Lopez batters Williams!
By Vikram Birring, Doghouse Boxing (May 21, 2010)  
If a boxing career was a plot, Rubin Williams would be in the falling action. What was once a brilliant boxing career has come to this, taking fights in a young contender’s hometown for a few thousand dollars. Prostitution for his name to be placed on someone’s resume.

It wasn’t always like this. Fourteen years ago, Williams was fighting for a spot on the 1996 United States Olympic boxing team. One of the hottest amateurs in the nation, he was defeated in the quarter-finals of the Eastern
Olympic trials by future world champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy. More on him later.

Williams turned professional in 2001 and reeled off nineteen victories. Then, in June 2003, he had the unlucky proposition of facing crude slugging Colombian Epifanio Mendoza. Eight months earlier, Mendoza had already shocked highly touted Tokunbo Olajide by stopping him in the opening round in New York on national television. Now, he had another chance to destroy another prospect in his hometown.

What took place was a Detroit Disaster. Mendoza bulled Williams to the ropes, and unleashed crude, but murderous punches. One of them, an overhand right, caught Williams above his left ear and sent him sprawling to the canvas. Williams tried to use his arms to push himself back up, but fell on his left side. There was no rising from this. The fight was over, after just forty-two seconds.

Williams managed to rebuild his career, with seven straight victories against modest competition. Then he faced another power puncher, the aforementioned Lacy. By this point, Lacy was a world champion with a reputation for awe-inspiring power.

This time, Williams was not embarrassed. He fought hard, and gave his fullest effort, but was stopped in the seventh round. Williams was never the same after that bout.

He managed three victories, but then suffered a dubious draw against faded Antwun Echols. What followed were seven consecutive defeats. Some were elites, Allan Green, Andre Ward, and Chris Henry.

But now he does not even get the call to fight names, instead he is a building block of a young investment of a hometown promoter. He ventured to Germany and Australia to be defeated by Eduard Gutknecht and Les Sherrington, who outside their home countries are totally unknown.

Now he was set to face Alfonso Lopez, who was unknown outside his home state. Lopez has had a good career thus far, showing flashes of brilliance, but against mediocre competition. He is twenty-eight years of age, with only a few years of physical prime left, and his promoter finally felt the time was right to step up.

What took place was predictable. Lopez 20-0 (15) pounded Williams 29-10-1 (16) for ten rounds. In the thirty minutes of action, Williams landed two meaningful punches. In return for a paycheck, he took dozens of combinations off his face. Four punch, six punch, eight punch, and even ten punch combinations. The only remarkable feat was that nobody had the heart to stop the beating, not the referee, corner, or doctor. Williams earned some fans with his foolish bravery, but in the long run, one wonders. Is it really worth it? The long term brain damage from boxing is well documented, but what stands out is that the last few bouts of a boxer’s career, one sided beatings, tend to cause such symptoms as Parkinson’ Disease. Williams should be saved from himself. Next time he applies for a boxing license, he should be denied, for the sake of his future health and those who love him.

Johanna Mendez is a great athlete, but in a sport few pay attention to and a division with no marketable names to speak of. So bad is her predicament that her opponent, Christina Ruiz, was two divisions higher at junior featherweight. Mendez walks around at 115 pounds.

For the first four rounds, Mendez 7-0 (2) used her advantages in speed and footwork, as she circled around the ring and let loose with crisp, precise combinations. In the one minute break between rounds, Ruiz 5-3 (3) made a decision. Instead of trying to outbox Mendez, she was going to simply walk through her punches and walk her down. She did exactly that, and caught Mendez with some strong punches, and ignited the crowd with each landed blow. Local cards are not supposed to have competitive bouts, but this one was a barnburner. With the fight over, Ruiz was sure of victory. Unfortunately, boxing is more about mathematics, and Mendez’s first four rounds were enough to carry her to a majority decision victory.

Alicio Castaneda had never been in this situation before. He was bleeding heavily over his eye. He had a determined, in shape opponent trying to open it more. What did Castaneda 10-1 (5) do? He kept fighting. Oscar Roville 1-4-1 (1), a svelte, strong looking man originally from Puerto Rico but since has made the odd relocation of Texarkana, Texas, didn’t do much to discourage Castaneda. He was a gun with blanks. He had a perfect stance, looked muscular and strong, but did not let his hands go, and when he did, showed little technique. The look on his face was heartbreaking, he kept fighting, eating punches one after another, but knew he had nothing to combat it. Luckily for him, it was only a four round fight, but whoever tricked him into joining boxing should be reprimanded. This type of exploitation is disgusting, and borderline criminal.

To say Fernando Castaneda had a rough start to his boxing career would be an understatement. He lost four of his first five bouts. Then he made the decision to move to the United States. The result has been five victories in six bouts, the one defeat being a disputed split decision loss. Now standing in his way was Deon Nash, the epitome of journeyman. The last time Nash won a bout, George Bush was the American president and the world economy was booming. What has happened to Nash since can simply be described as sad. Eleven straight defeats all across the United States. How he even managed to get a license is extraordinary.

Nash has one decent weapon in his arsenal, a jab, and occasionally let it show against Castaneda. But Castaneda’s left hook was stronger. For minutes at a time, Castaneda 7-5 (4) placed Nash 5-13 (1) against the ropes and pounded away with loaded left hooks, to the body and head. Nash showed great heart in taking them, but enough was enough and the fight was stopped the bout in the fifth round.

Ashley Alvarado, a promising amateur boxer, made her debut in spectacular fashion against overmatched Maria Ruiz. Though she switched back and forth from orthodox stance to southpaw, Alvarado 1-0 (1) was most effective from the southpaw stance, where she scored three eye-popping knockdowns with lead left crosses that Ruiz 0-1 never saw coming. After the third knockdown, the referee saw enough and stopped the fight. If there was any consolation for Ruiz, it was that the ring announcer accidentally announced her as the winner, before being corrected by a bamboozled audience.

Darlington Agha is a gentle giant. Though he is a huge man, with rippling muscles gained from a college football career in Washington state, he is a school teacher in his day life, but in the ring, he transforms to “Cheek,” a devastating boxer with hands seemingly made of brick. James Johnson’s nickname is “Gentleman”. Johnson 20-41-3 (13) lived up to his name by not putting up much of a fight, as Agha 3-0 (3) knocked him down four times in the opening round, before the pummeling was mercifully stopped by the referee.

Questions or comments,
Vikram at: vikram.birring@gmail.com

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