By Phil Doherty
Photos: Segundo Rivero/Acquinity Sports
South Florida boxing fans first made the acquaintance of Acquinity Sports last January during a duo of “Dominican Domination” cards from Hollywood Beach. Last night at The Seminole Hard Rock they took another step towards securing at least one (and quite probably two) of their stable of fighters for a world title bout in the same local venue.
Given the short shrift boxing generally receives in local sports editors’ and fickle fans’ minds, their dedication to stage shows at least once every eight weeks speaks to their own fighting spirit. IBF #2-ranked super featherweight contender Argenis “La Tormenta” Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs) of the Dominican Republic held off an aggressive, foul-filled assault from IBF #7-ranked Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (32-8-1, 16 KOs) to earn a 12-round unanimous decision.
In a peculiar déjà vu scenario, this IBF-eliminator rematch mirrored their May, 2010 fight in both stakes, style and–quite nearly, results. Just as Mendez earned a shot for the then-vacant IBF crown against now-champion Juan Carlos Salgado (25-1-1, 16 KOs) with his majority decision win, he repeated with the full support of all three judges this time.
Honorio certainly helped Mendez’s cause with a replay of his egregious tactics from the first fight, prompting referee Frank Santore Jr. to deduct a point in the ninth and eleventh rounds for rabbit punching. (Santore had his hands full with repeated warnings to Honorio for low blows and head butting to boot.)
Mendez kept his cool with crisp counterpunching against his opponent’s voluminous output from the opening bell. Content to sit on the ropes and pick Honorio off, Mendez found ample openings for right hand counters and uppercuts through the next two rounds. Honorio scored a big overhand right to start the third round before their heads came together.
The cranial collisions seemed less than accidental as Honorio’s most repeated combination consisted of a left, right, head to the face sequence. To Mendez’s credit, the chippiness never got under his skin and he played sharpshooter to Honorio’s carpet bombing, scoring a beautiful right cross-left hook in the fourth.
Reversing the order in the seventh, Mendez stood Honorio up behind a left hook-right cross followed by a gorgeous right uppercut that prompted a nod of acknowledgement from Honorio as he headed to the corner to finish the round.
Honorio responded to another clean Mendez left hook with one of his countless rabbit punches in the ninth, obligating Santore to take the first point. The eleventh round began with a Spanish-speaking Florida commission member stepping to the ring apron to translate the consequences of further unsportsmanlike tactics. The point was lost on Honorio in any language as he lost his second point with another rabbit punch seconds later.
Buoyed by his lead on the cards, Mendez attacked Honorio in the twelfth with left hooks to the head and a short chopping right hand to seal the deal with scores of 115-111, 116-110 and 117-109.
Joan “Little Tyson” Guzman (33-0-1, 20 KOs) evoked memories of his nickname’s namesake while destroying Mexican Jorge “El Tigre” Pimentel (25-16, 19 KOs) just two minutes and four seconds into the first round of his scheduled 10-round light welterweight bout. Guzman, the 36-year old former two-time world champion ripped Pimentel with two overhand rights followed by a left uppercut to finish the dazed Pimentel. Guzman shouted: “Guzman is back!” as he made his way from the ring. Speaking exclusively with Fightnews on his way to the dressing room, Guzman proclaimed: “I am ready for any of the big-name fighters; any of them.”
Acquinity CEO Gary Jonas acknowledged to Fightnews he is actively campaigning for that very goal. Guzman has now made weight the past four fights and completely destroyed his opposition by stoppage, muting the now-tiresome maxim he lacks professionalism or world-class skill. He is staying busy fighting the only men who will fight him. The true test remains for a current young champion to test the still-unbeaten 36-year old and definitively affirm or dispel the Dominican’s remaining ability.
Welterweight prospect Ed “The Lion” Paredes (31-3-1, 21 KOs) fought his toughest fight to date, earning a technical knockout decision against former world champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris (29-8-2, 19 KOs) at 2:21 of the 10th and final round. Paredes and Harris traded stiff jabs through the early going, with the longer-limbed Harris giving as good as he got. Youth was served in the middle rounds however as Paredes stamped left hooks to the body and head while eating crisp counters from Harris. Harris fought well of his back foot but ate solid straight rights from Paredes, including one at the end of the sixth round that appeared to wobble the Guyanese fighter.
Paredes finally floored the durable Harris with a straight right, left hook and short right hand combination in the final round. Harris recovered and beat the count only to face an onslaught of hooks from the charging Paredes along the ropes. Despite appearing to have weathered the worst of the storm, Harris’ corner leapt to the ring apron forcing referee Frank Santore Jr. to halt the action with just 29 seconds remaining.
An infuriated Harris complained: “I didn’t get hurt at any time during the fight, he is a strong welterweight but I was blocking his right hands and uppercuts. I was bouncing up and down, shaking my hands to show I was ready to go.”For his part Paredes explained: “I was a little rusty from the length of time between fights. My left leg went numb in the sixth round.” At the end of the ninth, judge’s cards were 86-85, 87-84 and 88-82 for the young “Lion.”
In other action, Mexican super bantamweight Jesus Lule (3-4) scored a 6-round unanimous decision against Miami southpaw Jessy Cruz (7-5-1, 2 KOs). Recent Acquinity light heavyweight addition Isiah “The Piston” Thomas (9-0, 5 KOs) demolished Reggie Pena (6-9, 1 KO) by TKO at 2:07 of the second round. Heavyweight Glendy “The Guantanamo Giant” Hernandez (8-0, 4 KOs) notched a clean knockout at 2:50 of the second round against Tobias Rice (4-6, 2 KOs). Former 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (12-0, 6 KOs) beat out a game late-minute replacement in the shape of former lightweight Wilfredo Acuna (14-11, 11 KOs) with a 6-round unanimous decision.
Light heavyweight Lenin Castillo (6-0, 3 KOs) obliterated Ricardo “La Maquina” Campillo (7-3-1, 5 KOs) by TKO at 2:59 in the second round. Featherweight phenomenon Claudio “Matrix” Marrero (13-0, 10 KOs) dominated Mexican veteran Fernando Beltran (36-9-1, 20 KOs) to score a TKO-stoppage at 33 seconds of the third round. Bantamweight Juan Carlos “Baby Pacquiao” Payano (11-0, 6 KOs) stopped John Alberto Molina (32-19-3, 20 KOs) with a 9th-round TKO at 2:02.