Angel Alejandro: Boxing’s Versace
By: Sean Crose
It’s late at night in New York City, around two am. A product of the mean streets of the Big Apple, one who has risen above and beyond the pitfalls of youth, is hard at work. A long married father of two, the professional toils away at his craft, knowing full well that timeliness is imperative. Indeed, he pushes along until the sun comes up. Then he races to send his work off, post haste. The man’s name is Angel Alejandro, and he has just designed and delivered a pair of custom made boxing trunks that will appear in the highly successful and acclaimed movie, Creed.
Now fifty, Alejandro is the most unique of boxing’s success stories. A troubled youth, he found salvation in the gym. He might not have reached Olympian heights in the ring, but his love of the sweet science, combined with a unique fashion sense, have proven to have paid off handsomely. “I was in and out of trouble as a kid,” says Alejandro. Boxing, though, proved his salvation. The sport, however, isn’t generally the most lucrative endeavor. Moving on from a fighter to the owner of a local gym was no easy task.
“Gyms don’t pay the bills,” he says frankly. Yet the New Yorker also adds that he’s “always been business minded.” On top of that, Alejandro says he was “always into designing.” Hence, an idea occurred. “Six years ago, seven years ago maybe,” Alejandro started making outfits for fighters. “All of the sudden,” Alejandro explains, “it became a business.” Needless to say, business is booming right now. “I can’t take any more orders until the end of June,” he tells me during our conversation in early May.
A quick note about Alejandro – he’s an exceedingly interesting guy to talk to. A classic New Yorker, the man can tell enough interesting true life anecdotes to fill a book, much less an article, making it difficult for a fight writer to know which stories to employ. There’s his recent experience, for instance, of making a custom made suit for Native American Kali Reis, in which he enlisted the services of the premiere Native American designer in the country. He ended up using authentic fabric from Reis’ tribe. “We got online and stared calling Native American dressmakers,” he says.
Then, of course, there’s the story behind Alejandro’s Roberto Clemente jacket, which was made exclusively for Cindy Serrano (“You open up the sleeves and the gloves come out”) Then there’s the work he’s done for Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller. And Heather “The Heat” Hardy. And Hank Lundy. Perhaps the most interesting of the stories Alejandro has to recall, however, is the one involving “King” Gabe Rosado.
“King Gabe Rosado got us into the Creed movie,” he says. ” I’m fighting Lemiuex,’” Alejandro recalls Rosado telling him. “’I want to do Apollo Creed because they’re thinking of doing the movie Creed.” Alejandro obliged, offering his own take on the red, white, and blue trunks made famous in the Rocky films. Rosado ended up acting in Creed…and he did at least some of it wearing trunks made by Alejandro’s company, Double A Boxing. Alejandro was floored. “Rocky made me want to get into boxing,” he recalls.
There was one strange condition for Alejandro before he fully went Hollywood, though – Rosado’s suit in the film couldn’t outshine the star’s. “I thought it was nice,” Alejandro recalls of his finished product that appeared onscreen, “but it’s not what we do.” Not that the man isn’t grateful for being a part of the Rocky universe. “That was unbelievable,” he says fondly.
Beneath Alejandro’s colorful conversationalist is a serious artist. One doesn’t achieve what the guy has without knowing one’s business. And Alejandro knows fashion as well as the next high end designer. He speaks expertly of things like varieties of fabric and leather and rhinestones and sequin the way a master painter speaks of things like oil, canvas, lighting, and watercolors. In short, the man is a master craftsman who wants his imagination to match his artistic ambition. “You’re always trying to outdo yourself,” he tells me. It’s the sort of thing a musician or a literary novelist might say.
Yet Alejandro is also a businessman, and as such knows how important it is to please the customer. Alejandro claims that timeliness is of extreme importance with fighters, that the clothing must be delivered before the week of the fight. Understanding that fighters tend to be good people, Alejandro notes that “a good fighter has to turn something on in himself to make him mean.”
That transition tends to come just before a match. The last thing a fighter needs at that time is to wonder where his or her trunks are. “They’ll get a box in the door the week before the fight,” he says. Overall, Alejandro wants to make the entire process as pleasurable as possible for his clients. “It’s like getting a custom suit somewhere,” he states. “We try to make it an experience,” he says, speaking of the fitting process. Such dedication to craft has earned Alejandro and his employees the title of “The boxing Vercases.”
