Border Wars: Han hammers Guereca
Last night at the Socorro Entertainment center in Socorro, Texas, Escalante Promotions, headed by former featherweight contender Antonio Escalante, held its inaugural card to the delight of the boxing-starved El Paso fans.
After a few glitches – no ambulance, no fights – the card began, about an hour late. Issues with glass bottles and ringside placement of officials, doctors and media also stalled the show. Questionable ring lighting, to say the least, also compromised photographers and angered spectators who yelled, “Turn on the lights! and “No se mira!” (We can’t see!).
In the main event, El Pasoan, Abie Han, looking like his old self, destroyed ring veteran Bernardo Guereca over two punishing rounds. Mixing his punches well and countering Guereca’s leaping lefts with straight rights, Han was able to control distance. Staying calm and popping from the outside. Han hooked off his jab, staying just outside the pocket where the shorter Guereca could not reach him. With southpaw Guereca leaning and leaping to get close, it was easy pickings for Han over the top.
By round two Han sensed the end was near. Moving in and out and laterally, Han forced Guereca to miss badly. Han’s best weapon was his left hook which he repeatedly dug to the body. He looked good and, coming in below middleweight limit, showed he was in shape. Guereca showed aggression and determination, but just didn’t have the guns to offset the harder-punching, much bigger Han.
At the end of the second round, Guereca came back to the corner shaking his left hand and immediately asked his corner to cut the glove off and stop the fight. Grimacing as the glove was cut, Guereca shouted, “I hope it’s not broken!”
The end, a TKO, was official at :10 of round three.
“I was just getting worked up,” said Han who was hoping for more work. “My distance was just right and I was gonna put it on him in the later rounds. He was trying to lure me in since he was the smaller fighter. I picked my spots and took what he gave me, I’m glad for the win.”
Han said he wants to fight Glen Tapia again, in about four or five more fights. “I want him,” said Han.
Trainer Louie Burke was happy with the result. “Guereca is a southpaw so I had Han spar with the best southpaw in the world, Austin Trout. It worked out great for him . . . Abie has speed and that is why he was able to left hook him so much.”
As for Guereca, he went to the hospital to x-ray his left wrist.
Han improves to 20-1, 13 KOs while perennial opponent Bernardo Guereca falls to 17-20, 4 KO’s.
Shabazz “Gooses” Ramirez
In the co-main, Sijuola (Siju) Shabazz showed his dominance over Albuquerque veteran Jose “Goose” Ramirez. In the first, Shabazz circled left out of range and waited for Ramirez to commit, popping him with two rights that got Ramirez buzzed right from the start. Shabazz gave Ramirez angles he couldn’t figure out and a chopping right on the temple halfway through the round drops “Goose” for a mandatory eight count. Shabazz got on top of him and wailed away but Ramirez survived the round, barely.
In the second, Shabazz went in for the kill, forcing Ramirez to the ropes with a barrage of punches. Ramirez went through the ropes near his corner covering up and sitting right on his butt. Ref Robert Velez waved it off at :47 seconds of round two.
All in all, Shabazz looked well-schooled and disciplined. “I felt relaxed,” said Shabazz. “I just listened to my coach and the knockout came. I’m ready to travel, I want to fight.”
“Goose” Ramirez was depressed. “I have to sit down with my family and trainers, this might be it. I’m thinking about retiring.”
Shabazz moves to 3-1, while Ramirez falls to 11-13-6.
Han matched up to win
Jennifer Han, sister of main-eventer Abie, had little trouble with Juarense, Leslie Morales. Throughout the fight Han was the more skillful boxer over the plodding, slower, shorter fire plug from across the river. Morales, four inches shorter, could only barrel in and butt Han on the chin. The light hitting Han couldn’t put away the pesky Morales, she simply out boxed her opponent. Jabs and short hooks to the mid-section was where Han scored her points. Final tallies were 60-54 x 2 and 58-56, resulting in a unanimous decision for Han.
Han was critical of her performance, “I only threw one uppercut and that’s how you stop someone who is smothering you. I’ll do better next time. . . . She head butted me several times right on my chin, and it hurt.”
Morales came to fight, but a brawler will always lose to a good boxer like Han who improves to 10-2-1, Morales evens up at 3-3.
Valenzuela – Villa steal show
In the most competitive and best fight of the night, El Paso fighters Oscar Valenzuela and Carlos Villa entertained wildly. Both undefeated at 4-0, on paper this was a great matchup and it did not disappoint.
Dueling from the first bell, it was all action with Valenzuela the busier, but Villa the more accurate. Sheer volume gave the first to Valenzuela. How-do-you-like-it sharper left hooks from Villa and Valenzuela’s counter punching and ring generalship, made it a tough round to score.
In the second, Villa became more aggressive, hooking even more and forcing Valenzuela to the ropes. Double left hooks along the ropes caused Valenzuela to protect his right side. It was another close round, with the edge to Villa. In the third, Villa was pulling away in the first minute and then Valenzuela clocked him with a beautiful left uppercut on the inside. Villa fell back with his guard up.
In the final round, it was back and forth with neither giving quarter nor asking for it. Villa more aggressive but Valenzuela counter punching well. A great fight, in the end 38-38 x two and 39-37 for Valenzuela, resulting in a majority decision draw. Neither fighter complained, nor did the crowd.
“Let’s do it again in December,” said Villa after the fight. “It was a tough fight.”
Valenzuela agreed, but said he thought he’d won. “Man, I didn’t get any love, I thought I won. I’m up for a December re-match.”
Meek beats up stablemate
El Paso Golden Gloves Champion Timothy Meek had little trouble with stablemate Brian Nevarez. (Both train out of PAL gym in Las Cruces). Meek dominated first two rounds with superior boxing while Nevarez looked tight and could not get loose. Meek took advantage on the inside with wicked left hooks to the body and head. A one-two at the bell punctuated the round for Meek. Skillful and patient, Meek showed his amateur pedigree. The third was all Meek and by the fourth and final round, he turned up the heat and stopped Nevarez at 2:37. Nevarez turned his back to Meek after a left hook to the panza, forcing Ref Velez to stop the fight.
A beaming Meek had this to say, “I’m just glad to back in the ring, thirteen months is a long time. Man, it was dark in there, but I saw well enough to win… I want to fight at least five times this year.”
Meek wins his pro debut and Nevarez goes to 0-1.
The curtain raiser was a fiery scrap between David Munoz and Arturo Ortega.
Both had to wait an interminable time for the Texas commission to clear all the beer bottles from the arena. When the clinks and clanks finally ebbed, the fight started.
Ortega hit harder and Munoz boxed better. It was a fight of styles. It was like they took turns, Ortega the puncher, and then the stylist, Munoz staying on the outside and boxing. This was the tempo in the first two rounds. In the third, Munoz was more active and carried the round. The last round was great. Two hard right shots by Ortega sealed the round for him. In the end all three judges were in agreement 38-38.
All in all, the attendance was near capacity and the fights were entertaining. Promoter Escalante says he will return in December with his second show.