On Friday evening at the Salon Mezzanine in Tijuana the patrons were treated to a sampling of all that boxing has to offer. Two bouts clouded in controversy, a heavyweight match featuring a 303 lbs. colossus, several flashy up and comers, one a Cuban sensation Marco Forestal, the other Jeremiah Wiggins from Las Vegas, showman Repo Ric accompanied Justin Mayweather Jones, the usual border war between the San Diego and Tijuana fighters, plus a super featherweight clash between Alfredo Pitta of Tijuana defending the home turf against Adam Fiel from far away Vacaville, Calif. who was representing his Filipino heritage.
In case you didn’t know it, having the perfect boxing event involves a great many details – a classy venue, a matchmaker par excellence, a great matchup in both the Main Event and co-feature, one or possibly two unexpected upsets, a ring announcer with a bellowing voice to take charge, a minimum of two thought provoking commentators, the dedicated officials, melodious, uplifting music, fun people in the crowd, great food and beverages, beautiful women, a show that moves along so quickly that no one ever considers checking their timepiece, sponsorship, plus interest from the TV networks. In just their third year, the Borizteca Boxing Management Group is fast approaching this high standard.
Without further ado, here are some of the fight photos from last night’s extravaganza just across the border in Tijuana.
In Bout #1, it was Christopher Lovejoy (303 pounds, 6’5″ tall) from Los Angeles in his Pro debut taking on the much shorter Aaron Franco (220½ lbs.) and basically having his way up until the referee’s stoppage at the 1:18 mark of round one. With Lovejoy being so tall, Franco’s repeated, failed attempts to reach up and hit Lovejoy in the face reminded you of a youngster in grade school who repeatedly tries to jump up and touch the basketball net. It never happened. But Mr. Lovejoy had no problem shooting his straighter punches down on Franco’s head.
In Bout #2 the paternal half-brother of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Justin Mayweather Jones (148¾ lbs.), now 3-0 after taking care of Alfred Tisdale Sr. (147 lbs.) who was making his pro debut at the tender age of 50. This one was over in a flash, 1:24 of round one.
Bout #3 featured Javier Lazaret’s destruction of Juan Eduardo Cuevas, who’s unusual, bouncy footwork reminded many of the style employed by Cantiflas in his boxing movie. Even though both were making their Pro-debut, you couldn’t help but pull for Cuevas who at first was quite competitive – lunging in and out to deliver an unpredictable punch. That strategy came to a grinding halt as soon as the more polished Lazaret found his range.
In Bout #4 it was Jeremiah Wiggins (red gloves, 154 lbs., 2-0) from Las Vegas, Nevada making quick work (2:18 of round one) of a late replacement Jesus Valdez (blue gloves, 156½ lbs, 0-7) from Tijuana, B. C., Mexico.
In Bout #5 it was Jorge “El Bandido” Escalante (176 lbs., 3-0-1) of San Diego doing battle with Gabriel “Black Mamba” Ojeda (174 lbs., 1-0) of Tijuana. Just seconds before the one minute mark of round one, Escalante had landed these consecutive, big, overhand rights to the left side of Ojeda’s face, as they say on the sweet spot – Ojeda’s chin.
In round one of Bout #6 between super lightweights Armanado Tovar (137¾ lbs., 2-0, 2 KOs) of San Diego and Alejandro Castenada (136½ lbs., 0-0) of Tijuana, it’s likely Castenada outworked Tovar to earn a 10-9 score. In round two with both boxers banging away, Tovar, caught off-guard, got hit by a right cross resulting in what is calmly referred to a flash knockdown. Tovar, with his presence of mind, immediately went to one knee to await the referee’s 8-count. Even though Tovar was kneeling down on the canvas, Castenada continued to pummel Tovar first with a right cross and then a left hook to the head. The lagging referee, Juan Manuel Morales Lee, called out to Castenada to stop and eventually had to pull back on his left arm to stop him. Angered, the ref looked sternly at Castenada and shouted, “You must listen,” and then pointed to his own ear. Then Lee proceeded to give Tovar his standing eight-count but at no time did he deduct a point or points from the overly aggressive Castenada for his infraction.
The wording of the rule concerning “Hitting an opponent while he is down: 1) if an intentional foul occurs and does not stop the fight, the referee must take a point or points away from the boxer who committed the infraction. It also gives the referee the authority, under his discretion, to 2) either warn, take away points or disqualify an offending boxer. If Lee had taken a point away from Castenada as he should have, then the eventual scores from the three judges for this second round would all have been the same – 9-8 for Castenada based on their scoring the knockdown. Instead, Lee failed to take a point away – even though Tovar had been stricken, not once but twice after being down. Whether Tovar was hit twice or possibly just once will be discovered when they view the made for TV video replay of the fight.
