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Final Thoughts from Down Under, RJJ Show & Sad News

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Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith:

Boxing Fans,after a week in Brisbane, Australia; I am back and ready to resume my role as editor of Arizona Boxing News & Notes. A journalistic colleague of mine chided me for going to the land of down under telling me it was a waste of time and money to attend and cover Horn/Pacquiao fight and he looked at me as if I should be committed to a facility for the disillusioned.Oh, international visitors need a visa and passport before embarking on a trip to the Down Under Country. I got my last minute visa with help from Deborah, Delta Airlines customer service facilitator at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.

He went on to wrongfully predict that Manny Pacquiao would be celebrating his first knockout victory since he scored a 12th round TKO over Miguel Cotto on November 14, 2009 at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas. On July 6, it was Jeff Horn who received the key to the city of Brisbane and a parade down Queen Street in a city that was beaming with pride after watching their native son on PPV win the WBO welterweight title from a legend who showed the effects of “father time”. Manny didn’t hang around to discuss his defeat on the dais with Horn; but, he admitted before he left the ring that the decision was in the hands of the judges.  When he arrived home in the Philippines, the fighting Senator told fans he thought he won.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum (Top Rank) told members of the media at the post fight conference that the Horn/Pacquiao fight was the most widely viewed boxing show in history. If true, the record was achieved because ESPN showed the event to its subscribers without a PPV price tag and Australia and New Zealand showed it on a PPV basis. In addition, a number of pubs reported showing it to overflow crowds. The marketing strategy deployed by Top Rank and co-promoter Duco Events proved to be brilliant.

Despite his mixed performance, the fighting Senator had his supporters who thought the 11 time world champion was robbed. On air ESPN commentators Teddy Atlas and Stephen A Smith roasted the referee and three judges for their performances. The official scores were 115 -113 x 2 and 117-11. Two of the judges were American while one was Argentinean. Atlas is someone I usually agree with and I thanked him for his past contributions to boxing at the weigh-in. In my opinion, Smith is a biased talking head with a flair for grandstanding.

Arizona boxing judge Chris Flores scored the bout 115-113 in favor of Horn; identical to my score and Flores is known as a consummate professional. We said hi to each other at the official weigh-in on Saturday July 1.

When I arrived home on 7/6 my in-box was filled with emails and the majority of the emails and voice mails came from irate boxing fans who demanded that I blast the decision in my column and suggest new judges and a different referee if the rematch clause is activated.

Bob Arum (Top Rank CEO and promoter for Pacquiao) isn’t sure “Pac-Man” will continue fighting citing his schedule as a senator in the Philippines. “ I don’t know if he has time” to prepare anymore stated Arum who became introduced to boxing when he became Muhammad Ali’s tax attorney and later came his promoter. At 85, the founder of Top Rank is still promoting and shows no signs of slowing down. I would like to thank channel 7 (Australia) for showing excerpts from my interview s with Arum, Michael Conlan and Jeff Horn to their viewers. I was stopped on the street by a few people who recognized me from the telecast.

Since the s Arum statement, Pacquiao has led some supporters to believe he will dance with the “Hornet” one more time. Pacquiao’s payday netted the 11 time world champion 10 million dollars while Horn was paid $500,000.00. He will surely replace his 2005 Toyota and make a larger sum from a possible rematch.

Fight Time: On Sunday morning, the day of the titlefight in Brisbane, I got up early, 5 am. Suncorp Stadium, site of the event, was visible from the sidewalk in front of my hotel. Unfortunately there is no direct line to anything in Brisbane.  What should have been a 3-5 block walk stretched into what felt like 2-3miles and city transportation is expensive by American standards.

I ate a light breakfast on the way and arrived outside the venue at 7:30 AM. Gates open at 8 AM. At least 75-100 people showed up to take pictures and pose with a pair of giant yellow colored gloves, with caricatures of the two fighters, 50-60 yards in front of the stadium.

The first night was scheduled for 9 AM. Who watches boxing at 9 AM on a Sunday morning, not many. I asked for a bout sheet and no one seemed to know what a bout sheet was. I described it and one volunteer usher got on his walkie talkie and asked for one. 40 minutes later, a multi colored coded sheet of paper with the names and fighter info was handed to me by a man who apologized for the delay. He asked me to understand that Australia was “cowboy country” and there was a lot they didn’t understand.

