Alfonso Lopez Captures Texas Super Middleweight Crown!
By Vikram Birring, ringside for Doghouse Boxing (Mar 30, 2009)  
Once in a blue moon, along comes a boxer who has it all: technique, defense, speed, stamina, power, and agility. A fighter who makes the grueling task of beating another man into submission look as mundane and simple as making a cup of tea in the afternoon. A boxer who punches as a ballet dancer glides across the floor, effortlessly and fluid.

Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez is this boxer. A tall, muscular boxer out of Corpus Christi, Texas, who only started boxing a few years ago. He played football at Sam Houston State University, but it seems that was not violent enough for him. His ability caught the eye of a local trainer named Felix Ramirez, who led him to an aging second who was sure he would never get another chance to groom and develop a world champion.

Henry Harris is best known for being the brother of Roy Harris, one of the best heavyweights ever to come out of the city of Houston. Roy’s only losses were to Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Bob Cleroux, and Henry Cooper, a murderer’s row of old time heavyweights. Roy ended up becoming a successful attorney, but brother Henry never could stay away from the gym, and ended up training in his hometown of Cut-N-Shoot, Texas, about half an hour north of Houston.

When Henry Harris saw Lopez box for the first time, he had an epiphany. This was the gem he had been waiting for his own life. After only thirty amateur bouts, Lopez turned professional, and has been knocking out all the pugs placed in front of him so far, with the grace of a flying swan.

On this night, the opponent’s name was Billy Thompson, who sported a record similar to the Philadelphia 76ers, just under .500. He gave the appearance of a tough, but weary man. He had a strong body, but the few hairs on his head were graying and his face displayed wrinkles.

Wearing his traditional black cowboy hat, Lopez looked fresh and relaxed, showing no ill effects in moving down in weight to super middleweight from light heavyweight.

The first round was mostly a feeling out process, as Lopez 13-0 (11) gauged the task in front of him, occasionally pawing with a jab. In the second, he began to open up, with crisp, smooth combinations; the fluidity of water coming out of a faucet. Finally, in the third, he closed the show. One simple jab followed by a short right cross.

Thompson’s 8-10 (3) reaction was sad and hilarious at the same time. In effect, Lopez made him dance. A wiggle to the right, and then a slightly harder wiggle to the left, and down he went. Lopez backed up and watched the whole time, making sure Thompson didn’t tackle him on the way down. Thompson tried in earnest to get up, but to no avail. This was not his night. Official time was two minutes, five seconds found three.

Crystal “Choo Choo” Delgado has built something of a cult following in the past year in Houston. Of all the boxers on the card, she was the only one to have a vendor selling personalized shirts on her behalf. Her ticket selling capacity is renowned as well, she is the only local club boxer to have the crowd chant her name thunderously on a regular basis.

This is probably a result of her fighting style. Fitting to her nickname, she knows only one direction, forward. If she played football, she would be what scouts describe as a north-south back, no wasted horizontal movement.

Unfortunately, in boxing, lateral movement is important, required actually, and at some point ringside pundits knew that her straight ahead style would spell disaster.

On this night, Delgado faced her strongest and most experienced opponent, Stacy Reile. This was not just a step up for Delgado, but a stern test. In her last bout, Reile lost to undefeated world champion Ina Menzer in Germany. Reile’s trainer is Jorge Rubio, a Cuban defector now based out of Miami who once coached the Cuban National Amateur Boxing team, and for a short time, lightweight contender Amir Khan (which ended disastrously after one bout). Reile blames the defeat in Germany on the fact that German authorities did not allow Rubio in the country due to Universum not obtaining giving him a letter of invitation, which did not allow Rubio to obtain a visa. Nonetheless, Reile was getting another opportunity in another unbeaten’s hometown.

The difference in body structure was apparent before the bout even started. Delgado is a young, developing girl, still only eighteen years of age. Reile is a grown woman, her body strong and defined. If Delgado could get past her, the dream of a world championship might come sooner than expected.

Like all Crystal Delgado boxing matches, it was an all out slugfest. Delgado 8-1 (1) walked forward and threw regularly, and Reile 9-1 (4) responded in kind.

In the third, Reile scored two possible knockdowns, but referee Ronnie Ralston thought otherwise. There was one difference in this bout than in the eight previous Delgado appearances. Reile didn’t wear down, and she didn’t get tired.

This proved no more apparent than in the fifth round, when Delgado landed a massive shot. Reile simply ate it like it was a chocolate bar, and kept fighting.

Somewhere in the fifth round, a light bulb lit in Reiele’s brain. She noticed that Delgado simply charged in recklessly, and figured out she could time her in the way in.

In the sixth, Reile landed the perfect shot. Delgado lunged in, and Reile picked her off with a thudding left hook. Delgado turned and went to her knees.

Something was seriously wrong, as Delgado trembled when she was down. She was not getting up, and referee Ralston knew this within seconds. He stopped the bout twenty-three seconds into the final stanza. All the while, Reile distastefully celebrated around the ring.

This was a cruel reminder, that the boxing ring does not have any bias and does not do any favors. It is the place where all weaknesses are exposed at any expense.

