THE LUNA VS. LUNA CLASSIC: When it comes to closet classics, I defer to fellow writer and friend Lee Groves. Lee wrote a fine book titled: TALES FROM THE VAULT: A Celebration of 100 Boxing Closet Classics. Lee may even have coined the phrase “Closet Classic” and in my opinion is the best authority on such fights. Some of his favorites are:
Danny Lopez-Juan Malvarez
Antonio Avelar-Wilfredo Vazquez
Victor Callejas-Loris Stecca II
Leland Hardy-Ike Padilla
I‘ve done some research in this area as well and have reviewed more video footage than there is footage. In fact, beginning on page 195 in my 2008 book titled Reelin’ in the Years: Boxing and More, I listed well over 300 such fights with a brief comment about each. The following list reflects a sampling:
Earnie Shavers vs. Roy “Tiger” Williams (1976): This one featured incredible back-and-forth late round action that has to be seen to be believed.
Luis Resto (yes, that Resto) vs. Pat Hallacy (1979): Two-way mayhem that had the crowd going bonkers and giving the loser (Hallacy) a standing ovation that lasted for minutes.
Muangchai Kittikasem vs. Jung-Koo Chang (1991): The Thai, down three times, comes back to finish Chang.
Sung Kil Moon vs. Nana Konadu (1990): Konadu down thrice, Moon twice but prevails.
Zack Padilla vs. Ray Oliveira (1993): Two human punch machines break CompuBox records in punch fest.
Micky Ward vs. Reggie Green (1999): A come-from-behind, blood and guts classic.
Antwun Echols vs. Charles Brewer (2001): Echols, down three times, comes back to stop “The Hatchet.”
Ramsey Luna vs. Rene Luna: A four-round free-for-all punch-a-thon that was televised in 2010 and is still bantered about. It is referred to simply as Luna vs. Luna.
Luna vs. Luna
Ramsey Luna was 18 years old and still in high school for his pro debut against Rene Luna (no relation). Rene Luna (sometimes called Javier) was 20 years old and also making his pro debut. Rene was from Laredo, Texas; Ramsey from Corpus Christi. Due to some early stoppages, it was a swing fight after the main events shown on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights on May 21, 2010 at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo. The main event was a 12-round IBF lightweight title eliminator between Ji-Hoon Kim and Ammeth Diaz which Kim won by first round TKO. In another bout, a prime Ruslan Provodnikov faced a fading Emanuel Augustus.
The unrelated Lunas had the extremely rare opportunity of making their professional debuts on national television and both made the most of it in a frenzied 4-rounder that still raises the eyebrows of aficionados whenever the fight is mentioned. It turned out to be the best fight of the night, and one of the best 4-round fights ever seen on television.
During a wild exchange early in the first round, the two exchanged right crosses but Ramsey’s landed first and knocked down Rene (a Johnny Tapia look-alike). Then all hell broke loose as a free-for-all punch-a-thon took place for the rest of the fight. The crowd sensed something special and cheered wildly when the first round ended, but it would later rise as one and stay standing as the Lunas took turns at an all-out clip. Here is a YouTube showing the first two rounds:
At times, the fight resembled a schoolyard brawl as both threw wild and looping shots, but they also displayed some decent technique. At times the younger Luna, enamored with the chance to KO Rene, abandoned technique and went for the stoppage. Rene, however, was as tough as a twenty-year-old can get and came back with his own onslaught. The action did not cease for the rest of the fight. Here are rounds 3 and 4, respectively:
Teddy Atlas criticized Ramsey’s habit of sticking his tongue out after stepping away from withering exchanges as potentially a very dangerous habit, but he nevertheless was impressed with Ramsey’s technique and hand speed, often referring to the fact that the kid was still in high school
After four rounds that were remarkably similar in their whirlwind non-stop action, the judges’ scorecards were read as 40-35, 39-36, and 39-36, all for Ramsey.
Ramsey would go on to win his next ten fights—all in Texas, but when he fought Toka Kahn Clary in Atlantic City, NJ on December 12, 2013, he suffered a razor thin UD 6 loss even though he put the rugged Clary down twice in the fourth round. That loss seemed to mark the downward slope of Ramsey’s bell-shaped curve. He lost four of his next five bouts, albeit against stiff opposition, including a close decision loss to Curtis Meeks (10-1-2).
As for Rene, his final record was 2-2 and for whatever reason he never fought beyond 2010.
As a poster named “budfr” put it on a rival boxing web site, “The fight … between two kids named Luna who were making their debut was amazing. Four rounds of real action, no holding, hugging, or running. Simply fighting. Thank God for Mexican fighters.”
I could not have put it better.
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Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. A member of Ring 4’S Boxing Hall of Fame, he enjoys writing about boxing.