Alejandro isn’t interested in leaving the past behind, however. He still operates his gym, not because it earns him a ton of money, but because he remembers what boxing did for him. “I remember what the gym did for me growing up,” he states. “I don’t know where I’d be,” without it. As for Double A Boxing, it’s had to move to a more accommodating location for clients, Harlem’s famous 125th Street.
“It’s shocking,” the designer says of his success. “When you love what you do, you do it well.”
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Linares vs. Lomachenko, Adames vs. Barrera
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night two of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters, Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko will square off in a WBA Lightweight Title bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be working together and will televise this fight on ESPN.
The co-feature of the night will be a welterweight bout between Carlos Adames and Alejandro Barrera. Other prospects on the fight card include Michael Conlan, Teofimo Lopez, and Jamel Herring. Conlan may appear on the televised portion of the card due to his popularity, but that bout should be an easier victory for him.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing
The following is a preview of the co-featured bout and the main event of the night.
Carlos Adames (13-0) vs. Alejandro Barrera (29-4); Welterweights
Carlos Adames is a prized prospect with heavy hands. He’s only twenty four years old and will be seven years younger than Barrera on fight night. He will also have a significant three inch reach advantage.
Adames has been very active. He fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Barrera fought twice in 2017 and did not fight in 2016.
Adames has considerable power. He has stopped eleven of his opponents and only one of his past ten opponents was able to make it the full fight. Barrera has eighteen stoppage victories, but he has lost two of his past four fights.
Adames is a former Pan American Gold Medalist and competed in the world amateur championships. Barrera has no notable amateur career to speak of.
Adames has fought mainly in the Dominican Republic, his past nine fighters were there. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Molina, Jean Carlos Prada, and Ivan Alvarez. Barrera has defeated the likes of Eddie Gomez and Juan Macias Montiel. He has losses to Armando Robles, Rmases Agaton, Errol Spence Jr., and Keandre Gibson.
Barrera is talented enough to score an occasional upset, as evident in his win over Eddie Gomez. But Adames looks like he will be too talented for Barrera to handle.
Jorge Linares (44-3) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1); WBA Lightweight Title
Jorge Linares used to be a top boxer in Top Rank’s stable of fighters, but back to back losses to Sergio Thompson and Antonio DeMarco in late 2011 early 2012 forced Top Rank to let Linares loose and allowed for Golden Boy Promotions to pick him up.
He has since won thirteen fights in a row and his name has often come up in conversation as one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters.
However, he’ll be facing a true legend in the sport with only eleven professional fights, Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko has eight stoppage victories and will be giving up about an inch in height and three and a half inches in reach to Linares. Lomachenko will be two years younger than Linares, but both boxers are still considered by most to be in their athletic primes.
Linares has twenty seven stoppage wins, but his past four fights were won by decision. Lomacheno fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016 while Linares fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
Lomachenko’s lone loss was a controversial one to Orlando Salido, who came in overweight. He has defeated the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, and Gary Russell Jr.
Linares has losses to Sergio Thompson, Antonio DeMarco, and Juan Carlos Salgado. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Larios, Mercito Gesta, Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla, Kevin Mitchell, and Nihto Arakawa.
It is extremely rare to find someone with the amateur resume of Vasyl Lomachenko. He was a two time Olympic Gold Medalist. Linares was a national champion as an amateur in Venezuela.
Linares has excellent footwork and incredible accuracy, but Lomachenko also has excellent footwork and accuracy and in fact, probably has better footwork than Linares. Linares can hang with anyone in the first half of a fight, but he tends to fade late. Lomachenko has never shown signs of fading in a ring.
Lomachenko does have problems with fighters who are known for being rough on the inside and willing to fight a little dirty, like Orlando Salido. Linares is not that type of fighter. He’s known for his technique and finesse.
Linares will have a size advantage on Saturday night, and he’d be wise to use it. But Lomachenko’s movement and accuracy will should win him the fight, especially in the later rounds.
This writer thinks Linares will be able to keep it close early on, but will fade late and eventually succumb to a Lomachenko barrage.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Preview: Barrera vs. Gibson, Tapia vs. Rosado
By: William Holmes
On Thursday night Golden Boy Promotions will present a card live at the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, Nevada on ESPN 2.
At least two bouts are currently scheduled to take place. The co-main event will feature KeAndre Gibson taking on Alejandro Barrera in the welterweight division. The main event will be a fight between Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado and New Jersey’s Glen Tapia in the middleweight division.
