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

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On a blustery autumn afternoon in October, 1979, Johnny Bos stepped off the elevator into my office at Ring Magazine. He was wearing a full-length white mink coat, large-rimmed sunglasses and a white ski cap. He wore jeans and a Gerry Cooney T-shirt. His coat was open, revealing a baseball-sized boxing glove which hung from one of several chains around his neck. He was unshaven, but his blond mustache stood out.

As he stepped off the elevator, he ran into Bert Sugar and me, who were heading to O’Reilly’s Pub, the birthplace for so many of the classic Ring Magazines Bert and I put out. As Johnny looked at us and as we looked at him, Bert exclaimed, “What the hell are you dressed up as!!??”

Johnny just looked at Bert, in his black Fedora, paisley pants, blue denim shirt, a tie which matched nothing he was wearing plus a long cigar and said, “Look who’s talking…Mr. Fashion Statement himself.” We had a good laugh, then Bert said, “Come with us, we’re working on the next issue. I’ll buy you a drink.” That was around noon when we headed to O’Reilly’s. We didn’t walk out of O’Reilly’s until midnight, but our next magazine was all but put together. Bert bought Johnny more than one drink. He even offered to pay him. Johnny accepted the drinks—each one a rum and Coke. He refused to take the money. He said helping us put together the story ideas for an issue of The Ring—our Ring—was worth it. He was always there for us.

“Today, November 17, 2012, is 26 years I have been straight & sober. I might be the only person who went from being a successful alcoholic to (being) a sober bum.” — Bos

*   *   *

I met Johnny in late 1976, in front of Sunnyside Garden Arena in Sunnyside, Queens, N.Y. We were there to catch a fight card featuring light heavyweight contender Bobby Cassidy against Luis Vinales. Also on the card was a rematch between my friend, Paddy Dolan, and Gerald Odum, who had beaten me eight months earlier in my pro debut.

Johnny and I were introduced by Malcolm “Flash” Gordon, who stood in front of the arena and sold his boxing newsletters, “Tonight’s Boxing Program.”

“You guys will get along great,” said Flash. “You are two of the biggest boxing junkies I know.”

Flash was right. Over the next 20 years, I watched Johnny move from being a gym rat (he loved spending time at Gil Clancy’s Gym on 28th Street in Manhattan) to being one of the most sought after matchmakers and booking agents in the country. In the early 1980’s, while on a trip to a fight card in Atlantic City, I took the 2 ½ hour ride from New York City to Atlantic City with Hall of Fame matchmaker Teddy Brenner. When the talk came to matchmakers, he said, “I want you to watch three young matchmakers. They are going to be three of the best ever.” The names he mentioned were Bruce Trampler, Ron Katz and Johnny Bos. Trampler already has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Katz is on his way there. Hopefully, so is Bos.

October 16, 2012—They took everything away from me, but my name will only get bigger and bigger as time goes on, even after I’m gone. Gottttttttttttttttta Gooooooooooooooooo. With Love, from Bos. Ccccccccyaaaaa!

*   *   *

Johnny, whose given name was Bosdal, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a student of boxing, but little else, and left school before 11th grade. He took a job in a department store, then went to work on the graveyard shift for the U.S. Postal Service. Being up all night probably honed him for his oncoming career as a matchmaker/booking agent, as he did his best work between the hours of 11:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m.

When fledgling boxing managers Mike Jones and Dennis Rappaport signed two promising fighters from Long Island, New York—Howard Davis Jr. and Gerry Cooney—in the mid-1970’s, they had the money to make things happen, but not the boxing knowledge. What they lacked in that department they more than made up for by hiring Bos to make matches for Olympic champion Davis and the towering left hook artist from Huntington, L.I. The talents of Davis and Cooney, along with the expert matchmaking of Bos, helped to quickly move each fighter into title contention.

Quickly, other managers and promoters saw what a matchmaking genius Bos was, and he became the busiest matchmaker in the boxing world. In the late 1970’s, at a fight card—where else—Bos met a young matchmaker from White Plains, N.Y., Ron Katz. The two became close friends. Young Katz quickly began learning from Bos, and soon the boxing business had the Boz-Katz matchmaking seal on almost every card in the nation. If Bos-Katz didn’t actually make a match on the card, they gave other matchmakers ideas for matches…gave them phone numbers or had fighters call them.

