Availability of Benny Ricardo to replace Marcos Villegas, un milagro

Before Friday night’s show at the Big Punch Arena, we see the announcing team (lower right) of Benny Ricardo and Christopher Martin talking over their strategy for the big event.

If boxing promoter Saul Rios of the Boriztca Boxing Management Team were to have his way, you can be sure he’d have Michael Buffer doing his ring announcing, Anthony Joshua featured in the Main Event and more importantly have a highfalutin announcing team picked from the likes of Jim Lampley, Al Bernstein, Larry Merchant, Max Kellerman, Roy Jones, Paulie Malignaggi, and for comic relief he might even throw in a Howard Cosell impersonator or better yet Benny Ricardo, the ex-NFL placekicker, stand-up comic who has appeared on the various Late night talk shows and been a lead commentator for so many top Tennis Tournaments, NFL Football games, Pro Boxing Shows and the new rage Bareknuckle fighting. In other words, Rios is passionate about hosting spectacular shows with the best people available. Until his finances can justify such expenditures, Rios has relied on local talent like the popular ring announcer Pablo Flores, sports journalist Marcos Villegas who teamed up with local boxing standout Chris Martin. Though still in their developmental stages, all have performed admirably.

Along came this golden opportunity to host his next Boxing show at the much talked about Big Punch Arena in Tijuana, and out of the blue, Villegas was unavailable. Desperate for a replacement, Rios couldn’t believe his good fortune when he learned Benny Ricardo might be available. In between assignments, Ricardo was free on Friday night since his next project was on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. at the ROKiT Field at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. where the former Charger placekicker would be working on the Los Angeles Chargers versus Kansas City Chief’s telecast.


Fast forward, it’s Friday afternoon, and Benny Ricardo is in his car and headed south to Tijuana to work his magic for Borizteca Boxing. You could see the sigh of relief on Saul Rios’ face when Ricardo, the man of the hour, made his entrance into the Big Punch Arena. The accomplished TV personality had come to the rescue. Together with Chris Martin, the two men quickly began interviewing the fighters and jotting down notes. If you’re not familiar with Ricardo, he kind of reminds you of the actor Alec Baldwin. If we were to blindfold you and have you listen to both of their ramblings, 90% of which are for comic relief, you would have to say they have very similar personalities. Perhaps the only real difference is their hairstyles, Ricardo has for years maintained this voluminous curly hair while Baldwin’s locks are the traditional, short comb-over.

Since the majority of what Benny Ricardo has to say is quotable and you have the very astute Chris Martin adding his insights/boxing expertise, we thought it would be fun to give you Mr. Quotable’s take on each bout while we supply our photos from the show or if you have the time, you can check out the video from Friday evening’s show which is now being aired on Best In Boxing on YouTube.com.


Bout #1 featured the more seasoned Javier Miranda (l) from Tijuana (2-4) facing Eric Estrada (r) from Hillsboro, Oregon who after 35 Amateur bouts was making his Pro Debut.

After just 17 seconds, down went Miranda to the canvas. In summary, Estrada wasted no time and came out of the shoot firing these wicked, lethal, left hooks to Miranda’s midsection.

And up went the arm of the victorious Eric Estrada (1-0, 1 KO), which Benny Ricardo pointed out is no relation to the Erik Estrada who starred in Chips, the TV Crime, Drama which aired from 1977-1983 featuring the adventures of the California Highway Patrol.

In Bout #2, it was the soon to be 25-year-old, 6’3″ tall, light heavyweight Jose “El Bravo” De La Torre (r) DOB 9-9-92, from Los Angeles, Calif. who was making his Pro Debut after just five Amateur bouts, against tough guy Julio Alcantar (1-5-1) from Tijuana. Even though both men were in excellent condition, De La Torre benefitted from both his height and reach advantage, plus this ambidextrous, male nurse can go either southpaw or orthodox.

At first, the action went both ways. Here we see Julio Alcantar landing a solid, straight left.

