This past Monday night Costa Rican fight fans filled the San Jose Palacio Hotel anticipating one of the best fight cards put on in recent memory. Headlining the six-bout event were Nelson Lara and Gonzalo Munguia in a rematch of their thrilling toe-to-toe lightweight battle that ended in a Draw last year. Over the web fans tuned into www.theboxingchannel.com as Anthony Torres and I were fortunate to call the action live from ringside once again.
The ballroom was packed on this warm evening as the overflow of fight fans filled the hallways to catch a glimpse of 11-0 (11 KOs) Carl Davies Drummond, Costa Rican Junior Welterweight champion Aristides Calderon (8-7-1, 7 KOs), and world-class Super Middleweight Henry Porras. The fighter who stole the show however was a winless wonder who caught lightning in a bottle – more on that later.
Super Bantamweight Bryan Vazquez has never been in a boring fight, and he wasn’t on Monday either as he opened the show against Carlos Perez (2-0, 1 KOs). “El Tiquito” Vazquez is an exciting local fighter who puts his punches together well, has a nice left hook and loves to work the body. As a result he is always right in front of his opponent and that made for another exciting bout as he went four entertaining rounds with Perez. The two traded leather nearly nonstop for the better part of four rounds and had fans off their seats and in an uproar. Vazquez still seems to tire in the last round of fights, not a good sign for a fighter under 20 years of age, but on this night he did enough to take a 39-37 decision across the four judges’ scorecards to improve to 5-0 with 3 stoppages.
Berman “La Cobra” Sanchez, 19-1-2 (15 KOs) stayed busy this week as he waits for bigger and better fights on the horizon but looking ahead nearly cost him as he only managed a Draw against Sergio “A Ceiba” Martinez. Martinez (now 13-3-2, 6 KOs) looked to be outworked by the local favorite, but the judges saw it differently. In his final bout of 2005, Sanchez seemed to be on the lucky side of a Draw against hot prospect Juan Carlos Salgado (13-0-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico, and maybe things evened themselves out here, much to his chagrin.
Our third bout brought to you free on www.theboxingchannel.com was over before it started and sent shock waves of excitement throughout the ballroom. Andres Garcia (0-7) of Nicaragua came into this fight as the proverbial lamb being lead to slaughter. Garcia had been stopped in every one of his seven losses, and only made it out of the first round on two of those occasions. While short on talent, Garcia was obviously long on heart when he took on powerful Artistides Calderon. The lanky, heavy-hitting Calderon had stopped his opponent in seven of his eight professional wins and was looking for an easier evening than his last bout when he was forced to come off the canvas to stop Javier Gonzalez. In that fight Gonzalez was in grave danger as Calderon rushed in to close the show, but Gonzalez unleashed a perfectly timed uppercut that crushed Aristides flush on the jaw and dropped him like a sack of potatoes. Calderon survived that scare and was hoping for an easier night against Andres Garcia – that was wishful thinking.
Remember now that Andres Garcia was a winless invader from Nicaragua taking on Costa Rican favorite Artistides Calderon. But it didn’t matter. Before the ring of the bell to start the bout had finished resonating, Calderon was down and out, seemingly without a clue as to where the truck that had just run over him had come from. Coming out of his corner towards Calderon, Garcia unleashed a wild left hook that caught his unprepared opponent clean as can be, sending the local favorite reeling into the ropes. Calderon had his wits to duck a follow-up bomb then bounced up off the ropes looking to land a counter right hand. Unfortunately for him, Garcia was already in mid-swing and hit a home run when his looping overhand right crushed Calderon right on the mark. The momentum of Calderon moving to his left as he threw a right of his own, coupled with Garcia putting every ounce of force in his punch, made for a devastating collision which Calderon’s face got the worst of. There was no need for a count once Calderon crumbled in a twisted heap to the canvas, but a count was issued nonetheless. The precious seconds would have been better used to get medical attention to the fallen fighter, but in the end he was able to leave the ring on his own two feet – whether he remembers it or not.
Monitors repeated the demolition as those in attendance and watching on www.theboxingchannel.com witnessed in slow-motion exactly what it was to catch lightning in a bottle. Eyes did not deceive in this case as replays confirmed that the 0-7 dog truly had bitten back big. Regardless of what the pugilistic future hold for Andres Garcia, I can guarantee it will be a long, long time before he forgets this fight. On the other han,d it is entirely likely that Aristides Calderon still can’t recall a moment of the 30 seconds the fight lasted.
It was fortunate that the buzz following Garcia’s shocking victory kept the fans enthusiasm going because the subsequent bout was a bit of a disappointment. Henry Porras of Costa Rica took too long to end things against 5-8 Panamanian Darisnel Vergara. Now 31-6-1 (23 KOs), more was expected of Porras, but he had trouble with the awkward Vergara than had been anticipated, before Vergara’s corner stopped things. While Vergara was being outclassed, Porras should have been able to end things on his own. A former Super Middleweight champion at the fringe levels (WBO Latino, WBA Fedelatin, WBA Latin American, WBC Fecarbox, WBA Fedecentro), Porras had challenged many of the world’s best 168-pound fighters in the fight game today. Names such as Mikkel Kessler (current WBA champion at 168), Danilo Haussler (IBF #3),Otis Grant (WBC #1), Carl Froch (WBC #6) and Jurgen Brahmer (WBO #3) spot the record of Porras and Vergara should have been out of his league. Perhaps Porras’ 35 years of age and 38 fights have caught up with him. It looked that way on Monday night.
The fifth fight of the night looked to be explosive, and that is always the case when heavyweight Carl Davis Drummond steps into the ring. Drummond has been a very active fighter with ten fights in just over a year of work, but heading into his fight Monday against Arsenio Cuesta those ten bouts only added up to sixteen rounds of work. Always in fantastic physical condition, Drummond had stopped all ten of his opponents before meeting the Panamanian. Three knockdowns and four minutes later Drummond was 11-0 with 11 knockout victories. Clearly Drummond is a powerful prospect in need of work but we won’t know how good he really is until he has been tested, and the current matchmaking suggests the wait may be long.
In a rematch of their wild 8-round Draw in October of last year, it seemed impossible that Nelson Lara and Gonzalo Munguia could match the pace again as they did battle over ten rounds at 135-pounds in the main event. Lara entered the bout with a 4-1-1 (4 KOs) record and is a fighter who pretty much abandons the jab, opting instead to pursue his opponent with lead right hands and hard hooks to the body. In the first meeting Munguia, 12-2-2 (10 KOs), traded with Lara for 8 rounds of give-and-take. For the rematch, “El Destructor” Munguia chose to use his boxing skills by setting up his offense with the jab and then bringing accurate right hands down the middle as he used the entire ring to box the stalking Lara. The heavy exchanges were fewer than the first bout as this one turned into a classic boxer (Munguia) peppering his harder hitting puncher (Lara). It was an entertaining bout but very difficult to score. In the end, the judges decided to reward Lara for pressing the pace and landing the harder blows over Munguia’s superior technical performance. It was announced as a Majority Decision for Lara.
Local promoters are committed to bringing two fight cards each month to fight fans in San Jose, Costa Rica and The Boxing Channel is pleased to offer these live on the internet to fight fans looking to catch some of the fistic action in Central America, and eventually the World.