Undercard outshines main event at San Diego Boxing Show

When the bout ended both boxers, Lester Gonzalez (front) and Ibahiem King (rear) were completely spent. Photo: J. Wyatt

Many times you hear fight fans talk up a fight that was on the undercard of some major clash. Friday evening at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in San Diego, the Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez versus Ibrahiem “the Almighty” King was such a bout. Without question it surpassed the main event in drama. It offered the same excitement we come to expect in a blockbuster movie.

With all the Telefutura TV production delays to accommodate their national audience, the boxers on the Chris Martin/Adolfo Landeros undercard had to pine away their time, upwards to five plus hours, in their dressing rooms. As you can imagine, the wait was agonizing, especially for the 32 year-old veteran Lester Gonzalez of San Diego who was making his first return to the ring after a long layoff. His 25 year-old opponent, King from West Palm Beach, Florida, the 2007 South-East Coast Mens Open Tournament Champion at 178 lbs., was bigger and expected to be a lot sharper since he had already fought twice in 2010.

After the opening bell, all the waiting, all the anxiety was behind them, as the boxers zeroed in on their schemes to outwit their opponent. Gonzalez clearly took round one using short right and left counters and landed two monumental blows square on King’s chin.

Midway through round two, King bull rushed Gonzalez and his forehead became a lethal weapon that opened up an ugly gash over Gonzalez’s right eye. With the blood pouring down his face, the referee called for a stoppage to allow time for the fight doctor to have a look. Despite the severity of the cut, the bout was allowed to continue. At that point King opted to take full advantage and once again rushed Gonzalez. Instead of folding like a tent, Gonzalez met the onslaught and beat King back into his corner.

Though ahead on all scorecards, Gonzalez feared an early stoppage and treated each succeding round as if he were behind on the scorecards and needed a knockout. His strategy had King back peddling. Whether he tripped over his own foot or not, King fell down following a Gonzalez onslaught and it was ruled a knockdown.

A second pummeling took place in the fifth round when Gonzalez pinned King against the ropes. After taking a deep breath, Gonzalez went full bore as if directed to hit the heavy bag at the local gym. When the bell sounded ending round five, Gonzalez was clearly exhausted and drained from the loss of blood. To catch his breath he bent over and put his head between his legs.

The sixth and final round was a survival round for Gonzalez who managed to trade blows and survive King’s last ditch efforts. With the partisan crowd shouting, “Lester, Lester!!” throughout this epic battle, credit must also go to King who brought out the best in “El Cubanito.”

The following day, Lester was taken to a specialist to have more than a dozen stitches sewn inside and outside that gash. The surgeon boasted, “Nothing to it. We’ll fix you up like new. We get guys going through windshields that look even worse.”

With the win Gonzalez goes to 11-0-1, 5 KOs. King’s record falls to 7-3-0, 2 KOs.

And now to the main event featuring Christopher “the San Diego Kid” Martin (17-0-2) and the wily veteran Adolfo Landeros (20-14-1) from Mexico City. At this stage in his career Martin is one of those pure boxers who makes everyone look bad. By either tilting his head back or bobbing and weaving, he’s more elusive than a deer in hunting season. Though he did get caught on occasion, Martin easily outpointed Landeros who has now lost 11 of his last 16 matches.

Criticism was leveled at Martin on two counts. One, for not maintaining his 122 pound super bantamweight status and two, for not working the midsection more against Landeros, especially when he had an opportunity to knock him out.

Boxers like welterweight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (41-0), light flyweight Ivan Calderon (34-0) and featherweight Chris Martin now 18-0 often hear the same criticism, but winning is still the main objective and that’s what these boxers do.

Talk about bad timing! Friday, just before his bout with Cristian Favela of Sinaloa, Mexico, Luis Grajeda (10-0-0, 7 KOs) of Chihuahua, Mexico, the 10 time Mexican National Amateur Champion, was told his contract with Golden Boy had been terminated. This could be the reason for his lackluster performance against Favela (19-26-6, 10 KOs). Grajeda used his leverage and snapping jab to win an easy but uninspiring unanimous decision over Favela who has a habit of making everyone look bad by coming inside to hold and then get up underneath his opponents.

Junior welterweight sensation Antonio “Simple Man” Orozco (7-0-0, 5 KOs) who lives in Tecate, Mexico and trains at the National City CYAC was once again workmanlike in his destruction of Mike Peralta (4-5-0, 1 KO) of Carson City, Nevada. What was so amazing about this bout was how Peralta was able to hold on till the very end.

In the final bout, featherweight Pablo Armenta of South San Diego had the locals on their feet as he had more than a few furious exchanges with Rene Torres of Pomona, Ca. Even in the amateur ranks, Armenta has always been a crowd pleaser. With the win Armenta goes to 2-0-1. Torres drops to 0-2-1.

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