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09/11/2004 Archived Entry: "Morua, Gonzales Provide Concussive Fireworks in Wins at “Mexican Independence”"

Morua, Gonzales Provide Concussive Fireworks in Wins at “Mexican Independence”

By Juan C. Ayllon at Ringside

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Morua (L) and Weis engage ina heated exchange

(Chicago, Illinois): Mariachis playing loudly as one entered Hawthorne Racetrack’s main interior concourse, as well as an energized and tightly packed crowd hinted at things to come. In front of an International audience via Telefutura’s ‘Solo Boxeo’ TV linkup, the principal fighters did not disappoint. Arturo Morua won a scintillating bout versus rugged Omar Weis; Al “Speedy” Gonzales dominated in his win versus Derrick “The Dragon” Moon; and “Macho” Miguel Hernandez flattened Mike Stone.

In the main event, super lightweights Arturo “El Silencioso” Morua (18-6-1, 13 KO’s) and Omar “Tito” Weis (36-4-3, 16 KO’s) started out somewhat slowly, with the first round a good feeling out round; the two circled, jousted briefly and circled again. No damage was done by either fighter in this close round.

The two fighters were a stark contrast in appearance and style. Morua, weighing 142, stood several inches taller, was lankier, longer limbed and possessing the more classical boxer’s build. Ruggedly handsome, he was lanky, wasp waisted MoruaWeis4Sm (63k image)

Weis (R) bounces a right off the top of Morua's head

and wider throughout the shoulders. He was fleet footed, used lateral movement and countered well. On the other hand, Weis, who weighed 144.25, had shorter arms, was thicker through the middle, had relatively narrow but sloping shoulders and sported pronounced scarring over both eyes. This was a clear reflection of his boring-in style, which was long on aggression and pressure but short on defense.

Round two was a close and tactical round, with the two moving in and out, exchanging in spots and circling some more. Weis was warned for a low blow around mid-round. A pattern began to emerge as Weis began stalking, slinging punches where he could and Morua peppered him with crisp jabs and potent rights coming in.

In round three, Morua appeared to establish a tenuous lead in the round, seemingly landing the more potent combinations. At one point, Weis missed and as his bodyweight carried him past, Morua shoved him into the ropes. Weis, although clearly frustrated, took a deep breath and continued to plod after the swifter Morua.

MoruaWeis1Sm (62k image)>Weis (R) presses Morua (L) into a corner

In round four, even as Morua seemed to be expanding on his lead, he absorbed a small handful of heavy rights, one that appeared to stun him momentarily on the ropes and the others sending sweat spraying from his head. Weis increasingly found his range as he actively sought to cut off the ring and trap him on the ropes. Morua, however, continued to spear his oncoming attacker with sharp jabs and potent lefts and rights of his own.

This pattern continued into round five: Morua peppered while Weis obdurately pursued, impaling him with rapier jabs and hard rights. However, the durable and determined Weis pressed on. In the mix, Morua bled from a small cut on his right eyebrow, possibly form a clash of heads.

The pace quickened in round six as Weis pursued heartily, winging hard with both fists and Morua peppered and countered with crisp chopping rights and hooks. Both landed well and the two exchanged looks of mutual admiration at rounds end.

Weis stepped up his attack several notches in round seven as he bombed Morua with a vengeance, banging him hard to head and body with both hands along the ropes. However, Morua effectively circled out and countered with thudding shots of his own. To the crowd’s boos, the ref momentarily stopped the action to have loose tape on Weis’ glove secured. Morua surged in the closing moments. Like the previous round, it was close.

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An elated Morua (L) is interviewed by Telefutura as Weis (R) looks on

Morua appeared to establish more dominance in round eight. The general impression seemed to be that he not only was outpointing Weis, but also increasingly outfighting this stubborn warrior.

In subtle contrast, round nine featured the slightest let down in energy as the two fought hard, with Moruas superiority in terms of mobility, quickness and general boxing ability stood out. Plodding forward, Weis sought to land with less frequency than before. Arguably, he was resting for a last round surge..

