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Boxing Odds and Ends: Viva Eddy Reynoso, Viva Eddie Hearn and More

Arne K. Lang

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Eddy Reynoso was named the TSS Trainer of the Year for 2019 and 2020. He’s poised to three-peat.

Reynoso, who grew up watching his father Jose “Chepo” Reynoso train boxers in Guadalajara, will be forever linked with Canelo Alvarez. But lately he has been drawing raves for his work with other fighters.

Reynoso got a leg up on the 2021 competition when Ryan Garcia stopped Luke Campbell two days into the new year. “KingRy” had been knocked down and was behind on the cards when he stopped Campbell in the seventh round with a wicked body punch. The Englishman had gone 12 with Vasiliy Lomachenko in his previous fight and had never been stopped.

This was Garcia’s fifth fight with Reynoso. Likewise, Oscar Valdez was making his fifth start with Reynoso when he locked horns with Miguel Berchelt in Las Vegas on Feb. 20. Berchelt was 37-1 coming in, was making the seventh defense of his 130-pound world title, and hadn’t lost in seven years.

Reynoso devised a brilliant game plan which Valdez implemented with great presence of mind while turning in the best performance of his career. He stopped the heavily favored Berchelt in the 10th frame to keep his undefeated record intact while gathering in a title in a second weight class.

Two heavyweights who are recent additions to Team Reynoso scored victories this month. In his first fight with Reynoso, Andy Ruiz dominated the second half of his fight with Chris Arreola and was returned the winner after 12 rounds. Cuban import Frank Sanchez, an impressive physical specimen at six-foot-four and 235 pounds, improved to 18-0 at the expense of Nagy Aguilera.

Then there’s Canelo who has been with the Reynosos since the advent of his pro career. At age 30, he seems to be getting even better.

Eddie Hearn

There were skeptics when British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced that he was crashing the U.S. market. But Hearn has silenced the skeptics after a pro-Canelo crowd of 73,126 turned out in Arlington, Texas, this past Saturday.

Some news stories said this was the largest crowd for at any sporting event of any kind since the advent of the COVID-19 era, but that’s not true. On April 24, 78,113 watched an Australian Rules football game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. And that record, barring terrible weather, will shortly be obliterated. This year’s renewal of the Indy 500 on May 30 has been approved for 40 percent capacity. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest sporting venue in the world with permanent seating for 257,327 and has routinely attracted crowds of more than 300,000.

Regardless, the Alvarez-Saunders promotion was the largest crowd to attend a sporting event in the United State since the coronavirus takeover, surpassing the COVID-restricted crowd of 51,838 that attended the Kentucky Derby the previous Saturday. And the turnout in Arlington broke the U.S. record for the largest boxing crowd at an indoor venue, easily surpassing the old mark of 63,352 (Ali-Spinks II at the Louisiana Superdome), a mark that had stood for 42 years.

Hearn was presently surprised by the turnout. He had initially projected 60,000. And that bodes well for sports promoters of all stripes going forward. We could be looking at another Golden Era of Sports.

In 1918, when many sporting events were cancelled and the baseball season was truncated to 130 games because of the misnamed Spanish flu, attendance at baseball games fell off drastically. The pandemic, which killed an estimated 675,000 in the United States, lingered into the following year, but the constraints were lifted when the 1919 season commenced and attendance more than doubled over the previous year.

There were contributing factors such as the return of the soldiers from World War I, but economists in the main credited the sharp spike in attendance to pent-up demand. “After being deprived of being able to do something, when the constraints are lifted…people ravenously consume what was previously out of reach,” explains NPR journalist Greg Rosalsky.

There’s nothing like attending an action-packed fight in a packed arena. The energy in the building is directly proportional to the percentage of seats that are occupied. However, if I could travel back in time, I would be reluctant to squeeze into a boxing show at Wonderland on a night that the joint was full.

Wonderland was the center of lowbrow entertainment in London’s gritty East End during the years straddling the birth of the 20th century. The weekly bill of fare customarily included a boxing card. British author Brian Dobbs captures the ambience in his new book: Black and White: The Birth of Modern Boxing. When it was packed to capacity, says Dobbs, Wonderland was “a rich combination of Turkish bath, prison cell, and public urinal. Vendors clambered in and out of the packed rows, proferring glasses of beer, oranges, jellied eels, cigarettes, cigars and shag tobacco.”