By now, two fights were in the books: Australian junior welterweight Brent “Sugar Dames upped his record to 6-3 with a unanimous victory over Jonel “Pacquiao” Dapidran (8-2) from the Philippines and hard punching Aussie Brock Jarvis (10-0) knocked out Rasmanudin (20-20) from Indonesia. In a battle for the WBO International light heavyweight title, Australian Daniel Hooper ((13-1) beat defending champion Umar Salamov (19-1) by scores of 96-94 x 3. The crowd erupted when Hooper’s hand was raised in victory; it was a mild upset.

An hour before  American Shane (The Superman) Mosley Jr fought David Troussaint (11-0), two fans approached me and asked who I favored win and I stumbled to answer. I had seen Mosley fight twice. The first time he lost badly to a no name in Phoenix, Arizona and the second time he knocked out a weak opponent in Las Vegas.  My advice was to take Troussaint and it was an entertaining fight with Mosley absorbing his second loss to go with his 10 victories. The fan bet and won $500.00, he thanked me verbally not monetarily.  To his credit, Mosley has improved considerably.

Top Ranks latest protégé Michael Conlan (3-0-3 knockouts) scored a third round TKO over Australia’s 126 lb. Jarrett Owen (5-5) in a six round bout. I asked Bob Arum at the post fight presser if Top Rank was putting Conlan on a fast track similar to path traveled by WBO Featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko and he smiled and talked about Lomachenko for two minutes. Conlan is good but there is only one Lomachenko who won two Gold Olympic Medals and is now a world champion. When Arum talked about his star boxer, a wide smile spread across his face; Lomachenko is money in the bank. Conlan, a highly regarded prospect represented Ireland in the 2016 andwas eliminated early with a controversial loss that prompted him to flip off officials.

The sub main event saw IBF world Junior Bantamweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas (27-1-1-18 knockouts) methodically wear down his Japanese Challenger Teiru “Super Pegasus”” Kinoshita (25-2-1-8 knockouts) until a flurry of body and head and body shots in the 7th round ended the bout at 1:53 into the round.  It was a dramatic win for Ancajas who hails from the Philippines.

The Main Event:After the Bantamweight Championship bout, the crowd began to swell and the heat from the sun became an annoyance. July is winter in Brisbane; but on this historic day, the temperature rose beyond 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it felt much warmer and very humid. The crowd was raucous and very festive. An attractive woman I didn’t know came over to me and kissed me on un-expecting lips. It was symbolic of the buzz in the air. Australians do pour freely. I blinked and continued to take notes.

Celebrated Announcer Michael Buffer brought both fighters into the ring and bellowed those famous five words; fans have grown accustomed to hearing:” Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”. Buffer told me during a brief chat that he doesn’t do any special in preparing his voice for an event: “just wake up and do it.”

Jeff Horn, the challenger, was very aggressive in the beginning. Referee Mark Nelson was lenient in letting Horn crowd Pacquiao -who seemed out of sync in the early rounds. I had Horn ahead 5 rounds to 2 after 7 and his head butting and holding definitely got Pacquiao’s attention. Manny served a pair of low blows that weren’t called. It was a rough afternoon in Brisbane.

Manny rallied in the 8th and almost put Horn away in the ninth round with a series of left hooks that opened a huge gash around Horn’s right eye. Referee Mark Nelson took a look at the eye and told the Australian further damage to the eye would end the bout.

Horn protected the eye in the 10th somewhat; but I still gave the round to the 11 time world champion. Going into the final two rounds, it was Manny’s fight to win; but he was dead tired and got outworked by Horn, 9 years younger and much bigger.

It was a good entertaining fight and the best man, on that night, won. There is a rematch clause in the contract and if enacted the sequel could take place in Melbourne in November. Brisbane isn’t a viable option because of the heat and humidity during that time of the year.

Overall, I was impressed with the city of Brisbane described as a village by several residents I spoke too.  It is a modern city with all of the amenities expected by foreign tourists including a barbershop that promised haircuts performed by topless hair stylists.  I got a haircut in Phoenix before I left, honest.

I spent the first three nights in a Hostel (YHA) located near the fight venue. On Sunday night (11 PM) after walking back from the event, I found a new guest had checked into my room and mistook my locker for a urinal and emptied his bladder, scoring a direct hit on a pair of my shoes and shirt inside the storage unit. The perpetrator was crashed in my bunk, sound asleep.  Management agreed to afford me use of a washer and drier and I decided to checkout at 3 AM on Monday morning after my clothes and shoes were ready to pack.  At 6 AM, I checked into the George Williams Hotel on George Street where I stayed comfortably the next two days.