Before long, Benny Ricardo was mentioning these boxing precepts: “Boxing is all about “staying aggressive, anticipation, making contact and countering.” Then, in the second round, to be precise, 1:30 of the second round, veteran referee Fernando Renteria was stepping in to stop the bout after he first saw Alcantar become gassed and putting his hands on his knees and then after taking a few more shots to the head, Alcantar started rubbing his eyes. He was essentially going to be dead meat as the taller De La Torre moved in to finish him off.

Here we see referee Fernando Renteria raising the arm of the victorious Jose Antonio de la Torre as his opponent Julio Alcantar makes a quick exit.

After his quick victory, the many Jose de la Torre supporters gathered for a group photo.

In Bout #3, they featured two 112 lb. flyweights, 20-year-old Leonardo Izquierdo (left) from Ensenada, B. C., Mexico and 22-year-old Marco Antonio Arroyo from Stockton, Calif. who was making his Pro Debut. On the bout sheet, they had “Leonardo” Izquierdo listed at 0-2. However, there was no record of any Leonardo Izquierdo on Box Rec and when Izquierdo was introduced to the crowd by ring announcer Pablo Flores he stated Izquierdo was making his Pro Debut. Things were straightened out later after it was discovered that the boxer’s first name was actually “Eduardo” and not “Leonardo”.

The knockout punch came at the 1:32 mark of round 1 when Marco Arroyo hit Eduardo Izquierdo with a left hook to the top of the head. At that point, the commentators explained the benefits of Arroyo using the force. “The force” is when you have a boxer coming towards an opponent while that opponent is throwing a punch that’s headed in the opposite direction.

The man of the hour, Marc Arroyo celebrates the winning of his Pro Debut with his proud father (r), older brother (l) and the lovely ring card girl.

Bout #4 featured super bantamweights Dilan Miranda from Tijuana who trains at the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, Calif. (2-0) going up against Jose Rodriguez (0-1) from Tijuana.

At this point, it was Christopher Martin taking center stage to critique the boxers. “Watch Rodriguez, as he throws his jab, his right hand comes down. Even though he’s lacking in fundamentals, he did catch Miranda with a nice overhand right that appears to have opened a cut over his left eye.” Things got even more heated in the second frame after Miranda started going more and more to the body. Then, right at the 2:03 mark of round two, Jose Rodriguez went down after the latest assault to his body, the solar plexus. Your solar plexus being that part of your stomach, below the ribs, where it is oh so painful when you get hit hard.

Dilan Miranda (left) along with his coach Juan Medina Jr. celebrate win #3 while the not so pleased Jose “Chemita” Rodriguez loses his second straight. Being a stylish dresser, Dilan “the Fashion Plate” Miranda prefers to look good when entering an Arena for battle.

In Bout #5 it was the 28-year-old Kevin “KO” Ottley (5-2-1, 3 KOs) of San Diego, Calif. by way of Baltimore, Maryland, returning to the ring after recovering from a medical issue to face the more active 41-year-old Dario “El Chaman” Cervantes (0-20) from Tijuana. For a total of 4 minutes and 2 seconds, we saw Ottley doing his thing against a very ineffective opponent who’s only concern was surviving the fight.

The boxers in Bout #5, Kevin “KO” Ottley (r) (5-2-1, 3 KOs) and Dario Cervantes (l) (0-20) meet at center ring to receive their final instructions from referee Fernando Renteria. Ottley is shown staring at his opponent, who for the majority of their face to face time had his eyes closed as if he were sleeping.

As soon as that first bell sounded Dario Cervantes was wide awake and continually on the move trying his best to fend off all the heavy blows coming from Kevin “KO” Ottley.

Kevin Ottley (r) proved one thing, he’s definitely back to form after dealing with all those nagging injuries. You never know, the nine months of healing may have been a blessing.

Never a lull in the show: Before the start of the next bout, Christopher Martin and Benny Ricardo returned to talking about the best boxing techniques. “Learning how to box is all about being humble,” said Ricardo. “When another boxer beats you, go and ask them how they did it. Learn from each and every fight, every sparring session. Learn how an opponent was able to take away your left hook.”

After the next two boxers made their way to the ring for Bout #6, you sensed the fight fans were certainly excited about this match-up. Both men, the 22-year-old Carlos “Chikis” Rangel (2-1) from Ensenada and the 19-year-old Brandon “2 Smooth” Cruz benefit from having a large fanbase.

Boxers Carlos Rangel (l) and Brandon Cruz (r) receive their final instructions.

Some people have started to wonder why they’re seeing Brandon Cruz lean in as he does while receiving the referee’s final instructions. Some believe it’s a clever strategy to measure distances to an opponent’s body parts, while others believe it’s more of a nervous reaction.

At the completion of Round one, announcer Benny Ricardo had Rangel ahead, “Some great exchanges folks. You got to believe we have ourselves a really great fight here.” Then, he had Cruz taking the very close second round. “When asked to judge a close fight like this, the only thing you can do is break up each round into minutes. Who did better in the first minute? Who did better in the second? And so on into the third minute.”

Round #3 was a repeat of round two and required another Ricardo quote: “Wow! This is leather launching at its best!” Round #4 was insane as the boxers traded even heavier blows. “You throw, then I throw,” said Ricardo. Then came the following remark in regards to Rangel’s toughness, “You got to wonder if an 18 wheeler were to run this kid over – would six tires go flat?”

Up until round #4, this was a truly great battle between two gifted boxers. Then came that one punch that ended Rangel’s night. While Rangel was throwing a right, Cruz landed this middle of the stomach, right uppercut to the solar plexus which had Rangel cave-in and drop straight down. This development took place at the 1:58 mark of round #4.

“Drat the luck!” The frustrated Carlos Rangel sat there lamenting what could have been.

Realizing that he had just been in a war with an outstanding opponent, Brandon Cruz appeared somewhat subdued after the victory, on the inside, he was triumphantly joyful.

Bout #7 featured welterweight Kevin “The Diamond Boy” Torres (9-0-1, 5 KOs) from San Diego’s House of Boxing by way of Bellingham, Washington facing Miguel Villalobos (2-5) from Tijuana, one of those rare opponents who had never faced a boxer with a losing record and was willing to take this fight on just one day’s notice. With most people believing Torres is now on the fast track to stardom, it’s getting more and more difficult to find a local fighter willing to face him. That is what makes a warrior like Villalobos such a rare commodity.

(left to right) Miguel Villalobos, announcer Pablo Flores, referee Fernando Renteria, Kevin Torres and finally Torres’ trainer Carlos Barragan Jr. from the House of Boxing.

During this match, Christopher Martin gave credit to Benny Ricardo’s analogy of comparing Kevin Torres’ continual attack on Miguel Villalobos midsection to those wrecking ball companies who do the demolition on older buildings. Soon or later, those hands are going to drop and your opponent will most likely be taking a knee.

It took a lot longer than expected but in the end, the courageous Miguel Villalobos and his body succumbed to the thrashing of punches by the tough as nails Kevin Torres.

In the end, it was Kevin Torres having his arm raised in victory by referee Fernando Renteria.

Kevin Torres’ exceptional support staff includes (l to r) Cutman4Hire Juan Ramirez, Carlos Barragan Jr. and Carlos Barragan Sr. from San Diego’s House of Boxing.

Honored at the show was Juan Manuel “Mantecas” Medina, the five-time World Featherweight Champ who was accompanied by his lovely wife Elizabeth who did a superb job of singing the Mexican National Anthem before the two World Boxing Federation Title fights.

Bout #8, the 8-round Co-Main Event of the evening featured 28-year-old Gilbert Mendoza from Modesto, Calif. (10-6-2, 4 KOs) facing Jesus Geovani Andrade Sanchez (5-3-1, 3 KOs) from Mexico City, Mexico.

After receiving their final instructions from veteran referee Manuel Rincon, the combatants in Bout #8, Jesus Geovani Andrade (left) and Gilberto Mendoza (right) went on to battle non-stop for the World Boxing Federation Super Flyweight Title of Mexico.

Throughout their longer than usual, marathon bout of 10 plus rounds, you could see the exhaustion on both of their faces. The strategy became twofold: how can I appear to be doing more than my opponent while at the same time outlast him in a fight that seems endless.

After the final bell came, it was Gilberto Mendoza from Modesto, Calif. winning a majority decision over the game Jesus Geovani Andrade from Mexico City, Mexico with scores of 98-92, 96-94 and 95-95.

The Main Event of the evening, Bout #9, had the 23-year-old Alejandro “Canito” Espinoza (10-0, 5 KOs) Global ID 761205, DOB 12-13-94, from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico taking on Jesus “Calancho” Osuna (1-8-1) Global ID 564298 from Tijuana.

This very long bout was certainly one-sided and all three judges were in agreement scoring the bout 80-71 for Espinoza. However, the patrons who watched this exciting match gave props to Osuna for somehow surviving Espinoza’s continual barrage of looping punches, especially the hard shots to the body.

Below is a short biography of our guest boxing announcer Benny Ricardo

Benny Ricardo has had an opportunity to work with a great many sports figures. Being a sports enthusiast how many of these sports celebrities can you name? A perfect score is 10.

When Benito Concepcion “Benny” Ricardo first appears on stage, he’ll tell his audience: “I know you’ve never heard of me…but give me five minutes and you will never forget me.’’ Ricardo played college football locally at San Diego State University and then went on to be a placekicker in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, and the San Diego Chargers. Since his playing days, there are so many facets to the life of this Paraguayan immigrant.

First of all, he played pro football for 11 years. He has a sports show on Sirius radio and announces NFL games in Spanish on CBS television. He’s been a tennis pro, a writer, a boxing announcer, a scriptwriter, a magazine editor, an advertising executive, has done voice-overs, was an all-pro racquetball player, played professional soccer, and as a teen was a California state handball champion.

In his spare time, Benny is a stand-up comedian who has done hundreds of performances and personal shows to include two at the White House for George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He’s appeared almost everywhere from the Valley View Casino to the Letterman Show, the Tonight Show and Good Morning America. Among his best buddies in comedy were the late Robin Williams and Pat Paulsen, the comedian who worked alongside Tom and Dick Smothers during their TV run and jokingly ran for President in 1968.

Ricardo, who is now 64, lives in Pauma Valley Estates with his wife Monique and son Andre a concert violinist.

If you like awesome music, here’s a recording featuring his son: https://soundcloud.com/studio-wut/andre-ricardo-the-herb-pantegruelian. It’s important to note that Benny unlike our President, has a very high IQ plus a photographic memory. At one time, he was a top field goal kicker who never missed a field goal in overtime and held the NFL record for 29 consecutive field goals without a miss inside 40 yards. He played for five teams with half his career spent with the Lions in Detroit. His success rate was high. It had to be since kickers had a short lifespan in the NFL. Very few made it to double digits in years served. He also made the Pro Bowl.

Ricardo and a few other players are responsible for the most significant legislation ever enacted in the NFL which gave players a percentage of the gross profits, created a salary cap and provided a severance pay. As a player rep, he was not one of the owners’ favorite guys. He was a part of that 1982 player strike and was eventually blackballed but given one final opportunity in Oakland by the ultimate maverick, Al Davis. Ricardo and a few friends made life better financially for thousands of players and brought equity to a sport that was all owner-dominated before he and others forced the change at considerable peril to themselves.

This former San Diego State Aztec alum (1986) didn’t just accept his pension and go fishing. Because he speaks Spanish and has self-deprecating humor, he was a natural as a radio and TV announcer, primarily in football and boxing. For example, three decades after retiring from the NFL he started calling all the San Diego Chargers games for CBS in Spanish. His varied interests keep him traveling a lot. He also teaches tennis to young and old alike. He used to play professional soccer for the Detroit Express and won $80,000 as a Coors all-pro in racquetball. Being ambidextrous, Benny won his state’s handball championship in high school.

Most sports aficionados remember the sports movie North Dallas Forty starring Nick Nolte and Mac Davis. Bennie wrote much of the script and did the casting. In 1985, he was front and center for the movie Best of Times, a football saga which starred Kurt Russell and Robin Williams. His involvement in these many ventures continues.

Share This Post

Pin It on Pinterest