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Camacho Comeback Spoiled, Phone Call & More

By Don Smith: Boxing Fans, on 7/13, I traveled to Las Vegas to cover the 8 round comeback fight of 38 year old Hector “Macho” Camacho Jr. at the Westgate Resort & Casino. The son of the hall fame boxer returned to the ring after a four year absence from the sport. The event was billed as a chapter of a reality series featuring the fighter; filmed and presented by Azteca TV on Friday, 7/14.

The old adage “the show must go on” became a stressful challenge when Promoter Sterling McPherson and matchmaker Peter McKinn were forced to make adjustments to the card due to a myriad of reasons, injuries, failed physicals, etc.

On the day of the show, the event was reduced to the presentation of 3 bouts instead of six as advertised. Any criticism of McPherson and McKinn must be tempered with the fact that their financial backers were inexperienced with promoting boxing. McPherson told me, he had 17 days to put the show together and that wasn’t adequate time to put together a first class show.

McKinn told me advertising money for the event was almost non-existent and when I contacted the Westgate 5 days before the event, a spokesperson for the resort knew nothing about the pending show. It was her lack of knowledge about the show that troubled me and I wondered if I shouldn’t cancel my planned trip to Vegas; possibly forfeiting money spent on transportation. My room and the majority of my meals were complimentary.

Hours before the fight, I was told by the box office attendant that plenty of tickets remained. To make sure Azteca TV had an audience to film, I saw two credentialed personnel passing out free tickets to anyone interesting in attending the show. When I entered the venue and asked for my credential, I wasn’t on the press list and no one knew who to contact to remedy my dilemma. Fortunately, I caught the attention of the referees (Mora & Nady) and a usher let me in believing I was telling the truth since I knew them.

The first bout was set for 7 pm but actually commenced at 7:40. It was an 8 round contest between heavyweights Ronald Johnson (15-1-4 knockouts) and Sergio Ramirez (14-4-7 knockouts).

It was, by far, the best bout of the evening. Johnson was awarded a unanimous decision with scores of 78-74 x 2 and 79-73. I thought the outcome was a bit closer although Johnson got my nod. Both fighters were rocked and stayed busy from start to finish.

The 31 year old Johnson walked away from boxing a few ago and 2 years ago he got the boxing itch again and now he wants a world title. I doubt if he will ever contend as a heavyweight because he is undersized; but, he might make noise as a cruiserweight if he sheds 30 lbs. He agreed with my evaluation and promised to slim down and fight in the cruiserweight division within the next few months.

In the meantime, he wants to fight Arizona heavyweight B.J. Flores and he called him out even though he doesn’t think Flores will accept his challenge. Johnson is trained by Mike McCallum who knows a bit about titles. The “Body Snatcher” won world titles in 3 different weight divisions and he knows Johnson has a lot of work to do before he even thinks about reaching the top of the boxing mountain.

McCallum (49-5-1-36 knockouts) competed from 1981-1997 and he likes the competitive spirit of Johnson who dedicated his win to a young man currently battling Leukemia. Johnson, winner, of two minor titles called the kid a champion and asked fans to root for the young man.

I talked to McCallum and his fighter at the after party and they agreed Johnson has to be in better condition for his next fight. In his defense, he took the fight on short notice and Ramirez is one tough hombre who had his moments during the 8 round contest.

Johnson greeted fans & sponsors after the victory in the party suite and then went home. He knows he hasn’t won anything yet yet and McCallum agreed.

Main Event: 38 year old Hector Camacho Jr. (58-7-1- 32 knockouts) entered the ring after We Busy (a talented married creative duo) ushered him into the ring with “It’s Macho Time”, a musical variation of “Hammer Time.” Camacho was wearing an expensive custom made Gold & White robe. He signed a contract promising that his weight wouldn’t exceed 164 + 1 lbs. A few days before the bout, he adjusted the contract to read 168 lbs. His official weight was pronounced at 171. His opponent, Orlando Lora (33-7-2-21 knockouts weighed in at 162 lbs.

Lora and his team sat down with me hours before the fight and confidently predicted a knockout win and Lora (through an interpreter) made me promise that I would mention his prediction.

Camacho moved well the first 4 rounds even though his punches weren’t hurting the 36 year old Lora who was patient. By the fifth round, Camacho began to wear down and 12 seconds into the 7th round, Lora landed a powerful overhand right to the head of the Camacho who fell backwards and was unable to get up prompting referee Russell Mora to stop the contest.

After recovering, Hector Jr. talked to Azteca Television but I don’t know if he has decided to end his career, he should.

