The CBZ Newswire

Juan Carlos Martinez Makes It 2 in a Row Over Jaime Sandoval

by on May.30, 2009, under Boxing News, CBZ Columnists, Juan Ayllon

Report and photos by Juan C. Ayllon at ringside

Martinez (right) glances a right off Sandoval's head, as referee Geno Rodriguez looks on

Martinez (right) glances a right off Sandoval's head, as referee Geno Rodriguez looks on

CHICAGO, May 29, 2009 – It’s a bitter fact of life that despite appearances to the contrary, in the end, some people simply get the better of you.

Jaime Sandoval, kid brother of former two-division boxing champion Jesus Chavez, now had the full attention of his older sibling in his corner, bringing his experience and know-how to bear on the man across the ring.  At 5’ 9”, Sandoval was bigger, stronger and, doggone it, better looking than his opponent Juan Carlos Martinez, who stood a sprightly 5’ 7”.   

Sure, Martinez had beaten him in October 2007 in what was a hotly contested battle at Cicero Stadium in nearby Cicero, but that was after a five month hiatus from the ring.  Now, it was Sandoval’s turn to shine at the University of Illinois Chicago’s Pavilion. 

A celebration was planned afterwards at Bar 33, but instead, he found himself choking on the gall of defeat when 2,417 fans cheered Martinez’ gloved fist raised in victory for the vacant All American Lightweight title. 

Martinez (right) corners Sandoval on the ropes

Martinez (right) corners Sandoval on the ropes

After a tentative first round where both circled cautiously, Martinez surprised early in the second, jarring and backing up Sandoval with slashing lefts and rights.  Then it reverted to a chess match, with Martinez circling his taller foe.  Sandoval’s punch output remained anemic.   

Listening to his brother’s instructions – who shouted in Spanish – in the third round, Sandoval stood up a crouching Martinez with a jarring right uppercut and unleashed more punches, yet he was still outworked and even rattled by an uppercut of Martinez’ later on.

Sandoval (right) lands a short right to the jaw of Martinez

Sandoval (right) lands a short right to the jaw of Martinez

This pattern continued into the fourth, when Sandoval buckled Martinez along the ropes with a right and was generally more aggressive, but was still finding the busier Martinez’ fleetness and quick counters troublesome.

The fifth saw more heated exchanges, with Martinez stunning him with a right uppercut and following with lefts and rights.  Sandoval surged back.  Still, he lagged in punch output.   

Did his opponent’s blows stymie him?  It’s not as Martinez’s blows were concussive – they landed with a loud, almost slapping, smacking sound.  However, his punches were a hair quicker and landed with greater frequency over and under.  Maybe they hurt more than Sandoval let on, or perhaps he was afraid of walking into a damaging blow he didn’t see.  Regardless, Sandoval pursued with parts aggression and trepidation. 

Colonna (left) and older brother Jesus Chavez exhort Sandoval from ringside

Colonna (left) and older brother Jesus Chavez exhort Sandoval from ringside

“You’re not fighting!” Sam Colonna barked at the end of the sixth.  Older brother Jesus Chavez shouted in Spanish, “Why the (expletive) aren’t you fighting?”

Martinez sent spray flying from Sandoval’s head with a series of lefts and rights early in the seventh, bobbling his head and raising doubts how long this would go.  To his credit, Sandoval raised his game, tightened his defense and surged with lefts and rights.

Martinez (left) pulls away from a Sandoval right

Martinez (left) pulls away from a Sandoval right

In the eighth, Sandoval grimaced from a low blow, buying a momentary reprieve from referee Rodriguez, who warned Martinez to keep them up.  The pain seemed to focus his energies, as he banged away with renewed fervor.  He jabbed, threw hard rights and lefts, and backed Martinez up.  Regrouping, Martinez surged back and staying low and close, asserting his edge in speed, landing the more compact blows inside Sandoval’s effective range.  As a result, he stole Sandoval’s thunder in a close fought round.

Picking up his pace in the ninth, a swarming Martinez smacked Sandoval over and under.  However, he also dug a low hook to Sandoval’s foul protector.  Sandoval grimaced. Raucous protests from Sandoval’s corner erupted and referee Genaro Rodriguez deducted a point from Martinez. 

“C’mon Jimmy, now we need the round,” encouraged corner man and friend Rick Ramos.

Sandoval (at right) counters with a hard right hand.

Sandoval (at right) counters with a hard right hand.

Reengaging, Sandoval pursued, but was swarmed again by Martinez, who snapped his head back with sneaky uppercuts and thudding hooks.  Towards rounds end, however, Sandoval jarred Martinez with crisp rights to the head. 

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“Finish the round strong,” exhorted Colonna.  The crowd was delirious as the two traded in a dervish at the bell.