This indeed appeared to be substantiated when in round ten, Weis fought with a renewed sense of urgency, wading in winging lefts and rights, while Morua glided to the sides and countered hard. The two landed equally hard rights and lefts in a splendid dance of give and take. Yet it was Morua who appeared to edge the round.

In the end, the general impression held fast: Arturo Morua won by majority decision 95-95, 96-94 and 96-94 for a majority decision victory.

Super lightweight Al “Speedy” Gonzales out-hustled and out landed gusty opponent Derrick “The Dragon” Moon in winning a unanimous decision victory.

Super Lightweights Al “Speedy” Gonzales (139) vs. Derrick “The Dragon” Moon (139) entertained in a scrap in which ultimately, Gonzales’ superior work rate and experience spelled the difference.

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Gonzales (R) snaps Moon's head back with a right uppercut

In round one, Moon (5-3-1, 1 KO) landed a handful of sneaky looping, lead overhand rights throughout the round, starting with one in the opening seconds. However, Gonzales (14-1-1, 7 KO’s) did not seem seriously bothered by these or any other subsequent right hands throughout the fight, as he schooled with quick and potent combinations to head and body of the shorter and less experienced Moon.

Moon looked to time Speedy coming in round two, often operating from—of all things—a baseball shortstop player’s stance, knees bent, torso low and hands down at either side. However, in short order, he found himself stumbling from a flurry of lefts and rights, suffering the indignity of a standing eight count. Gonzales continued to press, while Moon retreated, occasionally countered and withstood follow-up attempts.

Apparently Gonzales’ last round surge startled Moon, as in round three he was on his bicycle overtime, expending a lot of energy skittering about the ring, planting and attempting to spear his oncoming assailant. However, he was the worse for the wear, as Gonzales began stepping up his attack methodically with thudding and crowd-pleasing body shots here and several stunning headshots there.

Having survived round three, a newly confident Moon continued running and ducking low in round four, ala Pernell Whitaker sans the experience or substance. With Gonzales in pursuit, he attempted to make stands in spurts. Perhaps borrowing a book from Hopkins, he tried to frustrate and potshot Gonzales. There was little actual contact made, but Gonzales seemed to hold a lead via his superior work rate.

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Gonzales (R) pursues Moon

In round five, even as the bout slowed, Moon sought to make more of a fight of it. In spots, that is. Gonzales knocked Moon back with a huge right to the head, but could not capitalize as the bout slowed. There were some pronounced exchanges but Moon made it clear vis-a-vie his actions that he wanted to avoid the incoming and catch Gonzales with sharp and sneaky rights.

It appeared that he had observed Gonzales’ last bout versus Demetrius Hopkins, as he similarly sought to dodge, run and potshot Gonzales with sneaky rights, which landed with a degree of success. From this writer’s perspective, it appeared that Gonzales had indeed improved his defense slightly since his last outing. However, he appeared to still be open for right hands over the top. What degree his lower expectations for Moon played in this phenomenon is open to conjecture. The bottom line is that Gonzales, for his improved conditioning and slickness, likes to brawl, which could be problematic against harder hitting opponents.

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Moon (R) counters Gonzales off the ropes

In round six, Moon landed some good single looping rights and lefts, but also had his head snapped back on several occasions. Again, the higher and generally more effective blows belonged to Gonzales, who continued to bank crisp three and four punch combinations to head and wicked, thudding hooks to the body.

Round seven emphasized these fighters contrasts: Gonzales was the busier and more effectual fighter, repeatedly snapping Moons head in spots, while Moon circled and occasionally landed—or attempted to land single looping blows. This was a clear cut round for Gonzales.

