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06/11/2005 Archived Entry: "Santa Cruz Stops Zavala, Sanders Outboxes Perez in Scorching ‘Wave of Fury’!"

Santa Cruz Stops Zavala, Sanders Outboxes Perez in Scorching ‘Wave of Fury’!

By Juan C. Ayllon at Ringside

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Jose Armando Santa Cruz (right) batters Ernesto Zavala on the ropes (Juan C. Ayllon photo)

CHICAGO, June 10, 2005 – Merely a few days into June, a veritable heat wave swept over Chicago. In similar fashion, Jose Armando Cruz and a host of other boxers heated things up in the Aragon Theatre, providing scorching action for a packed house to enjoy. The main and co-main bouts were nationally broadcast on the popular Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo" series.

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Zavala (left) attacks Santa Cruz

In the entertaining main event, Jose Armando Santa Cruz (135 lbs., 19-0-0, 10 KO’s) swept, and ultimately stopped rugged Ernesto Zavala (135 lbs., 20-3-0, 8 KO’s) in defending his NABF Super Lightweight title.

Round one was a busy one, with both fighters taking turn peppering one another with probing shots.

Zavala started off round two crisply, landing a pair of thudding hooks to the body that seemed to light a fire under Santa Cruz, as he then took it to Zavala with hard rights and lefts. Trapping him in a corner, he unloaded with a furious, two fisted assault, only to have Zavala drive him off with a potent right of his own. This was an entertaining round, with both fighters sitting down more on their punches.

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Santa Cruz (right) finishes Zavala

Santa Cruz dominated in rounds three and four, trapping and punishing the shorter Zavala repeatedly on the ropes, dropping him in round four and finally stopping him at 2:16 of the fourth round after landing repeated punishing shots to the head with both fists. Thankfully, the referee mercifully intervened.

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Germaine Sanders (left) lands a hard right to Luciano Perez' head

In a tension filled co-main bout between two popular Chicagoan welterweights, Germaine Sanders (148 lbs., 23-3-0, 17 KO’s) demonstrated superior speed and boxing in winning a unanimous decision over hard slugging Luciano Perez (148 lbs., 12-1-1, 11 KO’s).

Perez aggressively stalked from rings center as Sanders danced side-to-side and circled about the periphery of the ring. Perez landed the first blow, a hard right to the body. Trapping Sanders on the ropes, He nailed him with a big right and was promptly tackled to the ground by Sanders. Clearly, Sanders was being very careful of Perez’ vaunted power.

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Sanders (left) gets out of the way of Perez' ponderous right

Round two was far more competitive, the two fighters landing some jarring shots; Luciano with single rights and Sanders with lead rights, jabs and a nasty left uppercut. Perez’ corner kept exhorting, “Jab, Luciano, Jab!” For the most part, those cries went unheeded, as Perez stubbornly elected to throw lead rights and lefts.

It was almost as if Perez never learned that, generally, it is not a good idea to throw lead rights against a well-seasoned and crafty boxer, especially if he is quicker than you are; they often seee it coming and get out of the way and/or counter it neatly. As his corner tried to remind him, you set up and--as sports commentor Pat O'Grady once said--"You blind them with the jab," and hit them with the right [which they don't see as he has a glove in his face] and nail them with the right, which comes right behind it. Ironically, when he threw the jab, his efforts seemed enhanced, as--although not altogether quick--it was a hard, stiff punch that moved Sanders backwards when it landed.

Sanders began landing more frequently, finding a home for lead rights over a low guard, the occasional hook and jabs. Perez rocked Sanders and, once again, was tackled to the ground, prompting Perez’ corner to shout, “Hey Sanders, this isn’t a wrestling match!”

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Sanders (right) tackles Perez

Round four began with a boxing clinic courtesy of Sanders, as he danced, jabbed and strafed the slower Perez with potent rights and lefts. Undaunted, Perez continued launching hard rights and lefts to head and body, occasionally landing a low blow. At one point while trapped on the ropes, Sanders dropped to the ground. The referee ruled this a slip. Later on in the round, he was apparently hurt by a plethora of blows and Perez gave chase, while Sanders evaded.

Sanders boxed better in round five, out-speeding Luciano with repeated jabs. The two swapped blows briefly at rings center. At rounds end, Sanders raised his hands to his sides as if he was winning. Perez merely smirked as he walked to his corner.

