By Felipe Leon
Photos: Renzo Novara
After super featherweight Miguel “Barreterito” Beltran came down with a sciatic nerve injury mid way through fight week, his older brother Alberto “Barreterito 1” Beltran (14-1-1, 8KOs) had to take the reins of last Saturday night’s Zanfer Promotions fight card held in an open air mini bull ring on the ground of the Caliente racetrack in the heart of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Close to two thousand fight fans witnessed Beltran at times struggle but at the end come back to earn a tough draw against hometown Rafael Cobos (12-4-5, 3KOs) in the eight round main event broadcast live by TV Azteca in Mexico.
After a couple of rounds of study where Beltran tried to measure with a long jab while Cobos searched for the easiest way to get on the inside of his slightly taller opponent, the Tijuana fighter was finally able to close the gap and Beltran and force an exchange in which he scored the better punches. Beltran tried to gain some of the momentum back in the fourth, starting the round well by boxing but Cobos imposed his will and finished strong, pushing Beltran against the ropes and scoring to the body and head with power punches.
Cobos took the fifth with the same strategy of biding his time in the beginning of the stanza and then closing stronger but in the sixth, Beltran began to be more accurate with his punches, pot shotting Cobos with hard rights to the body and long jabs that kept the tough Tijuana hombre at bay.
With the fight all about even going into the eight and final round, both fighters went for broke and it just became a war of attrition with both not letting up and at times chasing each other around the ring scoring bombs. Beltran looked the fresher of the two and scored the more effective punches, arguably giving him the round.
At the end, judge Alejandro Rochin saw it 79-74 for Cobos while Guillermo Moreno saw it a closer 77-75 for Beltran. Deciding judge Fernando Barboza had it an even 76-76. Fightnews also scored it 76-76.
Hirales Suffers Through Meraz
La Paz, Mexico’s Raul “Rayito” Hirales (18-2-1, 8KOs) had the toughest fight of the night, not because of the skill of his opponent, German “Panteonero” Meraz (41-24-1, 21KOs) of Agua Prieta, Mexico, but just because of the sheer frustrating holding tactics that Meraz utilized for the majority of their featherweight eight round semi-main event.
After it looked as Hirales was going to put in a solid but easy win by dropping Meraz twice, in the first with a body shot an then again in the third with a barrage of punches, the fight took a wrong turn from there as Meraz did nothing much for the rest of the night but lunge in from the outside, hoping to score, and then holding for dear life.
Hirales still tried to score when he wasn’t being held, occasionally scoring with hard right hands and to the body while Meraz had his only good round of the night when he scored a flailing right hook as Hirales was moving away. Hirales took a step back while Meraz mounted a slight charge. Through out the contest Hirales scored the better punches and was en route to a clear win but unfortunately for him, a head butt caused a severe cut over his left eye that didn’t stop him from finishing the fight but will prevent him from a quick return. After the grueling to watch eight rounds, judges Alejandro Rochin and Fernando Barboza had Hirales as a clear winner with scores of 80-70 and 78-72 respectively while Guillermo Moreno turned in a much closer and questionable 76-74.
Flores and Santiago Go to War
In a much anticipated local flyweight match up, hard hitting Alex “Peque” Santiago (3-0-1, 3KOs) matched up against Hector “Rapidito” Flores (2-0-1, 2KOs), both of Tijuana, and went to battle for four all action rounds. Santiago took the close first with a little more effective punching as he scored hard left hooks, his signature punch, to the liver. Flores came out more aggressive in the second and took the round and the following one with hard rights, pressuring Santiago at all times. Santiago was fighting back, not giving up on the left hook to the body but Flores would smother him with an array of punishment, some landing and some not but always there. Santiago was able to take the fourth although close with more effective and accurate punches while Flores kept throwing but missing many.
While Fightnews had it an even 38-38, the official judges scored with 39-37 for Flores by Leo Ibarra, Carlos Flores the same but for Santiago and Julian Palomo an even 38-38.
