Follow us on Twitter!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

USA Boxing Central Pacific Championships Results

Andy Vences and his proud father

Here are the full results from last Saturday's tournament in Fresno between the regional amateur champions of Northern California and Central California. The winners now make up the Central Pacific Regional Team and advance to the USA Boxing National Championships in Colorado Springs, CO on June 20-25. The tournament is of tantamount importance in that the top four in each division gain entry to the Olympic Trials in August in Mobile, AL.

The results come courtesy of coaches Candy Lopez and Armando Mancinas. Northern California fighters are denoted in red, and their Central California counterparts in blue. Italicized bouts indicated a rematch from the Golden Gloves Regional Finals. Winners are in bold:


Light Flyweight (108 lbs.):

Eros Correa, San Jose (PAL) – Unopposed

Flyweight (114 lbs.):

Rudolfo Becerril, Sacramento (Round 12) – Unopposed

Featherweight (123 lbs.):

Edwin Sandoval, Bakersfield (PAL) decisioned Mario Cardenas, Fairfield (PAL)

Lightweight (132 lbs.):

Eric Altamirano, Concord (CYC) decisioned Phillip Fuentes, Fresno (Aleman)

Light Welterweight (141 lbs.):

Andy Vences, San Jose (PAL) decisioned Vicente Guzman, Tulare (TAC)

Welterweight (152 lbs.):

Hugo Sanchez, Salinas (BC) decisioned Alex Acosta, Concord (Old School)

Middleweight (165 lbs.):

Coley and trainer Ben Bautista

Aaron Coley, S.F. (SFC Boxing) referee stopped contest-2 over Joey Perez, Clovis (Valley Vipers)

Light Heavyweight (178 lbs.):

Ruben Mendoza, Tulare (TAC) won by walkover against Darrell Taylor, Sacramento (Mateen)

Heavyweight (201 lbs.):

Antwon Abron, Stockton (Port City) decisioned Clinton Nelson, San Mateo (B Street)

Super Heavyweight (201+ lbs.):

Laron Mitchell, S.F. (Ring of Fire) decisioned Patrick Schwenke, Bakersfield (Psycho Boxing)


Light Flyweight (106 lbs.):

Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy (Unattached) – Unopposed

Flyweight (112 lbs.):

Jamie Mitchell, Salinas (BC) Unopposed

Bantamweight (119 lbs.):

Shanne Ruelas, Fresno (Main Event) Unopposed

Featherweight (125 lbs.):

Casey Morton, San Mateo (B Street) decisioned Clarissa Serna, Fresno (Velardez)

Lightweight (132 lbs.):

Brenda Gutierrez, Sacramento (Caballero) won by walkover against Katonya Fisher, Bakersfield (PAL)

Welterweight (152 lbs.):

Theresa Moon, Pacifica (BabyFace)Unopposed

Middleweight (165 lbs.):

Amy Castillo, Patterson (Kickboxing Academy) decisioned Kerlyn Orellana, Alameda (Multi-Choices)

*Only the 112, 132, and 165-pound weight classes will be eligible for the women to compete in during the 2012 Olympics.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Maryland's Gary Russell Jr. Returns June 18; Cherry Bomb is Back

Gary Russell, Jr.

Unbeaten featherweight prospect Gary Russell, Jr. has recovered from a hairline fracture to his right middle knuckle sustained in the first round of his latest victory last month over Adolfo Landeros, a fight I covered ringside in San Francisco.

Originally slated to face Dat "Be Dat" Nguyen in May, his father and trainer Gary Sr. informed me that advisor Al Haymon has instead penciled his son in for a June 18 date in Hidalgo, Tex.

"The hand is fine," Russell Jr. said.  "As a pro, these are things you just go through, and I'm ready for the next step against whoever it is."

The 2008 Olympian from Capitol Heights, Maryland, now stands at 15-0 with 9 KOs and is pushing for a regional title by the end of the year. The oldest of six boys (all of whom box southpaw), Gary Jr.'s blinding handspeed has turned heads and made him a fan favorite so far in his early career.

I caught up with the rising 126-pounder at the family's new home base, Rev. Briscoe's Boxing Gym in nearby Forestville, where he's been sparring former junior welterweight world title challenger Edner Cherry. On a side note, the now 135-pound "Cherry Bomb" has decided to campaign a division below at 130 and is looking for an opponent after Mark Davis pulled out of a scheduled July bout in Florida.

Personally I think Cherry, who earned his nickname by becoming one of the all-action fighters in the sport, has the potential to be an Orlando Salido-type world champion, having endured some tough losses in circumstances that were not ideal.  His last two losses were against world-class Timothy Bradley and Paulie Malignaggi at a 140-pound limit that was just too heavy for him.

