Deep in the desert region of Southern California a couple of guys from Dallas have made a temporary home in Indio.
One of those Texans, Francisco Javier Martinez (3-0), enters the boxing ring in a six round featherweight clash against Mexico City’s Ricardo Arias (1-1-1) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif on Friday. The Golden Boy Promotions card will be televised by ESPN.
Martinez (pictured) is part of a pair of heavy-handed fighters from Dallas who live and train in Indio under the Diaz brothers, Joel and Antonio. The other heavy hitter is Vergil Ortiz, a welterweight slugger.
“It makes it a lot easier having Vergil here too,” said Martinez, 21, who has known Ortiz for many years. “I still get a little homesick.”
But homesickness does not follow inside the boxing ring where Martinez has racked up three knockouts in three fights. Ortiz has proven to be even more generous with dispensing knockouts at a seven-for-seven clip.
What are they eating?
“I really miss Tex-Mex food,” said Martinez, who likes California style food but still misses that Tex-Mex style of cooking.
So far Martinez has taken out his Tex-Mex frustrations on opponents. This time he faces Mexico City’s Arias who recently tripped up another undefeated fighter at the StubHub and departed with a draw. Some felt Arias won.
“I know he’s pretty good,” said Martinez of Arias. “I was at his last fight. I know I can’t under-estimate him.”
The main event on the Fantasy Springs card features New Mexico’s Fidel Maldonado (24-3-1, 19 KOs) facing Ismael Barroso (19-1-2, 18 KOs) for a WBC Fecarbox title in the super lightweight division.
Maldonado, 26, toppled undefeated Amir Imam two years ago in one of those slam bam whoever-goes-down-last-loses kind of fights. Since that tremendous win, the Albuquerque prizefighter has beaten some pretty good foes including Pablo Cano who is on this card. Maldonado is a slugger who always goes for the home run.
Barroso, 34, has fought several elite fighters including Anthony Crolla and Kevin Mitchell in England. There’s no time for the Venezuelan to waste so he’s taking on all comers. He has power. Expect someone to go down in this fight. It’s southpaw versus southpaw and when that happens it’s awkward for both fighters.
Cano (30-6-1, 21 KOs) fights Argentina’s Marcelino Lopez (32-2-1, 17 KOs) in a co-main event super lightweight clash.
The last time Lopez fought in Southern California he stopped Oxnard’s David Rodela in the third round. But a younger version of Rodela might have been a different story. This last April, Michael Perez edged Lopez by split decision in New York. But Perez is a boxer and Cano is a slugger. Will the real Marcelino Lopez stand up?
Cano, 28, comes forward punching on all cylinders. He’s not very fast but he doesn’t stop. If an opponent can’t keep up, the Mexican fighter from Mexico City will run them over. He hasn’t had an easy fight in two years.
Speaking of Mexican fighters Oscar Duarte (11-0-1) returns and fights Juan Jose Montes (25-5-2) in a lightweight contest set for eight rounds. Duarte trains in Indio with Joel and Antonio Diaz. Since working with the Diaz brothers Duarte has improved tremendously. When he was first brought up he loaded up on every punch. Now he’s learning the subtleties of setting up his punches. It’s been a remarkable turnaround.
In a super welterweight clash Marvin Cabrera (5-0) meets veteran Hector Velazquez (57-29-3) in a six round bout. Cabrera works out of former world champion Daniel Ponce De Leon’s gym in Montebello. Observers say Cabrera is a handfull. He will have his hands full against Velazquez who has fought a who’s who over the past 24 years. The Mexican veteran has 90 bouts so far. That’s rare these days.
The first bout begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information call (800) 827-2946.
Montebello Card Canceled
The fight card scheduled by All Star Boxing at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello was canceled.
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