Thanks Main Events, Thanks HBO, That Was One Heck of a Show
By Elisa Harrison (July 19, 2004) 
Rocky Juarez
The sport of boxing was honored last night thanks to the courageous effort of Main Events' triumvirate of young stars, Kermit Cintron, Rocky Juarez and Juan Diaz, as well as the men who came to face them, Teddy Reid, Zahir Raheem and Lakva Sim.

The card was hosted by Houston Texas' Reliant Arena, broadcast by HBO as part of their illustrious Boxing After Dark Series. Although the show was ambitious and very exciting on paper, I couldn't help but wonder whether it would actually live up to its promise, considering the intangibles in boxing nowadays. Well, I am very pleased to report that the show exceeded expectations; and had it not been for the ineptitude of referee Robert Gonzalez my beloved sport would have scored a slam dunk.

In terms of the outcome, the fight I felt most comfortable with was Kermit Cintron (24-0, 22 KOs) vs Teddy Reid (22-6-1, 16 KOs), the opener of the evening. When polled by Main Events' very diligent publicist Donald Tremblay this was my response:
"This one has fireworks written all over it. How devastating a puncher is Cintron? How solid will Teddy Reid's performance be against a guy who seems to have all the tools? Questions will definitely be answered about these two fighters and I am looking forward to this match. My pick here is Kermit "The Killer" Cintron in a slugfest that shouldn't go the distance."

All that being said, I couldn't wait for the match to begin; there were questions to be answered and leather to be tasted and thrown. While Reid had some weight issues and came into the ring looking less than sure of himself, Cintron looked relaxed and happy to be making the office visit. These two matched-up well in stature and reach; on the line the WBO interim welterweight title as well as bragging rights to biggest puncher between two proven knockout artists.

Reid tasted Cintron's power early on, and he didn't like it. Kermit punished his foe's body hard in the first two rounds, and a hard right to the top of the head sent '2 Gun' down seconds away from the end of round 3. By the end of the third round Reid was breathing hard through his mouth, and although he did score on occasion, it seemed obvious he had no shot of prevailing. To aggravate matters, Reid hit Cintron after the bell at the end of rounds 3, 4 and 5, an infraction that ended up costing him a point in the 5th round.

Cintron inflicted a cut in the crease of Reid's right eyelid in the 7th round, a round that saw Reid lose another point for hitting on the break. By now it was a foregone conclusion, only a knockout was going to earn Reid a victory on this night.
Then, the 8th round, and faster than you can say KILLER, Reid got clocked by a monster of a right to the head that sent him to the canvas, and although Reid managed to regain his legs, Cintron went after him like 'sauce on spaghetti' forcing referee Tim Adams to wisely put an end to the bout 56 seconds into the assault.

In unequivocal fashion Kermit 'The Killer' Cintron -a work in progress with awesome power- becomes Main Event's first champion of the night and serves notice to the division that he is indeed for real.
Following in the line-up, a championship bout for the WBC Continental Americas title, and an IBF title elimination bout between the organization's #5 ranked, Zahir Raheem and #6 seed Rocky Juarez. For the record, Juarez is also ranked #1 by the WBC, #3 by the WBO and #13 by the WBA. Raheem, on the other hand, hs been battling inactivity, with only one fight in place since July of 2003, a TKO1 victory over Rodney Jones this past April; prior to that he had been fighting at a higher weight class.

Following the IBF's rules the contestants had to weigh in a second time, on the day of the fight, at which time they could not exceed 10 pounds over the weigh-in mark. Rocky weighed in at 126 on Friday, and at 135 on Saturday morning, while Raheem, who weighed in at 126 on Friday, refused to get on the scale Saturday morning, negating his #1 status should he emerge the victor of the match.

Raheem has good foot movement and decent hand speed while Juarez has been known to be patient -too cautious even- at times. Tonight was no exception to the rule, with Zahir connecting while darting in and out, and Juarez becoming the stalker and counter puncher. Enter referee Robert Gonzalez, whose performance should be made mandatory viewing for referees in training; not because it was good, but because it was that damn bad!

