Washington defeats Martinez in a firefight!
By Vikram Birring at ringside for DoghouseBoxing (Oct 20, 2008) DoghouseBoxing  
The blood began streaming down Guadalupe Martinez’s face early in the first round. Lesser men would have been discouraged, and simply given up; called it a day, and gone home knowing there was nothing they could have done to affect the outcome of the match.

Martinez did just the opposite. In what was already a vicious match, he vowed to continue, and fight back harder, against nemesis Taronze Washington, who he was facing for the second time after a controversial victory in July on the undercard of Hector “Macho” Camacho’s recent return to the ring.

From the opening seconds, the match was an oxymoron. A sickening display of violence, yet a show of the power of the human will. The punches Washington and Martinez landed on each other would break brick walls, yet each man ate them as if they were Frito Lay chips, and without blinking, returned fire.

Taronze Washington is a bald-headed, tall, skinny man. He walked to the ring with surprising bravado, despite being in Martinez’s hometown, and further, his sub-.500 ring record. Nine wins and ten defeats, including seven straight losses. To understand how long ago his last victory was, one offers the following statement. In June 2006, the United States economy was booming.

Guadalupe Martinez entered the ring in front of a few hundred of his closest friends. Thunderous chants of “Lupe, Lupe” engulfed the soccer stadium where the night’s card was being held, and Mexican flags waved proudly through the air.

Martinez walked to his corner after the first round. The cut was bad, really bad. To describe it, imagine Niagara Falls, except red. To make matters worse, the cut man was the same as Juan Diaz’s on March 8 in Cancun, Mexico, where a constant flow of blood impaired one eye was never stopped, leading to a devastating defeat against Nate Campbell.

Yet, after two rounds, the flow of blood was halted, and though it was re-opened later in the match, it never seemed to affect Martinez much, as he kept coming forward and throwing punches at any available body part Washington made available.

The problem for Martinez was that Washington employed the same strategy, but with greater speed. At the end of eight rounds, this made the difference, as Washington, 10-10 (5), walked away with the Texas State Middleweight Title, tears in his eyes. A good victory for a good man. As for Martinez, 16-2 (9), he will be back again, but battles like this are no good for the long term health of either boxer.

Apologies to Hasan “The Destroyer” Henderson, for he had been used to a quick night of work in boxing. After all, in four professional matches, his opponents never made it out of the first round. When Matthew Thompson walked into the ring, a few snickers were heard throughout the audience. He was a tall, lanky child in a man’s body. The only thing of note in his appearance was the knee brace he was wearing, usually not a good sign for a boxer.

From the opening bell, Henderson, 5-0 (4), attacked, like he always does. One hundred eighty seconds of carnage.

The bell rang, Henderson’s eyes grew wide, and his shoulders slumped. The meat fed to him for destruction survived. Now what?

So Henderson employed fundamental boxing tactics, jab, jab, and jab again. Occasionally followed up with hooks to the head and body punches, the jab kept Thompson, 2-2-1 (1), at bay, not that he had anything to offer in return. So after four rounds, the decision was as fundamental as the jab was, 40-36 on all cards.

Lanard “The Fire Man” Lane has the fury that one rarely sees in boxers. His style is non-stop aggression. Like Henderson, he had four professional fights, and four victories, three by way of knockout.

His opponent was the typical survivor, Khalik Memminger, an aged man who fits the role well. Go rounds, make money, go home. Lane, 5-0 (4), had different ideas, however, as he quickly jumped all over him, and put him down for the count in the corner. Memminger, 4-7-3 (2), had the audacity to get up, so down he went again, twice.

Somehow, the fight managed to last into the fourth round, but Lane kept coming, with a non-stop barrage of punches from all angles, all at maximum power. Some boxers need to be told to keep busy, Lane needs to be told to stay calm. But for a four round bout, he had enough energy, and ninety seconds into the fourth, Lane found an opening again, and pounded the old man mercilessly. This time, the referee would not allow the match to continue, and Lane walked away with another shiny KO on an already glittery resume. Official time was one minute, fifty-four seconds.

Maurenzo “T-Diddy” Smith is a fascinating individual. He is unlike the prototypical boxer. In high school, he was the Salutatorian. He then went to college, where he kept a 4.0 GPA throughout. He has businesses to run, yet he decides to box anyway, for he fell in love with the sport upon first impact, like so many others.

But then something happened. On June 2, Smith was arrested by officers of the DEA. He was alleged to have been involved in a drug ring. Smith denied all charges, and continued his career. If convicted, he could face twenty years in federal prison and a one million dollar fine.

They say the ring, just like a soccer field, or a basketball court, or a bullring, is an escape from outside influences. When in the arena, all thoughts focus on the task at hand. Smith’s focus was Hilario “Killer” Guzman, the opponent standing across from him. Guzman looked mean, sporting an array of tattoos and an unfriendly demeanor, but a bit out of shape as well.

The story of the fight was told in one round. Guzman had one strategy, a right jab followed by a home run left cross, that landed from time to time. Smith, 7-2-1 (6), had a variety of punches in his arsenal, but for some odd reason, didn’t throw them nearly enough. The match was at times a comical affair, with Guzman, 6-23-6 (1), nodding his head up and down smiling, and Smith wondering what was so funny, all the while Smith’s supporters telling him to please end the match because they knew he could if he wanted to.

But that never happened, and the verdict rested in the hands – pencils to be more exact – of the judges. 56-58 Guzman, read the first card, and a gasp went through the crowd. This could not be. 58-56 Smith, that sounded better. The final card, 57-57. A draw. An awful decision to be sure, but Smith could have won if he simply just threw a bit more.

In the opening bout, two professional fighters were making their debuts. Nelson Ramos and Diego Mireles both wanted to win, and it showed through the match. Legs wobbled, sweat flew, blood spewed, but the punches never stopped. To declare one man a loser would be unfair, but as judge Gale Van Hoy said to a ringside observer, “One lesson I learned a long time ago is to find a winner.”

39-37, 40-36, 40-36, to the winner, Nelson Ramos, 1-0. Mireles, 0-2, congratulated his opponent, but both men gave valiant efforts and received applause in return.

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Questions or comments,
Vikram at: vikram.birring@gmail.com

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