A favorite son returns to the spotlight when Charles Huerta faces Miguel Gonzalez in a super featherweight main event on Thursday in the City of Angels.
Fresh off a knockout victory, Huerta (19-5, 12 KOs) attempts to maintain the momentum when he faces the hard-hitting Gonzalez (20-2, 17 KOs) of Los Mochis, Mexico on Thursday Aug. 10, at Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Estrella TV will televise.
Now 31 years old, Huerta was a former prodigy as a teen when he would spar with many of the best prizefighters in the Los Angeles area. At 16 years old he would hold his own or dominate against the most dangerous boxers of that era.
“I used to spar with Martin Castillo when he was defending the world titles,” said Huerta who lives in neighboring Paramount but trains in Maywood. “I was Israel Vazquez main sparring partner for years when he was fighting Rafael Marquez in those wars.”
Back in 2002 the tiny gym hidden in the middle of the Maywood neighborhood was home to many world class prizefighters from around the world. It still has a certain reputation as a gathering place for many of the best sparring wars in Southern California.
Huerta was always in the middle of these sparring sessions even at the young age of 16. Whenever someone would ask “who is the best prospect in the L.A. area” at that time, most would say it was “that kid Huerta.”
The kid from Paramount, a small town bordering Compton, signed with Golden Boy Promotions around 2008 and was seen as the next boxing gem from the greater Los Angeles area.
All seemed to be on track for Huerta; he was in his early 20s and had that crowd appeal that draws fans. He was the main event on a July 2009 fight card at Club Nokia that also featured two boxers that would later fight for world titles in Carlos Molina and Enrique Ornelas. It was a big showcase and the crowds showed up early.
The opponent for the televised event was Derrick Wilson, an undefeated Texan with a nasty overhand right. It was a battle of young undefeated featherweights but the crowd felt Huerta could not be beaten.
It took less than a minute for Wilson to crash the party with a big right hand and send Huerta to the floor. He got up but was still wobbling and the fight was stopped in 59 seconds of the opening round. The fans were in shock.
After that loss, Huerta did not seem like the same fighter even in victory. Two years passed by and then he lost back-to-back fights in 2011. By this time he was let go by Golden Boy Promotions and was on his own. When a fighter does not have a promoter then the road gets much tougher.
A rival company,Goossen Promotions, wanted to take a look at Huerta so he was put on a fight card at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario against hometown prospect Jonathan Arrellano. The year younger Arrellano out-worked Huerta to win by majority decision.
Huerta did not enter the prize ring for another three years after that loss in 2013. It was on a large boxing card at the Inglewood Forum last December that his name was announced causing a few reporters to look up.
The former prodigy from Paramount was being matched against top prospect Carlos Morales on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith main event. A few of the veteran boxing writers who knew Huerta from years past looked at one another nodding that this was an interesting matchup.
When the fight began Morales took the lead and used the tactics that worked to give him the record of 13 wins and only one loss. The tactics and moves did not work against Huerta. He casually countered those moves with a few of his own. But Huerta was on defense not offense. Around the third round Huerta began to make his move. He had bloodied Morales in the second round and the momentum had changed dramatically. Morales tried every trick he knew but Huerta was always a step ahead. Then, in the eighth round, Huerta connected with a left hook that dropped Morales. For the next two rounds Morales was in survival mode. But after 10 rounds, two judges somehow scored it for Morales. The crowd booed the split decision verdict in favor of Morales who actually showed remorse in the victory. But Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz was impressed and offered Huerta another fight.
Inner city clash
Huerta was matched against undefeated prospect Ivan Delgado of South Central L.A. on the main event at Belasco Theater.
Delgado, 27, arrived with a huge fan contingent that filled up half of the small theater located in downtown Los Angeles. His followers love his aggressive style of fighting and he feared no one in the boxing ring.
Huerta arrived with an equally large fan following and the two crowds both shouted encouragement to their heroes. It was an electric feeling that buzzed the crowd.
When the opening bell rang Delgado took the initiative with his aggressive pressure style as Huerta countered with jabs. The first two rounds were intense and seemed to go quickly. In the third round, Huerta seemed to come out more aggressively and Delgado increased the tempo when suddenly he was caught with a well-timed one-two combination and down went the warrior. He beat the count but got up shakily and Huerta knew exactly what to do. Huerta’s six-punch barrage ended the fight at 36 seconds of the third round. Half of the crowd went into delirium.
Huerta was calm and collected in victory and walked over to Delgado to make sure he was OK.
When asked how he won the fight Huerta calmly explained “it was experience” and that Delgado is a very good fighter.
Now, after eight years, Huerta headlines a Golden Boy main event as the favorite after almost being forgotten. It’s a journey that not many boxers can claim.
“I guess I’m more hungry and more mature,” said Huerta. “I’ve learned a lot over the years.”
The prodigal son has returned.
Doors to the Belasco Theater open at 5 p.m. For more information call (213) 233-2957.
Photo credit: Al Applerose
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