Antonio Orozco leads the way as San Diego celebrates a spectacular week of boxing

San Diego's Antonio Orozco (center) is now a full fledged mega star after defeating the three time World Champion Humberto Soto on Saturday night at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, Calif. (l to r) Carlos Barragan Sr., Carlos Barragan Jr., Antonio Orozco, the legendary Bernard Hopkins, and Frank Espinoza.

San Diego’s Antonio Orozco is now a full-fledged megastar after defeating the three-time World Champion Humberto Soto, Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. (l to r) Trainers Carlos Barragan Sr., Carlos Barragan Jr., Orozco, the legendary Bernard Hopkins – a two-division World Champion and oldest fighter to ever hold the light heavyweight title, Hall of Fame cutman Miguel Diaz plus Orozco’s manager Frank Espinoza.

On Saturday night, two of San Diego’s top pugilists, 27-year-old Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (23-0,15 KOs) and 27-year-old southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (29-1-2, 16 KOs) were once again, out there on the world stage


fighting top caliber opponents. This time they were on the undercard of an HBO World Title fight between Lucas Matthysse (37-3, 34 KOs) and Viktor Postol (27-0, 12 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Pre-fight, Orozco’s opponent, the 18-year veteran Humberto “The Crafty Little Fox” Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs) from Tijuana, B. C., Mexico, had this to say about his pending match with Orozco: “It’s going to be a good fight, youth against experience. I think the people who see this fight are going to be the real winners. Nothing personal against Antonio Orozco, but I do believe my experience will beat his youth.”

Soto had won his last seven fights to include a 10-round unanimous decision win over John Molina in his most recent fight. After being a monstrous opponent for years, many had predicted Soto would win this match. Apparently, Orozco didn’t get the memo. He systematically used his excellent counter-punching skills and took full advantage of his much faster hands to defeat the wily veteran. There were no knockdowns in this 10 round affair but Orozco had a point deducted in round nine for hitting Soto with low blows. Even with the point deduction, the judges still had Orozco winning almost every round. The three judges scored the bout 98-91 and 97-92 twice in favor of #1 of Antonio

In this one youth won out as Antonio Orozco (l) kept beating his opponent, Humberto Soto, (r) to the punch.

In this one, youth won out as Antonio Orozco (l) kept peppering Humberto Soto (r) with the stiff jabs and beating him to the punch with his harder power shots.

With the Super Lightweight division being the most hotly contested in boxing, Orozco’s road to a world title doesn’t get any easier as he will now have to face the gatekeepers, people like Viktor Postol, Terence Crawford, Adrien Broner, Sadam Ali, Timothy Bradley, Jr., Lamont Peterson, Jessie Vargas, Jose Benavides and Felix Diaz.

At the conclusion of their fight, Bernard Hopkins, the former light heavyweight champion of the world, joined in the celebratory arm raising with the Orozco Team of Carlos

At the conclusion of his nonstop battle with the veteran Humberto Soto, Bernard Hopkins, the former light heavyweight champion of the world, joined in the celebratory posing and arm raising with the Top 10 ranked Antonio Orozco.

Mercito Gesta (29-1-2, 16 KOs) also won a unanimous decision over the one dimensional, wild swinging Miguel Angel Mendoza (22-7-2, 21 KOs) of Aguas Caliente, Aguas Caliente, Mexico who took the fight on just two days notice. This one got off to a rocky start when in round two Gesta suddenly lost his footing and referee Jerry Cantu ruled the backward fall a knockdown.

What really happened? The cunning Mr. Mendoza put his left foot behind Gesta’s right foot and gave a shove with his right hand which made it appear to be a knockdown punch to the referee who only saw Gesta fall back when being tripped.  

If you’ve been around boxing as long as I have, I’m sure you’ve heard the counsel from veteran trainers when they tell a boxer: “Whatever you do, don’t leave the decision in the hands of the judges.” Of all the boxers, past and present, it’s doubtful any have followed that recommendation more than Mr. Mendoza. In his 31 ring appearances, he has only allowed the decision to go to the judges four times.  

Prior to Saturday’s fight, many felt Mendoza had no shot against Gesta who has the quicker hands and superior footwork. On Saturday, Mendoza went at it like this crouching tiger with wide, looping, all or nothing haymaker punches. It didn’t take long before the “underdog backers” in the crowd got on his bandwagon. Still, it was obvious that Gesta prevailed. All three scorecards had Gesta winning with scores of 97-92 (twice) and 96-93. With the loss, Mendoza has now lost five of his last six.

When you're a big name in the business, you often have spend the entire day posing for photos.

Promote, promote, promote: (top) When you’re a name fighter in the boxing business, like (l to r) Nicolas Arce, Mercito Gesta, Lucas Matthysee and Humberto Soto, you often have to spend the majority of your day posing for photos and flexing those muscles.

(bottom) When kept coming, Mercito Gesta had to

(bottom) With there being no let up from Miguel Mendoza (r), Mercito Gesta (l) had to remain busy and keep pummeling the head and body of his relentless opponent.

