Rocky XI: Juarez Comes Back!
Rocky XI: Juarez Comes Back!
By Antonio Santiago, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 30, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Rocky Juarez
Since I became a writer at Doghouseboxing.com, I seldom write about boxing fights. I write about boxing books, fighters, maybe something else in between. But in order for me to write about a fight, it has to be truly a great, often well un-publicized, event.

Changing channels today, I found "Solo Boxeo Tecate" was showing on Univision. Upon learning that Ricardo "Rocky" Juarez was going to fight Antonio Escalante in a ten round Junior Lightweight bout, my first thought was "poor Rocky Juarez, he is just fighting for money already". The fight promised to be nothing special, considering that his rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera had been a bore-snooze and he had been handled rather easily by Chris John twice-do not let the bogus draw on their record fool you-and plus that he had lost 6 fights in a row. Everything indicated that this would be another snooze-festival with Juarez trying the occasional jab to last the distance and Escalante happy to pile up the points. But indications can be wrong, and was this one ever!!

Escalante, 28-5, 19 KO's, took the first two rounds by outworking Juarez, 29-10-1, 21 knockouts. The San Antonio, Texas, fighter, outworked his Houston counterpart. The fireworks began in round three, when Juarez landed a left hook between Escalante's gloves. It landed between Escalante's jaw and his nose, opening a vut near Antonio's right eye. More importantly, it sent Escalante sprawling to the canvas. He got up quickly but was badly hurt by the blow.

The two fighters traded leather for the next four rounds, exchanging momentum just as suddenly as thunder flash. Escalante seemed to fight better in mid ring while Juarez used his experience to gain control during ropes-battling. Rocky was landing the more telling blows to the body but Escalante was winning the battle to the head.

In round five, Escalante staggered Juarez with a pin-point right to the chin, and Juarez was dazzled badly, but he withstood the ensuing onslaught, showing that rock-hard chin that he has always possessed (never being stopped in 40 fights despite facing Barrera, Jason Litzau, Juan Manuel Marquez Jorge Linares and many others) and recovering to win rounds six and seven.

With the fight dead even on my scorecard at 66-66, Juarez went for the finish in round eight, after having Escalante hurt at the end of round seven. Most of round eight, Escalante, hurt but unwilling to quit, stood in there ala Arturo Gatti versus Gabriel Ruelas, receiving blow after blow while in a near fetal position but still on his feet. Just as it seemed that Juarez would get tired and let Escalante a chance to land a Gatti-Ruelas like knockout blow, he connected a head-body combo and Escalante had no choice but to drop near the ropes. He could not get up, and Juarez had somehow notched his 21st knockout win in 29 victory, his 29th win overall in 40 contests.

Both men showed great courage and resolve in making this one of the short-list candidates for Fight of the Year. While Salido-Lopez II remains my main candidate in that category (if you consider also that Ring Magazine writers seem to seldom watch Univision or the other Spanish channels, and that Salido-Lopez II was more like a gang battle with only two members inside the ring) this one sure was a fight that would be worth a second look!

Juarez may not have the time to make it all the way to the top anymore, but in this fight, he showed he has the will and determination needed to win in any situation.

As part of the undercard, Julian Ramirez, 5-0, 4 KO's, a promising Featherweight from Los Angeles, California, took out Steve Gutierrez, 4-2-1, 2 KO's, from Fort Worth, Texas, in five rounds by knockout.

Please send all Questions and comments to Antonio at TJ69662094@aol.com.

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