I could handle the tobacco smoke, but I wouldn’t want to be sitting next to the fellow with the jellied eels.

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What Next for Gabriel Rosado?

Ted Sares

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Bektemir Melikuziev, Freddie Roach, Edgar Berlanga, and Jaime Munguia are names that, one way or another, figured into Gabe Rosado’s stunning KO last Saturday night in El Paso. It overshadowed the impressive showing by Noaya “Monster” Inoue later that night in Las Vegas.

Rosado (26-13-1) is a well-documented bleeder and just might start spurting during the walk-in, but he is never, ever in a dull fight. The tougher-than-tough Philadelphian won Top Gore honors for his blood and guts TKO loss to Canadian middleweight star David Lemieux in 2014. The year before, he bled aplenty in his game but losing effort against Gennady Golovkin.

This time against Melikuziev, the unbeaten Uzbek, the fight ended in round three when the 35-year-old underdog beat the Eastern Euro fighter to the punch during an exchange of rights with Gabe’s landing first and sending the former amateur star into dreamland. The force of the blow was amplified by the younger and faster man coming forward with caution to the wind. And this time, there was no bloodletting.

The knockout should be a contender for KO of the Year. In fact, it was reminiscent of Juan Manuel Marquez’s explosive knockout of Manny Pacquiao in their final match.

Once again, Rosado (who is now trained by Freddie Roach) has revived his career and can count on at least one last decent payday. While many think Jaime Munguia would be a solid next fight, the thinking here is that Rosado could get carved up by the undefeated Tijuana veteran who has won 30 of his 37 fights by KO. Munguia is just too good.

The Catch 22

Rosado is an all-action fighter but scar tissue and his propensity to bleed is his worst enemy. It has cost him in the past. For such an offensive-minded fighter as Gabe, he is trapped in a terrible catch-22. If he can get the lead early and the bleeding is stemmed within reasonable limits, he can be a force, but not against the likes of Munguia.

If not Munguia, then who?  Here is one suggestion: How about “The Chosen One,” Edgar Berlanga (17-0) whose first round KO streak recently came to an end. Brooklyn vs. Philadelphia would be a nice added touch –not to mention the Puerto Rican factor. Could Rosado expose Berlanga as someone without enough experience, aka rounds? Would Gabe show that Berlanga is more Tyson Brunson that Edwin Valero?

Let’s make it happen!

Ted Sares enjoys researching and writing about boxing. He also competes as a powerlifter in the Master-class. He can be reached at  tedsares@roadrunner.com

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Fast Results from Las Vegas: Inoue Demolishes Dasmarinas; Mayer UD Farias

Arne K. Lang

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Fast Results from Las Vegas: Inoue Demolishes Dasmarinas; Mayer UD  Farias

LAS VEGAS — Top Rank was at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 19, for the second of their three June shows. In the headliner, WBA/IBF world bantamweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue lived up to his nickname with a vicious third round stoppage of Filipino import Michael Dasmarinas.

Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) had his opponent fighting off his back foot from the opening bell. He knocked down Dasmarinas in the second with a left hook to the liver and twice more in the third round before referee Russell Mora waived it off. The official time was 2:45.

Dasmarinas brought a 30-2-1 record and hadn’t lost since 2014. But he was no match for the “Monster” who looks younger than his 28 years. Those body shots landed with a thud that could be heard in the far reaches of the arena. This kid is really good.

Mikaela Mayer continues to improve as she showed tonight in the first defense of her WBO world super featherweight title. Mayer 15-0 (5) turned away Argentina’s Erica Farias (26-5) with a 10-round unanimous decision in a fight that was frankly rather monotonous.

Mayer won by scores of 97-93 and 98-92 twice. Farias, who landed the best punch of the fight, didn’t have the taller Mayer’s physical equipment but yet landed the best punch of the fight. Her only setbacks have come on the road against elite opponents—Cecilia Braekhus, Delfine Person, Jessica McCaskill (twice) and now Mikaela Mayer.

The opener on the ESPN portion of the show was a lusty 10-round welterweight affair between Ghana native Isaac Dogboe and Glendale, California’s Adam Lopez. Dogboe, whose only losses came at the hands of Emanuel Navarette in world title fights, improved to 22-2 by dint of a majority decision that could have easily gone the other way. Dave Moretti had it a draw but was overruled (97-93 and 96-94).

