By David Robinett at ringside
With 47 knockouts between them among their combined 52 wins, the main event Thursday night between super middleweights Edison “Pantera” Miranda and Francisco “Panchito” Sierra at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California, did not figure to last the scheduled twelve rounds. True to form, Miranda, (33-4, 29 KOs), showed why he’s one of the most feared punchers in boxing, easily disposing of the Mexican super middleweight champion Sierra, (20-3, 19 KOs), with one punch at 2:16 of the first round.
Photos: Jan Sanders/Goosen Tutor
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Sierra, who entered the ring with a nearly perfect knockout percentage and an equally imposing stone-faced stare, started off trying to utilize his longer reach by popping out a few jabs at the cautiously circling Miranda. The two fighters, undoubtedly sensing the potential danger in each other’s power, fought tentatively for most of the round until a lead right hook from Miranda drove Sierra into the ropes. Miranda closed in on Sierra, who attempted to crouch low along the ropes to avoid the follow-up attack, but instead took another short right hook from Miranda on the temple a few seconds later, which sent Sierra pitching forward onto the canvas. Referee Dan Stell halted his count midway through as it become clear Sierra was not getting up, and just like that Miranda captured the vacant NABO Super Middleweight title and re-inserted himself into the discussion of relevant fighters in the super middleweight division.
This was the first fight for Miranda since a disappointing loss in May to 2004 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward, and the first under the banner of Goossen Tutor Promotions, with respected trainer Joe Goossen in his corner.
Quezada Gets Past a Determined Firtha!
Before his fight Thursday night against unheralded Nicolai “Stone Man” Firtha, fast-rising heavyweight Manuel “El Toro” Quezada assured his fans he was not looking past his opponent and ahead to more significant fights.
“Right now we just want to focus on Firtha,” said Quezada on Wednesday. “This is our opponent on [Thursday] so this is who we’re going to prepare for and fight.” Quezada continued, “Firtha is a big, tough guy, he’s been in there with some good fighters, like Tye Fields, and I feel he’ll be ready to go.”
It was a good thing Quezada was not looking ahead, because Firtha made him work nearly the entire ten rounds to secure a unanimous decision by scores of 97-93, 98-92, and an unfairly wide 99-91. Quezada is a natural counterpuncher, and is matched best against aggressive fighters who initiate the action and are not afraid to get hit. Firtha played that role well Thursday night, a big, lumbering heavyweight who nevertheless showed flashes of skill and decent technique, as well as a solid chin, taking several stinging counterpunches from Quezada as he pressured the local star for most of the fight before fading late.
Firtha landed several left jab-right hand combinations early which caught Quezada’s attention, while Quezada seemed at his best going over Firtha’s jab with a deceptively quick right hand counter. A case could be made that the fighters split the first six rounds, but after that point, while Firtha never let up, Quezada had increasing success timing Firtha and catching him with lead power punches and short combinations, particularly when Firtha telegraphed his attack by halting briefly to load up before throwing. By rounds nine and ten, a game Firtha was tiring badly, allowing Quezada to avoid Firtha’s weary attacks and to score at will.
With his 18th consecutive victory, a streak which began in 2005, the non-Caribbean Quezada retains his WBC Caribbean Heavyweight title and improves his record to 29-4, 18 KOs, while the valiant Firtha falls to 16-7-1, 7 KOs. Quezada appears to have progressed skill-wise past the likes of Firtha but a fight like this will likely keep Quezada sharp while waiting for bigger and better opportunities.
Dallas Cruises to Another Win
With only three knockouts among their combined 21 wins coming in, junior welterweights Mike Dallas, Jr., and Sergio De La Torre did not figure to match the fireworks of the main event. While Dallas thrilled the crowd with some impressive boxing against the overmatched De La Torre, there was never any danger of a knockout, or even a knockdown, as Dallas, (11-0-1, 2 KOs), cruised to a six-round unanimous decision over De La Torre, (11-13-3, 1 KO), by scores of 58-56, 60-54, 60-54.