When I returned to Arizona, a survey request from the Hostel was in my in-box and the facility wanted me to critique my stay. I forwarded my horrible experience and received a thank you from management and a promised to print my caustic critique; it was printed.

I give Brisbane high marks for making tourists welcome. 2 Sorelle, a cozy café and carvery, became a favorite food stop for me and I thank the owners and staff for a well-remembered welcome.  A Carvery is a restaurant where cooked meat is freshly sliced for customers, sometimes offering unlimited servings for a fixed price.

I didn’t sample everything but I enjoyed a cup of Piazza d’oro coffee (Dutch) and a Tim Tam Bar in the mornings and the lunch menu offers diverse and fresh selections. Also, the freshly made cheese cake deserves high marks.   The owners, Greek heritage, are friendly and were willing to give me directions and advice during my stay. I decided to omit their names because it would be unfair not to mention the entire staff and I failed to ascertain all of the servers’ names.  July is a good time to visit Brisbane with normal temperatures fluctuating between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a long flight from Phoenix to Brisbane; but, I felt very comfortable with my decision to fly VirginAustralia Airlines, operated by Delta Airlines-enjoy your flight, mates.

RJJ Show:  Super-Welterweight John Vera Jr. (16-0-10 knockouts) will defend his NABA title against Daniel Rosario (11-2-10 knockouts) on July 15 in Chandler, Arizona at the Wild Horse Pass Casino. A second title tilt on the card pits Rico Ramos ((27-5-13 knockouts) vs. Tony Lopez (12-2) to fill the vacant WBA-NABA super bantamweight title. Boxing fans who can’t make the trek to Chandler can watch the event on Facebook

According to a recent press release, 7 fights are scheduled and the undercard is very intriguing and we are pleased Roy Jones Promotions has added 3 Arizona fighters to the playbill and it is possible, although not confirmed, that Arizona amateur standout Chris Sullivan may make his professional debut on the card.

Special bout: PopularArizona Welterweight Abel Ramos (17-2-2-12 knockouts) challenges California’s Emmanuel Robles (15-2-4 knockouts). Ramos lost to Ivan Baranchyk (16-0-10 knockouts) on Showtime in February and perhaps a victory over Robes would earn him a rematch with the tough Russian fighter.

Nevada super featherweight Randy Moreno (8-1- 7 knockouts) takes on underrated Ivan De La Madrid (4-1-0 knockouts) from Phoenix Arizona. It is a puncher vs. boxer encounter that will test the mettle of both fighters.

Chicago’s Vernon Brown (3-0-2 knockouts) wowed Arizona boxing fans with a knockout victory at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theater last month.  The impressive young welterweight is scheduled for a 4 bout against a TBA opponent. Heralded light heavyweight prospect Adrian Taylor will display his skills in a 4 round bout; a search continues for his opponent. Arizona lightweight Guillermo Dighero Jr. makes his professional debut in a four rounder with Jordan Alvarado (0-2).  Tickets are priced $25.00-$100.00 and if purchased on the day of the fight; expect to pay an additional 5 spot. Doors open at 6:30 PM with 1st bell set for 7:30 PM. Good seats still remain. Dighero & Madrid train at Busted Knuckle Boxing in Phoenix.

Roy Jones International Turnament: Sorry we couldn’t obtain the names of all the kids who won at last month’s Roy Jones International boxing tournament in Las Vegas; we tried, however we can print the names of several champions from Arizona who won 1st place trophies: Moises Rosales (Fuentes Boxing), Myron Bridges (Unattached), and 5 members from the Mendoza boxing team-Fernando Martinez, Kevin Morales, Alex Martinez, Gabriel Martinez and Marquez Silva. Coaches and fighters should email ABNN at dswriter1928@gmail.comwith info for the column.Myron Bridges and Moises Rosales cornered me at the Salvation Army tournament over the weekend and told me about their success; both kids have a bright future ahead of them and their parents should be very proud f them. Martinez has a good shot at making the 2020 USA Olympic team. In our opinion,Bridges will develop into a very good professional fighter if he continues to improve.

Boxing News: In a bit of a pleasant surprise for Arizona boxing fans, Native son and boxing sensation David Benavidez (18-0-17 knockouts) will be fighting Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1-24 knockouts) for the vacant WBC super-middleweight title.  Date and location to be determined but an inside source tells ABNN that the fight appears to be a fit for a night in October.  A win for the 20 year old Benavidez would establish him as the third native born Arizonian to win a world title. Luis Espinoza was the first followed by Michael Carbajal; two extraordinary fighters and contributors to the Arizona boxing community. David is a class act and special talent; we wish him the best.

