HOLLYWOOD, Ca.-A Hollywood extravaganza to benefit the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation brought out the glitterati and cameras. Ironically across the street Donald Trump’s visit to Jimmy Kimmel brought out the boys in blue, but no punches were seen there on Wednesday.
The punches were saved for the Golden Boy Promotions fight card that included a couple of solid prospects at the Dolby Theater.
Leonard and his friends gathered at the fifth floor of the Dolby Theater including Usher who will be portraying the Sugar man in the upcoming film about Roberto Duran called “Hands of Stone.” Movie stars, power agents, bankers and the women who love them attended the fund raising event to raise money and awareness for children’s ailments such as diabetes.
It was an impactful affair.
San Antonio’s Hector “Finito” Tanajara (6-0) showed why his nickname has an appropriate fit as he finished Mexico’s Francisco Medel (9-3) at 2:26 of the first round in their lightweight clash. The Texan showed sharp skills in opening up the holes in Medel’s defense at the opening bell.
Medel wasn’t looking to run away but soon discovered why so many experts foresee a bright future for Tanajara, who is trained by Robert Garcia in Riverside, California. He probably spars guys much tougher than the foes he’s fought in the ring so far.
Medel was no match as Tanajara blasted a left hook to the body that sunk Medel to his knee. He got up but almost went down again as Tanajara turned the heat on, but the fallen Mexican’s corner wisely decided the fight was over.
“It was really great to be here in front of all these celebrities and fight,” said Tanajara. “I try to stay busy and fight every couple of months. Everyone can expect really big things from me later this year. My trainer Robert (Garcia) has taught me so much, with him being a world champion and him having trained other world champions.”
Philadelphia’s Damon Allen (10-0, 4 KOs) recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions and was eager to show his skills again in front of an L.A. audience. He seemed a little nervous at first but by the third round all the cylinders were running hot in his fight against tough Mexican lightweight Daniel Montoya (10-4, 7 KOs).
Allen, 24, showed excellent combinations that he threw from different angles. They weren’t the orthodox style usually seen. The speed was good and the movement was Philly style, meaning he wasn’t there to run away from a fight.
In the third round Allen revved up the fight count including a chin busting left uppercut that slightly buckled Montoya. More Allen blows came but not in wild fashion, they were counter rights and several stiff right cross bombs that stunned Montoya. Allen saw that damage had been done and was going for the kill when the bell ended the round. Soon after, Montoya’s corner ended the fight.
“I was shocked that I took out my opponent like that so quickly,” said Allen. “I had a lot of family that wanted to be here tonight but couldn’t. Everyone can expect to see a lot from me this year and see me fighting here in LA and back home on the East Coast.”
Edgar Valerio (7-0) of L.A. used his length and power to win by unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s slick moving Harold Reyes (2-5-1) in a featherweight bout that lasted all six scheduled rounds. Valerio used his jab well in the second half of the fight and body shots in the beginning. Reyes connected several times with overhand rights but not enough to win more than two rounds. Two judges saw it 58-56 and one saw it 59-55 for Valerio.
“I feel really blessed to be a part of this event with the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation to bring awareness for childhood type 1 & 2 diabetes,” Valerio said. “This fight was a learning experience for me and there are things I would have done differently. For my next fight I feel confident that if there is a knockout, I’ll be there to take the opportunity.”
In a middleweight fight, the younger Alexis Salazar (12-3) won by decision but learned that looks can be deceiving when facing an old wizard like Hector Velasquez (57-28-3). Salazar rarely connected with more than one blow despite repeated combinations. Velasquez was like a ghost inside the ring.
Back in the day Velasquez fought a who’s who of boxing greats like Manny Pacquiao, Edwin Valero, Kevin Kelley, Israel Vazquez, Guty Espadas, Rocky Juarez, and Jorge Linares to name a few. Despite being overweight and not training, the Mexican veteran took the fight at middleweight and showed the youngster there’s more to boxing than speed and power. The fight ended after six rounds and the 41-year-old Velasquez was still standing proudly with not much damage. After 23 years as a professional it takes more than youth to beat up the old veteran who lost the fight by decision but looked healthy and content.