Joet Gonzalez & Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera on ESPN Friday
By: Ken Hissner
Featherweight sensation Joet Gonzalez, 19-0 (11), of L.A. looks to keep his unbeaten streak going Friday night in an Oscar de La Hoya Golden Boy Promotion at the Nova at L.A. live, in Los Angeles, CA. He meets Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera, 25-1-2 (16), of Tijuana, Baja, CA, Mexico, for the vacant WBO NABO Featherweight Title.
Rivera is coming off a loss last September to Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz by decision. Diaz in May lost a lopsided world title challenge to Gary Russell Jr. after giving up the WBO NABO title.
Gonzalez has stopped his last five opponents. In his last and only fight in 2018 he knocked out Rolando “Smooth Operator” Magbanua, 29-7 (21), in 5 rounds. He has yet to get into the world ratings but possibly with a win he can enter the WBO ratings.
In the co-feature lightweight Christian “Chimpo” Gonzalez, 18-2 (15), of Buena Park, CA, takes on Arturo “Reyes” Santos Reyes, 19-10 (5), of Sonora, MEX, in an 8. Gonzalez has lost two of his last four fights including his last fight in February to Filipino Rey “Flash” Perez, 21-9, by an 8 round decision after suffering a pair of cuts on the left eye from an accidental head butt causing a 60 day suspension.
Reyes on the other hand has lost his last four fights to high quality boxers with a 70-4-1 combined record. A month ago he lost a split decision to Matt “Sweet Child” Conway, 12-0, for IBA Intercontinental title over 10 rounds in Pittsburgh, PA.
Super Middleweight Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo, 11-2 (4), of L.A. takes on Samantha Pill, 3-0 (0), of Fairmont, W.V., in a 6. Cornejo has won seven straight with her last win in May. She last lost in May in 2016 in Auckland, NZ, by split decision for the vacant WBC World Female Middleweight title to Kali Reis. In her prior fight she won the vacant WBC International Female Super Middleweight Title in August of 2015.
HBO PPV Undercard Results: Diaz, Martin, and De La Hoya Win Uneventful Decisions
By: William Holmes
Three bouts were televised on tonight’s HBO PPV offering before the start of the main event between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
The undercard fight between Nicola Adams and Alexandra Vlajk was called off after Alexandra Vlajk failed the pre-fight medical. Three fights were on the untelevised undercard in front of a nearly empty arena.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing
The first bout of the televised portion of the pay per view was between Ryan Martin (19-0) and Francisco Rojo (19-2) for the WBC Continental Americas and WBA Inter-Continental Lightweight Titles.
Martin was the taller fighter and fights out of an orthodox stance, but was previously promoted by 50 Cent and has been relatively inactive the past few years.
Martin stayed busy with his jab in the opening two rounds and Rojo targeted the body, but not much action and Rojo was slightly busier than Martin.
Rojo complained to the referee about punches landing to the back of the head and Martin appeared to be shaking off ring rust. Rojo continued to come forward in the fourth and fifth rounds and was the more aggressive fighter of the two.
Martin was able to land a good double left hook to the body and head in the sixth round but that may have been his best combination of the first half of the fight. Rojo was able to momentarily stun Martin with a right cross in the seventh round and Martin was warned by the referee to keep his punches above the belt line.
Martin was warned for low blows twice in the eighth round and the referee gave Rojo time to recover, but Martin was not deducted a point. Martin connected with some good right hooks this round, but this round, like the others before it, could have been scored either way.
Martin was finally deducted a point in the ninth round for landing another low blow, but he was able to land some good combinations to the head of Rojo.
The final round was similar to the rounds previous, with Rojo pressing the action coming forward and both boxers throwing and landing, with Martin appeared to land the cleaner punches but Rojo throwing slightly more.
The judges scored it 98-91 Rojo, 96-93 Martin, and 95-94 for Martin. The crowd loudly boos the decision of the judges.
The next bout of the night started almost immediately afterwards and was between Randy Caballero (24-0) and Diego De La Hoya (19-0) for the NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles.
Caballero is another boxer that has not been very active in the past two years. De La Hoya was able to land good hooks to the body in the opening round but was reaching for his punches a bit. Both boxers were a little sloppy in the opening two rounds and clash of heads occurred in both the first and second round.
De La Hoya was landing the cleaner shots in the third and fourth rounds, though Caballero was able to knock De La Hoya off balance a little bit with a right hand to the chin in the fourth.