Callum Smith (22-0-17 knockouts) was scheduled to fight Dirrell; but, decided to opt out and fight in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series.  He hopes to fight WBA Super Middleweight titlist GeorgeGroves in the series final. In the WBS series, 16 fighters-eight super middleweights and 8 cruiserweights-will compete in a bracket style elimination tournament. In both divisions, there will be quarter finals (September/October 2017) two semifinals (Early 2018) and one final (May 2018), making for a total 18 career making bouts; more details, forthcoming. Event will be televised.

Sad News: Popular Mexican boxer David “Destroyer” Lopez (42-16-1-24 knockouts) was gunned down in Nogales, Sonora, his hometown.  Lopez and a friend were riding in a truck when they were attacked by a shower of bullets from armed unknown killer(s) in the La Brisa Colony on Friday July 7. Two weeks prior, the older brother of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. was shot and killed by robbers. We extend our condolences to his (Lopez) family and hope justice will be achieved. The passenger riding with Lopez remains hospitalized in serious condition. The shootings don’t bode well for tourism in Mexico and some Americans are now re-thinking about fighting in Mexico…..Arizona boxing trainer Danny Carbajal is a facing DUI charges  + 4 other minor traffic infractions  after a routine late night stop on June 27 in Phoenix. The convicted felon is spending more time in courts than he is in the gym as trainer. On Monday & Tuesday (7/10-11) he was in court as a defendant in a civil case. 3-4 members of his family accompanied the beleaguered trainer on both days.  His mug shot is scary!

We report the court’s decision in our next issue. The Plaintiff is six time world champion Michael Carbajal and at least 15 of his friends and supporters were on hand to watch the proceedings each day. The jury is scheduled to render a decision on Wednesday 7/12.

Community Rally: Upon hearing the plight of Arizona welterweight Luis Olivares (13-0-9 knockouts), members of the boxing community are tinkering with the idea of raising money for the 24 year old who becomes a first time father in September. Olivares, it appears, has been hung out to dry by his boxing manager and the young pugilist has retired in retaliation. His last fight was kin December of 2016 and his manager in Florida isn’t responding to is job and financial needs. In my opinion, Luis won’t ask for help; so the community needs to get busy and do the right thing.

Luis is currently training boxers for a bit of folding money; but, bringing a child into the world is expensive. If anyone can spare a dime or create a plan to help, call 602-702-7053.

Westgate Casino Show: Boxing Promoter Sterling McPherson and Matchmaker Peter McKinn 111 are looking for fighters to fill future fight card dates to be shown on Azteca America Television Network. Interested pugilists should call 702-802-8799 for further details. 1st show in the series is set for Friday on July 14 at the Westgate Casino, 300 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas Nevada.

In the headline bout, 39 year old middleweight Hector Camacho Jr. (58—6-32 knockouts) returns from a four year boxing hiatus to take on Orlando “Olympic” Lora (32-7—21 knockouts) in a 10 round contest. Making weight has been a weighty issue for Camacho who has agreed on acontract weight of 164 + 1 lbs.

The co-main features Ronald “The Dream” Johnson (13-1-3 knockouts) versus Sergio “Toto” Ramirez (14-3-7 knockouts) in an 8 round light heavyweight bout.

Under-Card:Mayweather welterweight protégé Charles Holyfield (6-2-3 knockouts) meets Ja’Mykle (3-1-1-1 knockout) in a 6 round tussle.  3 four round bouts are scheduled on the “Knockout Live” boxing menu: Andrei Odense (1-0-1 Knockout) and Errol Jones (1-0-1 knockout) square off in a battle of 172 pounders. Manuel Monteiro (1-0-1 knockouts) and Mario Perez (2-1-0 knockouts) go toe to toe in a 141 lb. contest.  Also, Cuban boxing prospect Frank Sanchez-Faure (2-0-0 knockouts) puts his undefeated record on the line against fellow heavyweight Oswaldo Ortega Pina (3-5-1- 1 knockout).  Ticket prices range from $25.00-$110.00 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster and the Westgate Box Office.  Hotel reservations for the “Knockout Live” show can be made by calling702-732-5116.

According to Camacho manager Manny Henderson this event is being filmed in conjunction with a reality show that’s is currently viewed on Azteca America and based on Hector’s return to boxing. Knockout Live is a Sterling McPherson Promotion.