In the final bout, Manuel Monterio (2-0) dominated super welterweight Michael Williamson in a 4 round bout that was stopped by referee Russell Mora in favor of Monterio.

It wasn’t a great night for boxing but most of the fans were admitted free and concession prices were very reasonable. For example, a hot dog with soda cost $4.00. When the last time, concession prices is was a highlight at an event. In a related incident a pair of white gloves , found by an inspector in the bag of boxing gloves given to the commission , was confiscated not returned to the promoter who said they were a pair of gloves, meant to be autographed.

Bennett also vetoed placing two fights on the card that seemed legitimate. One proposed bout would have pitted Cuban heavyweight sensation Frank Sanchez (2-0) vs. Cashton Young (3-1). Sanchez resume includes almost 100 amateur fights while Young won several amateur titles. Bennett allegedly told McKinn that neither fighter had enough experience to be on the card. I asked McPherson if the obstacles he faced would stop him from returning to Westgate with another show and he said no.

Boxing Notes: The controversy about the official scoring in the Pacquiao/Horn title bout in Brisbane, Australia has been kicked to the curb and flushed down the proverbial toilet after an independent review found no proof of collusion or impropriety with the judging. Arizona Judge Chris Flores and the other two scorers were subjected to hostile and caustic remarks; similar to the type of unbridled salutation extended to writers who don’t blink over criticism. … ……Promoter Sterling McPherson is thinking about producing a series of boxing shows in Arizona; no dates and venue(s) to announce…..Phoenix fighters Daniel Garcia (5-0-2 knockouts , featherweight Edward Ceballos (5-1-1-2 knockouts) and bantamweight Ryan Riddell (5-0-4 knockouts) plan to fight in Mexico on July 28. Fight Hard Promotions, out of Phoenix, is co-promoting the event……. If you can, catch the smoker held at Madison Boxing Gym, 9402 North Central Avenue in Phoenix on Saturday 7/22, first bout starts at 4 PM; call Ricky at 602-434-7770 for more details.

More Stuff: Arizona super bantamweight Paul “Ziggy” Romero (7-0-1) fights undefeated Californian Adam Lopez (7-0-3 knockouts) at Rabobank Theatre on the Victor Ortiz (36-6-2-24 knockouts) vs. Saul Corral (25-9-16 knockouts) card/ 7/29 on Fox 1 Sports…..WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker and I talked about his upcoming September 23 title tiff with Hughie Fury (in London) and the New Zealander told me Fury is faster and moves more than his previous foes. The chat took place in Australia and Parker has no problems talking to members of the press, class act.

McGregor vs. Mayweather: Tickets for the McGregor/Mayweather August 26 Smack Down, hard to call it a professional boxing match, go on sale, Sunday June 24. According to a news release, ducats can be purchased through AXS Tickets (1-888-929-7829) with seat prices starting at $563.75(fees included). Here is a full rundown of remaining prices: $1,627.50, $2,712.50, $3,707.50, $5,425.00, $8,137.50 and $10,850.00; keep in mind, the first beer isn’t free. If you don’t want to put your kids for adoption for a fee to pay for the fight, ordinary fans can catch the event on Showtime (HD) for $99.00 according to published reports.

While the world is anticipating this MMA champion vs. former boxing champion contest, I have reservations about traveling to T Mobile Arena in Vegas to watch the over hyped match; every reporter including the fictitious Clark Kent will apply for a press credential and at least three members of the media will leave the arena with footprints on their foreheads-perhaps an exaggeration!

Yes I am curious and may decide to stay in town and watch the M&M show in Scottsdale, Arizona at the cozy Twin Peaks Bar & Grill on Camelback Rod & 22nd Street in Phoenix. Peak proprietor Andrew Bayless and equal partner Carolyn are adding an extension to the Camelback location to accommodate the match-up on August 26 and I expect the franchise will take the same measure for the Alvarez/GGG battle (at the Camelback location)on September 16; televised on HBO (PPV) from T Mobile Arena. Andy and his wife also operate a second Twin Peaks in Scottsdale and their preliminary thought is to charge a spend minimum of $20.00 instead of paying a cover at the door. Both Peak locations are celebrating Bikini week through 7/22 and the event will give boxing fans a chance to check out the, uh, layout. It is a great spot to watch fights and enjoy food and drinks. ABNN is thinking about making the trek to T Mobile Arena to take in the Canelo/GGG war if credentialed; more on both fights in our next column. 2017 is beginning to look like a great year for boxing.

