Sycuan gamble pays off big

President of Sycuan Ringside Promotions Glenn Quiroga is a sports enthusiast who follows San Diego athletics with a passion. Whether it’s the Chargers or the Padres, the 27-year-old finds a way to get involved. Quiroga is also a boxing fan and when the chance to get into the boxing business came up he jumped at it. Vice President Scott Woodworth who was formerly with Top Rank and Don King Promotions brought forth a plan to establish a San Diego based promotional company and Quiroga was all over it.

Quiroga isn’t just any sports nut. He’s also the treasurer of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation which owns the Sycuan Casino located in the far eastern part of San Diego. The casino is one of the first Native American casinos to open up and thrive in Southern California.

After a two and a half year existence, Sycuan Ringside has hit it big in the last year with two of their fighters having hit boxing jackpots. Israel Vazquez was the first one to strike as he beat the Vegas oddsmakers and Oscar Larios for the WBC bantamweight crown with a third round stoppage. Sycuan hit triple sevens again as their Welterweight Carlos Baldomir, an unlikely champion according to those same Vegas experts, easily defeated and upset Zab Judah for the WBC Welterweight title. “Tata” as he’s called, went on to brutalize Arturo Gatti in his second high profile fight on HBO via ninth round knockout. The win, some say, will likely lead to a match against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. A true Cinderella story for the “Cinderella Man” as Sycuan has tabbed Baldomir.

The Argentinean was brought over to Sycuan by matchmaker Sean Gibbons and had been fighting under the Top Rank banner but barely made a splash. I remember seeing Baldomir against Edgar Ruiz at the Anaheim Pond and being unimpressed with what seemed to be a fighter with a slow, plodding style. He certainly didn’t strike me as someone who would make the noise he’s made since. Having talked to Quiroga before the Baldomir-Judah match, he had faith in his fighter despite the long odds against them. “I know Zab Judah’s fast but Baldomir’s strong and he has a strong chin. He’ll land some hard shots and wear Judah down,” Quiroga had said. Woodworth related how his confidence in Baldomir soared before the Judah fight. “I got real confident in Carlos when he didn’t go home for the holidays and instead chose to stay in Los Angeles and train by himself,” he stated. Sycuan also has IBF “interim” lightweight champion Julio Diaz, the amateur phenom and former 122 lb. champion Joan Guzman, and Jorge Paez Jr., who’s shown impressive attributes in his last few outings. Paez Jr. will be on the Barrera-Juarez II undercard along with stablemates Vazquez and Guzman. Sycuan recently signed former bantamweight champion Mauricio Martinez as well.

September 16th Pay Per View stacked
The Golden Boy Promotions card set to take place on September sixteenth in Las Vegas is stacked from top to bottom with some excellent matches. “This is a quality card. All these fights are tossups and all are top fighters facing each other,” said Vice-President and matchmaker of G.B.P., Eric Gomez. Gomez reportedly took over a month to put the card together that will open up with up and coming Jorge “Maromerito” Paez Jr. (9-0, 7 KO’s) on the pay-per-view. Headlining will be the rematch between Rocky Juarez (25-2, 18 KO’s) and Marco Antonio Barrera (62-2, 42 KO’s). Their first meeting was a spirited, young lion vs. aging lion affair that Barrera barely escaped. Juarez gave Barrera, a future hall of famer, all he could handle and some even thought the Texan deserved the nod after hurting the Mexico City native several times.

The undercard will feature a great talent in Dominican Joan Guzman (25-0, 17 KO’s) going up against another brash and talented fighter in Jorge “La Hiena” Barrios (46-2, 33KO’s) in a WBO Junior Lightweight championship match. Guzman was magnificent as a 122-pounder but can he hang at 130 with the fierce Argentinean? De La Hoya’s company scores the trifecta by putting on a potential war in pitting WBC Super Bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez (40-3, 29 KO’s) against WBO Bantamweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez (33-4, 28 KO’s) in what could be fight of the year stuff. Gonzalez didn’t look particularly great in defeating Fernando Montiel who was coming up in weight to challenge him for his title. Don’t let that deter you from keeping your eye out for this one. Vazquez has just the style that will make this the anti-Gonzalez vs. Montiel, which unfortunately turned out to be a snoozer. Gonzalez needs to be forced to fight which is exactly what Vazquez will do. Vazquez will do what Montiel wasn’t willing to do. He will try to bust inside and hurt Gonzalez. Gonzalez will respond the only way he knows how. He will throw bombs with those long arms. In my opinion this is very much a worthwhile pay-per-view.

“Gallito” Castillo not the same against Nashiro
Martin “Gallito” Castillo traveled to Japan and lost on a tenth round stoppage by cuts to Japanese Super Flyweight Champion Nobuo Nashiro. What makes this loss so shocking is that Nashiro only had seven professional fights under his belt. Castillo is a well regarded fighter but didn’t look like the same man that defeated Alexander Munoz and Eric Morel in brilliant performances. The usual snap and the bounce just wasn’t there. Castillo’s manager Frank Espinoza feels that the loss will only make “Gallito” better. “He saw the fight and criticized himself heavily,” stated Espinoza. “He knows what he did wrong and I’ve got plenty of confidence in Martin’s ability to win back the title.”

Castillo may have made the ultimate mistake in underestimating a solid fighter because of his record. Nashiro is a good young fighter but he’s no Munoz or Morel. Castillo should have shut Nashiro out completely. “I can’t sleep thinking about getting a rematch. I made some mistakes in the ring. He ultimately lucked out in opening up those cuts. Before the referee stopped the fight the cards were even,” said Castillo from his home in L.A. The goal for the Castillo camp will be to get a rematch as soon as his cuts heal.

Fernando Beltran partners up with II Feathers
II Feathers boxing which is run by Al Franco and Willie Schunke will be teaming up with Mexican promoter and manager Fernando Beltran. Al Franco met up with Beltran and signed on to work together for six shows. Beltran will bring the main event and II Feathers will take care of the undercard. The cards will be televised on TV Azteca. “We’re looking to do sixteen to eighteen shows a year. We’ll do some with Fernando and some on our own,” said Franco who’s also tabbed the Riverside Convention Center as a future venue. II Feathers has been putting on shows all year at the Morongo Casino which is just west of Palm Springs and are looking to expand out to other Southern California venues.