Almost 26 years ago, on a boxing card promoted by Top Rank Inc., Albuquerque middleweight Daniel “Pit Bull” Perez scored a major upset in defeating Top Rank contract fighter Chris Sande at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
A victory Saturday by Albuquerque welterweight Josh “Pit Bull” Torres over another Top Rank fighter on another Top Rank card would be an upset of far greater proportions.
Torres and Perez, though, share more than a nickname. Fighter and trainer both believe history can repeat itself.
The Mike Alvarado comeback train, they say, can be derailed.
“This is our opportunity to come in as the unknown and shock the world and make them know who we are,” Torres said this week.
Alvarado (35-4, 24 knockouts) and Torres (15-4-2, seven KOs) are scheduled to meet in an eight-round bout at the Bomb Factory in Dallas. It’s the main event of a card to be televised in Spanish on Albuquerque station KTFQ-Channel 14.
The boxing community gives the 26-year-old Albuquerquean little to no chance of springing an upset against the former WBO interim junior welterweight champion. Alvarado has lost three of his last four fights, but against world-class opposition.
After 14 months out of the ring, he returned in March with a third-round KO of journeyman Saul Corral. Top Rank, Alvarado’s longtime promoter, has stuck with the Denver fighter – nicknamed “Mile High Mike” – through the losses and some out-of-the ring difficulties.
Torres, in the minds of many, is just another Corral.
This from Boxing News 24: “Torres is more of a body for Alvarado to get in some rounds, to try and sharpen enough to get ready to begin fighting world-class opposition once again.”
Perez, who compiled a 19-4 pro record while campaigning from 1989-96, said he’s preparing Torres for the Alvarado who three years ago had a 34-1 record and was coming off a sensational victory over Brandon Rios for that WBO interim title.
“We’re looking at the fact that he’s still Mike Alvarado,” Perez said. “He’s dangerous; he’s a top contender; he’s got a lot of experience. He’s fought some of the greatest.
“That’s what we’re looking to get in the ring with.”
That’s not only the Alvarado that Torres is training for, but the one he believes he can beat.
“I’m really at peace with myself, with my training, and I feel like nothing could go wrong for me,” he said. “I feel like I’m gonna come out Saturday night, give it my all, leave it all in the ring.
“Either way, whatever the outcome, I feel like I’ve been blessed. So I’m just grateful for the opportunity and this big of a fight to come my way.”
Perez believes he has at least a partial blueprint for Alvarado in the form of Ranee Ganoy, a hard-punching Filipino fighter whom Torres defeated by majority decision at the Albuquerque Convention Center in April 2015. Torres didn’t run from Ganoy, but used movement and angles to frustrate and outbox him.
Alvarado, though a far more accomplished fighter than Ganoy, has a similar style.
“He’s a banger,” Perez said. “He loves to get in there and bang, and we’ll give him what he wants. But it ain’t gonna be his way. We’re gonna do what we can to lead the dance.”
Torres followed the victory over Ganoy with a loss by majority decision to Cameron Kreal in Grants. Only one of Torres’ four losses came against an opponent – Dusty Hernandez Harrison, by lopsided unanimous decision in November 2013 – with a résumé remotely as impressive as Alvarado’s.
But, Torres said, he has learned from each one.
“Since the Dusty Harrison fight, I’m day and night,” he said. “Complete difference, physically, mentally. Everything’s falling into place. I feel like I can’t lose Saturday night.
“I feel like everything’s on my side. I just have to come out and perform.”
MALDONADO’S FOE: Geraldo Cuevas, the son of former welterweight world champion Pipino Cuevas, is to face Albuquerque welterweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. on a scheduled July 9 card the Santa Ana Star Center.
Maldonado (21-3-1, 18 KOs) made the announcement on social media.
Cuevas, often referred to as Pipino Cuevas Jr., is 17-16-1 with 15 KOs. His father, the original Pipino Cuevas, won the WBA welterweight title in 1976 and successfully defended seven times before losing the belt to Thomas Hearns in 1980.
Rio Rancho welterweight Brian Mendoza and Albuquerqueans Hector Muñoz (welterweight), Matthew Griego (super flyweight), Alex Holguin (junior lightweight) and Bryant McClain (light heavyweight) also are scheduled to fight on the July 9 card.
Saturday Boxing: Josh Torres vs. Mike Alvarado, the Bomb Factory, Dallas. TV: KTFQ-Channel 14, 10 p.m.