Fight Night: Heavyweights, prospects and Hell Angels!
Ringside by David Robinett and Bob Hough
Photos by Armando Roldan
Heavyweight Manuel “El Toro” Quezada (23-4, 15 KOs) continued his climb towards contender status with a workmanlike victory Thursday night over former San Francisco 49er defensive end John Clark (12-13-1, 7 KOs) in the latest edition of “Fight Night at The Tank” in San Jose, California.
The Quezada vs. Clark contest was a rematch of a September 2005 six-round bout in which Quezada won a split decision. Since their first encounter, Quezada has gone 11-1 against a lineup of durable journeyman, while Clark has acted as a gatekeeper for lower-tier prospects and compiled a record of 1-5.
“I’m not in a big rush,” said Quezada prior to Thursday’s fight. “But I think late this year, early next year, we can step it up, start thinking about top-20 guys.”
In fact, Quezada had been originally scheduled to face well-regarded prospect Teke Oruh (14-1, 6 KOs), in what would have been the biggest test of Quezada’s career, but Oruh pulled out without explanation earlier in the week and Clark was brought in as a last-minute replacement.
The change in opponents, from the 250-pound Oruh to the 289-pound Clark may have thrown Quezada off his game early on, as the smaller Quezada struggled through the first round and a half to mount any significant offense against the mountainous Clark. However, towards the end of the second round Quezada settled into an effective pattern of working in close behind a pawing jab then delivering solid shots to Clark’s supple belly with both hands.
The jab of Clark was effective at times catching Quezada coming forward, but that was the extent of Clark’s offense for much of the fight.
Through the middle rounds, Quezada was clearly the more effective, though neither fighter appeared eager to step up the pace. Each round was a virtual repeat of the round before it, featuring Quezada’s body attack against Clark’s effective jab but limited followup.
In the seventh round a sudden Quezada flurry seemed to have Clark on the verge of a stoppage, as well as opening a large cut under the right eye of Clark, but within seconds Quezada halted his assault and both fighters settled back into their established routine.
It wasn’t a boring fight, as there was very little holding and both fighters were generally active, it was simply repetitive, as if they had an unspoken pact to keep fighting but not to hurt the other too badly.
By the final bell, the outcome was not in doubt and both fighters appeared ready to move on to the next assignment.
Quezada scored a unanimous decision over eight rounds, 80-72 (twice), and 79-73.
“I wanted to knock him out,” Quezada explained after the fight. “But after a while I realized he wasn’t going to go down. I hadn’t been in the ring since December so I felt some rust and I let up some in the middle of the fight.”---David Robinett
PEREZ KEEPS A STEADY BEAT
Junior lightweight Eloy Perez (11-0-2, 2 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over Jorge Pimentel (12-7, 10 KOs), using hand speed, accuracy and movement.
The pattern of the fight was established in the opening rounds as Pimentel came out aggressively and Perez countered.
As the rounds continued, Perez was content to let Pimentel press the action as he avoided the punches or he would counter with one or two of his own shots and then get out of harm’s way. Perez was effective with left jabs and left hooks, and rarely got hit by serious punches.
A sixth-round accidental clash of heads left Pimentel with a cut over his right eye and seemed to motivate him to take more chances.
Late in the seventh, Perez slipped a wide-swinging punch and drilled Pimentel with a left hook, knocking his mouthpiece out, but Perez had little time in the round to seek a knockout.
Pimentel kept up the busier pace in the eighth and final round, but Perez was able to stay away and pick his spots.
The scorecards tallied 77-75, 79-73 and 80-72 for Perez.
Perez said Pimentel’s height and high percentage of knockouts in his victories forced him to fight tactically, at a measured pace.
“I knew he could punch, that he was strong and he has good reach; he’s taller than me,” said Perez. “I had to out-smart him and out-speed him.”
“There was a time or two when I got a little anxious and started to trade shot for shot, but I realized that’s not my fight, that it’s not the way to fight someone who has a lot of knockouts” said Perez. “I think that’s what he was trying to get me to do, to fight more of a brawl. Sure, I would have liked to knock him out, but I had to be smart.”---Bob Hough
HELL’S ANGELS RIDER MAKES PRO DEBUT!