Boxing Speak: Arizona’s torrid summer heat is making it tough on local non-air-conditioned gyms to stay open…..We hear that local trainer Andrew Soto is training his boxing team at C&J boxing on Thomas Road in Phoenix….coaching coach Juan Mendoza is looking for a gym to house his boxers….Light heavyweight contender Trevor McCumby (Busted Knuckle) has been suspended for unknown reasons. We wish the #5 ranked light heavy  the best….. Lightweight Mario Esparza (4-0-1-1 knockout) turns 23 on August 27. Mario hasn’t fought in two years but is in the gym sparring with welterweight contender Abel Ramos and our sources say the young man finally has his head on straight and looking sharp against Ramos. We wish him the best in his comeback attempt; there has never been any doubt about his potential; he just made some bad personal decisions….. Phoenix middleweight Joey Ruelas is non-committal on his comeback plans; for now he is happy training his sons.Arizona Boxing Trainer Danny Carbajal is on record stating that Keenan Carbajal (his Grandson) will become a world champion by the end of this year. He must be smoking fried and dried Monarch Butterfly wings. Keenan’s record stands at a soft 14-2-2.

More News:20 year old Arizona flyweight Adrian Servin has called out all fighters who are now professional that tried out for the 2016 Olympics in his weight class. He has found one and “Sharkey” hopes to face him on the next Iron Boy Card at the Celebrity Theatre. ABNN will fill in the blanks in our next issue….Phoenix Middleweight Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez (19-5-1-9 knockouts) is scheduled to fight Patrick Teixeira (26-1-22 knockouts on Golden Boy’s Casino Del Sol Card in Tucson on July 29. The headline bout isa match between Sadam Ali (24-1-14 knockouts) vs. Johan Perez (22-3-4-15 knockouts) for the vacant WBA NABA welterweight title. Also ready for the Tucson Show is a super welterweight battle between Daquan Arnett and Jorge Silva…..Maryvale fan favorite Paul “Ziggy” Romero (7-0-1)  travels to Bakersfield California  to fight Adam Lopez (7-0) at the Rabo Bank Theatre on July 30….Arizona super welterweight Eben Vargas (5-0-3 knockouts) has been added to the Casino Del Sol card in Tucson. Golden Boy Promotions has taken a liking to the slick boxer and so have we; but, adoption is out of the question…..Lily Keating (Busted Knuckle) won gold in Colorado at the JO Nationals; so, did Victoria Gaytan, Jameel Maldonado, Andrew Corona and Bryant Miranda. Elijah Garcia (Hammer Boxing) won silver at the event. We had to beg, borrow and steal to put together our list. If we missed anyone who medaled; we are sorry!

Salvation Army Tournament: On Saturday, July 9, I traveled to the Kroc Center(Broadway& 10th Street in Phoenix) to watch 22 bouts; one resulted in a walkover.  Micky Scala (Broadway Boxing) won best malebout honors with his win over Fabian Montes (Arizona Boxing Club).Vivian Perez (Salvation Army) won female bout honors with a hard fought win over Hermoine Delatorre (Rodrigues Boxing).

In addition to Scala and Perez, we salute the following champions:  Juan Ramirez (Rodriguez Boxing), FranciscoAdan (Duckey Boy Boxing),  Anthony Hernandez (Arizona Boxing Club), Angel Urieta (Arizona Boxing Club), Rafael Andrade (Unattached), Steven Shareef (Arizona Boxing Club),  Alejandro Gomez (Rodriguez Boxing), Farid Ngoga (Hard Knocks Gym), Xechad Xavier Oros (Arizona Boxing Club), *Hubert Mason (Busted Knuckle Gym),  Aaron Garcia (Fuentes Boxing), Simeon Duckey (Duckey Boxing), Jason Rios (G&M Boxing), Carlos Romero (Miller’s Boxing Gym), Francisco Ruiz (Red Nation), Hugo Ruiz (Pereida Boxing Club), Aaron Williams (Martillo Boxing), Julian Rodriguez (Miller’s Boxing Gym) and Issac Gallego (Unattached). Volunteers are needed to work amateur boxing events, call

* ABNN would like to acknowledge the awesome punching power of  light heavyweight newcomer Hubert Mason and we are glad his son is out of the hospital.** Our prayers go out to the daughter  (Mary Alice)of USA Boxing Official Richard Soto and his wife. She is spending a lengthy time (two weeks) in a localhospital and we wish her the best; the Soto family is a community asset. ……Next amateur show in Phoenix is scheduled for Saturday 7/15 at the Central Gym, Van Buren & 17th Avenue. 1st bout starts at noon; hydrate please! Cal Tom Garcia at 602-481-0689…..Until Next Time!

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