Full recap from Guerra de Gallos in Tucson!
By: Stephanie Allen
Christopher Gonzalez vs. Sergio López
Sergio ‘Bam Bam’ Lopez entered the ring 1st looking confident, followed by a deceptively relaxed look for his professional debut. His relaxed entrance proved to be deceiving though. Scheduled for 4 rounds the crowd went wild for the home town favorite, Gonzalez who entered the ring with a 2-0 record. Lopez immediately took control in the middle of the ring. Gonzalez, coming off of a win against Brandon Trujillo in April, was kept on his toes by Lopez’s quick jabs. As a return, Gonzalez hit Lopez with a right eye-opening cut that would prove to be a hindrance to a focused offense. Gonzalez then followed with two quick, short uppercuts, slowing Lopez’s attempt at keeping pace during the 2nd round.
In the third round Gonzalez immediately jabbed the right eye of Lopez causing a blood flow that would open him to nice body bending shots by Gonzalez. Lopez drew a few oohs from the crowd with glancing long shots but none landing effectively enough to stop Gonzalez at this point. Due to the inexperience in his debut fight, Lopez missed out on opportunities to push Gonzalez into defense mode. Gonzalez came out strong in the fourth round to try and tidy up the fight in his favor.
It was a good performance for Lopez’s debut and I told my colleague at press row that a good cardio conditioning program to stretch his wind and speed would develop his style to match the confidence with which he entered the ring. In the end the hometown favorite, Christopher Gonzalez, kept his undefeated record in tact with a unanimous decision victory.
Emmanuel Guajardo vs. Jordan Gregory
Jordan Gregory came into the ring on a 0-2 record to face Tucson’s own Emmanuel Guajardo. Guajardo threw a few calculated, hard hitting punches keeping Gregory in the corner for the better part of the first round. Manny quickly developed a plan to defeat the wide swinging, cocky Gregory. Jordan’s punches had zero effect on the young Tucson fighter who entered the ring coming off of a March win against Cesar Contreras.
Gregory did have enough confidence in himself to remain standing throughout the four round bout, however, he did not display any sort of effective game plan. Gregory has the physicality of a properly tooled fighter but even his corner let him know that he was not prepared for the over powering skill set Guajardo possesses.
The scorecards read a 40/36 shutout from all three judges, awarding the unanimous decision victory to Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Guajardo, bringing his record to 3-0
Richard Mike Martinez vs. Bryan Ramirez
Mike Martinez back in the ring after a 4-year hiatus looks, hungry and ready to go against 0-2 Bryan Ramirez. Martinez running on the fuel of a promise to win a belt in honor of his brother, Angel, would dominate the Kansas City, MO fighter.
Bryan came out with a quick right and good solid contact. This would be his only opportunity against Martinez who returned with a crippling body combo putting Bryan back on the ropes. 45 seconds into round 1, Martinez landed a gut punch that would be the beginning of the end for Ramirez. 30 seconds later Bryan would be buckled over twice more in under 2 minutes and the match was called at 2:30.
TKO by Martinez. His brother Angel must be beaming down on him with immense pride.
Nicholas Rhoads vs. Hamilton Ash
Nicholas Rhoads, fresh off a unanimous win over Javier Mayoral two months prior, came out with a few short-left jabs. Hamilton in return would land solid shots to Rhoads’ arms. Nicholas’ solid body shots slowed Hamilton down fast. Rhoads received a slight cut on his hairline from an early on head butt that could’ve presented a problem had it not been cared for properly by his corner; even still, this was of no consequence in this good showing by Rhoads.
Rhoads is a brick throwing classic stance fighter that was just too fast and calculated for Hamilton. In the 3rd round, Hamilton remained in defense mode. You could tell that Rhoads was born for the sweet science. It may have been Hamilton’s turn but clearly, he was not ready for Rhoads power shots to the body and offense-stopping straight armed jabs. Rhoads showed prowess and exacting power with both his left and right.
I would like to see Hamilton Ash after developing more speed to match his intensity and hunger to win. Both fighters put in a great effort with Nicholas ‘NyQuil’ Rhoads clearly the dominant fighter. Majority decision victory for Rhoads bringing his record to 4-0.