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Perez (facing viewer) mixes it with Sanders

Round six, heated up. At one point, Sanders spun a pursuing Perez to the ropes and nearly dropped him with a big right uppercut. Infuriated, Perez dropped his hands to his side, stuck his chin out, and pursued Sanders. As Sanders began swinging once again in earnest, Perez raised his guard. Sanders boxed with an edge in speed while Perez loaded up.

For the better part of round seven, Sanders out-boxed Perez, spearing him repeatedly, circling and dropping in quick rights, lefts and taking the fight to Perez. The latter minute or so, Perez pressed and sought to take him out, but to no effect. Hooks to the body and rights to the head which had wilted lesser men weren’t hurting Sanders at this juncture.

Sanders became increasingly aggressive in round eight, landing hard hooks, spearing jabs and potent rights, snapping Perez’ head back on several occasions. For his part, Perez pressed forward and banged away hard with both fists to head and body.

Round nine saw some heated trading, as Perez was warned for rabbit punching after getting exasperated. As hard as he tried, his bombs weren’t flattening his faster fisted and fleeter footed opponent.

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Sanders looks forward to some down time with his lady

Round ten, featured solid trading by both fighters, with Sanders moving just enough to avoid unnecessary damage and boxing well.

In the end, the bout was scored 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91 for Germaine Sanders, who won a well-deserved unanimous decision victory.

Afterwards, Germaine Sanders said, “It was a tough bout, and it was a fair decision. I haven’t fought in six months. But the hardest part was what I wasn’t doing. I had a fast from sex for 28 days.” His female companion said, “We’re going to put an end to that right now!"

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Pavlik wins by KO

Middleweight Kelly Pavlik (166 lbs., 24-0-0, 21 KO’s) demonstrated in chillingly efficient fashion why he sports a high knockout ratio in knocking out Daniel J. Neal (9-8-1, 2 KO’s).

Neal began aggressively, throwing hooks and rights with ill intent. However, Pavlik covered, boxed smartly, and shortly thereafter, began chasing Neal, who circled quickly about the ring. Someone at ringside said, “He can’t do that forever.” He never had a chance.

Pavlik nailed Neal with a straight right in between the eyes and knocked him through the lower two ropes, where he was ruled knocked out without a count at 1:49 of round one. Neal stayed down for several minutes on the outer apron of the ring just outside the ropes, while ringside physicians tended to him. Thankfully, he rose on his own strength after a while.

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Pareja (left) stalks Moore

Dave Pareja (177.5 lbs., 4-1-0, 1 KO) won a workmanlike, unanimous decision in a learning bout against more experienced Rodney Moore (183 lbs., 7-13-4, 2 KO’s).

Round one was basically a feeling out round, with Pareja generally dictating behind a jab. He appeared to stun Moore, who appeared very cautious, once or twice.

Moore jabbed and punched more in round two, stalking and mixing it up with Pareja. He landed a left hook. Pareja took it well, and sparked an offense with select rights and lefts, looking for a key opening.

A number of times throughout the bout, Pareja’s corner cajoled him to keep his guard up and his chin down. Listening, he sought to make the necessary adjustments.

Round three heated up, as Moore tried to rush in and smother Pareja’s shots, and Pareja tried banging him in close with hooks. Moore landed a clean right to the side of Pareja’s head towards rounds end.

Well into round four, Pareja hurt Moore with a crisp one-two and sought to take him out for about 30 seconds as the crowd roared approvingly. Someone in the crowd shouted encouragingly to Pareja, “You broke his nose!” Bleeding heavily from the nose, Moore smothered his follow-up attempts, got his legs under him and began slugging back hard in earnest at rounds end.

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Pareja gets a hug from his wife (at far right) and an unidentified friend or relative

Round five saw Pareja moved side to side, and tried nailing Moore in close as Moore rushed in. Moore jabbed and sought to catch him with the odd, straight right or hook. More aggressive, Moore pressed matters and had Pareja more on the defensive this round.

Bleeding from his left brow, perhaps a result of a clash of heads, in round six, Pareja tried to finish Moore, while Moore repeatedly bulled him to the ropes and tried to catch him with a big punch. Both fought hard, but neither found the knockout punch they were seeking. Officials scored the bout 58-56 and 59-55 twice for a unanimous decision win to Pareja.