He and Katz would talk on the phone thru the night—every night. They made matches, got opponents, sparring partners and helped other matchmakers who were in desperate need of assistance. They usually got no money. Occasionally, they got a “Thank You.” They didn’t care. They had each other to talk boxing to.

It was nothing for them to conference-call someone—after midnight. I lost track of how many times my home phone rang after 2:00 a.m. Upon fumbling for the phone, I’d hear the two of them—Heckle & Jeckle—singing, on key, “Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.” I’d then go into another room and talk boxing with them, for a good hour or two, this, despite the fact I had to be into my office at The Ring in a few hours while Heckle & Jeckle slept the morning away. Thank goodness my boss was Bert Sugar!

“They can try as hard as they want to take the man out of boxing, but they’ll never take the boxing out of the man.”

*   *   *

Johnny loved music, and his tastes ran from the Temps, Four Tops and Marvin Gaye to Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie and Irene Cara (one of his favorite songs was Cara’s 1980’s hit, “Fame.”). He also loved his wearing his chains, his oversized boxing glove, his rings and his bling. Oh, there was also that full-length mink. Johnny loved his white mink, even in the warmer months. It was as common to see Johnny walk into a press conference in late April or early October wearing it as is was to see Don King with his hair pointed to the boxing heavens. Once, before Gerry Cooney fought Jimmy Young in Atlantic City, Jones & Rappaport, known in the industry as the “Wacko Twins,” told Bos he’d have to look presentable and professional at the casino in Atlantic City on the day of the fight, so they bought him a powder blue, three-piece suit.

“They told me there would be executives from CBS there and I would need to wear a suit,” Bos recalled. “I told them I didn’t own a suit and wasn’t gonna’ buy one. And what did I care if executives from CBS were there. They were there to see Cooney, not me.” But after the “Wacko Twins” bought Johnny the suit, he wore it.

“I kinda’ liked the way I looked,” recalled Bos recently. “It brought out my best features.”

Actually, Johnny’s best feature was his personality. Sure, his pimp-like mode of dressing on that 6’4” frame, which always held between 260-300 pounds, drew attention, but his quick wit, along with his deep passion and knowledge of the Sweet Science—both past and present—ingratiated him to everyone he came in contact with. Here was a man who loved what he did.

In a business known for its backstabbing and underhanded business deals, Johnny could be counted on and trusted. If he shook your hand on a deal, you could consider it done. In his decades of building the careers of so many fighters, Johnny gave more of himself than he ever took in return.

Few top fighters of the 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s went through their career without being touched in some way by Johnny Bos. Once, he made a match for a rising contender who had stiffed him of a few thousand dollars a year earlier. It was one of the few times Johnny sought revenge. The opponent for the rising contender was a last-second replacement. Bos, who knew that styles make fights, made sure the opponent he chose was anything but the “right” opponent for the rising contender. When the fight was over, the rising contender was a fallen contender and Bos was thrilled.

After the fight, he laughed to me about what he had done.

“You’re bad, Johnny,” I said.

“I’m Johnny Bos, Johnny Bos, baddest dude there ever was!” he said with a roar.

But those moments were few and far between.

He watched with pride as many of the fighters he made matches for, including John “The Beast” Mugabi, John “The Heat” Verderosa, Michael Bentt, Joey Gamache, Tyrone Booze, Tracy Patterson, Jameel McCline, Paulie Malignaggi, Tyrell Biggs, Evander Holyfield, Mark Breland, Meldrick Taylor, Alex Ramos, Johnny Bumphus, Frank Bruno, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Lloyd Honeyghan—and many more—all went on to major success in the industry.

Hall-of-Fame journalist Michael Katz once said that if he had to choose a person to be the National Commissioner of Boxing, his choice would be Johnny Bos.

To that, Johnny replied, “I could do the job, but I’d hate the politics.”

It was the politics of boxing, the truly dirty side of boxing politics, which broke Johnny’s big heart. After guiding and building the career of lightweight/junior welterweight Joey Gamache, Johnny steered him into a fight on February 26, 2000, against Arturo Gatti in Madison Square Garden. At that time, the New York State Athletic Commission was comprised of political hacks and cronies and run by a convicted felon who should have never been allowed to take control of the state agency.

At the weigh-in, Gatti was allowed to get on the scale and get right off, without the scale actually showing what his weight was. When Bos complained, the inept commissioner gave him a hard time, and told him the weigh-in was official. Gamache weighed 140 pounds. Gatti weighed 140 1/2. The following day, at the unofficial HBO weigh-in, Gamache was still a junior welterweight. Gatti wasn’t. He had ballooned four weight classes. He weighed in at 160 pounds. That night, he crushed Gamache, knocking him out in the second round.

