“We sold out before the doors opened tonight. Tucson has spoken. They are a fight town,” is what Michelle Rosado owner and President of Raging Babe Promotions proclaimed on her official social media Saturday leading up to the event she put on at Casino del Sol, along with J. Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing Promotions.
Guerra de Gallos was, without exaggeration, the first or second best boxing event held in Tucson over the last five years.
Oscar Valdez vs Genesis Servania, Jesse Hart vs Gilberto Ramirez was an event that was held last September at the Tucson Convention Center that could be said to have been the greatest boxing event in Tucson’s history, with regard to having two world titles on the line, multiple undefeated, world class title contenders.
Guerra de Gallos had none of that.
Noone on the card was a ranked title contender or fighting to become mandatory challenger for any of the four sanctioning bodies of boxing. Noone on the card was going home with a six figure purse. Pay-per-view or any other TV outlet was not on hand trying to put fighters on the spot or instigate any tension among camps by baiting them into sound bites.
However, what wound up occurring on Saturday at Casino del Sol’s Grand Ballroom, was purely for the love of boxing.
The promotion was purely grass-roots and done with good ole’ fashion leg work, door knocking, working the phones and social media sharing, tagging and retweeting.
Fighters’ training was mostly done out of swamp cooled neighborhood gyms throughout the Old Pueblo during the monsoon season. Fighters worked their normal 9 to 5 jobs, then went to the gym to train for hours into the night. Their families were at home with all the love and understanding in the world for their husband, father, son, brother while they sweat and bled just to able to deliver for Tucson fans. Tucson fighters understand very clearly how well versed and fight savvy Old Pueblo fight fans are. It is widely known throughout the boxing community how educated Tucson fight fans are in the sweet science.
The sold out crowd of 1,700 at Guerra de Gallos was at Casino del Sol purely for the love of the sport as well. Those Tucsonans spent their hard-earned money on an event that did not feature a world title holder. Fighters on the card weren’t exactly world renowned. Tucsonans showed up to watch other Tucsonans do what they do best. They showed up to watch their own risk everything they have ever worked for. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the venue who would tell you they left feeling disappointed.
For not much more than the love of the sport, their families, their city and honestly, each other, the boxers that climbed through the ropes at Guerra de Gallos quite viciously, tore each other apart. Blood, sweat, mouthpieces, screams, shouts, oh’s and ah’s were flying all over the venue for hours.
Tucson gobbled it up. Now they want seconds.
Throughout the entire night, even while we tried watching and taking notes on the action in the ring, fans came to us at press row asking us if we knew when the next fight night in Tucson will be. At that moment we couldn’t give an official answer.
Well, fight fans, you just might be in luck.
The following are notes and observations I made as they occurred during the event.
Christopher Gonzalez (3-0) vs Sergio Lopez (0-1)
Round 1: All offense. No defense in this round at all. Lopez with a cut on his right eye. Round to Gonzalez. Heads are coming together a lot.
Round 2: Lopez hurt. Both fighters open up. Neither choose to use defense. Another cut opens up under Lopez’s left eye. Round to Gonzalez. More head clashing.
Round 3: Gonzalez going to the body at will. Seems in control from what we can see in press row.
Round 4: Gonzalez landing uppers at will. Left upper rocks Lopez. Lopez continues to bleed. Lopez is tiring. Gonzalez is landing anything he wants. Lopez looks like he’s having a hard time adjusting to Gonzalez awkward style. Round to Gonzalez.
My pick: 4 round to 0 for Gonzalez.
Judges scores: 40-36, 39-37, 38-38 to Gonzalez by majority decision
Emmanuel Guajardo (3-0) vs Jordan Gregory (0-3-2)
Round 1: Both come out cautious. Gregory willing to be the aggressor. Guarjardo looking to counter is staying out of range. Huge left from Guajardo lands. Massive rights landing for Guajardo. Gregory having a hard time getting to Guajardo’s inside. Is met with massive rights when he tries going in. Round to Guajardo.
Round 2: Both a lot more active. Guajardo seems way in control. Gregory is hurt in his corner, back against the ropes. Gregory is trying desperately to go to whatever his plan B is. Round to Guajardo.
Round 3: Gregory looks spent. Guajardo is landing huge blows on the counter attacks. Gregory’s heaviest blows aren’t causing any damage. Guajardo is simply shrugging everything off. Round to Guajardo.
Round 4: Both simply slugged it out. Gregory had nothing though. Completely gassed an Guajardo was in complete control. Round to Guajardo.
I picked: 4 round to 0 for Guajardo
Judges scores: 40-36 x 3 Guajardo wins with a UD
Mike Martinez (1-1) vs Bryan Ramirez (0-3)
Round 1: Martinez comes out in control. Countering well. Ramirez landing to the body. Ramirez goes down. Ramirez does down again. Its over after Martinez knocks Ramirez down a third time. Ref Rocky Burke calls a stop to the action. 1:42 into the round.
Nicholas Rhoads (4-0) vs Hamilton Ash (0-1)
Round 1: Rhoads comes out attacking the body within the first 5 seconds. Rhodes looks in control. He’s hurt Ash. Rhodes is splitting Ash’s guard well. Rhoads has blood streaming down the left side of his face. Rhodes in complete control of things. Landing MASSIVE shots all over Rhoads. Round to Rhoads.
Round 2: Ash made some adjustments between round and looks better defending himself. But Rhoads is still landing more. The round ends with a massive clash in the neutral corner. Round to Rhoads.