Jensen Ramirez vs. Jesus Arévalo
Both fighters came out lightning fast with nothing significant landing, but neither fighter was scared to go toe-to-toe. Jensen Ramirez, a local fighter, tried hard to bring the body shots as a setup but the call on a hold early on stopped the follow through. Jensen dropped his left hand a little bit more than I’m sure his corner would like to have seen and expended lots of energy. My colleague and I wondered if the fighters could keep up this pace for the scheduled 6 rounds. We were not disappointed.
Arevalo, coming in with three straight loses, was no joke with taxing shots to the torso of Ramirez and in turn, Jensen was equally able to defend himself against what would have been too much for a lesser fighter. Jensen has a great right and could have won with a surprise right hand in the third round after Arevalo dropped his hands, but the speed of his defense prevented a solid follow up.
Arevalo had some great combinations to the upper body and chin that kept Ramirez alert thoughout the middle rounds. Arevalo countered with jabs that keep Ramirez from ending with a possible knockout. Based on the consistent energy level and both fighters having a good defense, both brought good plans of attack. This was the best match on the card at this point behind Rhoads and Hamilton.
The first card to be announced in this six round attraction was 57/57, but over ruled with a pair of 58/56 cards awarding Ramirez with the majority decision win taking his record to 6-2-3.
Judas Estrada vs. Jose Barrera
Let me start by saying that after the fight I had the pleasure of talking to Jose Barrera for a brief moment and was somewhat surprised that he didn’t have his team around him. He was a pleasant young man to speak with and left me wanting to see him in the ring again.
Back to the fight….
While Judas, having last fought Mario Garcia in 2016, was clearly the crowd favorite. Barrera, out of Phoenix, came with a determined look in his eye. Each fighter was equally calculating with their punches and their focus on besting each other seemed to fill the room. It seemed as if Judas had kept up with good body head combos, this fight would have leaned in his favor. In round two the intensity that both fighters brought was still flooding the energy of the ring.
Barrera came to win this round with excellent footwork and a tight, compact stance, that allowed him to land precise jabs, with both his left and right, to the chin of Estrada. Barrera backed Judas into the corners frequently and brought the fight in close. This allowed him to reduce some of the power of Judas’ punches. Judas would have been best served by driving his power through the hip fully to stop Barrera. He brought three extra pounds to the match and leveraging that could have changed the outcome.
1:45 into Round 4 Barrera snapped Judas’ head back with a precision straight right that seemed to have dazed him just a little. While the crowd obviously is for the hometown guy, the Phoenix son held his own throughout the full four rounds. This was a great fight with evenly matched power punching, great footwork and defense by both; however, the result was a split decision victory for Barrera with scorecards of 39/37, 39/37 for him and 39/37 for Judas Estrada. The hometown crowd was definitely disappointed in the decision.
Alfonso ‘Flaco’ Olvera vs. Wilberth Lopez (Main Event)
Tucson vs. Tucson on the main event. The crowd may not know who to scream the loudest for.
Lopez comes to the ring with a 22-9 record, but was not to be over looked. Calls for Flaco to bring it, came from the many Tucson boxing fans on his side of the ring energized Olvera. Alfonso brought a 10-4-1 record, 73” reach and 5’11” height so Lopez clearly adjusted his strategy to compensate for the slightly longer reach.
Lopez seemed to have a body shot strategy; however, Olvera was quick on the retreat/defense. Early on, Lopez buckled Olvera’s knees with a straight right, prompting the referee to begin the eight count, which would weigh the scoring differently and impact the split decision. Olvera came out the next round blasting Lopez with bricks, both left and right in an attempt to make up for the knock down in the previous round. Lopez quickly returned the favor. At this point it is clear the crowd got what they came for. Two Tucson fighters with victory on their minds.
The fervor of the crowd and the display of the warrior’s hearts made it tough to to pick a favorite right up to the close of the fourth round, especially after both spent time in the corners punching it out viciously. In round five, Lopez was bleeding from the mouth slightly but that was not enough to stop his hunger.
Olvera, the faster puncher with long legs kept Lopez in the corner and on the ropes; however, Lopez had matching power. This was a great fight with two incredible power punchers with seasoned necks and chins. While their gas was low coming to the end of the fight, they still gave the crowd their money’s worth.
Not a clinic but an amazing 76/75 for Olvera, and 76/75, 74/77 split decision in favor Wilberth Lopez.
There is no doubt that they had immense respect for each other’s craft and looked forward to a possible future bout.