The CyberBoxingZone News


Frank's frustration - Archuleta waits for a title shot
Wes R. Smelling

December 26, 1999

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is a shot at the world title.

I've been good this year. Very good.

On April 17, I went toe-to-toe for 12 rounds with NABF champ Lewis Wood to earn a draw (although a lot of people think that I won that fight). Then I pounded Ivan Salazar into submission twice-on June 12 and again on Aug. 7. A couple months ago, I was going to fight for the USBA title but the deal with ESPN fell through. Then, Jorge Reyes backed out of his contract to fight me on Nov. 6. S, too, did Carlos Navarro. So I fought Marcos Badillo instead. When I hit him in the first round, it scared him so bad that he countered with six low blows on purpose to get the fight stopped.

I'm 24 years old, and I'm undefeated through 19 professional fights. Nobody wants to fight me.

I think my record scares people away, Please send me an opponent (preferably someone with a world title, or at least a pulse).

Thanks Santa,
Frankie

***

To undefeated superbantamweight Frankie Archuleta, it isn't the training or even the fighting that's hard. It's the waiting.

Archuleta - one of New Mexico's best boxers -- doesn't attract a lot of attention from the media. He is soft-spoken, a little shy perhaps. He isn't full of snappy quotes and sound bytes.

Archuleta doesn't have a million -- dollar smile fit for a Coca - Cola commercial and he doesn't show up to weigh-ins with a gaggle of groupies on his arm. He's happily married to his high school sweetheart.

Archuleta is a reflection off his home town: Las Vegas. The other Las Vegas. The quiet one in Northern New Mexico without the glitter, gigantic hotels and stretch limos.

For now, he is working full time at the Albuquerque Sunport trying to make ends meet.

He doesn't smoke, drink or use drugs.

He keeps his weight down and trains hard so as to not let himself get soft in between fights. He doesn't have a controversial past or a criminal record. No wonder the media virtually ignores him. He hasn't been in trouble a day in his life.

And it's no wonder that nobody wants to fight him, either. He is 18-0-1 12 knockouts and getting better with every fight. He is currently ranked number 11 WBC, 11 WBA and 13 IBF.

He has a devastating left hook, and lately, he's learned to connect harder with his right.

The top 122-pounders won't fight him, and why should they? Why take a chance when you can fight a bum instead?

"They want bums, they want bums," laments Archuleta's trainer, Melcor Chavez. "They don't want to fight a real fighter. We've had guys on a contract to fight him "on a contract. As soon as they do a little research and they see his record, they back down.

On Wednesday, Archuleta's Manger Lenny Fresquez, was still waiting to hear from promoters of the Johnny Tapia-Jorge Elicier Julio fight Jan.8 at the Pit in Albuquerque. On the unercard, Albuquerque Danny Romero will face Rudolfo Blanco, and J.C. Linson of Santa Fe will box a yet-to-be named opponent. Fresquez would love to get Archuleta on the card against Jorge Reyes (20-11-1 17 knockouts), who spars with Tapia. Reyes already backed out two days before a bout against Archuleta that was scheduled for Nov.6 in Archuleta's home-town. If a deal can't be finalized this week with Reyes, Archuleta could face Arthur Johnson (19-4, 12 KOs). "No one wants to go into his home town with his home crowd, "says Ricardo Campos, executive director of the New Mexico Athletic Commission, " I think Frankie is New Mexico's up and coming star. I think he has a tremendous future. Besides boxing, he's just a great person. There's not anything negative to say about Frankie.

The other of our two stars (Tap and Romero), I don't have to say anything, we all know the've had their problems, but, Frankie is really clean-cut. He could really be a role model for a lot of young people." Frustrated And chomping at the bit.

Archuleta waits.

And waits.

And waits.

"When the contract's not in, the paperwork's not in, still waiting a waiting , this is the worst part,

In January, Archuleta and Fresquez will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to watch former IBF Champ Shane Mosely fight. There they will meet with Promoter Cedric Kushner about arranging a title shot for Archuleta against IBF Jr. featherweight champ Benedict Ledwaba.

Meanwhile, the Archuleta camp will play the waiting game and will probably have to skip the Jan.8 fights.

" All the guys at 122 pounds want soup," Chavez says. "They're hand-picking their opponents. These guys want an easy fight, somebody to roll over."

Chavez, who by the way is Romero's cousin. Fresquez Productions offered the Romero camp $50,000.00 to fight Archuleta in his hometown, but they refused, he says.

For Romero, the road to another title shot is already paved. After a tune-up fight or two, he will face Nestor Garza for Garza's WBA super bantamweight belt. At 18-0-1 12 KOs , Archuleta is anything but a tune-up opponent,so he'll have to wait to get his shot at Romero - if he ever gets it. " I don't know if he's afraid of me or if he thinks he can fight Garza for the title and then he'll get more money to fight me," Archuleta says. " I'm just being patient that the opportunity will come around the corner pretty soon."

We're not afraid of any of the big name guy's Chavez says. " Anybody that wants to fight us at 122 pounds, we'll fight'em. Anybody. It's just matter of time before this boy gets his chance."

KEEP YOUR EYE'S ON THIS RISING STAR

   



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