” Chris responded. “If I lose this fight, I’ll retire, plain and simple. Not because of the media or anything like that. This is my last chance because I say so. If I lose, there’s no reason for me to be in the sport of boxing. I’m in boxing to be a champion. If I lose, it brings me all the way back to the bottom, and I don’t want to keep crawling back up and crawling back up again. I’m too old to be doing that. So it’s a make or break kind of fight. If I lose, I go home, no matter if it’s a great fight or it could have gone either way. Plain and simple; I lose it, I go home, I stay home. One and done, no more.”

Old athletes are surpassed by young ones in every sport. But it’s more painful to watch when the sport is boxing and the older competitor is getting beaten up.

There was a time when Arreola fought mostly in Southern California before crowds that were solidly behind him. Now he was in Brooklyn in a promotion aimed at Polish-American fans. Kownacki, who had fought at Barclays Center on eight previous occasions, was the house fighter. The announced crowd of 8,790 booed when Chris entered the ring and cheered wildly for Adam.

It was an exciting fight with little subtlety about it. One of boxing’s cardinal rules is, “Never give an opponent a free shot.” That said; both men fought like they didn’t understand that holding up their hands, slipping punches, and otherwise defending themselves is an integral part of the sweet science. They punched and mauled for twelve rounds in a non-stop slugfest that resembled two mastodons locked in battle for supremacy of the herd.

In the early rounds, it appeared as though Kownacki might walk through Arreola. He was a bit quicker, had a bit more on his punches, and seemed better able to absorb punishment. Then, in the middle rounds, Adam slowed a bit and one had to consider the fact that Chris had gone twelve rounds on four occasions and ten rounds thrice while Kownacki had gone ten rounds once. In other words, Arreola had been down this road before and might be better able to navigate the terrain as it got increasingly more rugged.

Then, in round nine, Arreola tired noticeably. From that point on, it seemed as though he was fighting from memory. But he never stopped trying to win. On the few occasions when Kownacki tried to slow the pace, Chris forced the action. One can question Arreola’s ring skills. One can question his judgment. His courage and heart aren’t in doubt.

The judges were on the mark with scorecards that favored Kownacki by a 118-110, 117-111, 117-111 margin. His limitations as a boxer showed in the fight and he lacks the one-punch knockout power that might compensate for them at the elite level. But Kownacki-Arreola was a barn-burner. According to CompuBox, Adam landed 369 of 1,047 punches while Chris connected on 298 of 1,125. That set CompuBox records for total punches landed and thrown in a heavyweight fight.

“Adam is relentless,” Arreola said in a post-fight interview. “He just keeps coming. I know I got him with some good punches and he got me with some good ones. I was more than ready to go all twelve, but Adam came in and won the fight.”

Then Chris went to the hospital to check on the status of his left hand and possibly more. Just before entering the ambulance, he acknowledged, “I’m a little dejected. I lost. This ain’t the way I wanted to go out, but I gave my all. Much respect to Adam. We were in a proverbial phone booth beating the shit out of each other, and it was fun. It was fun for me and it was fun for him and I hope the fans enjoyed the fight.”

Photo credit” Nabeel Ahmad / Premier Boxing Champions

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His next book – A Dangerous Journey: Another Year Inside Boxing  – will be published later this summer by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

The Bones Adams Story (Part Two)

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

The-Bones-Adams-Story-Part-Two

When Bones Adams retired from boxing, he was still in his mid-twenties. The kid from Henderson, Kentucky, now lived in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas, and before leaving the sport he had made enough money to go on a home-buying spree.

Real estate in the form of rental homes was a sound investment, or so everyone told him. But that was before the Great Recession, a scourge that clobbered real estate speculators and new homeowners, hitting Las Vegas especially hard.

“Suddenly,” says Bones, looking back, “a house next door to one of my mine, a house that looked a lot like mine,” was on the market for half the price that I paid for mine. I didn’t have the equity to ride out the storm.”

One of Bones’ best friends worked as a limousine driver for Charles Horky. The friend suggested that Bones join the team. Horky, a big fight fan, hired him in a flash.

