It’s a collaboration that happens annually now between Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya during the end of spring.
For the eighth time Sugar Ray Foundation and Golden Boy Promotions staged the benefit for diabetes but this time at the Loew’s Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Last year it was in Hollywood, but the change in location to the beach hotel didn’t diminish the star quality.
The celebrities showed up once again.
Like last year, the boxing portion allows for young prospects to show off their talent. Two prospects from Golden Boy were put in the spotlight and both gave the audience and those watching it live streamed an opportunity to see exactly where the prospects fit in the grand scheme.
Super featherweight prospect Luis Coria has been burning through opponents like a wildfire. The 18-year-old from Moreno Valley, Calif. (the same town that champions Mikey Garcia and Kaliesha West live in) trains in Indio which is roughly 60 miles into the desert. It’s where trainers Joel Diaz and Antonio Diaz do their tutelage.
Coria’s obvious superiority over his previous opponents must have convinced Golden Boy Promotions to see exactly where the youngster is in their pecking order. They currently have more than a dozen quality prospects in the super bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight divisions.
Golden Boy also has a number of fighters they use as measuring sticks. They’re solid professionals with experience and attitude who always give their best. They don’t enter the ring simply looking for a payday. They’re looking to win.
One of the veterans Golden Boy likes to contract is Jose Antonio Martinez, a 33-year-old roughneck from the rugged town of Durango, Mexico. In the 18 pro bouts Martinez has engaged in, seven have been opposing young undefeated prospects like Coria.
Martinez is a real pro. When I say a real pro I mean he is always ready for war at a moment’s notice. They go unnoticed by the fans but not by boxing reporters who see them constantly appear on fight cards and constantly give 100 percent.
In the last two years Martinez has engaged Manny Robles Jr., Ryan Garcia, Tenochtitlan Nava, Francisco Esparza and Hector Tanajara. Only Garcia was able to end the fight by knockout. The others were thoroughly tested and shown their holes.
Coria (4-0, 3 KOs) got his turn on Wednesday and showed his excessive speed and skills against Martinez (8-10, 5 KOs). He couldn’t put him out but that’s because Martinez has solid skills and strength. No speed, but strength. At only 18 years of age Coria will become a stronger fighter and then will be even more powerful.
“”I feel good about my performance as I got the win,” said Coria after the fight.
Coria showed Golden Boy where he belongs in the pecking order. There’s a lot of talent in the three weight divisions that the Los Angeles-based organization has been accumulating in the past three years. Most of that talent comes from the Southwest region of the country.
Another getting his test was middleweight Marvin Cabrera. Since his pro debut the matchmakers have not been easy on the heavy-handed middleweight from Mexico City. They can’t afford to coddle the southpaw. The middleweight division has too many hard-hitting prospects that can easily unmask a pretender.
Seven months into his pro career, Cabrera, 23, has since faced three opponents with one or no losses and has eliminated them all. He pounds them into surrender or unconsciousness. But he’s not a particularly fast-handed boxer. He’s shown a decent chin but how far will that take him?
So far, Golden Boy is not wasting time. They are putting him into the fire and he’s not getting burned.
Against Louisiana’s Quantavious Green (1-1, 1 KO) the two traded middleweight blows in a battle of power versus power. Once again Cabrera (4-0, 4 KOs) showed his nukes were stronger than his opponents and by the end of the fourth round Green’s eye was bloodied. The fight was ended.
One thing about middleweights is that Golden Boy has one of the best in Alvarez and can easily compare Cabrera to Canelo. The Mexico City prospect has a long ways to go but so far has shown he can move to the next step.
Winners of the other two bouts were Kevin Rivers Jr. (14-1) defeating Roberto Pucheta (10-11-1) by unanimous decision after six rounds in a featherweight match, and super lightweight Alfredo Escarcega (2-0) who out-pointed Rolando Padilla (0-2) after four rounds.
Photo credit: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation
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