By Felipe Leon
Photos: Leonso Nunez
The small mountainous enclave of Tecate, Baja California, Mexico was the host to an electrifying crowd of about two thousand in an arena erected by Zanfer Promotions in the heart of the town. The fight night, which was broadcast live in Mexico by Azteca, was brought to the small town as part of the seventy year celebration of the founding of the Tecate beer company. In the main event, former WBC lightweight champion Antonio “Tony” DeMarco (31-3-1, 23KO) came back from a six-month long hiatus to score a unanimous decision over late-sub Lanardo Tyner (31-11-2, 20KO) in a ten round bout contested in the welterweight division.
After losing his title to Adrien Broner and his contract ending with long-time promoter Gary Shaw, DeMarco of Tijuana by way of Los Mochis, Mexico, has found himself fighting exclusively in Mexico as he makes the adjustment to a higher weight class and to new trainer Freddie Roach. Since that lass to “The Problem” back in late 2012, DeMarco has strung together two wins over Fidel Monterrosa and Jesus Gurrola, both stopped in the fifth and second respectively. The experienced Tyner was just the opposite with a two-fight losing streak dropping a majority decision in Poland to Lukasz Maciec and a split to Chris Pearson. Detroit’s Tyner in a forty-three fight professional career has face the likes of Jessie Vargas, Wale Omotoso and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. He owns a win over “Vicious” Vivian Harris.
It looks as if DeMarco had gotten more than he bargained for early in the first round when the much shorter Tyner Came in with a perfectly placed over hand right flush to the cheek of the southpaw DeMarco which sent the local favorite down to the canvas for only the second time in his career. Visibly hurt and surprised by the Tyner power, DeMarco looked to survive the hard charging attack from his opponent. Tyner was able to land a number of hard power shots to the head that wobbled DeMarco but the Mexican was able to stay on his feet. DeMarco recouped well enough by the middle of the round to come back and score his signature long straight left that forced Tyner to take a step back.
With emotions flying high, things got heated in the second with histrionics from both as DeMarco wanted to prove that his chin is indeed made of granite as he signaled for Tyner to hit him. Not to be left behind, Tyner did the same as they exchanged power punches in the middle of the ring. The crowd got into it in the third with a sing-a-long of the traditional Mexican tune “Cielito Lindo” hoping that the song would push DeMarco forward.
DeMarco inexplicably gave up his height as he made himself small and stood right in front of Tyner exchanging power shots with DeMarco emphasizing a right hook to the body. Tyner pity-patted DeMarco with uppercuts and right hooks before really laying into his punches and scoring with the same combinations but with power behind them. DeMarco followed his lead and did the same but he would punctuate his series of punches with that right hook to the body.
The pace slowed down in the second half of the fight with both looking for the fight but with less punches. The fight fell into a pattern of inside fighting with both scoring to the head and body well but with DeMarco the busier fighter. DeMarco at times would remember that he was the taller fighter and would stay on the outside and do work while doubling his jab followed with the straight left.
Tyner came out looking for DeMarco in the ninth but DeMarco was able to hold him at bay staying longer on the outside and in the tenth Tyner went after DeMarco hard at the bell, looking to score another big punch like he did in the first. This time DeMarco was ready and was able to counter the attack all the way to the bell.
After ten entertaining rounds, DeMarco was announced the winner with scores of 98-92 three times.
“He was a tough fighter and strong,” DeMarco said after the fight. “I had to eat some to make the welterweight limit since I was getting ready to fight at 142 lbs. but since the original opponent fell out, I had to face Tyner.”
DeMarco also shared whom he wants to fight next. “I want to come back before the end of the year. I think a fight with Jessie Vargas would be something the fans and HBO would like to see.”
Ortega Keeps Winning
Popular Tijuana featherweight Edivaldo “Indio” Ortega (19-0-1, 10KO) kept his fan base happy by stopping Filipino rival Rey “Flash” Perez (19-6, 4KO) in the sixth of a scheduled ten rounds.
The southpaw Ortega is not known for any dominating characteristic, he is not a hard puncher, not a great boxer or courageous brawler but he does get the job done which he did against the game Perez.
After an initial first round of study, Ortega was a bit more aggressive in the second and went after the mobile Perez. As he trapped him against the ropes, Ortega came in with his head and hurt Perez who went down to a knee. Referee Juan Morales Lee flubbed the call and instead of helping Perez up, he gave him an eight-count.
Ortega began to punish the body well by the third round and began to expose Perez as not of his level with the constant pressure he was executing. By the fourth round the fight fell into the usual Ortega pattern of not being all that exciting or impressive but constantly landing punches, not with power but more than his opponent.
Surprisingly after a successful round where he used lateral movement and scored well with a series of uppercuts but fatigue settling in, Perez did not answer the bell for the sixth round and instead walked across the ring to congratulate Ortega for a well done. Official time was ten seconds of the sixth for the TKO win for Ortega.