Dallas, an aggressive boxer-puncher, utilized his quick jab while alternating lead left and right hands at will against De La Torre. Dallas’s greatest success was with his left hook, which battered De La Torre throughout the fight as De La Torre would lean away to his right to avoid Dallas’s right hand, leaving an open target for Dallas’s left. Dallas’s lack of punching power was readily apparent however, as despite battering De La Torre mercilessly for the first four rounds, De La Torre never appeared seriously hurt, and even came on the last two rounds to steal points on one judge’s card as Dallas was undoubtedly tired from the volume of punches he unloaded on De La Torre. Dallas’s lack of power may become a liability as he steps up his competition, but for now he is clearly a class above most fighters with the same level of experience.
Honorio Barely Escapes Disqualification!
Former featherweight title challenger Martin Honorio, now fighting at lightweight, narrowly escaped disqualification by knocking out rugged journeyman Ricardo Medina at 2:07 of round five in a scheduled six-round bout, despite two one-point deductions for low blows and warnings to Honorio for going low in nearly every round.
Honorio, (26-4-1, 14 KOs), was in line to fight hot prospect John Molina next month, with a victory over Medina, (31-35-5, 17 KOs), but nearly ruined those plans by battering Medina’s beltline repeatedly with his left hook. Honorio did not seem to be intentionally hitting Medina low, as he was shaking his head and making frustrated faces throughout, but for whatever reason: Medina’s defensive posture, Honorio’s carelessness, or a magnetized athletic supporter, Honorio’s left hook rarely landed above the beltline, while oddly, there was no problem with his right hand to the body.
The visibly frustrated Honorio abandoned his body attack almost entirely after point deductions in rounds one and three, and warnings seemingly every minute in between, but finally ended the bizarre affair with a beautiful one-punch sequence late in the fifth round. Honorio feinted twice to back Medina into the ropes, then connected with a big looping right hand that bounced Medina back against the ropes then face-first into the canvas where referee Ray Balewicz stopped the count and waved the fight over as Medina was down for nearly a minute before being helped to a stool. After the bout promoter Dan Goossen confirmed to the audience during the post-fight interview that Honorio would indeed be fighting Molina on November 28, 2009, in Temecula, California on ShoBox: The Next Generation.
In Other Action…
In other undercard action, decorated amateur and local star Aaron Alafa, (3-1, 1 KO), continued the rocky start to his boxing career, narrowly outpointing youngster Danny Pontoja, (0-1-1) by split decision in a four-round super bantamweight bout. Two judges scored the bout for Alafa, 39-37 and 38-37, while the other judge scored the bout 38-37 for Pontoja, who was credited with a knockdown in round three, although replays confirmed that Alafa slipped untouched while ducking under a looping right hand.
Ephraim Martinez, (3-0, 1 KO), stayed perfect with a third round TKO over Rodrigo Romero, (1-2, 0 KOs), in a scheduled four-round super bantamweight bout. Martinez caught Romero late in round two with a flurry that sent Romero briefly to the canvas, then got another knockdown in round three with a pair of right uppercuts before referee Dan Stell jumped in between the fighters shortly after as Martinez moved in for the finish.
Six-foot welterweight and teenager Alan Sanchez, (3-0, 1 KO), battered sacrificial lamb Mikhail Lyubarsky, (3-13, 1 KO), for nearly a round and a half before referee Ray Balewicz stopped the carnage at 1:06 of round two in a scheduled four-round bout. Sanchez badly hurt Lyubarsky with his first power punch of the fight, knocked him down with his second power punch of the fight, then proceeded to batter Lyubarsky from pillar to post, including another knockdown in the second round before the referee jumped in as Lyubarsky was being pummeled in a corner.
The seven-fight card, part of the “Tachi KO Night” series, was promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions.