This evening on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the conglomerate of A&T Gym, Barron Entertainment, Paco Presents and The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will present Battle off the Saddle, a special edition of the popular Ringside at Del Mar boxing series to be staged in the concert area adjacent to the Del Mar racetrack immediately following the last horse race (approximately 7:15 p.m.).
Ringside at Del Mar is the pro boxing series with shows held every other month throughout the year on the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
This will be the first time a live professional boxing event has been added to the race meet’s promotional lineup and surprisingly reserved ringside seats are still available at www.ringsideatdelmar.com. Included in your admission is the free racetrack admission. The first thoroughbred race is scheduled to go at 2 p.m.
On their Boxing Card they’ve added a grudge match between two of the jockeys in what is being billed as the “Battle Off The Saddle.” In keeping with the sport’s nicknaming tradition, they have Elvis Raul “Heartbreak” Trujillo battling Corey “Knock Out” Nakatani with a portion of the proceeds going to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund.
Trujillo, born October 7, 1983, is a native of Panama City, Panama. He’s listed at 5’1” tall and weighing 112 pounds. He made the cross-country relocation from Florida to California back in May and is in his first season at Del Mar. He is best known for riding Maryfield to victory in the 2007 Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Trujillo began his riding career in his native Panama and then Mexico City before emigrating to the United States in 2001 where that fall he got his first win at Hollywood Park.
In 2009, he was the leading rider at Monmouth Park with 129 wins in 601 starts to beat out Eddie Castro, Carlos H. Marquez, Jr., and Joe Bravo in the overall standings.
The story goes that when the idea of a boxing match featuring two of the jockeys was presented to the Del Mar colony, Nakatani, a champion high school wrestler and low-handicap golfer who never met an athletic challenge he didn’t like, immediately volunteered.
“Nobody wanted to fight Corey,” said Trujillo, “but since I’m the new guy here, I don’t know that much about him, so I said I’d do it.”
Trujillo stated he’s been in the ring before. But when asked about his record he referenced less formal situations. “I fought in the streets of Panama all the time. I won a couple and I lost a couple. It was a poor and rough neighborhood where I grew up, and you have to survive.” As boxing fans will recall this was the same environment that spawned one of the greatest boxers of all time, Panama’s Roberto Duran.
Truth be known, this bout is an exhibition in name only. Nakatani and Trujillo have a dislike for one another that stems from their on-track competition and they’re taking this opportunity to settle things. When not working out horses, both have been training hard at local boxing gyms.
Training sessions have revealed this bout will be your classic puncher, vs. boxer, attitude vs. talent showdown. Nakatani looks to smack anything that moves, while Trujillo shows surprising form and technique stemming from previous ring experience.
“I’m pretty fast and I’m going to hit him with the jab, go in and out, and side to side,” said Tujillo. “I know this guy can hit pretty hard, but he is 43 years old and over three rounds, he’s going to get tired faster than I will. I’ll take advantage of my speed and my age.”
Trujillo is currently tied for third with jockey Mike Smith in the Del Mar jockey standings with 26 wins, just one behind Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux and four behind the two-time defending champion Rafael Bejarano. Nakatani is all the way down in the 10th spot, with only 13 wins.
However, Nakatani, born, raised and living in Covina, CA, has had an outstanding Hall of Fame career, rode many of the top horses to win over 3,650 races, everything but the Kentucky Derby after 15 attempts. And, how many golfing buddies do you know that have a three handicap? In tonight’s boxing match you can be certain neither man is going to take a step back.
In the eight round Main Event they have WBC Caribbean Champion Ruben “El Cobra” Garcia (10-0-1, 5 KOs) of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico taking on battle-tested, 31 year-old Javier “El Bravo” Gallo (21-9-1, 12 KOs) of Buena Park, CA by way of Tijuana, B. C., Mexico. Forget the unblemished record, Garcia is now taking a major challenge with this step up in competition.
The ring savvy Gallo has been in there with the likes of Alejandro Martinez, Vic Darchinyan, Khabir Suleymanov and in his last bout he fought Carlos Carlson at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA for the WBC Latino Title. More than a few ringside observers thought Gallo had gotten the best of Carlson who won by decision.
Also on the card is a four round light heavyweight bout featuring Manuel “El Venado” Ceballos (2-0-0, 2 KOs) of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico looking to keep his record perfect when taking on revenge minded Jerome Buchanon (0-1-0) of Los Angeles, CA by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Back on February 21 of this year Ceballos and Buchanon, a southpaw, traded punches at a furious pace with Ceballos landing the cleaner, harder shots to end up with an early second round stoppage.
Next, they have super lightweight Reymundo Benavides of San Marcos, CA making his pro debut against 22 year-old Rick Quevedo of Palm Springs, CA who in June lost in his debut against David Figueroa (1-0). The highly touted Benavides trains at Rhino’s Boxing in Vista, CA under the tutelage of Bernie Nevarez and son Brian Nevarez.
Next, they have a four rounder between Ali Gonzalez (5-2-0-1 KO) of Tijuana going up against 27 year-old Raymond “Bad Boy” Chacon (5-8) of Northridge, CA. With both fighters being flashy southpaws, this one should be a dandy. The only caution for Chacon is the discovery Gonzalez should be bigger come fight time. All of his 13 previous bouts have been at either featherweight or super featherweight while Chacon usually fights at bantamweight and super bantamweight.
The final match-up features two club fighters 37 year-old light welterweight Yair “Pulpo” Aguiar of Culican, Sinaloa, Mexico (13-21-1-5 KOs) taking on 35 year-old Mario Angeles (1-5-1) of Chula Vista, CA by way of Mexico City, Mexico.
With Aguiar being the much busier fighter and fighting the tougher opponents, you would think he has a decided advantage in this matchup.