Delta variant or no Delta variant, New Mexico combat sports continue their journey toward normalcy.
Albuquerque’s Legacy Promotions, idle since November 2019, has scheduled a pro boxing card for Oct. 16 at the Albuquerque Convention Center’s Kiva Auditorium.
Albuquerque’s Aaron Angel Perez (10-0-1, six KOs) is scheduled to defend his New Mexico State featherweight title in the main event. His announced opponent is Rafael Reyes (19-12, 15 KOs), a native of Mexico who lives and trains in Clovis.
Abraham Perez, the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials champion at 114 pounds and Aaron Angel’s younger brother, is scheduled to make his long-awaited pro debut.
Aaron and Jordan Perez, father and uncle, respectively, of Abraham and Aaron Angel, are the promoters.
The Oct. 16 card also is scheduled to feature the return of Albuquerque lightweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. (27-5-1, 20 KOs), who last fought in February 2020.
FISH OR CUT BAIT: With little doubt, Rio Rancho’s Brian Mendoza and Albuquerque’s Jose Luis “Guero” Sanchez will enter the ring as decided underdogs in their bouts on separate cards early next month.
But for Sanchez, 28, and Mendoza, 27, the risk seems worth the potential reward.
Of the two, the odds seem more highly stacked against Sanchez. On Sept. 10, he’s scheduled to face unbeaten Top Rank, Inc., prospect Xander Zayas (9-0, seven KOs) in Tucson in a six-round junior middleweight bout.
Sanchez’s record is a sterling one – 11-1-1, four KOs, his only loss to fellow Albuquerquean Josh Torres just three fights into Sanchez’s pro career. But he hasn’t had the exposure or level of competition necessary to advance in the sport beyond regional competition.
His younger brother, Jason, earned a Top Rank contract by upsetting a previously unbeaten Top Rank fighter, Jean Carlos Rivera, in 2018. Jason Sanchez went on to fight for a world title, losing to Oscar Valdez the following year for a handsome payday.
However long the odds, this is Jose Luis’ chance to follow suit.
The Sanchez-Zayas fight is scheduled to be streamed on espn+.
Mendoza (19-1, 13 KOs) is further along in his pro career than is Sanchez. But his situation is much the same, in that he needs that big breakthrough.
His victory a year ago by unanimous decision over Thomas LaManna (then 28-3) led to a scheduled bout against former world junior middleweight champion Julian Williams, but an injury to Williams scrubbed the fight.
Now, on Sept. 5 in Minneapolis, Mendoza is matched against Premier Boxing Champions contract fighter Jesus Alejandro Ramos Jr. (16-0, 14 KOs). Ramos’ name doesn’t carry as much weight as Williams’, but a Mendoza victory on national television – the 10-round bout is the main event of a Fox telecast – would no doubt lead to greater opportunities and paydays for the Cleveland High School grad.
FIGHTWORLD IS BACK: FightWorld MMA, a circuit that helped launch the careers of fighters like Carlos Condit, Tim Means and John Dodson, returns to Albuquerque at 7 p.m. Saturday at FIT-NHB, 1010 Candelaria NW. Doors open at 6.
On the FightWorld Facebook page, FIT-NHB’s Tom Vaughn – who founded the circuit in 2004 – described FightWorld as a developmental circuit intended to give young fighters the experience they need to climb the ladder.
On the card, FIT-NHB welterweight Ty Miller is 2-1 in the amateur ranks, as is his opponent, Chase Emener from Westside Power Gym in Rio Rancho.
Amateur David Hudson (2-1) of Alamogordo’s Desert Dynasty MMA is scheduled to face FIT-NHB’s Francisco Rodriguez (debut) in a flyweight fight.
Tickets ($30-$60) are available at simpletix.com