Southern California Fight Scene

By Francisco Salazar

We have seen this before in boxing. Two fighters are scheduled to face one another until one fighter has to withdraw from a fight. A replacement is found and that fighter ends up winning the bout. Could that be the case tonight in the hot Southern California desert? Unbeaten boxers Darley Perez and Bahodir Mamadjonov will battle tonight in a 10 round lightweight bout at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, CA.

It would be a tall order for Mamadjonov to pull off the upset over the favored and more experienced Perez. The Colombian-born Perez (25-0, 19 KOs) has impressed many in the sport with precise combinations and aggression in the ring.

He is trained by Danny Zamora and work out of the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Fe Springs.

In his last fight on April 6th, Perez knocked out Alain Hernandez in the second round in Ontario, CA. His most impressive victory to date as a pro was when he stopped fringe contender Oscar Meza after the sixth round on September 30th in Santa Ynez, CA.

Perez is co-promoted by Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing Promotions. He is currently ranked in the top 10 in all four major sanctioning bodies.

Mamadjonov (11-0, 7 KOs) trains and resides in Houston after having migrated from his native Uzbekistan. He is coming off a second round technical knockout over Terrance Roy in Meridian, MS on May 12th.

Mamadjonov took the fight against Perez last month when original opponent Michael Katsidis suffered an injury during training that forced him to withdraw.

Fight fans tuning in tonight on ESPN2 should see a competitive match up between two fighters who hit hard. Mamadjonov is a southpaw who can box, but Perez has faced the stronger opposition and has more professional bouts.

The “Friday Night Fights” telecast will start at 10PM ET/ PT.


If there is a favorite word that Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis has, it is the word “believe.”

After suffering a few setbacks in and out of the ring, Pendarvis has won his last five bouts in a row and is believes that he could compete and defeat some of the best boxers in the junior welterweight division.

Pendarvis told in a recent interview that he is scheduled to fight on September 20th at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, CA.

Pendarvis, with his likeable personality outside of the ring, possesses speed and an improving game that has allowed him to improve with each outing. He is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision over Robert Frankel on May 25th in Woodland Hills.

He has not lost since an eight round split decision loss to Terrance Cauthen in June of 2010. Prior to that bout, he stopped previously-unbeaten Hector Sanchez in the fifth round after having been in the first round.

However, Pendarvis suffered a minor setback before the Sanchez fight, losing an eight round majority bout to Mauricio Herrera.

“I was going through a lot outside of the ring,” reflected Pendarvis, who has won three regional title belts in his career. “My brother was shot and killed, my mother is paralyzed, and I had to drop 25 pounds. I already signed a contract and I didn’t want to drop out of the fight.”

“Now I know I can stop somebody like Herrera. I know that not only can I compete against the top 140 guys like Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, and others. But I believe I could beat them.”

Those are some brash words from a young fighter like Pendarvis. However, the fighter from South Central Los Angeles is dedicated to working his way to the top. He studies film often of his fights and of other bouts. Pendarvis thinks that by learning from his mistakes and to continue to learn will give the edge in future fights.

“I’ve been knocked down, but I’m proving that I can right back up. You can never stop learning and I want to continue to learn so I could reach my goals.”


Aside from Friday’s fight card in Cabazon, another fight card will take place this weekend. Goossen Tutor Promotions will present another their second installment of “Live at the Lodge” that will take place Sportmen’s Lodge in Studio City on Saturday night.

In the main event, Shawn Estrada (14-0, 12 KOs) and Felix Piedra (8-0-1, 5 KOs) will fight in a scheduled eight round light heavyweight bout.

Ukrainian Anatoliy Dudchenko (15-2, 11 KOs) looks to extend his 12-fight winning streak as he takes on Alfredo Contreras (12-13-2, 5 KOs) in a scheduled eight round cruiserweight bout.

Four more bouts will round out the card.

Promoter Dan Goossen told earlier this year that the “Live at the Lodge” series will take place every two months or so, satisfying the pallet of fight fans in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas.

For tickets, call (818) 817-8001.


Often before fights, there are boxers that unnecessarily trash-talk to each other. At Wednesday’s press conference in Sherman Oaks to promote the Antonio DeMarco-John Molina fight, it was refreshing to see two fighters who paid respects to one another.

You would have thought that both guys were the best of friends, as DeMarco and Molina showed their professionalism to each other and the sport of boxing.

Fight fans know that DeMarco-Molina has the potential to be a great fight. There is no need for insults or derogatory things to be said to one another. Some fighters could pull it off and we know who they are. But I am glad that Gary Shaw or Dan Goossen did not need to tell these fighters to “hype” up the fight.

One thing I also liked was John Molina of the Los Angeles suburb of Covina saying that the two could have dinner with each other after the fight.

May the best man win at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on September 8th.


As always, you can follow or tweet me on twitter at Salazar_soccer .. Come say hi to me at ringside.

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