Velazquez defeats Licona by technical decision on Telefutura
By Victor Garcia (February 13, 2005) 
Photo © German Villasenor
Spanish language network Telefutura broadcast an entertaining boxing event during its weekly Solo Boxeo series on Friday evening. The main event was an action-packed and blood-filled affair between the WBC #9 ranked featherweight and a former prospect who is now struggling to get his career back on track after suffering three losses in his last seven fights. With both men in need of a victory to advance their respective careers, the bout came to a halt on the advice of the ringside physician between rounds six and seven.

Displaying the tenacity he is known for, top-ten contender Hector Velazquez of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico won a six round technical decision over the very game Marcos Licona of Mexico City, Mexico. The bout, held at the Convention Center in San Diego, California, was part of a fight card presented by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Incorporated in association with Sycuan Ringside Promotions and Zanfer Promotions.

Both men walked into the ring looking very relaxed, and neither man attempted to stare his opponent down when they met center ring for final instructions. However, after the bell marking the start of the contest sounded, the combatants wasted little time in rushing to action. Both Velazquez and Licona came out throwing stiff jabs in an effort to gain a sense of what they were in for. The feeling-out period was short lived, however, as Velazquez closed the distance and committed a majority of his arsenal to attacking the body. For his part, Licona accepted the challenge by standing his ground, throwing power shots of his own.

With the tone and pace of the fight established, the second round started where the previous one ended, with the two pugilists combating in close quarters. Licona, who fights out of and represents Westminster, California, was intent on counter-punching his busier and faster foe, taking two or three shots to land one. Though he landed some hard, accurate blows, the Mexico City native was unable to effectively stifle Velazquez’s nonstop attack.

Nonetheless, a very excited audience in attendance showed their appreciation by clapping and cheering loudly when each fighter attempted to establish himself as the aggressor in the third stanza. The flow of the fight was changing. Although he was still being outgunned, Licona was able to back up his opponent on several occasions. He was now committing some of his whacks to the body and using his defense with more success. Undaunted, Velazquez seemingly increased his output, throwing beautifully timed left hooks to the body of his newly aggressive adversary.

Partway through the round as the participants planted their feet for an exchange, there was a clash of heads that opened a cut over the left eye of Marcos Licona. The cut bled instantly, and a visibly angry Licona stepped away staring at the referee. Time was called and the butt was ruled accidental. Referee Jose Cobian allowed the fight to continue. As the action was called, each competitor went on the offensive. Velazquez was attacking the cut with accurate right hands, while his challenger was throwing power shots from all angles, aiming for the body and head. A delighted crowd roared to life. With blood seeping into his left eye and possibly hindering his vision, Licona was eating much more leather than he was doling out.

After a short delay during which the ringside physician examined the cut, both competitors entered the fourth sequence with what seemed to be a sense of urgency. The Baja California native, Velazquez, continued his body offensive, alternating it with right hands to his rival’s cut left eye. A desperate Licona countered skillfully, while increasing his punch productivity. Still, the Westminster resident began breathing heavily near the end of the round. With blood streaming down the left side of his face and mouthpiece showing, he began to suck-in air between exchanges.

The fifth and sixth saw Velazquez’s body punches stray below the legal limit on a regular basis. Though warned, the low blows continued without a point deduction. More importantly, both rounds proved to be more to Licona’s advantage. His strikes—still inferior in power to Velazquez’s—were landing cleanly. Near the end of the sixth and final round, a combination of punches stunned the WBC’s #9 ranked contender. With a boisterous throng of fight fans on their feet, Licona pressed the action hoping to further hurt his antagonist. An exchange ensued. An unnoticed clash of heads slowed the engagement enough to show a bloody fighter gulping in air and blinking a bothered left eye.

In between rounds the doctor called a halt to the fight as there was too much blood flowing from the cut over Licona’s left eye. Because the cut was caused by an accidental head butt and the bout had lasted over five rounds, the scorecards were tallied. The totals were 59-55, 58-56, and 60-53, all in favor of Velazquez who was awarded a technical decision victory. The win gives Hector Velazquez a record of 40-10-2 (29), while the loss leaves Marcos Licona with a mark of 22-5-1 (7).

The co-feature bout of the evening was a six round affair between unbeaten newcomer Said Zavaleta of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and the very unorthodox Derrick 'The Dragon' Moon of Fort Worth, Texas. The lightweight match-up was intended to be a test for the green Zavaleta. It should be noted that Zavaleta was announced as having a 5-0-1 (3) record. This does not coincide with other record keepers who had him listed as being 2-0 (1).

The first three rounds saw Moon switching stances and throwing punches from odd angles, leaping in and out of exchanges. The always smiling American was able to land hard shots to the body and head of a frustrated Zavaleta. In the opening frame, the Mexican went down after getting his feet tangled up with his occasionally southpaw opponent.