In the Main Event, Lucas Matthysse from Junín, Buenos Aires, Argentina versus Viktor “The Iceman” Postol from Kiev, Ukraine, the bout ended abruptly in the 10th round after Postol caught Matthysse with a solid right to the left side of his face that sent him to the canvas. At that point, the fully attentive Matthysse knelt on one knee but made no effort to get up.

As any smart bookmaker will tell you, Matthysse faced too many obstacles in this matchup. Postol was two years younger, 4½ inches taller, had a 4½” reach advantage, and was fresher from not having fought so many difficult fights. Postol’s tactics involved fighting southpaw, circling to the right, away from Matthysse’s power and keep taking those hard pot shots at the smaller man which eventually took their toll.

(top, left) At one of the many Press Conferences, Lucas Matthysse (l) faces off with his opponent Viktor Postol.

(top, left) At one of the many Press Conferences, Lucas Matthysse (l) of Argentina faces off with his able opponent Viktor Postol from the Ukraine.

(bottom) After getting slugged on the left side of his face see the veteran Lucas Matthysse go down and stay down for the full 10-count.

(bottom) After getting walloped on the left side of his face we see the veteran Lucas Matthysse go down and stay down for an entire 10-count.

Viktor Postol has his arm raised in victory by referee Jack Reiss.

Viktor Postol (l) has his arm raised in victory by veteran referee Jack Reiss.

If you’re keeping score of the money earned, Matthysse is set to make a purse of $500,000, while his opponent Viktor Postol gets $90,000 with more to be made from overseas money. In the co-feature, Humberto Soto and Antonio Orozco are expected to receive $100,000 each.

Boxers on Saturday's undercard (l to r)

The favored boxers on Saturday’s undercard (l to r) D’Mitrius Ballard, Marcelino Nicolas Lopez, Nick Arce, Julian Ramirez, Kevin Rivers Jr. and Mercito Gesta.

On the undercard 

Unbeaten featherweight, 22-year-old southpaw Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez (15-0, 8 KOs) of Los Angeles, Calif. won a ten round unanimous decision over 27-year-old Hugo Partida (20-6-2, 15 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico. The nephew of the late junior lightweight champion, Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, put in a workmanlike effort to produce the near shutout with scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 100-90, all in his favor.

Nicolas Arce (5-0, 5 KOs) stopped Juanito Hernandez (3-1) from Tijuana, B. C., Mexico with a well-timed left hook to the liver at 0:29 of round four in this super featherweight match which was scheduled for six rounds. With the good back and forth action early, the 19-year-old’s fans, most wearing pink shirts, went wild for their hometown hero.

Marcelino Nicolas Lopez (32-1-1, 17 KOs) of Arribenos, Buenos Aires, Argentina had virtually no problem defeating the 33-year-old veteran David Rodela (17-12-4, 7 KOs) of Oxnard, Calif. The beating lasted all of seven minutes in the scheduled 8 round super lightweight contest. The 29-year-old Argentinian native was all over Rodela in the first round, dropped him with a hard left in the second and then pummeled him even harder in the third round until referee Eddie Hernandez waved off the bout at 1:04 of the third. While Lopez was making his U.S. debut a success, Rodela was busy dropping his seventh in his last eight bouts.

D’Mitrius Ballard (10-0, 7 KOs) won a unanimous decision over 28-year-old journeyman Juan Carlos “Chiflado” Rojas (8-13-1, 7 KOs) of Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico in their super middleweight bout with scores of 60-53, 59-54 and 58-55. The 22-year-old from Temple Hills, Maryland boxer landed the cleaner, harder shots and was in charge from the opening bell.

The only real upset on the night occurred in the opener when 26-year-old super featherweight Alejandro Ochoa (7-10-2, 1 KO) from Bell Gardens, Calif. earned himself a majority decision over 25-year-old Kevin “K-Smoove” Rivers Jr. (12-1, 9 KOs) from Landover, Maryland in their six round affair. Ochoa simply outworked his opponent and by the final round, you could see Rivers was hurting from the unrelenting body attack. Judges scored the bout 59-53 (twice) for Ochoa and then the one blind judge scored it a very generous 56-56 draw.

On Friday, September 25, in the co-main event of a show in Ontario, Calif., 23-year-old Giovani Santillan of San Diego (17-0, 9 KOs) remained undefeated after winning a hard-fought majority decision against the taller Ernesto Ortiz (10-3, 7 KOs) of Morelos, Mex.

Ortiz, who made weight at junior welterweight, could have easily made weight at welterweight. In the match, he possessed quick hands and a powerful right hand. Santillan, off since February due to a hand injury, showed no evidence of ring rust and was able to mix in uppercuts with crushing body shots throughout their 8-round fight.