Lara Upsets Arce
Tough but always losing Mario Lara (4-10-1, 1KO) of Tijuana upset the apple cart when he handed flyweight Oscar Arce (9-2, 9KOs), nephew of retired Mexican super star Jorge “Travieso” Arce, via an almost lopsided six round decision with scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice. It was all Lara as he controlled the action with a beautiful display of boxing and aggression over the over matched Arce. Arce was game with all the heart of his uncle but Lara, despite the horrible losing record, proved to be too much for the young Los Mochis, Mexico, fighter. Despite Arce’s granite chin, the soft hitting Lara was able to hurt him in a couple of occasions but never was able to finish him off.
Former two-time title challenger David “Morita” De La Mora (25-3, 18KOs) of Tijuana needed all of 2:24 of the second round of a scheduled super bantamweight six to take out Claudio Loreto (0-1) of Nacozari, Mexico, out of his misery. “Morita” landed right hands at will and bloodied the nose of Loreto before referee Juan Morales Lee put a stop to the action.
Santa Ana, CA’s undefeated welterweight Rodrigo Garcia (13-0, 8KOs) remained so as he stopped Guillermo “Durango” Garcia (6-8-1, 1KO) of Tijuana, dropping the Garcia with a left uppercut in the first and then causing a severe cut to the right eye in the second forcing Dr. Ernesto Franco to halt the contest at the 2:15 mark.
Luis “Vampiro” Arceo (27-11-4, 17KOs) struggled but at the end took a six round majority decision in the lightweight division against fellow Tijuana fighter Jose Maria “Pira” Valdez (3-8-2, 1KOs) with scores of 58-56 twice and 57-57.
In one of the best fights of the night, undefeated fan favorite Carlos “Memin” Carlson (10-0, 7KOs) of Tijuana survived the toughest three rounds of his career against Sergio “Costeño” Najera (5-11, 1KOs), also of Tijuana by way of Acapulco, to score a fourth KO with a heavy left hook to the liver. Najera was having his way with the skilled boxer with controlled aggression, at times dropping his hands and scoring from the outside despite being the shorter fighter. Cut over his left eye, Carlson kept attacking until he scored the fateful shot.
In a clear size mismatch, Venezuela’s but living in Tijuana super featherweight Angel “Humilde” Rodriguez (6-0, 3KOs) scored his third knockout with an easy win over Allan Varela (0-3) of Mexicali, Mexico. Varela looked like a natural 118 pounder and was stopped by a brutal left hook square to the chin. Varela had to be carried out after hurting his right ankle on his way down. Official time was 2:48 of the second round.
Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, southpaw Eduardo “Yori” Portillo (3-0, 2KOs) squeaked by with a split decision over mover Adalbert “Kiki” Valenzuela (1-3) of Tijuana in a junior welterweight four rounder. Scores were 39-37 once for each and a 40-36 for Portillo.
Also of Ciudad Obregon, Javier “Javiercito” Lapizco (3-0, 1KO) dropped the tough Nolberto Espinoza (0-2) of Tijuana in the first with a left hook to the jaw en route to a unanimous decision with scores of 40-35 twice and 39-36.
Super bantamweight Alfredo Pitta (1-1-1) was awarded an early Christmas present when given a four round majority decision over Enrique “Cholo” Flores (0-15-1), both of Tijuana. Many at ringside, including Fightnews, thought Flores did enough to win but Pitta took the decision with scores of 39-37 twice and an even 38-38.
Tijuana lightweight Daniel “Huracan” Ramirez (7-0, 4KOs) needed all four rounds but finally got his man when he stopped Ricardo “Canguro” Diaz (1-2) of Ensenada at the 2:11 mark of the fourth and final round. A series of unanswered punches forced referee Juan Morales Lee to stop the fight.
Ramon “Moncho” Barboza (2-0, 2KOs) of Tijuana scored a devastating body shot on Los Mochis, Mexico’s Ricardo “Richie” Solis (0-1) to end the fight at 1:23 of the first round scheduled for a bantamweight four. Solis beat the count but still refused to continue, himself waiving the fight off.