Horky was an American success story. Starting with one limousine, he built a mini-empire. His fleet serviced the MGM Grand properties, of which there were eight on the Las Vegas Strip. Many of his regular clients were celebrities.

A town like Las Vegas attracts a lot of predators. Charles Horky fit right in. The FBI would allege that he didn’t merely turn a blind eye when his drivers supplied hookers and drugs – cocaine, meth, Ecstasy – to his customers, but that he encouraged it and demanded a cut of the action. Then there was the little matter of unauthorized charges on credit cards, a common scam in Vegas, particularly in “gentleman’s” clubs. “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas,” goes the slogan, and what often stays is a lot more money than a visitor remembers spending.

On Dec. 13, 2012, the FBI arrested Charles Horky and eight of his employees or associates, including four limousine drivers, on racketeering charges. Clarence “Bones” Adams, identified in the papers as one of the limousine drivers, was caught up in the sting.

“I did some stuff I shouldn’t have,” Bones acknowledged when this reporter broached the subject. But he says he wasn’t a limousine driver except on his first day of work because Horky thought he was more valuable out in the field working as a starter, a person that works with the concierge at a hotel. (In Las Vegas, a taxi driver is prohibited from carrying more than five passengers. For larger parties, it’s often cheaper to hire a limo than taking multiple cabs.)

At his initial hearing, Bones pleaded not guilty. The attorney he hired, confident that he would receive only a slap on the wrist, got him to change his plea. Indeed, probation was what the prosecutors recommended. But the judge thought otherwise and Bones would serve six months at the federal correctional institution in Taft, California.

– – –

When we caught up with Bones Adams last week, he had just returned from shepherding his three youngest children to school (Bones has a daughter, Alexa, from a previous marriage). It entailed three stops – a high school, a middle school, and an elementary school. The school buses don’t service his neighborhood, an upper-middle-class neighborhood in the southwest part of Las Vegas.

The home that Adams shares with Millette, his wife of 14 years, and their children has a very deep back yard. Situated at the end of the long driveway is a 3,200-square foot building that houses a two-car garage and the boxing gym. The previous owner was a custom glass maker. This was his workshop.

Bones Adams doesn’t speak well of his former manager Cameron Dunkin, but Bones concedes that Dunkin did him a big favor when he sold his contract to James Prince. The change-over was made shortly after Bones’ first match with Paulie Ayala.

Prince, the Houston-based rap music mogul, was previously involved in the careers of Floyd Mayweather Jr, with whom he had a big falling out, and Andre Ward, among others. Today he is connected to a stable of boxers in Las Vegas who compete under the Prince Ranch insignia, the most notable of whom is former U.S. Olympian Michael Hunter who meets undefeated Sergey Kuzmin at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 13 in a match that will leave the winner well-positioned for a shot at a world heavyweight title.  Undefeated super bantamweight Raeese Aleem (pictured with Bones) is one of several rising contenders.

The gym that sits in Bones’ backyard was designed for Prince Ranch fighters but isn’t exclusively for them. “Basically,” says Bones, “whenever there is a really big fight in town, one of the fighters comes here.” Amir Khan used the gym to put the final touches on his preparation for Canelo Alvarez. Daniel Jacobs did likewise. More recently, Manny Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach were here during the final days preceding PacMan’s fight with Keith Thurman. Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood, the gym offers a marquee fighter a level of privacy he is unlikely to find elsewhere.

pac

pac

When Khan was here in May of 2016, Bones Adams wasn’t yet immersed in the daily routine of a trainer. It would be more accurate to say that he was the facility’s caretaker. But he and Khan forged a relationship and when Khan was in the market for a new trainer – having left Virgil Hunter, who trained him for his bout with Terence Crawford — he thought of his new buddy back in Las Vegas.

Amir Khan is no longer an “A side” fighter in the United States. Canelo Alvarez starched him with one punch and he was flayed on social media for his weak showing against Crawford. But Khan, an Olympic silver medalist for England at age 17, remains one of the most well-known sporting personalities in the U.K. His supposedly tempestuous relationship with his attractive American-born wife has been a steady source of fodder for the tabloids.

