By David A. Avila
Heavyweight fights can sometimes move along like molasses running down a tree trunk. But on occasion heavyweights can be explosive and captivating.
Picking the right heavyweights has become a unique craft.
Thompson Boxing Promotions thinks they have the perfect combination when it pits undefeated LaRon Mitchell (14-0, 13 KOs) against Scott Alexander (12-1-2, 7 KOs) on Friday Oct. 21, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. It won’t be televised live.
For 16 years the Orange County-based Thompson Boxing organization has found tremendous success discovering boxing talent in North and South America. The number of world champions and contenders the group has discovered is astounding. Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera, Josesito Lopez and Yonnhy Perez are just a few of its discoveries.
But heavyweights were never part of its roster.
Years ago Thompson Boxing passed on a Southern California heavyweight named Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The Riverside prizefighter had won the national Golden Gloves as a light heavyweight and was just starting as a professional. He went on to fight three times for world titles and proved to be a major drawing card.
Thompson Boxing regrets the oversight.
Alex Camponovo, the matchmaker for Thompson Boxing, says heavyweights are a different category and difficult to assess. But recently, they signed San Francisco’s Mitchell and have delved into the world of heavyweight boxing.
Mitchell was a US Olympic alternate on the boxing team that went to London in 2012. Though he started late in pro boxing, the southpaw has an explosive style that has proven to be difficult to adapt for other heavyweights.
Alexander fights out of Moreno Valley and is trained by Henry Ramirez who still trains heavyweight contender Arreola.
Both Mitchell and Alexander have fought many times on Thompson Boxing cards and fans are familiar with their fighting styles.
“We’ve been watching their development over the years and we felt it was the appropriate time to elevate the level of their competition,” said Camponovo during a press conference last month.
Previously, both fought on the same boxing card outdoors in Corona, Calif. Each was matched against tough Mexican heavyweights and both met their stiffest competition. Mitchell was floored in his bout but figured out the solution. Alexander was tested too and managed to outlast his opponent and win by decision too.
Thompson Boxing decided it was time to match the two heavyweights against each other.
“Boxing is a lot like a roller coaster in that there are a lot of highs and lows in terms of opponents,” said Camponovo. “You’re going to get matched with easier fights at first, but you’re also going to be in fights where you have to step up to the challenge and prove yourself, and this is that type of fight.”
Alexander has a more fundamental approach to fighting and shows athleticism and quickness in his style. He seldom opens up with more than two punches at a time.
“Every fight is different, but as a boxer-puncher my job is to adjust. Whatever is working for him, I have to make the adjustment to take that away,” said Alexander who trains in Riverside. “LaRon likes to load up on his punches and I think I can exploit that.”
Mitchell has that awkwardness all southpaws have plus an unusual quickness that he uses to great effect. Though fairly old for a fighter with only 14 pro fights, he displayed plenty of grit and determination when he rallied from a knockdown in his last fight to win.
“I’m 36-years-young. I know that sounds old, but I’m like a Cadillac with 50,000 miles that has been parked in the garage for much of its life. I have no wear and tear,” said Mitchell who is managed by former Northern California boxing star Andy Nance. “The drive and desire burns inside me. That’s my motivation. My whole team has the determination to become a world champion no matter who gets put in front of me.”
It looks like a very even heavyweight clash when comparing the duo on paper. It could go all the way or end with lightning suddenness. That’s the heavyweight way.
“This is a fifty-fifty shot with the winner taking that next step toward earning a world title shot,” said Ramirez who trains Alexander.
Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing can’t hide his excitement.
“We’ve built many champions through the years and this is where the drama starts,” said Thompson. “Can LaRon continue his winning streak and become a champion? Can Scott grab his signature win and take home a title in the process? We’ll have answers to those questions next.”
For tickets and information call (714) 935-0900. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.