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04/09/2005 Archived Entry: "Hernandez Prevails, Pereja Wins by TKO in ‘Chicago Contenders’!"
Hernandez Prevails, Pereja Wins by TKO in ‘Chicago Contenders’!
By Juan C. Ayllon
Miguel Hernandez (right) attacks J.J. Corn
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Boxing is alive and well in Chicago, as witnessed by the very vocal, large crowd in attendance at the cavernous Aragon Ballroom last night.
Local favorite middleweight “Macho” Miguel Hernandez (161 lbs., 14-2-1) fought a phone booth battle against gritty veteran, Jonathan James Corn (160 lbs., 44-12-1, 23 KO’s), and prevailed by unanimous decision over a rugged ten rounds in their main event fight at the Aragon Ballroom.
Round one saw Hernandez take the action right away to Corn with a spirited two fisted assault, only to find Corn not only withstood his blows, but returned fire with apparent disdain.
In round two, Corn openly mocked Hernandez’ power, mugging and doing several, quick goose steps in succession after Hernandez landed a series of hard combinations as the two traded. Hernandez continued to pressure and bang away throughout and appeared to stun Corn on the ropes about at about the two-thirds mark of the round. A sustained fusillade of blows followed. However, Corn shook off their effects and returned fire with a sneer.
As round three unfolded, Hernandez bounced a blatantly low blow off Corn and followed with a booming right that dropped Corn. Despite Corn’s complaints, the ref—whose view was obstructed by Hernandez’ body and who clearly did not see the errant punch—continued to count. Rising at six, Corn fought back to survive. His head apparently cleared, he alternatively traded in close and fell into clinches along the ropes.
The two continued trading in close in round four, with Hernandez sporting the superior work rate. The two slugged ferverishly for a good five to ten seconds after the bell, forcing the ref to intervene.
Rounds five, six and seven were largely fought in at tight quarters about the periphery of the ring, often leaning in with their heads on each others shoulders, slamming body shots and head blows in abundance. There was a lot of wrestling in close, forcing the referee to separate them on numerous occasions. Once again, Hernandez sported the superior work rate, but Corn held his own in trading.
Round eight saw "Macho" try and wind the bout up, but found stubborn Corn not going anywhere as the two slugged it out in close.
Round nine was punctuated by more crackling exchanges towards rounds end, as the two seemed to sense that the fight just may very well be in the balance. The two took turns banging away at one another on the ropes.
This sense of urgency spilled over into round ten, where the two teed off on one another. Seeking to seal a victory emphatically, Hernandez tried desperately to take Corn out, while Corn, in turn, fought for pride and sought to do likewise to his less experienced opponent.
In the end, the judges scored the bout 97-92, 99-90, and 100-89 for “Macho” Miguel Hernandez.
Commenting afterwards, a somewhat weary Hernandez said, “He was tough! He was a veteran; he had 56 fights!”
Corn was more philosophical in assessing the fight, saying, “It was tough, I fought a good, strong fight. It was alright. I threw some good, strong hooks. He’s tough, tough as hell. Two minorities, it’s a matter of pride. I’ll be back.”
Later on, as the two chatted in the foyer of the Aragon Ballroom, Hernandez was heard to say to Corn, “Boy, you really got me with one body shot. When you hit me with it, I wanted to sh**!”
Pareja (in background) surveys his handiwork
Former “Next Great Champ” T.V. reality boxing star David Pareja (175, 3-1-0) found the early minutes of his fight rough going, but ultimately prevailed via TKO over hard swinging Ryan Franklin (2-1-0, 2 KO’s).
As if to say, “welcome to real boxing,” a sneering and disdainful Franklin attacked Pareja in round one with heavy artillery and repeatedly pushed Pareja into the ropes winging ponderous lefts and rights. As such, he dominated the exchanges. Warned twice for pushing, he continued to press Pareja off balance and on the defensive. Towards rounds end, Pareja appeared to be adjusting, getting his jab going and peppering with some follow up rights and hooks.
In round two, Franklin continued to bull rush Pareja to the ropes, swinging with his full bodyweight behind every blow. At one point, the ref warned him, saying, “Don’t tackle him!”
However, Pareja boxed better and began asserting himself behind a jab and follow up rights. To his credit, Franklin, though bleeding from the nose, appeared to handle his power quite well.
Thus, the ending was unexpected, as Pareja cornered Franklin and suddenly dropped him down in a heap. Sprawled face to the mat on all fours, Franklin was clearly in no state to continue. The fight was stopped at 2:22 of round two, resulting in a TKO victory for David Pareja. Interestingly, the referee waved off the fight without formally counting Franklin out when it was obvious that he could have.
Asked about the finishing blow, Pareja said, “It was the right hand; I pivoted and—boom! I got him with the right!”
Tafoya (left) stands in background as the ref stops the fight
Francisco Tafoya (128 lbs., 3-0-0, 2 KO’s) stopped testy Mario Lacey (130 lbs., f7-8-4, 6 KO’s) in a spirited six round affair.
Round one saw a marauding Tafoya take it to Lacey, who fought back hard and forced Tafoya to tighten up defensively.
Round two was a compelling battle of give and take, as Tafoya sought hard to impose his will on Lacey. His efforts were well vested as a sizzling combination of three punches punctuated by a right drop Lacey in a corner. Rising after a count of perhaps four, Lacy regrouped and managed to survive a strong follow-up by Tafoya.
Rallying in round three, Tafoya caught a couple hard shots to the head from an ever-dangerous Lacy. Not to be denied, Tafoya trapped Lacey in several corners, finally terminating matters in the red corner, where he finished him with a right to the ribs and a left hook to the temple at 1:45 of round three for a TKO victory. Once again, the ref could have easily counted him out, but apparently waved it off just short of the ten count.
