By Jeff Zimmerman at ringside / Photos: Robert Hughes
2008 U.S. Olympian, Luis “The Latin Legend” Yanez (1-0) made is long awaited pro debut on Friday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, with a majority decision over San Antonio’s Julio Valdez (3-3), 40-36, 39-37, 38-38. In what became a one punch and hold affair, neither fighter could establish a flow to the fight. Valdez tried to turn the fight into a brawl to overcome the speed and quickness of Yanez, but in the end Yanez did just enough to escape with his first professional win.
Expectations have been set high for the charismatic Yanez, as the event was dubbed “Grand Entrance” as part of the buildup to his first fight. This was not your ordinary pro debut, even for a fighter as decorated as Yanez with over 300 amateur fights and several national and world championships including last summer’s Olympic experience. Not only was he the main event in his first pro fight in his hometown, but he had Fox Sports Southwest airing the fight live and former 2-time world champion and local hero Paulie Ayala serving as analyst. And if that wasn’t enough, Dallas Cowboy greats, Deion Sanders and Darren Woodson were sitting ringside.
Valdez, who was celebrating his 20th birthday, was not fazed by the more ballyhooed Yanez. In fact, at times, he imposed his will and tried to rough up the smaller Yanez. Valdez received two warnings in the first round alone from Referee Laurence Cole for hitting on the break and attempting to lift Yanez off the ground during a tie up. In the fourth round, with the fight still up for grabs, Yanez came out the aggressor and landed a right lead to the head of Valdez and some tough shots to the body. Yanez passed the first test of his pro career against the very game Valdez. Yanez is scheduled in April at the same venue.
Beltran vs. Salinas
Junior Welterweight, Hector Beltran (12-1-1) outclassed the awkward but durable Gilbert Salinas (12-11-4) in an 8 round affair. Beltran showed power in both hands constantly switching his stance to confuse Salinas. Beltran looked like he would make it an early night when he unleashed a combination on Salinas in the first round. Salinas survived the round but continued to be target practice for the accomplished Beltran. Finally in the 7th round Beltran unloaded a left hook that put Salinas on the canvas. Salinas was up quickly and was able to go the distance. The final scores were 80-71 on all cards.
Lara vs. Valdez
In the fight of the night and one of the best all out brawls you will see anywhere, Jesse Lara (16-1-1) finally TKO’d Bobby Joe Valdez (9-6-2) at 1:54 of the 6th round. From the opening bell, these guys were dropping bombs on each other all over the ring. Valdez was the naturally bigger guy and he used this to get Lara into the corner throughout the fight where he was able to land his big shots. Lara did his best work in the middle of the ring, where he was clearly the more skilled boxer. But this fight was less about skill than it was about will, as each fighter survived tremendous blows in a classic slugfest. Valdez, who at times looked out on his feet, finally succumbed to a brutal combination that finally put a halt to the fight.