| November 15, 1999
The Rose Garden
Promoter: America Presents & Oregon Trails, Inc.
Broadcast: Fox Sports Network
Matchmaker: Tom Brown
Referees: Harold Pakula, Bill Thornberg, Guy Villegas
Judges: Greg Baker, Bob Flamme, Jim Howard, Paul Weitzel
Ringside Physicians: Dr. Louis Rios, Dr. Patrick Shipsey
This was the first professional boxing show in Portland's Rose Garden,
an NBA arena which has a capacity of some 20,000. The ticket sales for this show were
about triple the usual gates for the three club cards staged this year by Oregon Trails,
Inc, putting the crowd at around 1400. At first that relatively small number was barely
visible in the big arena, but the folks in the far-flung cheap seats quickly gravitated to
the blue ribbon district closer to ringside with no complaints from the
proprietors. The clump made a better looking crowd for the TV cameras though the dark,
echoing acres of empty showed through occasionally. The quickie first bout started
around 3:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time followed by an intermission before the co-main
events cued up at 4 p.m. for the convenience of the national television broadcast by the
Fox Sports Network. In general this was a respectable and entertaining little show except
for the almost existential tedium of watching Jorge Luis Gonzalez.
In a ten round heavyweight bout, 35 year-old Jorge Luis Gonzalez (243 lbs) of Las Vegas
via Cuba, improved to 30-5,27 KO's with a unanimous decision over 41 year-old Greg Page
(256 lbs) now 56-15-1, 46 KO's, of Las Vegas via Louisville, Kentucky. One judge
called it 96-95, and two judges called it 98-92, all for Gonzalez.
The 6'7" Gonzalez was in his usual snore-inducing form; bored
posing, clinching, occasionally tossing the cuffs and nudges that pass for punches in his
repertoire. In pre-fight interviews he explained that he was coming back strong after a
five fight losing streak caused by his "bad back." The bad back was the result,
according to the cheerful and articulate Cuban, of not having the right arch supports for
his flat feet. And to think we'd believed those vicious rumors about his extravagant party
All the fight in this match came from Greg Page, whose chub is beginning to wrinkle
with age but who displayed so much interest in charging, reaching, pawing and slapping
(OK, the guy never had much power) that he actually got Gonzalez' attention by the fourth
round. In the fifth Page went to one knee briefly, claiming a low blow. Neither ref nor
judges had seen such a foul so it was counted as a knockdown. Suddenly inspired, Gonzalez
started winging right upper cuts. Page survived but allowed Gonzalez to slip back into his
near-comatose habit of posing and throwing one-jab-at-a-time. The tenth was relatively
rousing. Page came off the ropes with a good combo that made Gonzalez' long legs buckle
for an instant and spurred the Cuban to swap a strong right for Page's substantial left.
But the main event was intense. The 35 year-old John-John Molina (135 lbs) of Puerto
Rico, the former 3-time world champ moved to 49-6, 32KO's with a 10 round decision victory
in an intriguing scramble with evasive and quick 25 year-old Manuel Garnica (134 lbs) the
Mexican champ who won an upset victory in October over come-backing Gabriel Ruelas.
Garnica drops to19-4, 11 KO's but left the fans wanting to see more of him. The judges
called it 96-94, 96-93, and 97-93, all for Molina.
6 rnds-- Margaret McGregor (130 lbs) of Bremerton, WA. got some notoriety when she
man-handled Loi Chow last month in the first state-sanctioned male vs female boxing match.
The national registry called that fight an exhibition, but McGregor moved to 4-0 with a
decision win in this all-female match against tough Cheryl Nance (128 lbs, now 5-3, 5
KO's) of North Carolina. A police officer in Winston-Salem, Nance stayed 9 rounds with
Christy Martin and kept her cool and her balance despite being out-gunned by the busier
hands of the attack-mode McGregor. All three
judges saw it as 59-55.
6 rnds--This ham 'n egg bangfest delighted the crowd. Roberto Dellapenna (163 lbs) (now
4-1, 2KO's) of Vancouver, British Colombia hit the deck hard in the first round,
compliments of Anthony Bartinelli (164 1/2 lbs) (7-2, 6KO's) of Phoenix, Arizona. But
Dellapenna survived and bided his time through rounds two and three as Bartinelli tired.
In the fourth, Dellapenna came out throwing bombs, herded Bartinelli into corners
and battered him from pillar to post before catching him with a monster left hook that
dropped him for the count. A KO win for Dellapenna at 1:32 of
the 4th round.
6 rnds-- Jeremy Morrison (168 lbs, now 8-2, 7 KO's) of Utah stopped Ronnie Warren (176
lbs, now 8-4, 3 KO's) of Kent, WA who was down and counted out at the 3:00 of the third
This result pleased the ringsiders who disliked some of Warren's less savory
tactics. Warren tried to hoist his opponent by the legs in the first round and kept
slugging after the bell until the referee fined him a point at the end of the second
round. The result may have pleased the promoter, Oregon Trails,Inc. as well, since Warren
made a practice of agreeing to a purse and then demanding more money just hours before the
show. He tried that (and failed) for this event, and then weighed in at 9
pounds over the contract weight. Morrison made him lose three pounds and give up twenty
percent of his purse as the price of coming in over the weight. The tall, gangly Morrison
was originally introduced as "The Mormon Meteor" but in the course of the fight
somehow got dubbed "Jughead" by the crowd. This apparently seemed appropriate to
ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, who announced the victory as going to "Jeremy 'Jughead'
4 rnds--Tony Martinez (146 1/2 lbs) of Salem, OR stayed undefeated, moving to 4-0 with a
knockout win over Alfonso "Scooter" Meza (144 lbs) of Yakima, WA. In this duel
of come-forward guys, Meza was stung early in the first but survived by hanging on. Meza's
mouthpiece went flying in the second, buying him time to prepare for the heavy toe-to-toe
trading at the bell. Martinez blasted Meza into a corner in the third, firing and landing
multiple head shots that had Meza sinking straight down on hot wax legs and not getting
up. A KO win at 2:43 of the third round for Martinez. Meza goes to 8-8.
4 rnds--In a shock opener, Virgil "Virge The Scourge" Bohnenkamp (145 lbs)
(3-1, 3KO's) of Portland, OR caught Robert Howard (147 lbs) (1-0, 1 KO) of Kansas City,
Missouri with a massive right to the chin as he was coming out of a quick clinch. Howard
fell sideways, stiff as a tree, then climbed up and staggered away, only half conscious. A
KO win for Bohnenkamp at :16 of the first round.
This show was promoted by a collaboration between America Presents and Oregon
Trail, Inc, a new promotional company which has staged three dismal and sparsely attended
club shows in Oregon in 1999. While we don't know the details of the arrangement, rumors
have it that Oregon Trail, honcho'd by local tycoon Alan James, paid America Presents
$85,000 to bring the show to Portland. According to the street talk Oregon Trail also
picked up the tab for renting the Rose Garden, putting the entire cast and crew up in the
the Westin-Benson, one of the fanciest hotels in town, and numerous other expenses.
With such a small crowd, we can only speculate that this show had to be
financial blood bath for Oregon Trail. Nonetheless, Alan James seemed pleased at the end.
When asked if it was true that he was ready to stop promoting boxing, James insisted that
he would continue to promote fight
cards in Oregon. "But no more club shows," he said. "They just don't
work." Rumors that James would be promoting anywhere from five to nine club shows in
a Portland venue during the coming year are not true, says James. Instead, James said, he
plans to stage more big televised fight cards, "Like this," he said, gesturing
around the big arena. "I like this."