Photo From Glen Tapia’s Twitter Account
Both Rosado and Tapia have been in the ring with some high profile opponents, and a loss for either will likely signal the end of meaningful matchups for either boxer.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Alejandro Barrera (29-3) vs. KeAndre Gibson (17-1); Welterweights
KeAndre Gibson was once considered a high level prospect due to his amateur background and success. He won the Junior Golden Gloves National Championship in 2006 and was a bronze medalist in the 2006 Junior Olympics.
However, he lost by TKO to the undefeated Antonio Orozco in April of this year and some of Gibson’s hype has begun to fade.
Gibson will be facing Alejandro Barrera, and opponent that is four years older than him but will have a five and a half inch reach advantage and stands at the same height.
Barrera does not have the amateur experience of Gibson, but he does appear to have a slight edge in power. He has stopped seventeen of his opponents while Gibson has only stopped seven. Both men have suffered on stoppage loss in their career.
Gibson has been fairly active the past two years. He already fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Barrera only fought once in 2017 and zero times in 2016.
Barrera has defeated the likes of Eddie Gomez, Juan Mantiel, and Armando Robles. His losses were to Errol Spence Jr., Ramses Agaton, and Armando Robles.
Gibson has defeated the likes of Dennis Dauti, Mahonry Montes, and Jorge Romero.
It should be noted that three of the past four fights of Barrera were split draws and very close on the scorecards. Gibson’s amateur experience and technical edge should make him the favorite, but he will have to be wary of the power of Barrera.
Glen Tapia (23-4) vs. Gabriel Rosado (23-11); Middleweights
The main event is between two guys known for their heart and willingness to leave it all in the ring, but are also known for coming up short when placed in big time fights.
Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia, will be giving up a half inch in height and about an inch and a half in reach to Gabriel Rosado. However, Tapia is four years younger than Rosado and has a considerable edge in amateur experience. Tapia has a claimed amateur record of 130-4 while Rosado is alleged to only having eleven fights as an amateur on his record.
Both boxers have similar power numbers. Tapia has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Rosado has stopped thirteen. Both boxers have also been known to be stopped by their opponents. Tapia has three stoppage losses to his resume while Rosado has four.
Tapia fought once in 2017 and once in 2016. He is currently riding a three fight losing streak. He has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, David Lemieux, Michel Soro, and James Kirkland. Notable victories include Daniel Dawson, Donatas Bondorovas, Abraham Han, and Ayi Bruce.
Roasdo has fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Antonio Gutierrez, Joshua Clottey, Charles Whittaker, Sechew Powell, Jesus Soto Karass, and Ayi Bruce. His losses were to Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr., David Lemieux, Jermell Charlo, Peter Quillin, and Gennady Golovkin.
Rosado has only gone 2-5 in his past seven fights, but most of those fights were against high level opponents.
Both boxers have had their share of tough losses, but Tapia has suffered more devastating losses than Rosado and has not been as active. Additionally, Rosado’s losses were against some of the best in the business, including Gennady Golovkin and Jermell Charlo, while Tapia has lost to lesser known boxers such as Jason Quigley and Michel Soro.
This should be an entertaining action packed bout. But it won’t be a bout to showcase the technical aspects of boxing. Rosado has an edge in the intangibles, but this is a fight that could go either way.
PBC on ESPN Results: Benavidez and Luna Batter their Opponents to Remain Undefeated
PBC on ESPN Results: Benavidez and Luna Batter their Opponents to Remain Undefeated
By: William Holmes
The 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia was the host site for tonight’s telecast of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN telecast.
Two highly touted prospects on the PBC roster fought on the televised portion of the card. Undefeated David Benavidez faced off against Denis Douglin in the main event of the night in the super middleweight division, and the co-main event was between undefeated Alejandro Luna and last minute replacement Naim Nelson in the lightweight division.
Credit: Premier Boxing Champions/Ryan Hafey
Naim Nelson (13-1) and Alejandro Luna (20-0) was the first bout of the night in the junior welterweight division. Stephen Ormond was originally scheduled to face Luna, but he badly missed weight and Nelson, a local Philadelphia fighter, stepped up as a last minute replacement.
Both men started off fighting out of an orthodox stance and Nelson attacked to the body early. It was obvious that Luna had more snap to his punches in the opening stanza, but Nelson was willing to stay in the pocket and exchange with Luna despite the fact he only has one stoppage victory.