Bones spent two-and-a-half weeks with Khan in Khan’s hometown of Bolton and another two-and-a-half weeks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Khan finished his training for his fight with Billy Dib, a late sub for India’s Neeraj Gorat who had to pull out after being injured in a car crash. The fight was hyped as a landmark event that would pave the way to a succession of bigger fights in Saudi Arabia.

The Arab nation has been in the news lately and we asked Bones for a few tips on the unlikely chance that we would ever go there. “I was told that I shouldn’t strike up a conversation with a woman I didn’t know, but what I found was that things had loosened up,” he said. “However, ‘no touching’ is still the rule (a no-no that covers everything from a handshake to a hug). The people over there were very warm. We were treated very well.”

Late in his boxing career, Bones’ hairline began to recede. The recession has now completed its journey, perhaps with a little assistance from a barber, and Bones is fashionably bald. But he looks younger than his age; the muscles in his arms are taut, fittingly so for a man who preaches that a boxing-themed workout is the best workout of all for a man that wants to stay physically fit.

Capture

When Bones looks back on his boxing career, he thinks about what might have been if those that had influence over his career had done a better job of looking out for his interests and if the deck hadn’t been rigged against him in several of his most important fights. But the bitterness has long since dissipated, usurped by an understanding that there were times when his life could have spiraled completely out of control and an appreciation for those that reeled him back in. Foremost is his wife Millette, whose name Bones spells out to make certain the reporter gets it right.

It’s been a bumpy ride for Clarence “Bones” Adams, but he is now in a good place. Back in the day, the WBA stripped him of his title for no good reason other than they could, but looking back Bones can see that owning all the title belts in the world wouldn’t have amounted to a hill of beans if he hadn’t met Millette who has stood by his side through thick and thin.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Mexican Stalwarts Navarrete and Magdaleno Break-in the Banc of California

David A. Avila

Published

on

Mexican-Stalwarts-Navarrete-and-Magdaleno-Brek-in-the-Banc-of-California

Mexican Stalwarts Navarrete and Magdaleno Break-in the Banc of California

LOS ANGELES-A new stadium got its boxing baptismal with two brutal Mexican wars to re-introduce Los Angeles fans to international prizefighting on Saturday evening.

WBO titlist Emanuel “El Vaquero” Navarrete of Mexico City retained the world title by knockout and former champion Jessie Magdaleno proved pure violence still prevails in Mexican style boxing in front of 3,944 fans at Banc of California Stadium.

Soccer took a back seat on Saturday.

It was baptism under fire as Navarrete (28-1, 24 KOs) roasted fellow Mexican Francisco “Panchito” De Vaca (20-1, 6 KOs) who was willing to jump into the flames but found it too hot to withstand. However, he did try.

De Vaca arrived with only six knockout wins in 20 fights but that didn’t stop him from exchanging with the slightly taller and aggressive Navarrete. From the opening sound of the bell each traded blows, with Navarrete landing two vicious left uppercuts to punctuate the first round.

Though Navarrete won the round, De Vaca proved to have a sturdy chin.

The challenger from Phoenix erupted in the second round with a more aggressive attitude, but quickly discovered he was on the floor looking up after absorbing a sidewinder right cross from Navarrete. He got up and renewed the attack.

De Vaca never wavered from exchanging blows with the champion but it proved to be futile as the harder hitting Navarrete seemed to move the challenger back with each connected blow. De Vaca was hurt but refused to submit as Navarrete pummeled him with blows from multiple angles. After what seemed like a minute filled with machine-like blows, referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight though De Vaca never went down at 1:54 of round three to give Navarrete the win by knockout.

“De Vaca showed his fighting heart. He gave 100 percent in the ring tonight,” said Navarrete, who hopes to return to Los Angeles. “I want to continue the tradition of Mexican boxing in Los Angeles. I want to fill arenas and follow in the footsteps of Mexican legends.”

Top Rank’s Bob Arum said Navarrete will be returning to the boxing ring next month in Las Vegas on the same fight card as lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Sept. 14.