“Furioso” Guzman Remains Undefeated
In the best fight of the night, Ensenada, Mexico’s Rafael “Furioso” Guzman (14-0, 9KO) was awarded a trinket entitled the Baja California state title when he manhandled former amateur foe Sergio “Checho” Ortega (13-1-1, 8KO) of Mexicali over eight junior welterweight rounds to earn a well deserved unanimous decision.
The aggressive Guzman pushed the fight from the opening bell and used his controlled aggression against Ortega well scoring to the body with hard left hooks to the liver. Ortega, a bit more technical, was able to counterpunch but Guzman’s punches landed harder through out the night. By the third Ortega looked like a deer caught in the headlights, as he had no answer for Guzman’s constant attack. He did manage to catch Guzman coming in with a set of power punches but it wasn’t enough to stop the Guzman locomotive.
A powerful well-placed left hook to the liver by Guzman dropped Ortega in the early going of the fifth round. Ortega struggled to get to his feet and nearly did not beat the count administered by referee Juan Morales Lee. Guzman went for the finish for the remainder of the round but was not able to land another meaningful blow to the body that would have clearly stopped Ortega in his tracks.
Guzman went for the kill for the remainder of the fight landing a couple of over hand rights flush to the face in the sixth but Ortega was able to survive and in the seventh began landing his own rights but it was too little too late. With the fight in the bag, Guzman boxed the perimeter of the ring in the eighth and final round.
The announced scores were 80-71, 78-73 and 79-70 for Guzman.
Elvis Torres Edges Ayala
In a super bantamweight six rounder between undefeated up and coming Tijuana prospects, Elvis Ayala (8-0, 5KO) did just enough to get the win over Cristian “Coralillo” Ayala (7-1, 4KO) with a close unanimous decision. Torres, an amateur standout from the region, still fights in that style, darting in and out and not scoring his punches with power but just tapping them in while Ayala, who is rumored to have never fought an amateur style, looks to hurt his opponent with every punch.
Ayala made his right hand a factor in the first couple of rounds, scoring it easily either straight or as an uppercut. Torres was having trouble defending against the punch but inexplicably Ayala used it less and less as the fight progressed. Torres, a southpaw, scored well with his own straight left but to the stomach that paid dividends in the later rounds as Ayala began to slow.
With the fight presumably close, the sixth and final round was all action as Ayala closed well going back to the right hand but Torres was able to keep up with his own batch of quick combinations. Judges Carlos Flores and Jesus Gonzalez scored it 58-56 each for Torres while Sergio Lechuga had it 60-54, all for Torres.
Twin Eduardo Baez (3-0) dominated Tijuana’s Jose “Sonrics” Suarez (4-3) over four rounds in the super bantamweight division. Suarez gave as good as he got but Baez was able to score better from the outside especially in the fourth and final round when Suarez had drained the tanks. Baez of Mexicali, Mexico, scored a number of long right hands that stopped “Sonrics” in his tracks. Scores were 40-36 three times.
Other twin Leonardo Baez (5-0, 3KO) of Mexicali won an easy unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Bryan Aquino (0-1) over four bantamweight rounds.
Oscar Arce (11-2, 6KO), nephew of four-time divisional champion Jorge Arce, forced Carlos “Foco” Mendoza (1-13-1) of Tijuana to not answer the bell for the 5th round or a scheduled super flyweight six. The taller Mendoza never was able to establish his jab, as Arce was able to get on the inside and punish him to the body. Mendoza had his moments but Arce threw and landed more punches. Official time was :10 of the fifth.
Tijuana lightweight Omar Valenzuela (8-2-2, 4KO) did quick work of Mario “Ippo” Hernandez (0-2-1) also of Tijuana. Valenzuela was clearly the better and bigger fighter. Hernandez was game but just no match for the more technical Valenzuela. Referee Juan Morales Lee had seen enough by the 1:22 mark of the second round of a schedule four.
In a closely contested eight rounder in the lightweight division, Sergio “Tarasco” Nuñez (12-1, 8KO) was awarded a split decision over late-sub Rafael Reyes (13-2, 10KO) of Chihuahua. The much bigger Nuñez of Sylmar, CA, imposed his size early on but Reyes was able to score more in the second half of the fight with quick three punch combinations right down the middle. Nuñez looked for the knockout in the last round with the fight close but Reyes was able to survive until the final round. Judge Sergio Lechuga scored it for Reyes with 76-75 but was overruled by Julian Palumbo and Jesus Gonzalez who saw it 77-74 and 76-75 respectively for Nuñez.
Local fighter Joel “Wenjo” Mora (1-0-1, 1KO) and Gustavo Rivas (0-0-1) of Tijuana fought to a featherweight four round split draw. One judge saw it for Mora with a score 39-37 while another scored it the same but for Rivas. The third judge saw it an even 38-38.
Phoenix, AZ’s David Benavides (5-0, 5KO) yet again stopped another over matched fighter in Jairo Dolores (0-1) of Tijuana. Time was 1:54 of the first round of four scheduled in the super middleweight division.