By Phil Doherty
Photos: Reynaldo Sanchez/Acquinity Sports
Acquinity Sports served notice this afternoon that although they may be a new name in the boxing game, they are definitely not a “no-name” promotional team. Acquinity boxing promoter Henry Rivalta took the podium from Paradise Live in The Seminole Hard Rock this afternoon to affirm “We have five main events on this card; fights that would have top billing on any network.”
In a clear case of history repeating itself, IBF #3-ranked Dominican super-featherweight Argenis “La Tormenta” Mendez (19-2, 10 KOs) stares down IBF #7-ranked Mexican contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (32-7-1, 16 KOs) for a twelve-round IBF eliminator replay of their 2010 battle, which Mendez won by majority decision. Once again, the victor earns the right to face Mexican Juan Carlos Salgado (25-1-1, 16 KOs), who survived a 12th-round knockdown against Mendez to earn the belt in Mexico last year and successfully defended it against Honorio last April.
Speaking with fightnews, Mendez confirmed he finds the déjà vu scenario “curious, but just part of boxing, where you have to face the best for a shot at the championship.” “La Tormenta” went on to dismiss any notion he may be looking past Honorio for revenge against Salgado.
Hollywood welterweight prospect Ed “The Lion” Paredes (30-3-1, 20 KOs) gets his crack at former WBA light welterweight world champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris (29-7-2, 19 KOs) in a ten-round battle for an NABA welterweight title. Dominican southpaw prodigy Claudio “Matrix” Marrero (12-0, 9 KOs) squares off against Mexican Fernando “Pinocho” Beltran (36-8-1, 20 KOs) in a 10-round NABA featherweight title bout. Bantamweight Juan Carlos “Baby Pacquiao” Payano (10-0, 5 KOs) steps up against Colombian veteran John Alberto Molina (32-18-3, 20 KOs) in a regional ten-round Fedelatin title contest.
The scheduled six-round contest between Dominican 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (11-0, 6 KOs) and Ecuadorian veteran Humberto “Bam Bam” Toledo (41-7-2, 25 KOs) echoed Rivalta’s commitment to provide fans a bevy of “anyone-can-win” type fights on one card.
Rivalta proudly welcomed the addition of two promising imports from Detroit in the form of undefeated junior middleweight Domonique “3D” Dolton (11-0, 6 KOs) and light heavyweight Isiah “The Piston” Thomas (8-0, 4 KOs). For Dolton, the move to Acquinity signals a homecoming of sorts as he last fought at The Hard Rock in a ten-round main event in June 2011 before languishing over a year waiting for an opportunity.
Another key Acquinity acquisition involved respected longtime Floyd Mayweather Jr. cutman Rafael Garcia, who will work cuts for Saturday’s action.
However the most intriguing storyline swirling around this show involves former two-time world champion Joan “Little Tyson” Guzman (32-0-1, 19 KOs). Long berated and dismissed by boxing media for weight issues during a spectacular ascent towards the light welterweight division, the 36-years young Guzman provided fightnews his own personal perspective. He confided “You know, in the past people sat back and got on me for the weight problems, but I’m different than a lot of fighters. I’m a family man and when my mom passed I was messed up. I couldn’t think past my mom and what she was going through.”
(It should be noted Joan’s much-maligned weight challenges began when his beloved mother Juana Amaro finally succumbed to a two-year battle against brain cancer in September 2009–mere months prior to his disappointing draw with Ali Funeka. In that fight, Guzman survived a broken nose and cuts around his right eye as well as a hellish right hand from Funeka in the eighth round.) Many fans and critics also do not know Guzman deals every day with the unique challenges of raising a deaf child as his daughter Maria was struck with the affliction at birth.
For his part, Guzman makes no excuses and expects no pity for the challenges he’s faced and apparently overcome. He seems rejuvenated and refreshed, offering: “This is the first time in my career when I’ve been able to train for more than two months, I feel great.” Guzman received righteous support from Acquinity CEO Gary Jonas, who lambasted fight media and broadcasters for failing to even mentioning Guzman in their discussions of the weight division’s current “elite.”
The criticism warranted some merit as the older fighter with the zero in the losses column should be attractive bait for a young hungry champion, yet the phones are cold as dead fish at Acquinity headquarters, according to Jonas. In the meantime, “Little Tyson” plans to stay busy against Jorge “El Tigre” Pimentel (25-15, 19 KOs) in his scheduled ten-round NABA light welterweight contest.
Ticket prices are $54, $74, $104 and $154. Fight fans may win free tickets, including ringside seats, simply by texting: “TIX” to 23000. Acquinity CEO Gary Jonas and Vice President Henry Rivalta encourage all South Florida fans to participate for a chance to win some free tickets.
Doors open at 5:30 on Saturday, July 21st, first bell at 6 PM.