Lopez, one of two fighting sons of the late Hector Lopez, an Olympic silver medalist, did his best work late, particularly in the eighth round. With the loss, his record declines to 15-3.

Other Bouts

Monterrey, Mexico super lightweight Lindolfo Delgado, a 2016 Olympian, was extended the distance for the first time in his career but won a wide 8-round decision over Guadalajara’s Salvador Briceno

Delgado won by scores of 80-72 and 79-73 twice while advancing his record to 12-0. Delgado’s best round was the eighth, but Briceno (17-7) weathered the storm. Briceno is 5-6 in his last 11, but has been matched tough. The six fighters to beat him, including Delgado, were a combined 78-3 at the time that he fought them.

Vista, California lightweight Eric Puente has yet to score a KO but he is undefeated in six starts after winning a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Antonio Meza (7-6). Puente, who is trained by Robert Garcia, knocked Meza down early into the fight with a sweeping left and was the aggressor throughout. The judges had it 57-56 and 58-55 twice.

Puerto Rican super lightweight Omar Rosario improved to 4-0 (2) with a fourth-round stoppage of Reno, Nevada’s Wilfred “JJ” Moreno (3-1) The official time was 0:47.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Munguia and Rosado Win by Stoppage in El Paso; Rosado in a Spectacular Fashion

Arne K. Lang

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Munguia and Rosado Win by Stoppage in El Paso, Rosado in a Spectacular Fashion

Golden Boy Promotions and their broadcasting partner DAZN were at the Don Haskins Center on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso today for a rare afternoon card. The honchos at GBP didn’t want to go head-to-head with competing shows on ESPN, Showtime, and Triller, the latter of which fell out when headliner Teofimo Lopez tested positive for Covid-19.

There were 10 fights scheduled with the four main fights going first and the undercard bouts bundled into the posterior.

The main event was a 12-round middleweight contest between Tijuana’s Jaime Munguia (37-0, 30 KOs), the former WBO 154-pound title-holder, and Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta (21-2) who was stepping in for countryman Maciej Sulecki who pulled out of this fight twice. The Pole was making his first start since getting bushwacked by Gennadiy Golovkin in a bout on which he was on the deck four times before his corner pulled him out.

His corner stopped this fight as well, the end coming at the conclusion of the sixth frame. After a feeling-out round, Munguia, who is trained by his Tijuana homey Erik Morales, stepped it up. Knowing that Szeremeta was a light puncher, he had no worry about anything coming back at him. There were no knockdowns, but the fight turned progressively more one-sided and the stoppage was warranted.

Co-Feature

In the co-feature, slated for 12 in the 168-pound class, 35-year-old Philadelphia warhorse Gabe Rosado (pictured) stole the show with a spectacular one-punch knockout over previously undefeated Bektemir “Bec The Bully” Melikuziev.

A 2012 Olympic silver medalist for Uzbekistan, Melikuziev dominated the first two rounds, knocking down Rosado in the first with a combination of punches. He worked the body effectively for the first two rounds and it appeared that he was too strong for the Philadelphian. But Rosado (26-13, 15 KOs), blasted him out in the third, beating him to the punch with a right hook that landed flush on the Uzbek’s jaw.

The referee didn’t bother to count. Melikuziev was 7-0 (6) heading in. Jaime Munguia may be next for Rosado.

Other Bouts

In a good-action fight that was marred by questionable scoring, native Texan Marlen Esparza, a bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, wrested the WBO world flyweight title from Mexico’s Ibeth Zamora. Esparza (10-1, 1 KO) sprinted out of her corner at the opening bell only to suffer a knockdown before the fight was 90 seconds old. She fought her way back into the fight, winning the match in the eyes of the judges (97-92, 96-93, 95-94) but not in the eyes of the few fans in attendance who booed when the scores were announced.

It was a hard pill to swallow for the 32-year-old Zamora, now 32-7, who had won 17 of her last 18 heading in.

In his best showing to date, 31-year-old welterweight “prospect” Blair “The Flair” Cobbs scored a fifth-round stoppage over 38-year-old Georgia campaigner Brad Solomon. This was a fairly even fight through four rounds, but Solomon was showing signs of fatigue when Cobbs dropped him to his knees with a big left hand, leading the referee to call it off.

Blair the Flair, who has been training with Freddie Roach, improved to 15-0-1 (10). Solomon, who learned to fight in prison, declined to 29-4.

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