With the obvious gross infraction (twice hitting a man while he is down) and it’s resulting two-point penalty, it’s likely all three scorecards would have ended up favoring Tovar instead of Castenada. With just a one-point penalty, the minimum that Castenada should have received, it is possible Tovar would have received a 37-37, 37-37, 38-36 Draw.
Going in a different direction, if Tovar had been unable to continue due to the two blows administered by Castenada while Tovar was on one knee, it’s certain Castenada would have been disqualified. Without a point penalty from Lee, the judges had no recourse but to score the second round a 10-8 for Castenada which led to Castenada’s split decision win. With the undefeated Tovar petrified that he might lose, he dominated Castenada in both the third and fourth rounds. As a matter of fact, the last round was so one-sided it’s a wonder all three judges didn’t give Tovar a 10-8 round in the final stanza.
On the same night, there was a second controversial decision which drew the ire of the crowd. This one involved Fernando Renteria who was the referee in Bout #8 which had Jose Toribio (114¾, 6-2, 1 KO) of San Diego going up against Alejandro “Darwin” Vazquez (114¾, 1-1, 1 KO) of Tijuana. Like the appeal in Bout #6, this appeal will have to wait until the video of the fight can be viewed to confirm the cause of a cut over Toribio’s right eye. Upon review, the Toribio camp is certain there will be proof positive that Vazquez caused the nasty cut with a head butt and not a punch. The resulting gash led to the fight doctor advising Renteria to stop the bout and thus rule a TKO victory for Vazquez. What makes this so unfair, Toribio was ahead on all three scorecards.
Rules concerning an Unintentional/accidental injury: When a boxer suffers a cut, abrasion, or excessive swelling due to an unintentional/accidental head butt and the bout cannot continue, there will not be a point deduction and it is considered a technical draw if before the start of the 5th round. This of course was a four rounder. If there is an injury caused by a legal punch and the bout is stopped due to that injury, it is a TKO. When a boxer suffers a cut, abrasion, or excessive swelling due to an intentional head butt, and the bout cannot continue, the offending boxer will lose by disqualification. If the bout were to continue, two points would have been deducted from the offending boxer. In other words, the video tape of this show should show proof positive of whether this injury was caused by a head-butt or a punch. If it was a head-butt, Toribio either ends up receiving a draw or a win by disqualification and that dreaded loss is removed from his record.
In Bout #7, super welterweight Abel Rueda (154 lbs.) of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico improved his record to 4-0 after stopping the overmatched Dario Cervantes (155½, 0-6) of Tijuana.
In Bout #9, they had cruiserweight Rogelio Ruvalcaba (176¼ lbs.) who now trains at The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, taking on the durable Juan Carlos “Zurdo” Moreno (177 lbs.) of Tijuana. Moreno took a lot of punishment and lasted longer than expected, well into the third round. With the win, Ruvalcaba improves to (11-1-0, 10 KOs) while Moreno now drops to (0-13-1).
In Bout #10, they featured the well-traveled 26 year-old, 124½ lbs. super bantamweight Marcos “Tusanami de Quantanamo” Forestal (4-0) taking on the courageous Gonzalo Lopez (123½, 2-2) of Tijuana. With Forestal’s experience, he had 280 Amateur bouts with only 10 losses and he was a three-time National Champion from Cuba, his amazing reach and height advantage, Lopez must have figured, “Oh well, I might as well give it a shot.” From the outset, Forestal’s punches seemed to reach across the ring at Lopez, as if Forestal was related to that superhero Elastic Man.
In the final bout of the evening, Bout #11, the Main Event, it was super featherweights 26 year-old Adam Fiel (8-0, 129 lbs.) from Vacaville, Calif. taking on 23 year-old Alfredo Pitta (2-4-1, 129 lbs.) from Tijuana in a Philippines versus Mexico clash. In this one you had the local favorite trying his best to beat someone, Fiel, who has already competed on the international stage. At present Fiel is being trained by “Dodong” Donaire, father/trainer of five division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire. In other words, the cards had been stacked against Pitta. Did he turn tail and run? He has far too much pride. Pitta gave Fiel a battle and hung in there until the bitter end.