USA Amateur Boxing Show results, Vista, CA Part II

Heavyweight David Rodriguez (L) ducks under the powerful left hook of Kyle Pierce (R) during their USA Amateur Boxing bout Saturday, February 4, 2012 at the Legacy Training Center in Vista, CA. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Continuing from where we left off:

After the 20 minute intermission, Legacy Boxing, the host gym of the latest USA Amateur Boxing show, brought out the big guys, the larger than life Heavyweights.


David Rodriguez (R) has his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley (C) after defeating Kyle Pierce (L) in Bout #11. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #11, 27 year-old David “Average Joe” Rodriguez (212.2 lbs.), one of San Diego’s Finest (a San Diego Police Officer) and two time Battle of the Badges Heavyweight champion from House of Boxing in San Diego was set to face 22 year-old Kyle Pierce (228.8 lbs.) of Legacy Boxing, Vista, a tall strapping gent who could easily jump up and touch the ceiling.

Rodriguez, featuring his head snapping jabs, took round one by being the more accurate of the two. By round two, Pierce’s hands had started to drop as Rodriguez worked over the midsection.

By the third round, Rodriguez was catching Pierce flush on the chin and the referee quickly stepped in to issue an eight count after Pierce got caught by three bombs in a row. The verdict in this one was never in doubt.

After defeating Rafael Rios Torres (R) in Bout #12,  Matt McKinney (L) has his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #12 featured 30 year-old Matt Mckinney (281.2 lbs.), who is trained by former boxing great Danny Perez at LA Boxing, going up against 27 year-old Rafael Rios Torres (244.8 lbs.) who like Torres must be at least 6-foot 4 inches tall.

Before the bout even started the expressions on their faces told of pending doom, “One of us has got to go.” Never were those words truer. With their size and range, the ring must have felt as confining as a telephone booth. One can only imagine the last minute instructions given by referee Rick Ley, “Whatever you do, don’t get that wild that you end up hitting me. And duck if you think you’re going to hit your head on the ceiling.”

In round #1, it was clear neither boxer had any intention of wasting time; these guys were headhunters out to deliver the knockout blow. Within the first minute, Torres got caught multiple times, mostly by straight right hands, and referee Rick Ley quickly stepped in to issue Torres an eight count.

Matt McKinney is joined by his support group which includes former boxing great Danny Perez (R) who now trains McKinney. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Still, there was no quit in Torres who, bent on revenge, came right back at McKinney. Again, the two gents traded powerful shots to the head that proved neither boxer had a glass jaw.

With McKinney being the more accurate of the two, it seemed only a matter of time before he’d connect with another big, overhand right. Again, the ref had to step in to issue Torres his second eight count and within a short time was calling for the eventual stoppage.

After their fine performance in Bout #13, Alex Robinson, the eventual winner, and Douglas Higginbotham had their arms raised by referee Will White. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #13, it was Alex Robinson of the Gladiator’s School of Boxing (Spring Valley) facing Douglas Higginbotham of Temecula Boxing. At their weigh-in, the gents weighed exactly the same, 147.6 pounds.

Since Higginbotham is tall and Robinson short, it must have been odd to listen to the corners explain strategy between rounds. For Higginbotham it was “throw the uppercut, the punch that you’ve never thrown before.” And for Robinson, “Don’t you dare go after his head, aim for his chest and stomach.”

Robinson, who kept peppering Higginboham with punches, won the battle with his quickness and footwork. He was never where Higginboham expected him to be.

    Mina Giles (L), the eventual winner, and Karina McCulch (R) await the judges’ decision for Bout #14. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #14 featured 13 year-olds Mina Giles (100.6 lbs) of Rhino’s Boxing going up against Karina McCulch (95.6 lbs) of Real Deal Boxing in Hemet, CA. While McCulch’s punches tended to be wild and looping, Giles seemed in better control of her pacing especially with the straight rights and lefts. As they entered the final round, Giles became so confident, she went headhunting. As a result McCulch was issued a standing eight count.

Jose Chollet (R) has his arm raised by referee Will White in recognition of his victory in Bout #15 over Jesus Laguna (L). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #15 featured 11 year-old Jose Chollet (71 lbs.) of Barrio Station going up against 12 year-old Jesus Laguna (74.6 lbs.) of the National City CYAC.