Returning Round Lake slugger Jose Andres Hernandez (164 lbs., 16-2-0, 12 KO’s) stopped tough Mexican citizen Heriberto Velasquez (127.5 lbs., 4-18-2, 2 KO’s) just inside six rounds in a war that had shook the Aragon with the crowd’s roaring approval throughout.
Round one was a veritable shootout, with Hernandez packing the heavier artillery. Jarring his shorter, but gritty opponent several times, Hernandez favored a quick one-two to the head mixed with sizzling hooks to the body, whereas Velasquez threw hard left and right hooks to head and body.
In round two, Hernandez knocked down Velasquez with a left hook to the body early on, and then decked him again with a hard shot to the head. Appearing on the verge of a stoppage victory, Hernandez pressed matters. To the crowd’s delight, Velasquez fought back with the fervor of a cornered wildcat with both fists and made it a firefight that drew loud cheers.
Hernandez banged away with good effect in round three, visibly hurting Velasquez with a thudding left hook to the lower hanging rib on the right side. On several other occasions, it appeared that he was on the cusp of a stoppage. However, Velasquez’ pride not only kept him upright, but brazenly firing back as if to say, “If you’re going to beat me, you better throw something better than that!”
Round four saw a feisty battle, with Hernandez landing the greater preponderance of blows, but Velasquez landing hard hooks to the head. Inadvertently, Velasquez dropped to a knee as he walked into a right hand and received a standing eight count. It appeared more the case of Velasquez being off balance and slipping than hurt. Stubbornly, he fought on and made a brawl of it, albeit clearly outworked and out-powered.
In between rounds, there was a little confusion when the ref called the fight but reinstated it, saying it was now six rounds instead of the scheduled four. Surprised, the timekeeper said there’s about 10 seconds left. The ref replied, “Give me about 20!”
Round five was more competitive. Even as Hernandez landed a high volume of spearing jabs, shotgun rights and whistling hooks to the body, Velasquez kept it competitive by landing leaping left hooks to the head that caught Hernandez’ attention.
With the audience thundering its lusty approval, in round six, Hernandez dominated over his recalcitrant opponent, who fired back with seething vengeance. However, Hernandez volleyed with increased abandon, raining down a veritable cascade of blows. Unable to stem the crescendo of blows to the head, Velasquez was rescued by the ref at 2:59 of the round, thus awarding Hernandez a TKO victory in the sixth and final round.
Donavan George lands a potent jab on Wayne Hajicek
Popular former Chicago Golden Gloves star Donavan “The Bomb” George (164 lbs., 3-0-1, 3 KO’s) turned in a solid effort versus tough Wayne Hajicek (165 lbs., 3-3-1, 1 KO), prevailing via unanimous decision in five rounds.
Rounds one and two saw Donavan dominate, peppering Hajicek with sharp rights and lefts to head and body. However, Hajicek hung tough.
In round three, Donavan seemed content to spear his opponent with a stinging jab, as Hajicek pressed. Although outpunched, the stocky Hajicek kept coming back, biding his time and seeking to impose his will on his antagonist.
Round four, Hajicek leapt in with a right hook, forcing Donavan to hold. The two exchanged some good shots, with Hajicek increasingly finding the range for his punches. To his credit, though, Donavan appeared to edge the round.
In round five, Hajicek pursued hard, only to get clipped with an overhand looping right hand that appeared to hurt him. Sensing blood, the crowd roared lustily and Donavan began bombing with purpose. Stunned several times, Hajicek never the less survived the onslaught and resumed pressing matters once his antagonist took a momentary respite against the ropes. Reinvigorating his jab, Donavan closed out the round well. Judges scored the bout 60-55 twice and 60-54, for a unanimous decision victory for Donavan.
Rita Figueroa (right) jabs aggressive Janae Archuleta
Chicago's ever-popular Rita Figueroa (136 lbs., 2-0-0, 1 KO) showed discipline and science in decisioning rough slugger Janae Archuleta (140 lbs., 4-10-1, 2 KO’s).
Round one was a pleasing display of give and take, with Archuleta swinging freely with both hands at the beginning, but getting tagged early on with several potent rights. The two traded solid slugging with perhaps Archuleta edging in the infighting.
Figueroa started round two more mobile, boxing side to side, and landing by far the greater preponderance of effective blows, even as Archuleta continued to bull her way in.
Round three saw more precise bombing and blocking from Rita even as Archuleta sought to press matters behind a free-swinging attack. Figueroa’s right cheek swelled grotesquely from an accidental head butt.
In round four, Archuleta attacked with a vengeance, landing a pair of potent right hooks to the head. Following suit, she hammered away with rights and lefts to head and body. However, Figueroa covered well and countered neatly behind a tight guard, dropping in effective rights to the head. At rounds end, the two exchanged in a rousing finale that left the boisterous crowd amazed. The judges scored the bout 38-38 and 39-37 twice for a majority decision for the popular Rita Figueroa.
Rita Figueroa emerges victorious once again
Like the conclusion of a fine meal, after all was said and done, the crowd left clearly sated with its lust for action. Once again, Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions served up another sumptuous evening of entertainment. Well done, indeed!
A jubilant Tafoya celebrates on the turnbuckles
From left to right: Matchmaker Jerry Alfano looks on as Miguel Hernandez and J.J. Corn mug for the camera, while Hernandez' son (top) receives a high five from the announcer
Promoter Dominic Pesoli (left) celebrates with Donavan George
Promoter Dominic Pesoli (left) celebrates with Team Pareja
All photos by Juan C. Ayllon