In a bout of extreme importance for both fighters, where not only one would suffer his first pro defeat, but with a title on the line, referee Gonzalez acted like a man who had an ax to grind with Zahir Raheem. Granted that holding behind the head is not a legal tactic, but his fixation on the offense was borderline maniacal.
Overzealous, inept and aggressive referees who overtly hog the spotlight should be re-trained or retired. An arbiter who becomes the focal point of the ring action is a bad, bad referee.

Gonzalez deducted three points from Raheem for holding behind the head. Actually, I was surprised that he didn't go ahead and disqualify the Z-Man; he certainly threatened to do it in more than occasion. Gonzalez was so fixated on the holding issue that several times during the course of the fight, the tape on the fighters' gloves became unraveled, and I mean, unraveled, several inches worth of it, couldn't miss it, but the third man either didn't see it or didn't care to act on it.
Loose tape can be very, very dangerous to the fighters, and aren't safety issues the main concern of a referee? By the way, is the referee supposed to wipe Vaseline from the fighter's face or should he instruct the corner to do it? Gonzalez wiped Raheem's face twice, shaking the extra Vaseline off on to the mat, which caused Raheem to slip and fall more than once. So, let me see if I got this right... The referee shows concern for holding behind the head, but allows loose adhesive tape from both fighters gloves to dangle about during several rounds. The referee also places the fighters at further risk by shaking off globs of Vaseline on to the mat. I'm sorry, but Robert Gonzalez has no business refereeing fights.

In the end, and after the incredibly irritating, goon-like behavior of the referee, a decision was announced. A unanimous victory for Juarez, officially scored 113-109, 113-111 and 114-110. Irrespective of the outcome of the fight, Rocky Juarez didn't impress, he simply didn't dominate; his performance was lackluster, passionless and somewhat disappointing. Rocky improves to 21-0, 14 KOs, while Raheem dips to 25-1, 15 KOs.
The main event of the night was upon us, undefeated Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz versus the defending WBA lightweight champion from Mongolia, Lakva Sim, who was making his third appearance in the United States.

I had seen Sim fight in April of 2003 versus the now deceased Peruvian Luis Villalta, and although the bout ended early due to an injury, I was able to ascertain that Sim was a tough competitor.

If the first round was an indicator of the rest of the match, it was going to be a great one, and it was. Diaz jumped on Sim from the opening bell, eager to establish his superiority and youth, and while he never visibly hurt Lakva, he certainly dominated him.

Juan Diaz did everything the champion could do, except Diaz did it first and better. But take nothing away from Sim, he came to fight, ate leather all night long, and refused to give up; his physical condition was solid, and mentally, he was in the fight.

But let's give Juan Diaz all the credit in the world. This young man fights with tremendous aplomb and self-assurance; outside the ring he is also making his mark, as a pre-Law student at the University of Houston. On this night he was superb throwing punches in bunches and taking the best Sim had to give. Diaz never lost site of the golden ring, and his physical conditioning spoke volumes of his dedication to the sport.

Midway through the fight I felt like I was overdosing on punches, this was a no holds barred fight, toe to toe from the opening bell, and luckily for the fighters as well as the viewers, referee Laurence Cole did a great job while staying out of the way, allowing the fighters to do their thing. Diaz improves his run to 25-0, 12 KOs, while Sim drops to 19-4-1, 16 KOs.

Worthy of mention is the work of Ronnie Shields, who kept Diaz motivated and focused before and during the fight, particularly in the championship rounds. My hat is off to Main Events for putting together this tremendous event, taking a serious gamble with not one, or two, but three of their star fighters. Matchmaker Carl Moretti did himself and his company very proud.

Last but not least, congratulations are in order to all the fighters for coming in so well prepared and motivated, and for giving us, the fight fans, such an unforgettable evening of boxing.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004