In round eight, Gonzales started pursuing Moon hotly but slowed his pursuit somewhat as he caught a couple heavy rights. Sporting an abrasion on his right eyebrow, he moved forward a bit more cautiously. But move forward he did. The two engaged in a few crackling exchanges as Gonzales punctuated his superiority work rate and experience with crowd rousing combinations, again snapping Moon’s head back in spots.

The decision appeared to be a mere formality, as it was a unanimous decision, 80-71 all for Al “Speedy” Gonzales.

Middleweights “Macho” Miguel Hernandez (160.5) vs. Mike Stone (161) satisfied in their brief, if one sided blow out.

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Hernandez (R) attacks Stone with a savage flurry

Miguel Hernandez (12-1-0, 7 KO’s) wasted no time in taking it to Stone (10-2-0, 8 KO’s) after the briefest of introductions. Bludgeoning Stone in a corner with heavy rights and looping lefts, he nodded vigorously to Stone, who apparently took exception. Moments later, Stone borrowed a textbook wrestling move and took Hernandez down to the matt. No matter. Moments later, Hernandez knocked Stone down with a furious two fisted assault in a corner. Stone took a count on his knees and rose at around the count of eight or nine. However, his respite was short-lived. Trapping Stone once again in a corner, Hernandez pounced and slammed both fists into his head and body, pulverizing him in a corner. The finisher appeared to be a right uppercut. Stone collapsed and was counted out at 2:23 into round one for a knockout victory.

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Hernandez (R) finishes Stone as a cameraman looks on

Super welterweights Carlos Molina (153.5) and Jonathan Ochoa (154) entertained in a very busy and closely fought match of contrasting style.

Round one saw Molina (3-0-0, 1 KO) generally dominate in a surprisingly brisk series of exchanges at close range. He used a good jab, straight right and hooks against his awkward and very willing opponent.

The two continued to trade toe to toe in round two. Molina appeared to be the better boxer, but Ochoa (2-0-2, 1 KO) remained extremely active and aggressive, firing shots from all angles and often smothering surges by Molina, the more classical boxer.

Round three was spent briskly in lively give and take. Molina appeared to have the edge in technique and power. However, for the last minute or two, Ochoa trapped Molina in a corner and kept him there using alternatively, punches, his head and elbows turned outwards to effectively hem him in.

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Molina (L) covers up as Ochoa attacks him in a corner

Round four was equally busy. However, Molina appeared to find his range more often and used his boxing and handspeed superiority to good effect, repeatedly outlanding his busy and aggressive punching opponent. Moreover, he managed to avoid getting trapped on the ropes this round, pivoting and turning Ochoa when it appeared he might find himself trapped.

Boos and whistles came from the crowd as the final scores registered: 39-37 Ochoa, 39-37 Molina and 39-37 Ochoa for a split-decision victory for Rocky Ochoa.

If Hernandez provided the concussions, and the rest provided action and tension, Preston Hartzog (280) vs. James Porter (230) provided the lighter moments of the night: In a rough and tumble battle of wide bodies, Hartzog (12-0-1, 4 KO’s) and Porter (3-5-0, 1 KO) put on an entertaining scrap. Interestingly enough, Hartzog who was a veritable mountain of a man, ambled about the ring shouting “Bless you!” every time he lashed out his ponderous blows on his shorter but equally stout opponent. Wearing a scraggly beard and standing very tall, he appeared to be a former football lineman, perhaps a guard culled from the “Big Ten.” To his credit, the shorter Porter countered well in spots, surging back with quick bursts of looping punches over the top. Never the less, Hartzog appeared to control the tempo of the bout and repeatedly seemed on the cusp of possibly ending matters. However, he could not muster the coup de gras. The final tally was very close: 59-55 Hartzog, 58-56 Porter and 58-56 Hartzog for a split decision victory for Hartzog.

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A relieved Hartzog basks in victory with his cornermen

After all was said and done, the crowd went home pleased, their appetite for action, drama and fun thoroughly sated. In short, “Mexican Independence” was a smashing success.

Photos by Juan C. Ayllon

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