The CBZ Newswire

Samurai Saga: The 2013 Houston Boxing Awards

by on Dec.10, 2013, under Boxing News

By Karl Hegman

Marlen Esparza

Marlen Esparza


“All of my opponents were good fighters. I just made them look ordinary with my great boxing ability.”-Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles Welterweight Champion 1969 – 1975


Fighter of the Year: Marlen Esparza

The 2013 USA Boxing Women’s Flyweight National Champion and PAL National Champion. Gold Medalist Continental Championships and Silver Medalist World Combat Championships.

Those credentials make Esparza the winner of this award for the fourth consecutive year. Esparza was hard pressed to capture her seventh consecutive National Title with a close and controversial decision victory in April over Virginia Fuchs in Spokane.

Marlen left no doubt as to whom the better fighter between the two was in a rematch at the PAL Championships with a convincing points victory over Fuchs this past October in Oxnard, California.

The fiery addiction to victory and glory continues to be stoked by the competitive desire of the roving warrior from Pasadena.

Esparza dominated the field at the Continental Championships in Venezuela by stopping her Colombian foe.

Only a robbery of a hometown decision loss to a Russian fighter in Russia prevented her from capturing gold in a second international tournament.

The globe trotting flyweight bruiser looks to keep busy nest year by taking on all comers in the four corners of the globe. Her 2013 campaign saw Esparza further solidifying her position as the best female flyweight in the United States, amateur or professional. Toshiro Mifune would be proud.


Trainer of the Year: Ronnie Shields

No surprise here as the Texas boxing legend wins outright for his work in world title fights with Edwin Rodriguez and Cuba’s Erislandy Lara in capturing the WBA Light Middleweight title.


Manager of the Year: Bob Spagnola

It was no contest in this category once again as “Spags” takes the title for yet another year as he guided Austin Trout to two high profile title fights.


Promoter of the Year: “Big” Lou Savarese

The former IBA Heavyweight Champion promoted eight boxing cards in 2013 with the Bayou City Event Center as his house base. The big banger made a successful ring return in MMA this past summer scoring a first round stoppage over one Tom Papp.


Prospect of the Year: Marc Torres

The smooth boxing super featherweight from Pasadena turned professional after a lengthy amateur campaign with two knockouts on promoter Lou Savareses’ cards. Torres should have a lucrative and successful career as most opponents will wear themselves out trying to hit him cleanly and run into his crip counter shots.


Boxing Gym of the Year: Plex

Slam dunk choice here as Plex features such notable fighters as: Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Brian Vera, Edwin Rodriguez and Erislandy Lara. Fighters from around the globe flock to Stafford to train with the great trainer of champions, Ronnie Shields.


In Memoriam

The Grim Reaper took no holiday in 2013 as Houston boxing lost three influential figures.

Damazo Tello was a 22 year old decorated amateur with aspirations of a professional career that was killed in a road accident.

Joe Spudic was an Army veteran and TDLR official who worked all of the professional boxing cards in the Bayou City.

Omar Henry was an undefeated light middleweight professional fighter that fell victim to gall bladder cancer at 25 years of age.

I was the only journalist to cover Henry’s professional debut and subsequent second fight, so his untimely death was all the more stunning to me.

I always get reflective this time of year and even more so this Holiday season after barely surviving a potentially fatal disease myself this past spring. I have often wondered why God decided to spare my life and take someone so young and vibrant as Omar.

When I watch young boxers in action these days, I can only hope that they live the clean and healthy life that is the mercenary existence of the prize fighter.

One fighter that I won’t have to worry about straying from the right track is the magnificent Marlen Esparza.

I can just picture her now as she draws her Shinwa Katana from its bamboo sheath and slices through the competition in 2014.

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**Dedicated to Joe Rein. You really were Charley Davis.**

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