Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
What’s in it for Reggie Harris Jr., traveling from his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan to face a popular, far more experienced Albuquerque fighter in front of a rabidly partisan Duke City crowd?
That’s easy. For Harris, the potential for career advancement is well worth the risk of his first pro defeat.
But what’s in it for Albuquerque veteran Josh Torres, facing a younger, ambitious, unbeaten fighter who has everything to gain?
That’s easier still. It’s boxing.
“It’s my passion,” Torres (23-7-2, 14 KOs) said before weighing in for Friday’s eight-round welterweight main event, to be staged outdoors at Paradise Hills Golf Course. “It’s something I’ve always loved doing since I was a little kid.
“I picked up a pair of boxing gloves at a really young age and fell in love. So, to be able to do it at 32 years of age approaching my 33rd pro fight is just a blessing.”
Promoter Teresa Tapia hasn’t given Torres an easy task for that 33rd fight. Harris (7-0, three KOs) is coming off a victory by split decision on May 6 over previously unbeaten Rashid Stevens, a former Golden Gloves national amateur champion.
An easy task, Torres said, is not what he wants.
“It’s always exciting to challenge myself,” he said. “… This guy (Harris) is young, hungry and ambitious, so we have to use our experience. And we plan on being ready to come out victorious.”
Harris – no surprise here – has precisely the same plan.
“I know what I’ve got to do,” said Harris, 28. “(Torres is) more experienced as a boxer. … I know that coming into a guy’s backyard, I’m not saying it’s biased, but you’ve got to come in and hurt a person.
“Don’t leave it to the judges. You’re always told, don’t leave it to the judges.”
The Tapia Promotions card is being staged in observance of Albuquerque boxing legend Johnny Tapia’s death 10 years ago on May 27. Tapia was Torres’ trainer before the five-time world champion’s passing. Torres was a pallbearer at Tapia’s funeral service.
That’s more motivation for Torres, Harris said – which he plans to see and raise.
“He’s gonna have that pride, in that he’s fighting for the anniversary of his old coach,” Harris said. “So you’ve got to come in mean and green, like The Hulk.”
Torres said he’s fought outdoors twice, with mixed results. In 2014, he defeated Francisco Lira by second-round knockout on a Teresa Tapia-promoted card at the former Hotel Cascada. The following year, he lost by majority decision to Cameron Krael at Fire and Ice Park in Grants.
“So, it’s not new to me,” he said. “… Once you’re in there and the bell rings and you take that first punch, everything else goes out the window. It’s just another fight.”
Torres weighed in on Thursday at 146.4 pounds. Harris weighed 148.8 pounds, 1.8 pounds above the contracted weight. The discrepancy was not expected to impact the fight.
An amateur card, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., will precede the pro card. The amateur card includes Nicco Tapia, son of Johnny and Teresa, and features bouts that will fill out the roster for New Mexico’s Golden Gloves regionals team.
GLOVES OFF: Friday’s card includes Albuquerque’s first sanctioned bare-knuckle bout, matching Wyoming’s Terrance Brown (2-4 as a boxer, 3-1 in bare-knuckle fights) and Virginian Christopher Zakhari (4-2 as an MMA fighter).
NEXT FOR PEREZ: Albuquerque super flyweight Abraham Perez (3-0, two KOs) is scheduled to face Mexican veteran – make that mega-veteran – Alejandro Moreno (24-49-3, 11 KOs) Saturday in a scheduled six-round bout on an Isidro Castillo-promoted card at Ruidoso Downs.
Castillo’s main event features Amarillo, Texas junior welterweight Abel Navarette (7-0, five KOs) in a six-round bout against El Paso’s Armando Rodriguez (4-2, one KO).
Moreno, Perez’s opponent, has lost his last 20 fights.