Round 3: Ash listening to his corner more. Rhodes cut on his scalp looks to be splitting. Ash is landing more and
more from a distance. Anything Rhoads lands more though. Both seem exhausted. Credit to Ash, he’s represented himself well this round. However, round to Rhodes.
Round 4: Rhoads has punched himself out. He’s landing more but the devastating haymakers aren’t hurting Ash as much. Both fighters are trading very well. Both seem tired. This last round is hard to call to be honest. I’ll give it to Rhoads.
I call: Unanimous decision for Rhoads 4-0
Judges call: 40-36 to Rhoads by UD
Jensen Ramirez (5-2-3, 1 KO) vs Jesus Arevalo (2-3)
Round 1: Both come out on the attack. They don’t waste time trying to feel each other out. They look like they have a grudge. Ramirez going to the body a lot. Straight right lands for Ramirez and the crowd gets loud. Round ends with a massive applause. I can’t call this round.
Round 2: Ramirez lands big with a left and sends the crowd into a roar. Ramirez bleeding from his nose. Arevalo is avoiding all sorts of punches from Ramirez. Round ends with a huge roar from the crowd. Round to Arevalo
Round 3: It seems Arevalo’s southpaw stance is making it hard for Ramirez to execute what he’s looking to do. Arevalo is landing well. Ramirez doesn’t seem quite accurate. Just as I type that…Ramirez land a flurry to the body. Ramirez is staying on the outside. Circling. Round to Arevalo.
Round 4: Both come together in the center of the ring and trade. They come together as if they’ll clinch but continue trading. Both trade tremendous head shot to the crowd’s satisfaction. Arevalo loses his mouth piece. Ramirez looks like he comes in to the clashes wild. Round to Arevalo.
Round 5: Ramirez was able to hurt Arevalo and land flurries of shots to the body that entire round. Actually looking like he hurt Arevalo. The round came to an end soon after. Round to Ramirez.
Round 6: Ramirez landing more to end this fight. His punches come from weird angles and don’t seem to hurt Arevalo much. Both embrace and the corners congratulate the opposing fighter.
I have Arevalo winning 4 rounds to 2.
Judge score cards: 57-57, 58-56, 58-56 to Ramirez. Press row is left stunned. Would have expected an Arevalo win or a draw.
Judas Estrada (1-1) vs Jose Barrera (0-1)
Round 1: Estrada looking huge in the ring. Both are attacking each other well. Barrera not one bit intimidated. Both are clashing and trading well. The crowd loves this fight. I can’t call this round.
Round 2: Estrada landing punches to the body. Barrera staying in with him. Not scared at all. Barrera, looking smaller in the ring, is actually trying to be the aggressor. Estrada relegated to countering. Estrada throwning jabs. Massive clash in the blue corner to end the round and bring the crowd to their feet. I can’t call this round. Too much action. Haymakers landed by both. Wish I had a punch counter.
Round 3: They’re right back at it. Meeting in the center of the ring and trading at a high rate. Barrera looking really confident. Estrada not moving around the ring as much. Estrada relying on jabs to establish distance. Great trade to end the round. Round to Barrera.
Round 4: Jabs to start. Estrada landing to the body. Barrera landing tons of blows backing Estrada into the red corner. Both are fighting as if they have 10 more rounds to fight. I don’t know if they realize this is the final round. Barrera lands a huge left just before the bell rings. Round to Barrera.
I give the fight to the PHX visitor Barrera. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the judges give Estranda a narrow win.
Judges cards: 37-39, 39-37, 37-39 to Barrera
Alfonso Olvera (10-5-1, 4 KOs) vs Wilberth Lopez (23-9, 15 KOs)
Round 1: Spending a lot of time feeling each other out to start. Both guards are way down. Each seem to want to counter punch. I don’t now who to give the round to. Olvera was more active. I give it to him.
Round 2: Lopez looks to be respecting Olvera’s reach. Olvera lands punches in bunches backing Lopez against the ropes. Olvera goes down. The crowd goes nuts. He’s counted to 8. It was a counter left that landed. Round to Lopez.
Round 3: Olvera looked frustrated with himself coming out of the corner. Lopez looks calm and composed. They going at it! Trading evenly. Olvera landing enormous body shots and Lopez going to Olvera’s head. Olvera WANTS TO FIGHT. Throws up his hands in disgusts at Lopez’s inactivity.
Round 4: Olvera has obviously won the crowd over and is the aggressor. Lopez is going toe to toe with him though. They’re coming together and tying up more. Both are giving this crowd of 1700 everything they could ask for. Monster shots landing by both.
Round 5: Olvera is the aggressor. Lopez looks more composed. Lopez bleeding on the bridge of his nose. From a clash of heads. Olvera has a mass growing over his left eye from the same clash. Olvera has Lopez stumbling. Lopez looks like he’s retreating. Round to Olvera.
Round 6: Olvera is clearly dictating this thing. Walking down Lopez. They trade in the middle of the ring. The cut to Lopez’s eye is clearly bothering him. Round to Olvera.
Round 7: The aggression Olvera has displayed since being knocked down, in my mind, has helped him over come the knock down. BUT in this round, Lopez is using his left hand to dictate pace and distance. Olvera has slowed a step. Round to Lopez.
Round 8: They come together sloppily in the middle of the ring as they embrace before the final round. Both are trading really well. To end the round, these two are tearing each other up. They come together in an embrace to finish the fight.
I give the fight to OLVERA by a narrow margin, given the knockdown. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Lopez be announced and the winner.
The judges cards: 76-75, 76-75, 77-74 to Wilberth Lopez.