The CBZ Newswire

Houston Boxing Hall of Fame Ushers in ‘Eternal Champions’ — 2013 Inductees

by on May.03, 2013, under Boxing News

By Karl Hegman

 

Juan Diaz, at right, headlined this year's inductees (photo by Tom Glunz)

Juan Diaz, at right, headlined this year’s inductees (photo by Tom Glunz)

The long years stretch behind us into the past, forming corridors of time which echo to the opening bell’s ringing sound of valor. Those years and that valor have been given tangible focus here in a quiet shrine of tribute to the greatest champions the sport of pugilism has seen emerge from the sprawling metropolis of America’s fourth largest city. It is a city steeped rich in boxing tradition, and the flame that was lit from within these unique athletes was kindled there, never to go out.

A champion fighter must possess a certain kind of edginess and moral complexity in order to achieve their highest calling as a boxer. They all celebrate the same qualities and actions which add up to what we call heroism in this grim, cultish and yet beautiful art of the body. They are traits for all times and all champions of the highest caliber, and their lofty connotations are safe now as always because those who would pull it down somehow never stand tall enough to reach it.

It is through a hard-earned and steely consciousness with devout and unwavering resolution to the task at hand that enable a fighter to move forward into a maelstrom of slashing and hurting punches as they seek to realize their dreams of championships. They are dreams that the average person will never know or even attempt to accomplish. Fighters have only their trainers to turn to as they are there to put steel into their ranks, and to patch them up and push them out before every round one more time into the brutal, punishing and confined world that is the combat zone.

An elite group of ten boxing champions that have demonstrated the highest order of bravery, bravery that has upheld them through the incredible hardships and years of struggle are honored and recognized here today. They have conquered adversity in the face of conflicts which shook them to the very foundations of their souls. They have paid the price in blood and deep suffering for their inclusion here and their accomplishments shall not be forgotten.

They gave their all in the confines of the squared circle without pause or reservation, and they are presented here as the Cream of the Crop, the Best of The Best. They are members of a unique fraternity of courage, gallantry and intrepidity. This is in celebration of that something in mankind that is both indefinable and undeniable, and they are all worthy and deserving of induction into the inaugural class of the 2013 Houston Boxing Hall Of Fame.

The Champions will be presented in a series of five installments in the coming weeks here at the CBZ. The staff and management of the cyberboxingzone.com wishes to extend their congratulations and best wishes to the inductees.

Hall Of Fame Juan Diaz

Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz

WBA Lightweight Champion, WBO Lightweight Champion, IBF Lightweight Champion, IBO Lightweight Champion (36-4, 18 KO’s)

One of the most popular champions ever in Houston, and one of the best all-around fighters in the first decade of the new millennium Juan Diaz was a very aggressive and well-conditioned fighter who broke down his opposition with the accumulative effects of pinpoint volume punching. A punishing, physical fighter who could force his opponent back with sheer strength and body blows, he captured the WBA Lightweight Championship by whipping tough Lakva Sim by twelve round decision on July 17, 2004 before a packed house at the Reliant Center.

Diaz defeated Acelino Freitas who quit after eight rounds on April 28, 2007 to capture the WBO Lightweight Title, and then stopped Julio Diaz on Oct 13, 2007 in nine rounds to win the IBF Lightweight Championship, This victory earned “El Torito” the Unified Lightweight Championship of the World and established Diaz as one of the best fighters in the entire sport.

His last title winning victory in Houston was a 12 round split decision over Michael Kastsidis for the IBO Lightweight Title on September 6, 2008 at the Toyota Center. A crowd-pleasing and two-fisted boxer/puncher who always gave his very best in the ring and left nothing for the dressing room; Juan Diaz s electrifying career has been cemented historically and has proven to be significant in bringing big time boxing back to the Lone Star State.


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Marlen Esparza

2012 Women’s Olympic Flyweight Bronze Medalist, 2008 Pan Am Games Light Flyweight Gold Medalist, 8 Time United States National Amateur Champion

Marlen Esparza has always epitomized the “Roving Warrior” archetype persona that was made famous in the cinema by international film great Toshiro Mifune. She is a fearless, relentless and tearaway attacker who has garnered a treasure trove of medals in national and international competition. Her in-ring achievements have been equaled by very few in the history of The Sweet Science, and only a controversial decision loss in the semi-final round of the Games of The XXX Olympiad prevented her from competing for the Women’s Flyweight Gold Medal.

Esparza is responsible more so than any other female fighter for bringing women’s amateur boxing into mainstream sport through her ring triumphs, commercial media endorsements and appearances. Her most recent National Championship Title at Flyweight in Spokane, Washington was her most demanding domestic encounter yet as she captured a hard-fought decision over former sparring partner Virginia Fuchs.

Esparza has her sights locked and loaded on the 2016 Olympic Games that are to be held in the tropical paradise of Rio de Janiero, Brazil as she makes a final and determined push for the elusive “Medalla de Oro”. Once this driven and determined gladiator is able to channel and summon forth her full focus and mercenary spirit of Sanjuro and Rashomon, she may at long last finally attain the Holy Grail of the Cult of the Body.

Karl Hegman, at left, with Juan Diaz

Karl Hegman, at left, with Juan Diaz

 

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