Phone Call: Arizona welterweight Luis Olivares is alive, well and living in Glendale, Arizona. The 24 year old undefeated pugilist (13-0-9 knockouts) is technically retired but not officially. Luis is taking a sabbatical from boxing until him and his manager (Antonio Gonzalez) resolve business issues. In the meantime, the Arizona boxer is working at the Gent’s Boxing Club in Glendale, Arizona as a fitness instructor.

In a previous column, I alluded to his situation and his girlfriend & expectant mother read my comments and told Luis who decided to call me. Luis doesn’t red much and responding to telephone messages is a chore for him. I had given up hope of ever hearing from him until my phone rang on 7/18 and it was Luis. Thank goodness, I take one 81 mg aspirin daily; otherwise I might have suffered a stroke when he called.

He called to let me know that he was alright and the couple (together for 12 years) is financially and emotionally ready to accept the arrival of Xavier, their first child in October. Luis sends warm regards to his fans and said don’t worry about him because he has strong family support; ABNN wishes him the best and we sincerely hope that he will return to boxing and fulfill his dream of fighting for a championship.

Wild Horse Pass: Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos (18-2-2) suffered a head butt (2nd round) during his battle with southpaw Emmanuel Robles (15-3-1) at Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler, Arizona on July 15. Ramos overcame the accidental nudge to score a 6th round TKO (left hook) over the fighter from San Diego, California who suffered his 3rd consecutive loss.

Ramos faces a 45 day precautionary suspension due to the cut and the Casa Grande, Arizona pugilist hopes to be in the mix for a NABA type title after taking time off to heal.
I asked Jesus Ramos (brother & trainer) why the reported slow start against Robles and the father of Arizona amateur sensation Jesus Ramos JR, told me fighting southpaws can take a little time to figure out. Chris Flores, back from Australia, was the referee of record for the bout.

In the headline bout on the Roy Jones Jr Promotions produced event, Texas super welterweight John Vera JR (17-0-10 knockouts) successfully defended his WBA-NABA USA title belt with a majority decision (95-95, 96-94 x 2) over hard punching Puerto Rican Daniel Rosario Cruz ( 11-3-10 knockouts). The win poses a question to the affable Vera and his management team: is he ready to fight at the next level? The third man in the ring was Wes Melton.

In the co-main, Californian Rico Ramos (28-5) dominated Juan Antonio Lopez (12-3) fighting out of Texas to win the vacant super bantam WBA-NABA title by scores of 98-91 x 2 and 99-90.

Under-card: Phoenix lightweight Guillermo Adolfo Dighero JR (1-0) debuted with a victory over winless Jordan Alvarado (0-3) in a 4 round contest refereed by Anthony Zano. Chicago’s super welterweight Vernon Brown (5-0-4 knockouts) knocked out Daniel Castro JR (0-1) at the 2:07 mark of the 3rd stanza. In a lightweight contest Nevada’s Randy Moreno Ochoa (9-1) knocked out Arizona’s Ivan de la Madrid (3-2) at 1:19 into round 5. Undefeated Vegas bantamweight Max Ornelas (9-0-1) avenged a technical draw with Leopoldo Martinez, recorded earlier this year, in scoring a TKO (2:23 in round 5. The event was shown on Facebook. Special thanks to volunteer stringers who forwarded results from Wild Horse Pass to me while I was out of town on assignment. In my capacity as editor, I made calls to confirm info and add details to the coverage.

Casino Del Sol: Golden Boy Promotions returns to Arizona with a 7 fight card scheduled for Casino Del Sol Casino in Tucson, Arizona on July 29. GBP has done well with shows in Pima County and their latest offering should whet the appetite of boxing fans who watch the event on ESPN 2-ESPN Deportes; same day tape delay or live at Casino Del Sol. Tickets for the show are available at the Casino Del Sol with prices advertised at $45.00-$125.00.

The headline bout features Sadam Ali (24-1-14 knockouts) vs. Johan Perez (23-2) in a 10 round welterweight contest for the vacant WBA-NABA USA belt. The listed co-main pits welterweight Eddie Gomez in an 8 round battle vs. unnamed foe. Arizona favorite Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez (19-5-1-9 knockouts) faces rugged Patrick Teixeira (26-1-22 knockouts) in an 8 round junior middleweight skirmish that may lead to a title opportunity for the winner.

