New Mexico boxing, both for pay and for play, is back — or soon will be.
In the professional ranks, promoters Teresa Tapia and Isidro Castillo have cards scheduled this summer.
Tapia’s card, with Albuquerque welterweight Josh Torres in the main event, is scheduled for July 31 at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero.
Castillo’s event is scheduled for Aug. 7 at Club La Sierra in his hometown of Hobbs.
These will be the first pro cards staged in the state since March 7, 2020, when Albuquerque super flyweight Matthew Griego defeated the Philippines’ Jeronil Borres on a Lenny Fresquez-promoted card at Isleta Resort & Casino.
The amateurs, meanwhile, have already returned to action.
The New Mexico Golden Gloves championships were held on June 5 at the Belen Community Center. Saturday in Hobbs, Castillo staged an amateur card that included several Golden Gloves “box-off” bouts held to fill out New Mexico’s roster for next Saturday’s New Mexico-Colorado regional competition at FIT-NHB, 1010 Candelaria NW.
Saturday, Albuquerque amateur Sharahya Moreu defeated Shanaqua Catanao of Las Vegas, Nevada by third-round stoppage (referee stopped contest) on an amateur card in Colorado Springs.
Tapia’s card in Mescalero is actually a pro-am, with Teresa’s and the late world champion Johnny Tapia’s sons Johnny Lorenzo, 21, and Johnny Niccolai, 16, scheduled to make their amateur debuts.
On the pro card, Torres (22-7-2, 13 knockouts) is scheduled to face Andre Byrd (8-10-2, one KO) of Jacksonville, Florida. The card also features unbeaten El Paso junior lightweight Abel Mendoza (28-0, 21 KOs).
Teresa Tapia said New Mexico MMA legend Diego Sanchez is a partner in her promotion and is training the younger Tapia brother, Niccolai, in preparation for his boxing debut.
Castillo’s Aug. 7 card in Hobbs is scheduled to include the long-awaited pro debut of Albuquerque super flyweight Abraham Perez, the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials champion at 114 pounds.
Perez’s Olympic dream ended when he was passed over by USA Boxing for its Olympic qualification team in favor of Anthony Herrera, whom Perez had defeated twice at the Trials.
Herrera did not qualify for the Olympics.
Castillo said his card will include New Mexico’s first sanctioned bare-knuckle fights as well as boxing.
“I’ve worked with the New Mexico Athletic Commission for about 2½ years, trying to put the (bare-knuckle) rules together,” Castillo said in a phone interview. “… In April they finally approved it, and now we’re going forward with it.”
LEO’S VICTORY: The only real controversy regarding Albuquerque native Angelo Leo’s win by majority decision Saturday on a pro boxing card in Houston over Mexico’s Aaron Alameda, it appears, stems from one judge’s scorecard.
Judge Eva Zaragoza scored the bout 98-92 for Leo, a card that drew the ire of Showtime analyst Al Bernstein and was panned by several online accounts of the bout.
“Scorecards like (Zaragoza’s) are the kinds that are hurting the sport!” wrote Garrisson Bland for 3Kingsboxing.com.
Yet, at least as of this writing, the Journal has found just one scorecard, official or otherwise, that had Alameda winning.
The two official scorecards, other than Zaragoza’s, read 95-95 (a draw) and 96-94 for Leo. Steve Farhood, Showtime’s unofficial scorer, also saw it 96-94 for Leo, as did swfight.com’s Jorge Hernandez, who attended the fight. The bout was scored a draw by boxingjunkie.com and 3Kingsboxing.com.
On the website eyeonthering.com, at which fans submit their scorecards, three people scored the fight for Leo, one for Alameda. Two scored it a draw.
Alameda strongly disagreed with the decision, as did many of the fans in attendance at Houston’s Toyota Center, who booed when the decision was announced.
“The fans spoke, and they are the best judges,” Alameda said.
It should be noted, though, that four of the six fighters on the televised card were from Mexico and that there was a strong Mexican presence in the arena.
As for the Journal’s card, scored off the Showtime telecast: 98-92 for Leo.
Uh, well …