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Column

Southern California Fight Scene

By Francisco Salazar

A somber news and notes about fighters and events in and out around Southern California:
Aside from the unfortunate passing of two-time world champion and classy individual Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, the big news of the week was the announcement that Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz will do battle on September 17th in a 12 round bout.

One of the men involved in putting the fight together, Golden Boy Promotions’ CEO Richard Schaefer, anticipates a fight-of-the-year extravaganza in conjunction with Mexican Independence Day celebrations that weekend. He admits that he “can not wait for the fight.”

“Floyd Mayweather is a tremendous fighter who has dominated fighters who were at their best or coming off of great victories,” Schaefer told Fightnews.com on Tuesday afternoon. “He has not fought in 13 months, but is still at the top of his game. He has faced great fighters with different styles throughout his career.”
“He will be facing a young stallion in Victor Ortiz who can box and has tremendous punching power. Since Victor is a big southpaw with punching power, maybe he has the style that can beat Floyd. This is a very appealing fight where styles make fights, and it could be that Victor may have the key style that beats Floyd.”

I’ve been asked by a few fight fans how that fight was able to be made. Schaefer admitted that making the fight was not at all difficult.

“There were no real difficulties in making this fight. Mayweather Promotions have been great to work with in the past and it was no different for this fight. We still have to iron out a few details for the fight, but hope to straighten those away in the coming weeks.”

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Within 24 hours of the announcement of the fight, Ortiz, from Ventura, was busy making his rounds, selling the fight on radio appearances.

Ortiz woke up bright and early to appear on the Spanish-language nationally syndicated “El Cucuy de la manana” on Wednesday morning. He discussed numerous topics with host Renan “El Cucuy” Almendarez Coello, including his upbringing, the Berto fight, and his upcoming fight with Mayweather.
Having watched Mayweather as an amateur and as a pro, Ortiz admitted on the air to Coello of a vision he had though about.

“I used to think that one day I was going to not only face Mayweather, but that I would be the first to beat him.”

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Unbeaten cruiserweight contender Lateef Kayode will headline a tripleheader “ShoBox, the New Generation” card this Friday night at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez. Kayode will take on Matt Godfrey (20-2, 10 KO’s) in a 10 round bout.
Kayode, (16-0, 14 KO’s) from Hollywood, by way of Lagos, Nigeria, won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over Nick Ianuzzi.

“I was not happy with my performance,” Kayode told Fightnews.com over the phone on Wednesday. “I should have done things like cut off the ring in that fight. It was a learning experience for me because Freddie (Roach) pointed out what I did not do well.”

Kayode will step in against Godfrey, who was stopped in the fifth round of his last fight in August by Marco Huck.

“I know he uses both hands and is going to come forward aggressively. I trained very hard for this fight. I worked hard with Freddie and I will show why I feel that I am ready for a world title shot.”

Kayode admitted that his nickname “power” comes from his actions as a boy. Not only would he be the enforcer on a soccer team, but he was a street fighter as well.
“Everything I did was with power. I played soccer when I was growing up, but I was the aggressive one. When I beat someone up, I did it with power. No one wanted to mess with me.”

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Speaking of Chumash, two unbeaten lightweights, Archie Ray Marquez and Art Hovhannesyan, meet in an eight round bout.

The Armenian-born Hovhannesyan, from Glendale, is coming off a fifth round stoppage victory over Jose Alfredo Lugo in April. This will be his televised fight of his career.
With over 200 amateur fights, Hovhannesyan (13-0-1, 7 KO’s) thinks he is more than ready and is eager to make a good showing on Friday.

“I feel really good,” Hovhannesyan told Fightnews.com recently. “I know that I fought around 140 pounds earlier in my career. But I feel stronger and faster at the contracted weight (133 pounds). I can’t wait for June 10th.”
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Final thoughts:

The boxing world was saddened with the passing of “Chicanito” Hernandez on Tuesday afternoon. We know that his last couple of months were very tough on him and his family. He was a great guy to talk to, even walking to where you to shake your hand and to say hello, despite the pain and discomfort he felt throughout his body.

He fought the rare form of cancer his body had the same way he tackled adversity in the ring. He could have given up, but he kept fighting.

Although we’re saddened that his life was cut short at 45 years of age, I will always take with me the smile he flashed, the upbeat attitude, and the great fights he had in the ring.

He was respected by the media, fighters, promoter, and fight fans without demanding respect. It’s a quality that some people take for granted, but Hernandez didn’t. People held a high regard to Hernandez. I know I did.

Rest in peace, amigo.

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