Afterwards, Pareja said, “This guy had a lot of experience and I had to box him a lot. I suppose I was being over cautious. If I hit him with some of the shots I was missing, it would have been over. I know what I need to work on.”

Moore said, “Well, I lost. But, he’s very beatable. He was a standard fighter. He boxed like this [Moore modeled an exaggerated, upright European style stance, fists out in front at about chin height with his chin up]. I just didn’t get my shots off.”

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Jorge Gonzales (left) swings hard at ducking Martinez

In a raucously cheered bout, popular middleweight Jorge Gonzales (158.5 lbs., 2-0-0) proved to be the better boxer in garnering a unanimous decision against rugged, non-stop slugging Moises Martinez (160 lbs., 8-12-0, 5 KO’s).

Martinez took it to Gonzales in the early moments of round one, swinging hard with looping hooks to head and body, forcing Gonzales to establish the jab and box more. Then, he demonstrated a clear edge in speed and crisp punching. Towards rounds end, Gonzalez caught Martinez with a big jarring right uppercut that drew a collective gasp from the crowd.

Martinez continued to bull his way in as round two got under way, swinging hard, looping hooks. Gonzales superior amateur experience showed as he snapped Martinez’ head back with a right uppercut, banged away hard to head and body, and bounced out on his toes. Throughout, Martinez never ceased pressuring his Gonzales, forcing him to fight. However, fight Gonzales did; using superior speed and better boxing, he got a narrow edge in this round.

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Gonzales (left) batters Martinez

In between rounds, his brother, Jimmy—also a boxer on tonight’s card, said, “Pace yourself, Jorge!”

Gonzales had his best round of the fight in round three, repeatedly bludgeoning the more open Martinez about the head. Borrowing a page from legendary heavyweight Jersey Joe Walcott, he turned and strolled the other way after nailing Martinez, pounced again, then repeated. He really jarred a number of times, Martinez and appeared on the cusp of a stoppage victory. However, Martinez stood tough and mauled at rounds end. Martinez swung desperately with both fists as Gonzales speared him with crisp jabs and jarring rights and hooks.

Round four saw Gonzales landing very regularly with both hands while Martinez stubbornly advanced and traded with him, unceasingly firing looping rights and lefts to Gonzales’ head. At rounds end, Gonzales complained about a clash of heads.

In round five, Martinez pounced on Gonzales with wonton abandon. Dancing out, Gonzales punched with precision. Gonzales repeatedly snapped Martinez’ head back with jarring lefts and rights, but Martinez nodded his head, waded forward and slugged away. The two slugged toe to toe for the last 30 seconds to the lusty approval of the crowd which chanted, “Meheeco, Meheeco” repeatedly at the rounds conclusion.

In between rounds, Gonzales’ manager, Ernesto, said, “I’m his manager, Ernie. He should be fighting 20 pounds lighter!”

The sixth and final round, Martinez pursued Gonzales, while Gonzales speared, jabbed and ran to the crowd’s loud disapproval. At about a minute’s mark, he stood and traded. Martinez punches were non-stop winging wallops, while Gonzales’ were more precisely and straighter punches. They slugged away hard until rounds end. Scores were 59-55 and 60-54 twice for Jorge Gonzales.

The decision was received with mixed reaction, as some booed Gonzales’ victory. Apparently, Martinez' never-say-die attitude had won many over. Moments later, Jorge’s brother Jimmy got angry and strode into the audience after a disruptive fan threw a ball of paper at Jorge. The fan was quickly ejected. Commenting on this, Jimmy said, “I couldn’t believe it! The dumb ass threw a ball of paper at my brother!”

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Nevitt (right) and Gathright get it on

Although marked, bleeding and hurt a couple of times, local cruiserweight Mike Nevitt (192 lbs., 8-0-0, 4 KO’s) remained the busier fighter, slugging, and smothering and ultimately decisioning rugged Carl Gathright (190.5 lbs., 3-6-0).

Despite his record, Gathright walked into this bout having won a decision over NABF Cruiserweight Champion Ali Supreme in a non-title bout this last May 20th. Octavius James, CEO of “One in a Million Boxing, Inc.” and who also promotes Supreme said, “Honestly, Ali didn’t train for that fight.” However, he stated that he signed Gathright after that bout and added, “I hope he wins this bout.”