In the fifth and final bout of the popular “You Be The Judge” tournament - a series of four-round bout with a cash bonus awarded to the best performance, as determined by the fans - Hells Angels rider Jason Peterson (pro debut) stopped Steve Martin (1-2, 1 KO) at :56 of the second round in a super middleweight contest. Peterson’s contingent of several hundred Hells Angels in the crowd was the highlight of the evening, as they cheered on their man with so much enthusiasm the rest of the crowd couldn’t help but join in.
Although both fighters came in with little experience, from the start it was evident Peterson had an edge in footwork and body control, deftly sliding under or around several winging shots from Martin while delivering pecking jabs and occasional straight right hands before darting away. Both fighters landed some heavier punches toward the end of the round, with Peterson briefly stunning Martin with a quick left hook before the bell. In round two Peterson continued to slide away from Martin’s slow-moving attack, snapping Martin’s head with a three-punch combination before wobbling Martin with a right hook. Peterson attempted to follow up with several wild shots that failed to connect before landing a left hook that sent Martin into a corner where referee Dan Snell jumped in to save Martin from further punishment.
For his efforts, Peterson was voted by the fans as the winner of the “You Be The Judge” tournament although his most vocal supporters - the Hells Angels contingent - had left minutes after his bout.---David Robinett
HERRERA HAMMERS CHAVEZ
Junior lightweight Carlos Herrera (1-2, 1 KO) posted his first win with a bludgeoning knockout of Anthony Chavez (1-1) at 1:21 of the first round. Herrera dropped Chavez with a left hook after Chavez missed wildly. Chavez beat the count with ease, but Herrera hurt him again with a left hook to the head and finished him off with another huge left and a right to the head.---Bob Hough
SPENCER TORPEDOES JOHNSON!
In an intriguing matchup between undefeated young heavyweights, United States Navy veteran Keith Spencer (4-0, 3 KOs) torpedoed former amateur standout Theron Johnson (1-1) at 2:29 of the second round in a scheduled four-rounder.
Each fighter kept their distance in opening round, cautiously slapping at each other while avoiding the big punch, though Johnson appeared to take the round as he was a bit more active than Spencer.
Johnson continued to maintain the edge in second round, landing a few clubbing punches while effectively ducking away from Spencer’s jab and counterpunches until the last minute, when Spencer caught Johnson with a powerful left hook that turned Johnson’s legs into jelly. Spencer bulled Johnson against the ropes trying to finish him off before connecting with a devastating right hook as Johnson was already going down. Spencer’s punch, combined with Johnson’s momentum as he was sliding down, sent Johnson through the ropes and halfway over the ring apron. The fight was waived off as officials ringside pulled Johnson back over. After several minutes Johnson recovered and was able to walk out on his own power.---David Robinett
DALLAS DOMINATES CORTEZ
Junior welterweight Mike Dallas Jr. (2-0) used a strong, accurate left-hand attack to dominate Marlo Cortez (2-5-2, 1 KO) in a four-round bout. Dallas landed double left hooks to the head and body in the opening round, establishing and maintaining control of the pace and distance. Cortez tried to slow the pace and tie up his foe, but the slick, sharp Dallas consistently hit Cortez with lefts. All of the judges scored the contest as 40-36.---Bob Hough
RAMOS POUNDS MONDRAGON!
The evening’s opening bout featured undefeated super bantamweights Rico Ramos and Jerry Mondragon facing off in a scheduled four-round bout. However, Ramos needed less than two rounds to dispatch of Mondragon, breaking him down with a vicious body assault until the referee stepped in at 2:43 of the second round. Ramos looked nearly perfect in this bout, popping Mondragon with snappy jabs, left hooks, and straight right hands in the first round, then dropping Mondragon twice in second round with left hooks to the body before yet another left hook to the body caused Mondragon to cringe visibly, signaling to the referee to halt the onslaught. With the win, Ramos improves his undefeated record to 3-0, 2 KOs, while Mondragon drops to 3-1, 2 KOs.---David Robinett
“Fight Night at The Tank” was promoted by Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions and the matchmaker of the event was Tom Brown. Official attendance was 3,012. Former heavyweight contender Tommy Morrison was guest of honor. “Fight Night” returns September 11th.