Martinez came out hard in the tenth and final round, finding Sandoval’s head frequently with short, snappy salvos that drew “oohs” from the crowd and circling out.  Sandoval ripped back savagely with lefts and rights, but found the target more elusive.  In the final moments, Martinez drove Sandoval to the ropes with lefts and rights.  Stepping inside, he battered with a vengeance.  Sandoval did his best to repel his swarming foe and, jaw muscles bunching up, glared hard at Martinez when the final bell rang. 

And then it happened.  To rousing cheers, ring announcer Thomas Treiber announced the judges’ scoring:  96-93, 98-91 and 97-92 all for Juan Carlos Martinez.  He’d won by unanimous decision. 

With the loss, Jaime Sandoval (135 lbs. at the weigh-in) slipped to 15-4-1 with 12 knockouts, while cross-town rival Juan Carlos Martinez (135 lbs.) saw his record rise to 16-10-1 with 7 knockouts.   

As Sandoval exited the ring, I called out to him, “Your thoughts?”  He turned, and his look said it all:  Etched in his face were disappointment and anger.   

The undercard:

Estrada (left) pulls back from a right by Mejia

Estrada (left) pulls back from a right by Mejia

 Another tall boxer from Chicago, Eric “El Loco” Estrada (123 lbs., 7-0, 3 KO’s), survived a few scary moments against Loredo, Texas’ harder-punching Olvin Constantino Mejia (122.5 lbs., 3-2-3, 3 KO’s) in winning a close and somewhat controversial decision win.

 Early on, Estrada threw caution to the wind, unloading on this intruder into his hometown, winging malevolent left and rights.  Standing very erect in front of his shorter foe, his disdain was obvious.  After about a minute, that changed.  Mejia jarred with a looping left hook to the jaw and later jarred him with larruping lefts and rights, battering him around the ring. 

Mejia (right) on the attack

Mejia (right) on the attack

 The second round underscored the sense that Estrada was unable to hurt Mejia, yet remained vulnerable to Mejia’s shots.  Much like a mongoose versus a cobra, he darted in with quick strikes and recoiled from his enemy’s venomous counters. Boxing more carefully, gloves held high, he avoided a repeat of the first stanza. 

 In the third, Estrada broke through and jarred Mejia with a left to the head, avoided the counters, and unloaded a few more.  Mejia recovered well and rattled him with a thudding left hook to the head.  Nonplussed, Estrada jumped back swinging. 

Mejia (left) ducks under an Estrada right

Mejia (left) ducks under an Estrada right

 Estrada continued to box smartly in the fourth although his preference for throwing the right sans a jab made it easier to avoid or step back enough to take the sting off.  They traded back and forth.

Estrada stings Mejia with a right uppercut

Estrada stings Mejia with a right uppercut

 Maintaining his tight guard, Estrada began landing in combination in the fifth, while blocking or ducking under most single counters swung widely his way. 

 In the sixth, things took a swing for the worse for Estrada.  A left uppercut buckled his knees.  A pair of booming hooks batted his head to the side.  Falling into his macho mode with his right by his chin and his left low, he stared adversity in the eye.  And then the counter surge rose slowly to a crescendo:  landing lefts and rights while blocking or ducking return fire, he accomplished what he couldn’t earlier – he wobbled Mejia on the ropes.  Mejia knocked him back several steps with a right to the chest, but caught gloves and air with the follow-up.  The two teed off in the remaining seconds. 

 Cheers mixed with some boos greeted the verdict, as judges scored the bout 59-55 twice and 58-56 for Eric Estrada, who’d won by unanimous decision.

Blair (left) bangs away at Montes De Oca

Blair (left) bangs away at Montes De Oca

  Chicago’s Sergio Montes De Oca (120 lbs., 2-0) had an anxious moment or two in winning  a thriller over Knoxville, Tennessee’s Le Shaun Blair (120 lbs., 4-17) .  

The bout started off fast.  Briefly rocking and swarming Blair with non-stop, two-fisted barrages, De Oca stood in the pocket too long and was dumped on his backside with a right uppercut.  The crowd, which was cheering its hometown hero moments earlier, was stunned.  Following an eight count from referee Celestino Ruiz, De Oca resumed pressing, albeit a touch more conservatively.

 De Oca stormed out in the second, raining rights and lefts on Blair with a fervor that whipped up a crescendo of cheers.  Settling down, he repeated this pattern:  He’d rally, step around, and fire again.  Yet, Blair kept him honest, firing back short, thudding counters. 

 In fact, Blair gave a much better account in the third, digging well to the body and coming up over the top with thudding lefts and rights.  For his part, De Oca circled and worked well in spurts.  However, it appeared that he was conserving energy for the fourth and final round.  