In the seventh round, the fight might as well have taken place in a phone booth as both fighters stood toe to toe. In the end, it was Santillan coming away with the majority decision victory, perhaps the closest victory of his career with scores of 76-76, 78-74 and 80-72.bbb Giovani Santillan CollageAfter the fight, Santillan (red trunks) said, “I think this is exactly the type of fight that I needed. Ortiz is a great competitor and the only way to get better is to be in these tough fights.”

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Also on this weekend, our local San Diego USA Amateur boxers representing LBC 44 had a field day in Oxnard, Calif. at the 41st Annual National PAL Tournament. The various San Diego County representatives won so many honors, so many trophies, they were thinking about renting a U-Haul-It truck to bring them home. On hand to bestow the 2015 National Pal Trophies and Belts were former world champions Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Fernando “Ferocious” Vargas and Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill.

Also present was our LBC 44 head of officials Willie Kuhn and wouldn’t you know it, Mr. Kuhn was honored by the local Police Athletic League as their top judge – for the fourth time.

Two of the awards that received much attention, the top heavyweight and the top judge award which went to San Diego's Head of Officials Willie Kuhn.

Two more awards that garnered some attention, first, the award for top judge went to Willie Kuhn (l) from LBC 44. Next, an award for top heavyweight went to Lonnie Adams (photo, right) who is seen with former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. Prior to the show, Douglas Cameron Mitchell made the following prediction, “Watch out for my Bro-in-law, Lonnie (Monster) Adams! He’s another “Real Deal.”

Can’t stop this one - Julius Ballo moved up in weight from 85 pounds to 90 pounds and once again he destroyed the competition to include this year’s reigning Silver Gloves Champion. When the 2015 National PAL Boxing Tournament ended, Joseph Landeros was selected Best Male Boxer in the 13-14 year-old group.

(top, l to r) Former world champions Virgil Hill, Fernando Vargas and Evander Holyfield. (bottom, left) Can’t stop this one – Julius Ballo moved up in weight to 90 pounds and once again ruled the competition to include this year’s reigning Silver Gloves Champion Joel Iriarte. (bottom, right) When the tournament ended, the formidable Joseph Landeros was named the Best Male Boxer in the 13-14-year-old grouping.

Can't forget the young ladies - here we see San Diego's Jessica Juarez having her arm raised in victory after defeating the very tough Jessica "Triple J" Juarez dominated in her victory over Diana Estrada.

(top) Can’t overlook the ladies – here we see San Diego’s Jessica “Triple J” Juarez (red) having her arm raised in victory after defeating the very tough Diana Estrada.

After his big win Jeremy Cullors of the Tiger Smalls Boxing Club had the privilege of posing for this photo with the incomparable Diaz brothers, Joel and Antonio of the Indio Boys & Girls Club.

Another winner, Jeremy Cullors from the Tiger Smalls Boxing Gym in Mission Valley had the golden opportunity of posing for this photo with the incomparable Joel and Antonio Diaz, ex-boxers/trainers extraordinaire, who now do their best work at the Indio Boys & Girls Club.

This gal knows everyone. (photo, top) Lisa Porter’s rye sense of humor: “Haha, I’m no groupie...I’m his training partner! LOL You know he’s not taller than me, I think he was wearing heels.”

Lisa Porter, who formerly trained at The Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. seems to know everybody in boxing – from Manny Pacquiao to Shane Mosley. (top photo, left) is an example of Porter’s rye sense of humor: “Haha, I’m no groupie…I’m his training partner! You know he’s not taller than me. At the time this photo was taken, I believe he was wearing heels.” (bottom, left) She is with top heavyweight prospect Gerald Washington. (bottom, right) Porter proudly shows us her 2015 National PAL Championship belt.

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When it comes to the 2015 National PAL Champions, we mustn’t forget Andrea “The Boss” Medina (l) and Martin Ramirez (r) from the Bound Boxing Academy on Broadway in Chula Vista. The Bound Boxing Academy will be hosting another of their Friday Night Fights Shows on Friday, October 16th starting at 7 p.m.

Andrea "The Boss" Medina wins a championship belt, best overall female boxer trophy and best female boxer in the 15/16 female junior division at Oxnard’s National PAL Tournament.

Andrea “The Boss” Medina not only won a championship belt and the trophy for best female boxer in her division and one for the best overall female boxer.

The good news never stops

Tomorrow, October 6, 2015, 24 year-old Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui (23-1, 19 KOs) of Tijuana by way of El Vigia, Venezuela, who trains at the Undisputed Downtown Gym with Jose Cital, will be taking on 28 year-old Julius “The Chef” Jackson (19-0, 15 KOs), the son of the legendary Julian “The Hawk” Jackson of Saint Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands at the Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, Texas in an IBF super middleweight title eliminator or should we say thriller. The video below was obviously added after that extremely fine performance (on 10-7-15). 

Jose Uzcategui of the Undisputed Downtown Gym is shown training with his coach Jose Cital at the Mayweather Boxing Club, Las Vegas, Nevada, ahead of Uzcategui’s clash with Julius Jackson.

Is San Diego a boxing town or what?

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