Magdaleno

Former super bantamweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) won by technical decision over Tijuana’s Rafael Rivera (27-4-2, 18 KOs) in a fight stopped due to an accidental elbow slicing a cut on the Las Vegas fighter.

“He’s an aggressive fighter, he’s a warrior as we say in boxing,” said Magdaleno, who did not think it was an intentional elbow.

Magdaleno, a southpaw, breezed through three rounds with his slick boxing and power shots to the body. Rivera found it difficult to find openings until a clash of heads caused a cut on Magdaleno’s nose. Rivera was able to capitalize on the former super bantamweight world champion’s concern over the blood running down his nose.

In the next three rounds Magdaleno began targeting the body with strong lefts and rights. It seemed to visibly slow down Rivera. A left cross in the seventh round staggered Rivera who was barely able to stay on his feet.

Rivera gutted out the pain and battled back in the eighth round with renewed vigor. It looked like he was willing to go down swinging.

Magdaleno expected Rivera to come out smoking in the ninth round and he did not disappoint. Both slugged it out in the corner, with Magdaleno decking Rivera with a short left cross but the Tijuana fighter beat the count and returned to the battle. During another exchange, an inadvertent elbow by the Mexican fighter sliced the side of Magdaleno’s right eye. Blood spewed out and referee Tom Taylor, on the advice of the ringside physician, stopped the fight at 2:55 of the ninth round.

The fight was decided by the score cards with two judges at 89-81 and a third at 88-82, all for Magdaleno.

“It felt great, I felt strong, better than ever,” said Magdaleno about fighting in the 126-pound featherweight division. “I took off the ring rust. We fought smart. We put on our boxing shoes and out-boxed him.”

The former WBO super bantamweight who lost the title to Isaac Dogboe last year, now feels his victory over Rivera should open the door to a world title fight in the featherweight division.

When asked who he would like?

“I want them all, it don’t matter,” Magdaleno said.

Other Bouts

Super lightweight prospect Arnold Barboza (22-0, 9 KOs) was too big and too strong for Filipino Ricky Sismundo (35-15-3, 17 KOs) and battered the willing fighter for all four rounds. A three-punch combination by South El Monte’s Barboza dropped Sismundo in the third round who beat the count and tried battling back. In the fourth round, Barboza continued the attack and at the end of the fourth round referee Ray Corona stopped the fight as Sismundo dropped to a knee at the end of the stanza.

Barboza was coming off a knockout win over former world champion Mike Alvarado and may be ready for a world title shot.

Kazakhstan’s Janibek Alimkhanuly floored Canada’s Stuart McLellan twice before ending the fight with a flourish of blows that forced referee Rudy Barragan to end the fight at 2:51 of the fifth round.

Alimkhanuly retains the WBO Global and WBC Continental America’s middleweight belts. He fights out of Los Angeles and is trained by Buddy McGirt.

A welterweight clash saw South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs) win by unanimous decision over Russia’s Aslanbek Kozaev (33-3-1, 8 KOs) in a bloody eight round war. The fight started slowly with Van Heerden hitting and moving but after cuts suffered by both fighters, the two began exchanging heavy blows to the delight of the crowd. Both bled heavily for the last four rounds but let loose with everything just in case the fight was stopped. After eight rounds two judges saw it 79-73 and a third 78-74 for Van Heerden.

After a close two rounds, Javier Molina (20-2, 8 KOs) put some distance between himself and Manuel Mendez (16-6-3, 11 KOs) to win by unanimous decision in a super lightweight match. Molina was able to take control with some nifty counter punches that caught Mendez walking in. It was never an easy fight as Mendez battled through each round. But after eight rounds two judges scored it 79-73 and a third 78-74 all for Molina.

“I moved down to 140 pounds and it felt comfortable,” said Molina, a former 2008 US Olympian who fights out of Norwalk, Calif. “It felt good to be back in the ring.

Dominican southpaw Elvis Rodriguez dropped lefty Jesus Gonzalez with a short right hook in the first round of their super lightweight bout. The Texan got up and was caught with a jab left cross and down he went again. Referee Rudy Barragan halted the fight at 1:40 of the first round. Rodriguez is trained by Freddy Roach.