Nevitt attacked with a furry from the get go in round one, landing several sharp rights, and proceeded to press Gathright. Smothering Gathrights attack, he also smothered a lot of his blows. Gathright landed a right that hurt Nevitt and had him holding on momentarily.

Round two saw protracted infighting, as the two stood shoulder to shoulder, slugging away. Nevitt bulled Gathright to the ropes where he once again, smothered Gathrights—and his own—punches. The two traded closely at rings center to close out the round.

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Nevitt (left) and Gathright pose following their grueling match

Nevitt out-rightly landed the crisper and higher volume punches in round three as the two traded in close for the majority of the round. Nevitt often pushed Gathright to the ropes where he pinned him and force fed a steady diet of lefts and rights, while leaning on him; Gathright’s counter blows were often smothered that way.

His right eye swelling, Nevitt appeared to lose half a step even as he outboxed Gathright for the first half of round four. Even as he appeared to tire, Gathright, appeared to be coming on.

Gathright landed some heavy hooks and began pushing Nesbitt back consistently in round five. Bleeding now from above his left brow, Nesbitt never the less maintained a good work rate. Nesbitt landed his big right several times, but it apeared to have no ill efet on Gathright, who kept pressing matters and was clearly the stronger fighter at this juncture.

In round six, the two traded well, with Nesbitt the crisper and busier boxer, but Gathright arguably the more dangerous. Near rounds end, Gathright buckled Nesbitt’s legs with a right hand. Surviving, Nesbitt remained busy, getting his punches off faster. The judges decisions were almost anti-climactic, as they read, 59-55 and 58-56 twice, all for Nesbitt.

Afterwards, an unmarked Gathright said, “I fought the wrong fight. I fought his fight; I slugged. I like to box a little more, but I don’t like to back up.”

Marked about both eyes, a happy Nesbitt said, “I thought it was a great fight. What did you think?”

It was definitely an entertaining fight.

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Rita Figueroa (left) stalks Jasmine Davis

Popular Chicago super lightweight Rita Figueroa (137.5 lbs., 3-0-0, 1 KO) extended her undefeated streak, making short work of Jasmine Davis (138 lbs., 1-1-0), stopping her with a right hand to the jaw. Davis came out swinging with both hands. Figueroa covered and then attacked, backing Davis to the ropes. Moments later, the fateful blow landed and the ref waved it off promptly at 48 seconds into round one.

Afterwards, Rita said, “I hardly broke a sweat! I hit her with a good right hand; then she looked to her corner. I caught her flush and, in fact, I hurt my hand!” The ever-affable Figueroa added later, “Jasmine was really nice! I told her afterwards we could do some sparring work if she’d like.”

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Jimmy Gonzales (left) attacks Mark Long

Right hands seemed to be the order of the early eve, as Super Middleweight Jimmy Gonzales (166 lbs., 1-0-0, 1 KO) dominated and made similar short work of Mark Long (166.5 lbs., 1-1-0, 1 KO), hurting him repeatedly with right hands, forcing an eight count and knocking him down hard with a thundering right hand to the head. To his credit, Long got a few licks in, but no matter. Following the knockdown, Long rose, but he staggered into the ropes. Referee John O’Brien wisely waved it off at 1:59 into round one.

When reminded that his corner said, “Keep your hands up,” several times in their brief bout, as he battered Long, Gonzales said, “I am working on a lot of things.” Indeed. However, so far it’s working just fine.

The same could be said about a number of fighters who fought with a white-hot intensity. Their efforts betrayed a deep longing to make it up to the next level, grab hold of the brass ring and, perhaps, a world championship some day. They were fighting for pride. The resulting “Wave of Fury” delighted the packed house, made the nights festivities live up to it’s name and, no doubt, did promoters Dominic Pesoli /8 Count Promotions and Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing proud. That’s not a bad way to kick off the summer season. Not bad at all.

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Rita Figueroa and her "Crew", including her proud husband, Mike (first from
left in third row), her mother (second from left, second row) and her friend,
Rachel (far right, front row), who also boxes

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Promoter Dominic Pesoli visits with Figueroa and friends

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Referee John O'Brien and Jimmy Gonzales

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Chicago heavyweight contender, Fres Oquendo, and friends

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Angel Hernandez (left) and David Estrada, the middleweight. Estrada
will be fighting on ESPN2 this next Tuesday!

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Jose Armando Santa Cruz is still NABF Super Lightweight Champ!

All photos by Juan C. Ayllon

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