Nelson continued to stay in the pocket with Luna in the second round and even caused Luna’s left eye to swell. However, Luna was connecting with good combinations to the body with short uppercuts to the jaw.
Luna had Nelson backing up to the ropes in the third round, but both boxers were exchanging and landing good shots. Luna started off the fourth round focusing more of his attacks to the head out of a southpaw stance, and had some success when fighting from a distance.
Nelson was able to tag Luna with a couple of hard right crosses in the fifth round, but Luna’s pressure was relentless and the volume of his punches showed no signs of slowing down.
Luna came back out in an orthodox stance in the sixth round and attacked Nelson with a little more urgency than previous rounds. Luna seemed unafraid of Nelson’s power despite the swelling in his left eye. Even though Nelson was able to land a few decent shots, he was unable to slow down the work rate of Luna.
Luna’s stalking continued into the seventh round as he continued to measure his body shots while chasing Nelson around the ring.
Nelson fought valiantly and with great heart in the final three rounds of the bout and may have stolen the ninth round, but he just couldn’t keep up with the pace of Luna nor match his power. Luna came close to scoring a knockdown in the final round and had Nelson bleeding from his forehead, but Nelson was able to stay on his feet.
Luna wins the hard fought decision with scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93.
Afterwards Luna stated, “Nelson was a tough guy and could bang a little bit. Obviously we prepared for another opponent, but I felt I had a solid performance against him.”
The main event of the night was between the hard hitting David Benavidez (15-0) and Denis Douglin (20-4) in the super middleweight division.
Three of Douglin’s four losses have come by knockout, while fourteen of Benavidez’s fifteen wins have come by stoppage.
Benavidez was significantly taller than Douglin and used his jab and reach to his advantage with sharp jabs and crisp crosses. Douglin, however, was able to do good work to the body and stunned Benavidez with a left hook near the end of the round and finished strong.
The second round was a close one to call. Benavidez was able to land a few hard uppercuts, but also had to hold the back of Douglin’s head in order to land some body shots. This round featured some good exchanges with both boxers landing their fair share of good shots.
Benavidez looked he was starting to wear Doughlin down in the third round. He staggered Doughlin at one point in the fourth round with a straight right hand and Doughlin was forced to hold on.
Benavidez looked like he was in complete control in the fourth and fifth rounds, and he was able to snake his punches around the tight guard of Douglin from a variety of angles and did it well.
Benavidez opened up the sith round with a hard right cross right uppercut combination, and had Douglin reeling on the ropes while he delivered withering body blows and hard shots to the head. Douglin looked like he was close to hitting the mat, but his mouthpiece fell out and he was granted a short break and recovered.
Benavidez opened up the seventh round by backing Douglin to a corner and continuing the damage he inflicted upon him in the previous round. At one point Douglin had Benavidez’s back towards the ropes, but the ring ropes fell down and the fight had to be stopped in order to fix the ring.
Douglin attacked Benavidez immediately when the fight restarted and did some good work to the body when Benavidez had his back to the ropes and may have stolen the round.
Benavidez appeared to win the eighth round after giving away the seventh by sticking to his jab and landing clean shots from the outside.
Douglin needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the fight, but Benavidez landed several crowd pleasing shots in the ninth round including a combination of uppercuts that finally sent Douglin to the mat at the end of the ninth.
Douglin took several hard shots from Benavidez at the start of the tenth round and looked like he was just trying to survive. Benavidez landed another blistering combination with Douglin’s back towards the ropes before the referee jumped in and stopped the bout.
David Benavidez wins by TKO at 0:45 of the tenth round.
Afterwards Benavidez states, “I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I knew he wasn’t going to go out without a fight. So I came in here and started slower than I usually do, just using my jab a little bit more. I hurt him a lot of times, but I kept my cool. I knew I was going to get him out of here sooner or later and that’s exactly what I did tonight.
Undercard Quick Results:
Jeffrey Torres (1-0) defeated Mariano Rolon (0-1) by KO at 2:23 of the first round in the lightweight division.
Kieran Hooks (1-0) defeated Miguel Martinez (2-2) by decision in the junior middleweight division with scores of 38-37 on all three scorecards.
Darryl Bunting (2-0-2) and Edward Jeramie Ortiz (1-0-1) fought to a draw in the super middleweight division with scores of 39-37 for Bunting, and 38-38 on the other two scorecards.
Tyrone Brunson (23-6-1) defeated Carlos Garcia (10-17-1) by knockout at 0:25 of the fourth round in the junior middleweight division.