On Friday, June 2, at Pechanga Resort & Casino, MarvNation Promotions in association with Ringside Ticket Inc., presented a special night of professional boxing, entitled “An Evening of Fights with Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.”
In addition to two of the greatest fighters in boxing history, Leonard and Hearns, serving as honorary hosts for the night and meeting fans, a seven-fight card was held, featuring local fighters, as well as a main event that pitted Orlando, Florida’s undefeated Jonathan Lopez (10-0, 7 KOs) taking on Mexicali, Mexico’s Eduardo Baez (21-4-2, 7 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight battle.
The all-time-greats Leonard and Hearns first met in “The Showdown,” on September 16, 1981, a super fight for the WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles, won by Leonard by TKO 14. The classic fight would go on to win Ring Magazine’s 1981 Fight of the Year. The pair would meet again in 1989, this time ending in a controversial draw. The action on Friday night kicked off with a meet and greet/press conference featuring the legendary boxers who lightheartedly reminisced about their fights in the 80’s and debated who won the fight and took pictures with the VIP guests.
“This really is a very special night of boxing, where fans can see great fights and two living legends of the sweet science,” said Ringside Ticket Inc. President Patrick Ortiz. “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sugar Ray Leonard for about 25 years and Thomas Hearns for about fifteen and there is nothing more exciting than meeting two of the greatest fighters, pound-for-pound, in the history of combative sports. I’m still in awe every time I meet them. I hope nobody missed out on this rare occasion to see great fights and these Hall of Fame fighters together one more time!”
As for the top fights, Jonathan Lopez put the featherweight division on notice by dropping former world title challenger Eduardo Baez once en route to a 10-round unanimous decision victory before a near sellout crowd at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. In the co-feature bout, junior middleweight prospect Fernando Vargas, Jr. won by knockout after Heber Rondon (20-5, 13 KOs) of Venezuela did not answer the bell for the third round.
The 26-year-old Vargas, who resides in North Las Vegas, Nevada, improved to 9-0, 9 KOs. Vargas, the son of former two-time world junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas, was the more-effective fighter, outboxing and landing the more-telling punches.
Local highlights of the event showcased Temecula’s House of Pain Boxing and Gym. They had three fighters on the card with Ian Morgan making his debut, Squire Redfern making his debut, and Jimmie Nunez back in action. All three fighters progressed through the House of Pain mentorship program.
The night opened with a heavyweight bout as Mike Diorio of Cortland, New York won his first pro fight, defeating Temecula’s Ian Morgan by unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 for Diorio (1-5-1). From there, middleweight Orlando Salgado of Grand Junction, Colorado then defeated Squire Redfern of Temecula by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 39-37 for Salgado, who improved to 3-2, 2 KOs.
“We had our debaters come up short, but they hung in and never quit, so we are very proud of them,” Coach David Trujillo said after the fight. “As for “EL Chingon” (Jimmie Nunez) we knew he would bring the show not only in the ring but all throughout the stands.”
Nunez improved to 4-1, 4 KOs, stopping Denver’s Deljerro Revello (1-6) at 1:39 of the fourth round. Revello went down from an accumulation of punches in round 2.
The remaining results saw junior bantamweight contender Adelaida Ruiz drop Maria Cecilia Roman once on her way to a knockout win in the eighth round; hard-hitting light heavyweight Lawrence King won by knockout after former fringe middleweight contender Marcos Reyes of Mexico (37-10, 28 KOs) remained on his stool after the sixth round; and junior middleweight prospect Mario Ramos of nearby San Diego stopped Mexico’s Jesus Cruz Silva (6-3, 1 KO) at 2:09 of the fourth round. The 23-year-old Ramos was fighting for the first time in almost a year and improved to 11-0, 9 KOs.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.