Montes De Oca fights his way clear of the ropes

Montes De Oca fights his way clear of the ropes

 And what a war the fourth round was!  The audience cheered with lusty approval as De Oca came forward swinging hard, but intelligently, stepping to his right and around as he battered, while Blair countered with sharp, hurtful lefts and rights.  Going for broke, De Oca was warned for holding and, later, for hitting Blair while his back was turned.  Fighting along the ropes, De Oca hurt Blair with a pair of hooks to the head as the latter got out of position with his head stuck under the top rope facing out.  Scattered boos and whistles protested.  Referee Celestino Ruiz intervened momentarily.  Resuming, the two reengaged. Like yin and yang, the two complemented each other well in this violent dance.  De Oca pressed hard, but intelligently with lefts and rights and turned his man, while Blair countered with thumping blows of his own.  

 Judges scored the bout 39-37 twice and 38-37 for De Oca.  The crowd roared.  

Fiore bludgeons a wilting Hill

Fiore bludgeons a wilting Hill

 Chicago’s Russell “Kid Dynamite” Harris Fiore (135 lbs., 1-0, 1 KO) lit up the locals as he made short work of testy Indianapolis, Indiana’s Derek Floyd Hill (140 lbs., 0-2). 

 In round one, Fiore bore right in, rattling Hill with a fusillade of thudding wide rights and lefts.  However, he also caught a few counter lefts with his wide-open attack.  Nevertheless, he hurt Hill with a digging right to the beltline near the end of the first round.

Hill is out!

Hill is out!

 The end came in the second round.  Hurting Hill with a series of rights, he swarmed his wounded prey, dropping him face down with a vicious right uppercut.  Hill lay under the ropes as referee Geno Rodriguez counted him out at 2:20 into the second round. 

Hernandez (left) and Orantes throw caution to the wind as they mix it up

Hernandez (left) and Orantes throw caution to the wind as they mix it up

 With a record of 0-1, Carson City, Nevada’s Sergio Orantes (134.5 lbs.) gave Chicago’s raw-swinging Jose Luis Hernandez (134 lbs.) pro debut a rocky start, as he used foot movement and angles to frustrate and land the cleaner blows en route to a unanimous decision win. 

The two took turns jarring each other in the first round – Orantes first with the left hook and later with the straight right, while Hernandez jarred with a straight right in a turbid first round. 

 They fell into a rhythm, swapping blows, Orantes landing more often and then stepping aside, with the two tying up as Hernandez charged in, only to be separated by referee Celestino Ruiz. 

 Hernandez almost went down in the third courtesy of jarring lefts and rights to the head, but hung tough and swung hard for the come from behind knockout blow.  It never came. 

 Judges scored the bout 39-37 twice and 40-36 for Orantes. 

Antonio Maldonado (right) batters Justin Muse along the ropes

Antonio Maldonado (right) batters Justin Muse along the ropes

 Chicago’s De La Salle Institute Spanish teacher Antonio Maldonado (146.5 lbs, pro debut) schooled Indianapolis, Indiana’s awkward and wild-swinging Justin Ray Muse (148 lbs., 0-1) – a fighter whose style conjured up stories of former lightweight champ Sean O’Grady’s father – who also promoted boxing in Oklahoma – recruiting opponents last minute from the audience, dressing them in swimming trunks and gloves, and throwing them in with Sean in his early, formative years.  He didn’t wear a bathing suit, but otherwise Muse fit the bill.   

 In the second, Maldonado rocked Muse with a combination, drawing thunderous cheers.  However, with some holding, his head cleared and he weathered the storm.

Referee Gerald Scott sends Maldonado to a neutral corner

Referee Gerald Scott sends Maldonado to a neutral corner

 Muse was hurt again in the third and this time, there was no escape.  He was clipped with a right hand.  Falling into Maldonado, Muse slipped to the canvas, tried rising, and fell forward again.  Referee Gerald Scott waved it off at 1:52 into the third round.

Referee Gerald Scott waves off the bout

Referee Gerald Scott waves off the bout

 “It’ s nice to be back in the Pavilion,” said Maldonado.  This is where I got my Master’s in Education – it’s just as nerve racking!  I was hoping for a win, but didn’t expect the knockout. Lots of students and faculty are here from De La Salle to support me.”

 “And I’m a De La Salle alumni!” chimed in his beaming trainer, Rick Ramos.

 Wiping sweat from his face, Maldonado smiled, adding, “I plan on continuing boxing and teaching.”

 Mexico City by-way-of Chicago’s pro debuting Juan Carlos Fernandez (117.5 lbs.) and Sergio Trujillo Cristobal (117 lbs.) pitched a gritty, in the trenches opening battle for four heated rounds, with Juan Carlos Fernandez prevailing by way of majority decision with scores of 38-38, 39-37 and 39-37.

 I would concur with boxer-educator Tony Maldonado:  It’s good to be back at the UIC Pavilion.  It’s a nice melding of old and new – old fashioned, in-your-face Chicago-style boxing in a new, state-of-the art facility.  The fans certainly seem to like it.

 Promoter:  Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions.

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