"I feel stronger at 130 [pounds]," Cherry said.  "You're right in that those were tough fights, but I'm back.  I just need some good fights to get back to where I was, and I've been down in Florida with Andre Berto's people to make that happen."

Cherry has not lost in three years now and has strung together four wins in a row.  It will be interesting to see if his handlers can steer him to championship gold at junior lightweight.  I would advise fight fans to not give up on the Bahamian native just yet.

Edner Cherry is on the comeback trail.

Now back to the Russells.  It's going to be a busy month for the family, as Gary Jr.'s little brothers Gary Allen (141 lbs.) and Antonio (123 lbs.) have advanced to the 2011 USA Boxing National Championships in Colorado Springs. The tournament's importance is immense; the top four fighters in each weight class will advance to the Olympic Trials in October.

Look out for my colleague Alec Kohut's write-up on Russell on next week.

Reminder: USA Boxing Central Pacific Championships in Fresno on Saturday!

For more information including the bout sheet and directions to the event, click here:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gesta Goes with Top Rank!

By Ryan Maquiñana

Ryan Maquiñana with “No Mercy” after getting his haircut at Fine Line Barbershop in Daly City, CA back in February.

WBO No. 2 lightweight Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (21-0-1, 11 KOs) has agreed in principle to sign a multifight deal with Top Rank, according to promoter Bob Arum.

“Yes, we’ve signed [Gesta],” said Arum by telephone this afternoon. “His first fight with us will be on July 9.”

The news is a blow to rival Golden Boy, who had been the favorite to sign the free agent after his contract with Golden Boy consultant Don Chargin had recently run its course. The Los Angeles-based promoter has now whiffed on their second Filipino star in as many tries, as their attempt to sign Nonito Donaire has ended up in court.

Gesta, originally from Mandaue City, Philippines, has knocked out his last four opponents and six of seven. With Juan Manuel Marquez abdicating his WBO lightweight belt to fight Manny Pacquiao in November and heir apparent and interim holder Robert Guerrero looking to challenge Amir Khan for his WBA light welterweight title in July, the road might be paved for Gesta and Top Rank to make a play for a championship run.

As stated above, Arum informed me that his first fight under the Top Rank banner will be July 9 at the Home Depot Center in Carson on the undercard of Brandon Rios’s first lightweight title defense against Urbano Antillon.

Here’s a full-length feature I wrote on Mercito for MaxBoxing last February before he stopped Genaro Trazancos by third-round TKO in San Francisco:

Last but not least, here’s a quick video interview I did with him for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area before the bout:

Remember where you read it first!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ward’s Super Six road, what lies ahead

By Ryan Maquiñana

The mood in Andre Ward’s locker room late Saturday night was celebratory with a hint of relief, as the Oakland native marched one step closer toward winning the inaugural Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic with another dominant unanimous decision victory, this time in the semifinals over Arthur Abraham.

Despite the bout taking place only a one-hour flight away in Carson, Ward hardly enjoyed a hometown advantage in what would also be his third successful defense of his WBA super middleweight title.

The Armenian population in Southern California came out in full force to support Abraham (32-3, 26 KOs), with some estimates identifying the Home Depot Center crowd as 70 percent in favor of the challenger.

“When we announced the fight … I said he’ll probably have more fans,” said Ward, now 24-0 (13 KOs). “But my fans would be there too and it should be a lot of fun, and it was.”

Of course, the question now becomes where Ward goes from here.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AUDIO: Karim Mayfield Speaks to Ryan Maquiñana on Pacquiao Steroid Rumor

San Francisco welterweight Karim Mayfield (13-0, 8 KOs), who was a sparring partner in Manny Pacquiao's last camp in preparation for Shane Mosley, offers his two cents on the recent unsubstantiated internet allegations regarding Manny Pacquiao's so-called steroid use.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

VIDEO: CSAC Ath. Director Che Guevara speaks on Ward-Abraham

I caught up with CSAC Acting Athletic Director Che Guevara, who went into detail on how the neutrality agreement was reached between Andre Ward's promoter, Goossen Tutor, and Arthur Abraham's promoter, Sauerland Event.


VIDEO: Ward-Abraham Predictions

What do some of the top fighters, writers, movers and shakers think about the upcoming Ward-Abraham Super Six semifinal? Watch the video to find out!


VIDEO: 1-on-1 with Dan Goossen

Andre Ward's promoter, Dan Goossen, spoke to me about the neutrality agreement between Goossen Tutor and Sauerland Event that helped keep the fight with Arthur Abraham afloat.