Russian lightweight Dmitry Yun (2-0) survived two knockdowns to win by decision over Austin’s Javier Martinez (4-7, 3 KOs). The Texan floored Yun with the first blow he landed –a right cross – in the opening round, then repeated it with a counter right cross in the third round. But problems with his mouthpiece and lack of footwork kept Martinez from gaining ground on the fleet but light punching Yun. Two judges scored it 57-54 and a third 56-54, all for Yun.

New Mexico’s Brian Mendoza (18-0, 13 KOs) brutalized Miami’s Rosemberg Gomez (20-8-1, 16 KOs) with body shots and eventually ended the fight at 2:12 of the first round in their welterweight clash.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams for Top Rank

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

WBO Title-holder Emanuel Navarrete Defends at Banc of California Stadium

David A. Avila

Published

on

WBO-title-holder-Emanuel-Navarrete-Defends-at-Banc-of-California-Stadium

WBO Title-holder Emanuel Navarrete Defends at Banc of California Stadium

LOS ANGELES-World champions are gathering at a busy street corner of Los Angeles that has been the site of numerous heroic, villainous and emotional moments in the history of the second largest city in the USA.

Two full scale riots erupted and flamed out on that corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Figueroa Avenue in the 60s and 90s.

A presidential debate took place between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon on those same grounds when they were running in 1960.

NBA superstars Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Michael Jordan performed their magic on that corner too.

On Saturday, WBO super bantamweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (27-1, 23 KOs) defends against Arizona’s Francisco De Vaca (20-0, 5 KOs) in the main event at the sparkling new Banc of California Stadium. ESPN will show the Top Rank fight card.

The stadium stands on the same location where the LA Memorial Sports Arena once stood proudly until it fell into disarray and was torn down several years back.

Sixty years ago, the first world championship boxing match was held on these same grounds and fans saw France’s Alphonse Halimi lose to Mexico’s Jose Becerra by fifth round knockout at the LA Memorial Sports Arena. Seven months later they fought again next door at the LA Coliseum and Becerra won by knockout again.

That was only the beginning, others like Muhammad Ali, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, Bobby Chacon, Jerry Quarry, Danny “Lil Red” Lopez, Ruben Olivares, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Amir Khan all fought on those same grounds.

Imagine, when Navarrete (pictured above) rises from his corner to fight Phoenix’s De Vaca on Saturday, he will be continuing the ever-growing streak of civil and professional fights that took place on that same historic street corner.

WBO Super Bantamweight Title

Navarrete erupted on the fight scene like a ghost when he first defeated Isaac Dogboe last December at Madison Square Garden. It was supposed to be a Broadway opening for Dogboe, but instead turned into a horror story as those long arms of the Mexican fighter proved perplexing. The rematch was even more horrific for Dogboe.

Now the Mexico City fighter meets little known challenger De Vaca, who comes from an area that has recently been developing boxing talent in the desert city of Phoenix.

“The truth is that it doesn’t matter who is my opponent. I always prepare 100 percent for each of my fights, and this was no exception,” said Navarrete, 24, who is making his second defense of the WBO title. “We already did the hard work in the gym, and we are ready for a great fight. If De Vaca comes to fight hard, I am prepared to go even harder. I’m ready to give a great battle to all the fans.”

Can De Vaca do what Navarrete did to Dogboe last year?

“I wanted to fight for a world title since I was 5 years old, and now that we have the opportunity, we are going to make our dream come true this Saturday,” said De Vaca, 24, who fought once in Southern California back in 2016. “Come Saturday, there will be a new world champ for Phoenix and Michoacán. I’m coming for that world title.”

Co-Main

Former super bantamweight titlist Jessie Magdaleno (26-1, 18 KOs) meets Rafael Rivera (27-3-2, 18 KOs) in a featherweight match set for 10 rounds. After struggling to make the 122-pound super bantamweight limit, the Las Vegas southpaw now fights at 126 pounds. It’s made a difference.