Caballero had a small shiner underneath his left eye in the fifth round and took a hard combination that forced him to retreat into the ropes a little dazed. De La Hoya continued to land good combinations in the sixth round and even pushed Caballero to the mat.
De La Hoya had a good showing in the seventh round and was able to tie up Caballero whenever he got in close.
Caballero needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the fight, but that knockout never came and he didn’t press the pace enough to ever come close.
Diego De La Hoya wins by decision with scores of 100-90, 98-92, and 98-92.
The final bout of the undercard was between Joseph Diaz Jr. (24-0) and Rafael Rivera (25-0-2) in a WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator.
Rivera was training for another fight when he got the call to face Diaz at the last minute.
Diaz came out aggressive in the opening two rounds but Rivera was more than willing to fire back with shots of his own. Both boxers appeared to be evenly matched early on.
Diaz was pressing the pace more by the fourth-round while Rivera was looking for his counter shots, but Diaz was the more accurate puncher.
Diaz’s accuracy carried the way in the middle rounds with the exception of the seventh, in which Rivera was able to land several hard shots on Diaz during their exchanges.
Diaz focused on the body in the eighth and ninth rounds and looked like the fresher fighter. He had a dominating tenth round and landed several hard-straight left hands on Rivera.
Even though Diaz didn’t score any knockdowns, he looked like the fresher fighter and was boxing better as the fight progressed. The championship rounds were rounds that he clearly won.
The final scores were 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Joseph Diaz.
Untelevised Undercard Quick Results:
Marlen Esparza (3-0) defeated Aracely Palacios (8-8) by scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards in the Flyweight division.
Vergil Ortiz (7-0) defeated Cesar Valenzuela (7-2) by TKO at of the 1:22 of the second round.
Serhil Bohachuk (5-0) defeated Joan Valenzuela (5-9-1) by TKO at 1:58 of the second round in the super welterweight division.
Dichotomy of Light and Dark
Dichotomy of Light and Dark
By: James Cullinane
On Saturday night, June 11th, at promptly 6 p.m., Orlando-based boxer, Jean Carlos Rivera, made his Madison Square Garden boxing debut.
Rivera’s was the first bout on a busy Garden card that night, a card headlined by up-and-coming superstar, Vasyl Lomachenko. As is the norm when bigger names than yours are on the marquee, there were more empty seats than not at the opening bell. For the lucky few that were in attendance, and those, like myself, watching the live stream on TopRank.tv, Rivera rewarded our patronage with something special.
An undefeated, Puerto Rican, boxing prospect, Rivera began the six-rounder by establishing a lightning fast jab to keep his opponent off balance. As the rounds progressed, Rivera’s boxing skills were on full display, culminating in a thunderous, right that dropped his opponent thirty seconds into the final round. The dazed opponent valiantly rose to his feet to beat the count, but Rivera calmly stalked him into the ropes, landing several more hard blows before the referee mercifully waved the fight off.
It was by far the biggest fight of Rivera’s burgeoning career and, to date, his best. He dominated from start to finish, displaying the skill and strength that have those in the know whispering of a future world champion, some even comparing him to a young, Miguel Cotto.
As one who trains at the same Orlando boxing gym with Rivera, I went to bed Saturday night thrilled about his victory, thrilled about his future and eager to talk with him in the gym next week when he would officially put New York behind him and begin training for his next fight.
When I woke early Sunday morning, my joy for Rivera was shattered, replaced with unmitigated sadness as I began hearing about the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub; a sadness that morphed into numbed emptiness as the scope of the horrific event gradually came into focus.
Even as I sit here now, a full day and a half after this unfathomable tragedy, my mind is overwhelmed. I find myself thinking how terrified those clubgoers must have been once they realized what was happening. I think about the victims – the dead, the wounded, the traumatized survivors who fled for their lives. I think about the friends and families, unable to even remotely imagine their pain.
What I want to think about is Rivera’s debut in Madison Square Garden, how he felt stepping into that famed venue where the shadows of so many boxing greats still linger. I want to think about his future and how his dedication and devotion to the craft of boxing, the hours of training he puts in every day, is finally beginning to pay off. I want to contrast the darkness that has fallen over my city with the brightness of a young, Latino man who is doing things the right way to build a better life for himself and his family; a young man who one day will make all Orlandoans proud.
But I can’t do that right now. The sadness. The madness. It is too overwhelming; too senseless. For now, the darkness is stronger than the light.