Rodriguez, Camacho headline El Paso
Promoter Zef Ramirez says card is first of many for border town
Story & photos by Chris Cozzone
Once upon a time, you could find weekly fight cards on either side of the border, between El Paso and Juarez. These days, you’ll be lucky to get two shows a year.
Promoter Zeferino Ramirez hopes to change all of that, beginning Friday night when his promotion company, Z Entertainment, teams up with local first-timer Nino Bravo Promotions, for a night at the Don Haskins Center.
While it’s the third show Ramirez has put on in El Paso, it will be the first with newly-inked heavyweight David “Nino” Rodriguez.
Hoping to (finally) launch a campaign that will result in contention and big name fights, the 12-year pro Rodriguez, 33-0 with 31 KOs, will go eight rounds in a comeback tune-up with late sub Matt Hicks, 13-5, 12 KOs, of Las Vegas.
Hicks replaced Texan Ty “Tyger” Cobb – the overblown fighter, not the baseball legend of a hundred years ago – who pulled out of the fight Monday, citing a shoulder injury.
On paper, Hicks should present equal difficulty – or ease – for Rodriguez. Hicks is coming off three straight stoppage losses and all o his wins are over fighters with awful records. Ditto Cobb. The biggest difference between the two is in size, Hicks being 6’4” – the same height as Rodriguez.
“It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me,” Rodriguez said today at a press conference held at the Bowlero bowling alley in El Paso. “Hicks is a bigger man so I’ll have to readjust my attack. I’ll go to the body and it’s gonna be vicious.”
Herman Delgado, Rodriguez’s trainer for this fight, agreed that the opponent swap – and the increased size – are of no concern, saying, “This one will fall down harder.”
After Friday, Delgado will turn over the reins to cutman Rafael Garcia, who will take over training Rodriguez.
“Rodriguez has all the attributes to be a world champion,” Garcia told the media today.
That’s the plan, anyway – taking Rodriguez from the minors he’s been mired in for a decade, into the big leagues.
Rodriguez was candid at the presser. While refusing to bash his former management and training team he recently parted company with, Rodriguez told the press, “There’s no one to blame but myself.
“But my time is coming.”
When asked why all the big heavyweight names were ducking him, Rodriguez was honest in his reply.
“That really hasn’t been the case,” he said. “I’ve been offered big fights, but the problem was the paycheck they offered. I’m sorry, but my health and business isn’t worth what they were offering. Fight a top ten contender for less than 10K? That’s chump change – an insult. I’d rather retire and be a janitor.”
Rodriguez restated that he’d love to fight the Klitschkos and Arreolas of the world – only that it better be worth his time, as in hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
The plan, therefore, is to re-build Rodriguez, from tune-up to contention, all within a handful of fights, making a lucrative pairing against a top name heavyweight, by the end of the year.
In an eight-round co-main event at jr. middleweight, Hector “Machito” Camacho, Jr., 52-4-1, 28 KOs, will seek to bounce back from a vicious first round kayo loss, by taking on journeyman Juan Astorga, 14-4-1, 9 KOs.
“I’m ready to take out my frustrations on Astorga,” Camacho said. “I’m going to finish him off . . . but I’m not a trash talker.”
Camacho isn’t the only one coming off a KO loss – Astorga is coming off back-to-back beatdowns, at the hands of John Duddy and Daniel Jacobs.
“I’m coming for war and Machito better be ready,” Astorga gave fair warning when it was his turn at the podium.
Astorga pushed his point during a pose-off with Camacho by shoving the legend’s son not once, but twice. Before a real punch could be thrown, heavyweight Rodriguez stood between the two.
In a special six-round female featherweight bout, local attraction Jennifer Han, 1-1-1, will take on New Orleans’ Geni Taylor, 2-1, 1 KO.
“When we’re finished fighting, there will be no asses in their seats,” Taylor promised.
Han, a former five-time national amateur champion, says it’s taken a while to make the transaction from amateur to pro – but she’s well on her way now.
Two more bouts will round off the card: El Paso jr. welterweight Carlos Avila will make his debut against Socorro, N.M.’s David Castillo, 2-1, in a four-rounder; and in another 140-pound four-rounder, El Paso’s Oscar Valenzuela, 2-1, 1 KO, takes on debuter Javier Nunez.