Crystal Delgado wept away tears in the corner, and the crowd was in a silent awe, recognizing the sad occurrence that had just taken place. A young girl had just been assaulted by a grown woman, and for a few minutes, we all wondered why we even watch this gruesome activity.

In a circus match, Corey Washington beat up hard charging Dustin Jones all around the ring for four rounds. Jones, a nightclub bouncer, was a tough man and thought it would be a good idea to pick up boxing. He beat up a tomato can in his last bout and was facing Fort Worth’s Washington, who was making his pro debut.

Jones 1-1 (1) had good intentions, but not much technique to back it up. His right cross was more like a baseball pitcher’s wind up, and rarely hit the mark.. Washington 1-0 (1) landed and hurt Jones every few seconds, but each time Jones tackled Washington to avoid knockdowns. It wasn’t pretty, but the crowd ate it up; this, was a real fight, a bar room brawl in a boxing ring.

The moment of hilarity of the bout occurred when Washington avoided Jones after hurting him. Jones, looking for another tackle, flew through the second and third ropes, nearly falling out of the ring.

Predictably, Washington won on a wide decision on all cards, 40-33, 39-34, and 40-33. If every fight was like this one, all boxing shows would be sold out and the sport would regain mainstream popularity. Like it or not, unadulterated violence is what the American public likes.

An absolutely rotten, sickening, disgusting, horrendous robbery took place after Deon Nash’s bout with Jose “Topita” Gutierrez. Nash 5-8 (1) had just finished completely outclassing the popular Mexican banger for six rounds. He used his height well and kept Gutierrez 13-5 (9) away with a piston jab, and often followed it with a right hand. It was not a fair fight, as many ringside pleaded with the referee to stop it. But maybe he knew something nobody else but the judges knew, that no matter how little the hometown fighter did, he would get the decision anyway.

And this is what ended up happening, for when the ring announcer stated the result was a majority decision, every person in the audience smelled something fishy. Gutierrez had not won a single round, much less a single second. He tried with all his effort, but he was simply matched wrong. He is a brawler, and was given a boxer, an impossible burden

Maybe the judges weren’t corrupt, but simply sympathetic. At ringside was Gutierrez’s wife and young daughter. Perhaps the judges took a look at them and realized that with a sixth defeat, there wasn’t much hope left in his career. How would he provide for his family?

Yet, this is no excuse to give him a victory he did not earn. Because in the same token, they robbed Nash of a victory and jeopardized his future. Decisions like this are what make boxing a complete joke in most people’s eye. For all the good decisions that Kellie Yoh, David Robertson, and Randy Russell gave in the other bouts of the evening, this was unforgivable and they should be reprimanded. In some countries, it would be worthy of public humiliation.

Willie “Dynamite” Edwards is a hot prospect from Beaumont. So far, he has been given typical prospect treatment, opponents who had no chance. This one, Brent Urban, seemed the same on appearance. A slightly built, less athletic tough guy. But once the bout began, all assumptions flew out the window.

Edwards 6-0 (2) immediately went for the quick knockout, but Urban 1-1 (1) ate every punch. Shockingly, he trapped Edwards in the corner and landed an array of punches, and not just once. Every time Edwards landed a flashy combination, Urban came back. This was not a human punching bag, but a real opponent. Urban came to win.

In one instance, Edwards made Urban miss ten straight punches, and then landed a vicious combination. Urban took every punch and fought back. Willie Edwards figured out that he had been matched up with a crazy man. In the fourth, he fought like it, as he simply jabbed most of the round and picked his shots. He wasn’t going to knock him out, and was happy to not have to see Urban ever again. The final scores were 39-37, 38-36, and 39-37.

Mark Blankenship’s professional debut did not go as planned. For one, it seemed odd that a thirty-seven year old man would just now decide to begin a foray into boxing. But he was given an opponent who had a record of simply one knockout defeat, so it was decided that he should get a shot. Only in boxing.

For the first round, the bout was fought on relatively even terms. Moreno 1-1 (1) had a couple of decent punches in his arsenal, while Blankenship (0-1) had one. Call it the “James Toney,” as he occasionally leaned back and countered with a right cross.

The Toney punch was an effective strategy until Blankenship started profusely bleeding over his right eye. The cut was caused by a punch, and Blankenship’s plan for his debut took a wrong turn. Though the cut was closed between rounds, in the third, Moreno landed a clubbing left hook followed by a right. Blankenship went down like a ton of bricks. He rolled around and attempted to rise, but it wasn’t to be. He gave it a good run, but now it’s back to the day job. Official time was fifty-three seconds of the third round.

Johanna Mendez 4-0 (1) defeated former Crystal Delgado victim Lisa Lamb 5-3 (2) in four rounds. Lamb didn’t really have much to offer as Mendez picked her apart with excellent ring generalship. Final scores were 40-36 on each card.

In the opening bout of the evening, kid boxer Sammy DiPace 6-0 (3) squeaked by rugged Mexican Saul Gutierrez 5-14-2 (1). The baby faced nineteen year old DiPace landed some hard combinations, but Gutierrez simply shrugged them off and always responded in kind. It was a very close match, and in all honesty should have been a draw. However, to nobody’s surprise, DiPace received a unanimous decision victory, 40-36, 39-37, and 40-36
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