By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Marlene Marquez
On Friday night Golden Boy Promotions and ShoBox: The New Generation kicked off 2013 with an event held at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The crowd was big and quite mannerly all in all. Eight of the 14 fighters on the card were undefeated, so some of the fights set up to be interesting ones.
The main event was a match-up between the unbeaten Ronny Rios (20-0, 9 KOs) going up against Rico Ramos (21-2, 11 KOs). This fight was for the vacant NABF featherweight title, and was scheduled for 10 rounds. Round one was a bit of a feeling out round for the fighters. They were stalking each other for most of the round. As to be expected, both men took it to the other a lot more in the second round.
We saw a very competitive third round. Both Ramos and Rios scored points with their accuracy and both wanted to stand and fight. It was the same in the fourth. There were a lot of punches thrown and landed in a fast-paced round. It appeared to be advantage Ramos in the fifth. He was the busier and more accurate fighter and kept the pressure on Rios.
But Rios came out swinging for the body in round six – and finding it. He also began to find a home for his right hand uppercut as well. Ronny definitely came to play in this round. The same was true for the seventh. Rios was looking to win this fight in these middle rounds.
The eighth was as slow as the first round was. Hard to say whether the fighters were taking a round off or just waiting for their spot, but not much of real fighting in that round. They came out firing in the ninth, with both of them getting in clean, hard shots on the other.
There were moments of action in the tenth and final, then really slow times when the crowd would boo. All in all, not a bad fight, just not explosive 100% of the time like the fans might want. We went to the scorecards. The judges saw it 100-90, 97-93, and 96-94, a unanimous decision for the winner, Rios. That 100-90 score seemed a bit unrealistic, but the fight definitely belonged to Rios. Ronny now holds the NABF featherweight belt.
In the snoozer of a co-main event we had two fighters with unblemished records facing off. Middleweights Daquan Arnett (10-0, 6 KOs) and Brandon Quarles (9-1-1, 2 KOs) went at it in a bout scheduled for eight rounds. Seeing two undefeated fighters square off meant that this fight should have been a good one. Both fighters stood toe to toe in the first round and connected with punches. Both of them also worked the body a lot as well. A good, active first round which tricked us, because the fight did not live up to expectations.
The fighters continued to stay, literally, head to head and fight in round two. At the very end of the round they both got in some good blows from a bit of a distance as the bell rang. The game plan changed for the two men in the third, as they worked away from each other and starting connecting with solid punches. Quarles got the best of the exchanges, with good right hands to the body and then a few uppercuts thrown in for good measure. Along with that however, we saw Brandon folding up and holding a lot.
Arnett was throwing a lot of punches, but the power did not seem to be there and appeared to not have an affect on Brandon. When Quarles connected there was much more of a reaction. In the fifth Arnett finally made an impression on Brandon and staggered him a bit, causing Quarles to hold on even more.
The tide seemed to turn in the sixth, as the power of Brandon did not look to be as damaging, and Arnett looked to be wearing Quarles down with his body punches. A lot of holding and pushing, and Quarles was warned about pushing Arnett’s head down. At the end of the round Quarles hit Arnett after the bell, causing Daquan to jump toward him, but referee Ray Corona was right there to not let things go any further
There was more holding than fighting in the seventh and both men looked tired. Quarles continued to push Arnett’s head down, and the referee finally took a point away from him right at the end of the round.
In the eighth and final the fighters came out a little stronger, with both of them trying to show why they should win, but it was too little too late to keep, or even get, anyone to really be interested. We went to the scorecards. The judges saw the fight 78-73, 77-74, and 76-75 all for Arnett. He remained undefeated and handed Quarles his first loss in the process.
Hometown hero Randy Caballero (18-0, 10 KOs) faced his toughest challenger to date, fellow junior featherweight and veteran Luis Maldonado (38-10-1, 29 KOs) in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds. Randy told me before the bout that he needed to end the fight early, respecting the experience of Maldonado.
Caballero was controlling the first round and managed to drop Maldonado. Randy continued connecting with his right hand in the second round. Maldonado also got in some shots, but they were not as crisp as Caballero’s. Luis had a very strong third round. He was hitting Caballero at will. A great round for Maldonado.
But in the fourth a combination by Randy to the body of Luis put him down and out at :39 seconds of the fourth round. Randy had stayed patient and waited for his opportunity, and by doing so remained undefeated.
The young Julian Ramirez (6-0, 5 KOs) faced off against Sergio Najera (4-9) in a junior featherweight fight scheduled for six rounds. Ramirez was in complete control in the first round, during which Najera suffered a nasty cut above his left eye. After having the ring doctor look at the cut the fight was stopped at 1:35 of that very first round. Ramirez remains undefeated.
Lightweights took to the ring in a fight that was scheduled for four rounds. In this one, it was Santiago Guevara (5-0, 3 KOs) who was pitted against Juan Zuniga (4-9-1, 1 KO). Guevara was the slickest in the first, being able to gauge and place his punches. Santiago’s jab was working perfectly. He would use it to both keep his opponent at bay and set up his right hand for hard shots to both the body and the head of Zuniga. Then a combination of back to back left hands put Zuniga down at the end of the second.
In the third Juan was down again and shortly thereafter again. The crippling body punches by Guevara proved to be too much. The fight ended at :59 seconds of the third round.
Olympian Dominic Breazeale (3-0, 3 KOs) faced off against Caleb Grummet (3-3-1, 2 KOs) in a heavyweight bout scheduled for four rounds. From the outset Grummet took great punishment but refused to fall. With just a few seconds remaining he went down in what looked more like a slip than a punch. He was up for the count, but at the bell was flattened again by a hard right hand of Dominic. At .25 seconds of round two another right put Caleb down and the referee stopped the fight.
Heavyweights started off the evening when Gerald Washington (6-0, 4 KOs) went up against DJ Hugley (1-6, 1 KO) in a fight that was scheduled for four rounds. It was a very long and slow first round until the last 15 seconds, when the men finally began to throw punches. Hugley got in a good punch in the second. The only problem with that was that Washington connected with many more than that.
In the third, the swooping left hand of Gerald was finding its target with quite a bit of accuracy, and with power behind it. In the fourth, Washington just flicked a left hand out there and nearly knocked down DJ. From then on it was all Gerald, using either hand effectively. We went to the scorecards. All four judges saw the fight the same, 40-36 for Washington. He remained undefeated.
So a mixed fight card for this first event in Indio. Rios did a workmanlike job in winning the belt. By Golden Boy making his fight the last of the night, Caballero kept the fans in their seats and he did not disappoint. The still green Ramirez showed some talent, although his fight didn’t last long enough to show off much of his skill. Breazeale is ready for tougher. It will be interesting to see what happens with some of these fighters from here.