“He’s a totally different person at 126 pounds,” said Frank Espinoza who manages Magdaleno. “Even the way he talks and thinks is different. Who would have thought four pounds would make such a difference.”

Magdaleno, the former WBO super bantamweight titlist, now meets Tijuana’s Rivera who never fails to provide high intensity fisticuffs.

“I don’t take none of these guys lightly. Every opponent is difficult. He’s fought great fighters. He’s been in there with great fighters and done a hell of a job. I can’t overlook him because he’s here to put on a great show as well,” said Magdaleno, 27. “He throws a lot of punches, and he’s quick. That’s what I am, and that’s what is going to make a hell of a fight for this fight card.”

Rivera fought featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz earlier this year. Though he lost by decision, he gained fans for his ferocity.

“I’ve been fighting against top-level fighters for a long time, so I feel confident and secure that whether it’s against a world champion or a former champion, I’ll put up a good fight,” said Rivera, 25. “Jessie is a good fighter. I’ve seen him fight before. He’s an aggressive fighter, but I’m just here to do my work.”

It’s a rather strong and lengthy fight card to baptize the new stadium into the world of prizefighting. Expect a lengthy line of fans on the same corner where many historic events have taken place.

Boxing has returned to the same street corner where legends like Ali, Sugar Ray, Quarry and Schoolboy Chacon previously performed. It’s a corner with many memories, both pleasant and notorious.

Photo credit: Hector De La Cruz

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Good-Night-Sweet-Pea
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Good Night, Sweet Pea

Mad-Max-and-Manny
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Mad Max and Manny

Manny-Pacquiao-Defeats-Father-Time-Whips-Thurman
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Manny Pacquiao Defies Father Time, Whips Thurman

A-New-Book-Publishing-House-Devoted-to-Boxing-clocks-in-with-a-Classic
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

A New Book Publishing House Devoted to Boxing Clocks in with a Classic

The-Hauser-Report-Caleb-Plant-is-Making-His-Mark
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

The Hauser Report: Caleb Plant is Making His Mark

R.I.P.-Danika-McGuigan-Daughter-of-Boxing-Royalty
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

R.I.P. Danika McGuigan, the Daughter of Boxing Royalty

The-Hauser-Report-A-Sad-Night-for-fans-of-Chris-Arreola
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Hauser Report: A Sad Night for Fans of Chris Arreola

Mark-Kram-Jr-Author-of-a-New-Bio-of-Joe-Frazier-Pays-Homage-to-His Father
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Mark Kram Jr, Author of a New Bio of Joe Frazier, Pays Homage to his Father

Maxim-Mad-Max-Dadashev
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Maxim Dadashev Dead at Age 28

Now-Comes-the-Hard-Part-for-Evan-Holyfield
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Now Comes The Hard Part for Evan Holyfield

Avila-Perspective-Chap-57-Bohachuk-Dadashev-Tevin-Farmer-and-Moree
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 57: Bohachuk, Dadashev, Tevin Farmer and More

Gervonta's-Baltimore-Homecoming-Awakens-Echoes-of-Harry-Jeffra
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Gervonta’s Baltimore Homecoming Awakens Echoes of Harry Jeffra

Bohachuk-Wins-His-15th-Straight-by-KO-at-Hollywood's-Avalon-Theater
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Bohachuk Wins His 15th Straight by KO at Hollywood’s Avalon Theater

Boxing-Resto-vs-Collins
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Pendulum of Guilt Wobbles and Then Steadies

Three Punch Combo Three Makeable Fights Certain to Entertain and More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Three Punch Combo: Three Makeable Fights Certain to Entertain and More

Panin-and-Saakyan-Victorious-on-the-All-Star-Boxing-Card-in-Montebello
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Panin and Saakyan Victorious on the All Star Boxing Card in Montebello

Fast-Results-from-London:-Whyte,-Price,-and-Chisora-make-up-the-Trifecta
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Fast Results from London: Whyte, Price, and Chisora make up the Trifecta

Riben-Torres-Wins-by-KO-in-Ontario-and-Other-Results
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Ruben Torres Wins by KO in Ontario and Other Results