Bos went wild, calling out the commission’s ineptitude on every level. As Gamache recovered in the hospital from the severe head trauma he suffered at the hands of the brutal-punching Gatti, Bos filed a protest on the grounds the weigh-in was handled improperly. Then he filed suit against the New York State Athletic Commission.

With the NYSAC breathing down Johnny’s neck he sought what he thought would be a bright future in the Sunshine State. He settled in Clearwater, Florida, originally telling me, “Lots of people head to Florida to finish out their lives and die. I’m going to Florida to live.”

It never worked out that way for him, especially after a New York court ruled in Gamache’s favor in the lawsuit, finding the NYSAC negligent in their handling of the weigh-in. But then came the blow which struck Big John harder than he had ever been hit before. The court refused to award Gamache any money. Not a penny. They ruled that the NYSAC’s negligence had not determined the outcome of the fight. He retreated to his apartment in Clearwater and stayed there for months.

“Don’t worry if there’s a hell below, because we’re all going to go.” -Curtis Mayfield

*   *   *

Johnny’s spirits were lifted, when, in 2009, he was inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. The induction was exactly what Bos needed. In his 58 years, he had been addicted to three things: Cigarettes, alcohol and boxing. Over the years, he was able to completely eliminate alcohol (1986) and cigarettes (a few years later). But he never could rid himself of his addiction to boxing. Many of us know that same feeling. When the call came about his upcoming induction, Bos was elated.

He took to Facebook and proclaimed he was back. Then he met and became friends with Henry Rivalta, the head Boxing Operations for Acquinity Sports, the new boxing promotion powerhouse based out of South Florida. Rivalta made Bos his matchmaker.

Last November 30, I was in Sunrise, Florida, as one of four announcers for the Khabib Allakhverdiev-Joan Guzman fight. Acquinity was the promoter. Sitting in the hotel lobby, waiting for me were two of my favorite boxing people. One was my announcing colleague that night, Ron Borges, who, for years, has been one of the top boxing writers in the world. The other was Acquinity’s matchmaker, Johnny Bos.

Although I had spoken to him quite often on the phone, this was the first time I had seen Johnny in a few years. Both Borges and I didn’t think he looked well. The fact is, he wasn’t.

Recently, he put a photo of a cardiologists’s report done on him in 2000, on Facebook. The report found Bos to have congestive heart failure, brought on by years of heavy smoking and excessive drinking. The doctor said his long term prognosis for Johnny was not encouraging. When Johnny put that doctor’s note on Facebook, he said “I’m still here, so f–k all of you!”

“I spoke to him last week,” said Henry Rivalta. “During our conversation, he said ‘Thank you, Henry. Thank you for everything.’ I don’t know how much longer this old heart can hold out. So thank you for bringing me back. Thank you for everything.’ He knew.”

On Saturday night at around 10:30 p.m., Johnny’s brother, Jeffrey, along with Jeffrey’s girlfriend, Suzanne McBee, found Johnny dead in his apartment.

On so many occasions since his departure from New York, Johnny Bos said to me, “Nobody remembers me. I was once a big name in boxing and now, nobody remembers me.” I assured him that wasn’t true.

Now, as he sits in his white mink at the bar inside the Pearly Gates (sorry, Johnny, you were wrong about where you were heading) with Bert Sugar, Wayne Kelly, Teddy Brenner, Emanuel Steward, Angelo Dundee and other boxing luminaries who graced us, Bos sees the outpouring of love his memory is getting, and knows he hasn’t been forgotten.

As long as boxing lives, he will never be forgotten.

EDITOR’S NOTE; This story first ran on May 15, 2013. For more on the late Johnny Bos, check out Thomas Hauser’s fond remembrance.

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

Arne K. Lang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How good was Monzon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lipinets and Clayton Battle to a Draw at the Mohegan Sun

Arne K. Lang

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

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

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

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

Martinez-Marrero

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

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

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

Matias-Hawkins

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

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

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

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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Juan Francisco Estrada KOs Carlos Cuadras; Chocolatito Wins Too

David A. Avila

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolatito

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

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

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

It was a masterful performance.

JC Martinez

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

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

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

Other Bouts

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

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

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

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland / Matchroom

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