In round #1, Laguna, who is much taller, easily kept Chollet at bay with the jab and landed enough blows to win the round. By round two, Chollet had discovered how to slip that jab and get up underneath Laguna’s defenses to land the right hand.

With Laguna unable to make the proper adjustment between rounds, Chollet came right back with the same strategy in round #3 and eventually landed enough of those straight right hands to register an eight count.

After having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontan (C), Alfredo Vargas (R) receives the winning trophy from Jesus Zaragoza (L) his opponent in Bout #16. 

In Bout #16, 10 year-olds Alfredo Vargas of Barrio Station faced Jesus Zaragoza of Legacy Boxing. Both boxers had a similar game plan and what they would do is jettison in and out of these fire-fights. It was like watching a clash between two Hummingbirds who delivered their lightning fast blows and then quickly pulled back to regroup.

In this one, the decision went to Vargas who more than likely landed the majority of the telling blows.

At the end of Bout #17, the participants, Alan Ramirez (L), the eventual winner and his opponent, Gabriel Cortez (R) have their arms raised by referee Hondo Fontan as the audience claps their appreciation for a fine performance. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #17 featured nine year-old Alan “El Perro” Ramirez (83 lbs.) of Penacho Boxing going up against 11 year-old Gabriel Cortez (79.4 lbs.) of Barrio Station.

Of all the boxers attending this show, not one had a larger group of backers than Ramirez and from their robust cheers you would have thought the youngster was fighting for a world title.

Ramirez did not let his fans down and quickly took rounds one and two. His hands were so quick, I suggest they change his nickname from “El Perro” to “The Blurr.” I don’t believe there’s a camera with a fast enough shutter speed to catch his speedy hands.

After his victory, Ramirez’s support group cheered: “Arriba, Abajo, and a Bim, Boom, Bam, Perro, Perro, rah, rah, rah!”

At the end of Bout #18, it was announced that Jesus Balderas (L) was the winner over Luis Angel Enriques (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #18 featured two 14 year-olds, Jesus Balderas (128.6 lbs.) of Penacho Boxing going up against the ever dangerous southpaw Luis Angel Enriques (126.4 lbs.) of the National City CYAC, two boxers with a great pedigree.

In this one, Enriques, who has this phenomenal reach advantage, usually stands tall on the outside and waits to counter. On Saturday, he had trouble with Balderas who seemed fearless as he moved inside of Enriques’ defenses to land the straight right and right cross.

One might question the use of the head gear worn by Balderas as it appears to be impenetrable. Without the fear of getting smacked in the face, boxers won’t think twice of taking a blow to get inside an opponent’s guard.

After defeating Conrad Gile (L) in Bout #19, Daniel Gonzalez (R) has his arm raised in victory by referee Will White. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #19 featured 13 year-old Daniel Gonzalez (73.4 lbs.) of the Gladiators School of Boxing going up against 11 year-old Conrad Gile (74.4 lbs.) of Rhino’s Boxing.

Gonzalez, who benefitted big-time from the age difference, looked very sharp. Never did he find himself in trouble as he either blocked or slipped a punch. When on the attack, it appeared most every punch thrown landed.

Valerie Ontiveros (L) has her arm raised by referee Will White in recognition of her victory in Bout #20 over Kealani Vanderleest (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #20, the final bout of the show, Valerie Ontiveros of Ocean’s Boxing in Chula Vista went up against Kealani Vanderleest of LA Boxing.

At the outset of this match, the ladies were slugging it out like pros. Then, between rounds, when the adjustments were supposed to be made.

Ontiveros made those adjustments and Vanderleest didn’t. Ontiveros’ offense seemed more controlled and she started slipping under Vanderleest’s punches.

In the following heated exchanges, Vanderleest was getting caught repeatedly until the referee stopped the bout to issue an eight count. A second eight count soon

followed. Then with things going downhill, and Ontiveros back to dish out some more punishment, referee Will White decided it was time to call for a stoppage.

Since this match, with its early excitement, was still fresh in the minds of the show’s organizers, they decided to select it as the “Bout of the Show.”

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