Roy-McHugh's-Monument-When-Pottsburgh-Was-a-Fight-Town
Book Review6 days ago

Roy McHugh’s Monument

Avila-Perspective-Chap-58-The-Journey-of-Chris-Arreola-and-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 58: The Journey of Chris Arreola and More

The-Bones-Adams-Story-Part-Two
Featured Articles16 hours ago

The Bones Adams Story (Part Two)

Mexican-Stalwarts-Navarrete-and-Magdaleno-Brek-in-the-Banc-of-California
Featured Articles21 hours ago

Mexican Stalwarts Navarrete and Magdaleno Break-in the Banc of California

WBO-title-holder-Emanuel-Navarrete-Defends-at-Banc-of-California-Stadium
Featured Articles2 days ago

WBO Title-holder Emanuel Navarrete Defends at Banc of California Stadium

Ruiz-vs-Joshua-Enough-is-Enough-Let's-Get-it-On
Featured Articles3 days ago

Ruiz vs. Joshua: Enough is Enough; Let’s Get it On

From-Child-Prodigy-to-Elite-Trainer-Ex-Champ-Bones-Adams-Has-Had a-Bumpy Ride
Featured Articles3 days ago

From Child Prodigy to Elite Trainer, ex-Champ Bones Adams has had a Bumpy Ride

Upcoming-Fights-Avila-Perspective-Chap-60-Celebrity-Sightings-at-Dueling-Press-Conferences
Featured Articles4 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 60: Celebrity Sightings at Dueling Press Conferences

Nothing-Came-Easy-for-Darwin-Price-a-Rising-Junior-Welterweight-Contender
Featured Articles5 days ago

Nothing Came Easy for Darwin Price, a Rising Junior Welterweight Contender

Roy-McHugh's-Monument-When-Pottsburgh-Was-a-Fight-Town
Book Review6 days ago

Roy McHugh’s Monument

Joshua-Ruiz-II-is-headed-to-Saudi-Arabia-and-many-are-Indignant
Featured Articles6 days ago

Joshua – Ruiz II is headed to Saudi Arabia and many are Indignant

TSS-Writers-David-Avila-and-Ted-Sares-to-be-Honored-at-Upcoming-Events
Featured Articles1 week ago

TSS Writers David Avila and Ted Sares to be Honored at Upcoming Events

Fast-Results-from-Philly-AND-Texas-Sosa-and-Ortiz-Win-Big
Featured Articles1 week ago

Fast Results from Philly AND Texas: Jason Sosa and Vergil Ortiz Win Big

British-light-heavy-Anthony-Yarde-can-Wreck-some-Well-Laid-Plans
Featured Articles1 week ago

British Light Heavy Anthony Yarde Can Wreck Some Well-Laid Plans

Vergil-Ortiz-Jr-vs-Antonio-Orozco-in-Texas
Featured Articles1 week ago

Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs Antonio Orozco in Texas

Avila-Perspective-Chap-59-Devin-Haney-Chris-Arreola-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap 59: Devin Haney, Chris Arreola and More

Austalia's-Tim-Tszyu-has-the-Pedigree-but-is-he-the-Full-Package?
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Australia’s Tim Tszyu has the Pedigree, but is he the Full Package?

Nevada-Boxing-Hall-of-Fame-Honors-Hopkins-Goossen-Chacon-and-Others
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Honoring Hopkins, Goossen, Chacon and Others

The-Frampton-Fight-is-off-but-the-New-Main-Eventois-a-Compelling-Fight
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Frampton Fight Is Off, but the New Main Event is a Compelling Fight

Is-Otto-Wallin-the-next-Ingemar-Johansson-or-the-next-Olle Tandberg
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Is Otto Wallin the next Ingemar Johansson or the next Olle Tandberg?

The-Hauser-Report-A-Sad-Night-for-fans-of-Chris-Arreola
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Hauser Report: A Sad Night for Fans of Chris Arreola

Fast-Results-from-Brooklyn-Kownacki-Outslugs-Arreola-Pascal-Upsets Browne
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from Brooklyn: Kownacki Outslugs Arreola; Pascal Upsets Browne

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement