Chris Martin win over Charles Huerta steeped in controversy

In Round #9 Chris Martin (right) is being admonished by referee Ray Corona after hitting his opponent, Charles Huerta (left) below the belt in their NABO title fight at the O. C. Fair & Event Center. Photo: J. Wyatt

Friday night, in a 10 round main event for the vacant NABO junior featherweight title, Christopher Martin (22-0-2, 6 KOs) scored a surprising unanimous decision victory over Charles Huerta (16-3, 9 KOs) at The Hangar at the O.C. Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, CA.

Before starting the recap, let it be known that as an eyewitness to Friday evening’s championship bout, my opinion is a bit skewed because of my closer relationship with Martin than to Huerta. It’s only natural you root for people from your hometown.


Early on, Charles Huerta (r) was in control of the fight.

Plain and simple, the slow starting Round #1 went to Huerta based solely on the fact he was continually doubling up on his jab. Round #2 was more difficult to score but since Huerta had Martin backing up, you had to figure his aggressive style was impressing the judges in this close round.

With the pace picking up, Round #3 was in my mind the make or break point for Martin. After Huerta hit him with a solid left hook on the jaw and followed with a short right uppercut, Huerta slowed and went back to the jab. Martin answered with his own left hook followed by an uppercut. Only this time, Martin continued his onslaught pounding Huerta with right crosses first to the head then to the body. This being the first truly contested round, the judges may have given the nod to Martin.

With his confidence still at a peak and success behind that stiff jab, Huerta landed the cleaner blows in Rounds #4 and #5 to take both rounds. First half scoring, Huerta four rounds to a plausible one round for Martin.

After the sixth round, Chris Martin (l) ruled the ring as witnessed by this hard left hook landing square on the chin of Charles Huerta.

Round six began Martin’s aggressive charge to the finish line. Huerta’s command of the fight was history as Martin began to slip punches and land the left hook counters. Half way through Round #7, Martin landed a straight right followed by a looping left that had Huerta reeling. Martin’s punches were now right on the mark.

By Round #8, Martin was snapping Huerta’s head back and launching the power packed uppercuts. The chinks in Huerta’s armor had been exposed. Martin now held the upper hand on their fierce exchanges.

In Round #9, Huerta hit Martin with a border line low blow and since boxers are known for payback, Martin retaliated by giving Huerta a taste of his own medicine. The intentional low blow floored Huerta. At that point referee Ray Corona (see photo above) issued a warning to Martin and gave Huerta all the time he wanted to recover. When action resumed, Martin jumped all over his opponent but was unable to finish off the resilient Huerta.

As you might imagine, the tenth round was an all or nothing slugfest with Martin landing the majority of the telling blows.

When the bout ended, both boxers unconditionally showed their mutual respect for one another. Photo: Jim Wyatt

From the time the final bell sounded until the judges’ scores were announced, the boxers hugged (twice) and exhibited a tremendous amount of respect for one another. Unlike the casual observer, they know what it takes to prepare for these fights and what the outcome means to someone’s boxing career.

Chris Martin's mother, family and friends show their delight after the big win. Photo: Jim Wyatt

At that time, I positioned myself on the ring apron to see the expressions on their faces as the scores were announced. Ring announcer, Joe Martinez began: “Judge Jose Cobian scores the bout 99-91…

When Cobian’s score was read, Martin had a stumped look on his face. Huerta added a furrowed brow but was more reserved.

Martinez continued … and judges Eddie Hernandez and Tom Taylor score the bout an identical 96-94, all for the winner and new World Boxing Organization’s NABO Champion, Christopher Martin!”

After Huerta’s corner and fans heard the scores, they were understandably angry and brooding.

A conspiracy theory soon circulated on press row claiming it was Huerta’s recent problems with his promoter, Golden Boy, that led to the decision. When polling the sportswriters, they were all over the ballpark as far as their final tally but most favored Huerta.

Respected boxing manager and Martin backer, Lou Messina opined, “You got to remember Boxing is not like the scoring you have in darts or baseball, where you can finish big with a bullseye or a five run ninth. The scoring is round by round. So it shouldn’t matter if Chris closed out strong, he still did poorly early on. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy that Chris won. But deep down, I believe the fight was a draw.”

I polled the 32 year-old former Welterweight champion, Freddy Hernandez, who began by stating he was a Huerta backer. “It was an exciting fight; one that deserves a re-match. I could see it being called a draw but not a 99-91 verdict in favor of Martin.” He then suggested Cobian should get his eyes checked.

With his vantage point, who among us can fault Jose Cobian for his implausible scores.

Now from the wise guy’s viewpoint: Cobian, the judge who scored the bout 99-91 in favor of Martin, had the poorest line of sight of any for this fight. The majority of Huerta’s success could not be seen from his vantage point. Why? Because Cobian, who is small of stature, had Huerta’s back for most of the fight. He would have done better if he had used the venue’s giant Jumbotron to score the bout.





If we’re to play the blame game, I’d say the California Boxing Commission is partially responsible for not establishing a set height for the judges to view the fights. If you look at the replay of this fight, you’ll notice the judges’ heads are barely visible. Their restricted view is unacceptable.

Fritz Werner, who has been a boxing official for over 40 years, can tell you all about the importance of having an unobstructed view. Photo: Jim Wyatt

How can a judge score a bout if his line of sight is blocked or he’s sitting so low, he feels like he’s looking out from a fox hole? Contrast the view of the furry official above who is looking up and out of his foxhole with the view enjoyed by Fritz Werner who is often seen officiating at the Pechanga Resort and Casino and at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in San Diego.









Ronny Rios (13-0) from Santa Ana, CA.

In the Fight Club OC semi-main event Ronny Rios (14-0, 6 KOs) had his hands full with southpaw Georgi Kevlishvili (12-2, 3 KOs). Like the Martin/Huerta bout, Kevlishvili made the mistake of spotting Rios the first couple rounds. You could count on one hand the number of punches Kevlishvili threw in that first round.

Halfway through the third round, a punch from the Russian opened up a cut above Rios’ left eye. Despite the resulting blurred vision, Rios fought valiantly in the following exchanges. From that point on the fans were treated to an all out war. Rios would take a round and then Kevlishvili would take the following round.

Judges scored the bout 78-74, 77-75 and 77-75 in favor of Rios.


In the show’s opener, a scheduled 4 round junior lightweight bout, Joel Diaz (4-0, 3 KOs), overwhelmed Kendall Ward (0-3), flooring him just a minute into the fight with a big overhand right, then finishing him off with repeated left hooks and right crosses to prompt referee, Jose Cobian, to stop the bout.

Middleweight Bobby Chavez (2-2) evened his record with an unanimous decision victory over the struggling Juan Luna (0-2) and in a super middleweight bout DonYil Livingston (4-0, 2 KOs) defeated journeyman Loren Myers (7-12-1, 2 KOs).


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