The pro-Mexican crowd came to life every time Zavaleta landed a telling blow or went on the offensive. The exchanges were frequent enough to keep the audience’s attention fixated. By the fourth episode, however, Moon’s body attack was slowing the forward moving Zavaleta. The Mexican was breathing through his mouth when he managed to lose his gum shield—something that the American pointed out to referee Lou Moret who stopped the action to have it replaced. As soon as the fighters were called to battle, Moon became the aggressor, landing power shots on the tiring young prospect.

Moments after an exchange near the midpoint of the round, the referee noticed that Zavaleta had once again lost his mouthpiece, and again, called time to have it replaced. An irritated Moret warned the unbeaten boxer that a point would be deducted if it happened again. Near the end of the round Zavaleta landed a clean, hard shot that stopped his rival’s advancement. An appreciative crowd rose in anticipation, egging their man on. Moon weathered the sudden storm and smiled as the bell sounded.

‘The Dragon’ resorted to circling the ring with his arms by his sides in round five. A chorus of boos could be heard as the undefeated Mexican attempted to cut off the ring and assault the backpedaling Moon who was smiling and throwing only the occasional jab. The taunts and catcalls continued until the end of the round and partially through the break.

The final installment proved to be Zavaleta’s best. Although both men came out assertively, it was the man from Guadalajara who maintained the aggression, much to the pleasure of the spectators in attendance. The very awkward Texan was able to leap in and out of exchanges, but not without paying a price for trying to land punches. Zavaleta was able to counter and time his faster opponent. Still, as the bell signaled the end of the match, Moon raised his right arm in victory, while a visibly weary Zavaleta walked to his corner holding his head down.

The scorecards were greeted with cheers as Zavaleta was handed a somewhat controversial majority decision. The tallies were 57-57, 58-56, and 60-54. The victory ups Said Zavaleta to 3-0 (1) or 6-0-1 (3)—depending on who is to be believed—while Derrick Moon falls to 9-6-1 (2).

In what was called a special attraction, the son of 'El Gran Campeon Mexicano' Julio Cesar Chavez—who shares his father’s name—was showcased in a bout scheduled for six rounds in the super lightweight division against Leroy Newton of Michigan City, Indiana. Newton seemed unfazed by his opponent during the pre-fight rhetoric, proclaiming that he had “nothing to lose.”

A very appreciative crowd greeted Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as he made his way into the ring with chants of ‘Julio’, while mariachi music played in the background. This same audience booed loudly as Newton’s name was announced.

The lanky Chavez Jr. appeared calm and collected, while his famous father looked nervous and anxious as the fighters were given their final instructions. The first round proved to be the last. As soon as the bell sounded, opening the bout, Chavez went on the offensive, cutting off the ring effectively, while Newton attempted to keep his distance by circling and backpedaling. Employing a head and body attack, the Mexican cornered his American foe. Against the ropes Newton was unable to use his defense to avoid the combinations coming at him. For his part, Chavez Jr. landed a left-right combination that was followed by a left hook to the body and culminated with a right cross that sent his opponent to the canvas.

Newton was able to beat the count and the fight continued. Urged on by the audience, the Mexican with a famous namesake pressed the action after the fight was allowed to continue. Again, a right cross caused Newton to take a knee. Lou Moret, the referee, had seen enough and ordered the fight stopped.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is now on a six fight knockout streak and this win improves his record to 16-0 (11). Leroy Newton who claimed that he deserved a rematch falls to 5-6 (4). Interestingly, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. announced after the fight that he had a surprise in store for all Hispanics in May. It is rumored that the surprise is that he will fight on the same card as his son at the Staples Center.

The only other televised bout was a lightweight clash between two southpaws. Joel Ortega of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico was set to do battle against 'Vicious' Victor Ortiz of Oxnard, California. The encounter was short-lived. Ortiz, who fights out of La Colonia Boxing Gym (the same stable represented by 'Ferocious' Fernando Vargas), wasted little time in asserting himself. He pressed forward with his jab which eventually set up a right hook that wobbled the outgunned Ortega.

The Nuevo Laredo Native did his best to hold his opponent in a clinch. Unfortunately for him, the referee allowed the action to continue without interruption. Ortiz looked to his corner for instructions. He was apparently told to step back and hook. This he did with violent accuracy and Ortega was out on his feet. The Oxnard resident continued with a barrage of punches until referee Tony Crebs stepped in to save the beaten Ortega.

With the victory, Victor Ortiz remains unbeaten and ups his mark to 6-0 (4). Joel Ortega continues his losing streak and falls to 1-4 (1).
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