Remaining Bouts: Arizona prospect Alfredo Escarcega Jr. (2-0) meets Rodolfo Games (1-3) in a 4 round junior welterweight challenge. Junior featherweight Pablo Rubio (9-0-3 knockouts) faces a tough 4/6 round challenge in David Perez (8-1-4 knockouts). Junior middleweights Daquan Arnett ((15-1-9 knockouts) and veteran Jorge Silva (22-13-2-18 knockouts) go toe to toe in a scheduled 8 round test. Junior lightweight Miguel Angel Gonzalez (20-2-17 knockouts) is scheduled to fight in a 6 round battle; opponent to be determined.

Commission Answers: Recently, I sent 4 questions to Arizona Boxing Commission Executive Director Juan Estrada that originated from our readers. Public Information Officer Kristian Fasching (Arizona Gaming Department) returned the answers and we hope the response from Mr. Estrada satisfies curious boxing fans who sent in questions.

(1) How do you review the performances of Arizona boxing judges and how do they obtain their position?
JE: Performances are reviewed after each event. Judges are required to receive acceptable training prior to working an event for the Division of Boxing/MMA.

(2) Are they subject to dismissal upon review and what is the length of their tenure and is it mandated?

JE: While the judges would technically be subject to dismissal, the Division of Boxing would prefer to seek out other remedies (additional trainings, suspension, etc.) before dismissing a judge. There is no mandated tenure, nor is there a specific length of tenure.

(3) Do they have to pass an eye exam and can they be related to a fighter or any member of his/her team involved in a bout they are working?

JE: There is no specific eye exam requirement for judges. The onus is on a judge to notify the Division of any conflict of interest regarding family members. The Division would consider the circumstances and other pertinent information when determining whether any such conflict would interfere with a judge’s objectivity/ability to judge in a fair manner.

(4) Are judges compensated and if so, how much?

JE: Judges are compensated. The amount of compensation varies by event.

Nevada Response: I had the opportunity to introduce myself to Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett at a boxing show in Nevada recently and the former judge agreed to respond to questions emailed to him upon my return to Phoenix. Here are the questions and responses without editing his answers:

ABNN: Your organization approved the upcoming August 26 boxing match between UFC Champion fighter Connor McGregor (0-0 record as a boxer and retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather (49-0 record as a boxer) at T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas-what factored into your decision to approve the bout?
BB: As Executive Director I see no reason why this fight is not approvable.

ABNN: Did the popularity of the fighters and commercial viability play an important role in making your decision?

BB: None whatsoever, the health and safety of the fighters will always come first.

ABNN: Did you watch McGregor box before making your final decision?

BB: Yes, on three independent occasions, McGregor as a youth was involved in kickboxing, plus UFC 202 McGregor vs. Diaz. Several lower leg kicks but primarily a striking (boxing) fight. According to world class trainer Virgil Hunter, Diaz has previously been a sparring partner for three professional fighters: Andre Ward (168), Brandon Gonzalez (175) and Andrew Fonfara (175). Trainer Virgil Hunter provided the aforementioned regarding Diaz and stated Diaz had the ability to be a world class boxer.
In UFC 202 McGregor knocked down Diaz several times and proved to have a solid chin.

ABNN: Was the ge of Mayweather and his boxing activity taken into consideration?

BB: Yes because he has been inactive for 2 years, and he is 12 years older coming out of retirement.

ABNN: Has your office received any negative feedback about the sanctioning of this bout?

BB: Yes

ABNN: Thank you for your time!

BB: Thank you for your interest and have a nice day.

Jurisprudence: On July 12, a 9 person jury ruled that Arizona Boxing Trainer Danny Carbajal engaged in fraudulent behavior when he transferred Carbajal’s 9th Street Gym and adjacent parcel to the Sheriff’s Youth Assistance Foundation in 2011. Mr. D Carbajal (Defendant) was taken to court by his estranged brother, 6 time world champion Michael Carbajal (Plaintiff).

The verdict in the civil case means that Danny Carbajal will be removed as a board member and director at the historical gym that is identified as an integral part of the champ’s legacy.

After the Jury’s ruling, defense attorney Jacques Blackwell was granted the right to draft a “Reconsideration” letter to presiding judge John Hannah within 5 business days; the deadline has passed and we haven’t been able to confirm the status of Blackwell plea.

As sole director, Michael Carbajal can now proceed in naming two new board members and expand his goal of serving the Arizona boxing community. Attorney Glenn B. Hotchkiss worked the case on behalf of the Plaintiff. ABNN covered the 2 ½ day trial and we are expecting a statement from the plaintiff and will covey its’ sentiment when we receive the press release…..Until Next Time!

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