VIDEO: 1-on-1 with Arthur Abraham

With a little translation help from famous Armenian singer Armenchik, Arthur Abraham was nice enough to talk to me about his upcoming Super Six semifinal with Andre Ward.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Baby-faced Destroyer: Introducing Matt Villanueva

By Ryan Maquiñana

Last August, I stood in the locker room of the CBB Arena in Ontario interviewing Chris Arreola after his win over Manuel Quezada when a familiar voice boomed behind me.

“The favors Goossen Tutor does for me, Matt,” ribbed Joe Goossen. “You get to headline the show and fight last.”

As I peered over my shoulder, the famed Southern California trainer calmed his anxious fighter, Matt Villanueva, a 23-year-old whose pensive expression made him look more suitable for a college chemistry classroom than a boxing ring.

I soon threw my misconception out the window when the super flyweight shook off the delay to his swing bout and proceeded to thrash Alejo Guzman inside two rounds behind a left hook that echoed upon impact.

“I get that sometimes,” said Villanueva, who has since run his record to 5-0 (5) and now faces Frank Gutierrez, 2-9-2 (1), on this Saturday’s undercard leading up to Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham. “I threw jabs at him and came at him with a really strong right. Then it just happened. It’s nice to show people my aggression when they’re expecting my boxing skills.”


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Benavidez to donate portion of homecoming purse to Phoenix Children’s Hospital

PHOENIX — Local boxing prodigy Jose Benavidez, Jr, set for his hometown professional debut on June 11th, will donate a portion of his purse to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, in what he hopes will be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the hospital.

Benavidez will be headlining Showdown Promotions’ “Rumble at the River II” at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler, Arizona.

VIDEO: Jose Benavidez Round 1 Trailer

“I feel lucky to be in the position that I am, and like to try to help the community, especially children, in whatever ways possible,” said Benavidez of his partnership.

Tickets for “Rumble at the River II” are available through Gila River Casino’s website at

Jose Benavidez, Jr., was the youngest ever Golden Gloves Champion, and in 2010 received a special dispensation from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to become a professional boxer at the age of 17. After training with Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach, and sparring with World Champions Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, Benavidez returned to Phoenix to continue to train under the tutelage of his father, Jose Benavidez, Sr. at Central Boxing Gym.

On May 7, 2011, on the undercard of the mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, Benavidez improved his already-impressive record to 11-0 with 10 knock-outs. Benavidez is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.

VIDEO: Benavidez spars Pacquiao at age 17

* * *
For more information, press only:
Emily Pandelakis
(602) 540-5075

For more information on Jose Benavidez, Jr.:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My take on Pacquiao's desire for a third fight with Marquez

If not Floyd Mayweather, then I was hoping it would be Tim Bradley. It would be akin to running out of Blue Label at the supermarket but the party's waiting at home, so you grab the Jack Daniel's off the shelf because it gets the job done and it saves you the indignity of drinking moonshine out of a bathtub.

Juan Manuel Marquez isn't quite moonshine, but after Manny Pacquiao's last three matchups, it would feel like meeting up with my friends to celebrate winning the lottery by busting open a bottle of ripple.

I would've loved this bout as late as last year, but Marquez has since been decked by Michael Katsidis and is on the downswing now. It's not as bad as a matchup with say, Kermit Cintron, who was last seen flying out of boxing rings in a single bound and hasn't beaten anyone of note to warrant such a shot (unless we count Angulo); the same can be said for Zab Judah, who is skilled but still needs a marquee win in his latest run at junior welterweight to even enter the discussion in my opinion.

Apparently Golden Boy has until Monday to match or surpass what Top Rank is offering Marquez (a catchweight bout at 144 for an undisclosed amount of money on November 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas), so I guess it's the waiting game until then.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Maquiñana: Paydays shouldn't be No. 1 for Pacquiao (w/ video)

Ryan Maquiñana

LAS VEGAS -- When the smoke cleared at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last Saturday, not much had changed.

As always, Manny Pacquiao was just doing his job, and it was nothing personal against Shane Mosley. Without hesitation, he directed all questions regarding the identity of his next opponent at his promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.

The predictable pattern of events at the postfight press conference was only matched by the action inside the ring. True to form, the 147-pounder showed once again why he is universally recognized as the best fighter on earth in a prolonged pounding of a heavy underdog in future Hall of Famer Shane Mosley.

So it may surprise the readers when I say that Pacquiao’s entering a dangerous comfort zone that doesn’t bode well for the sport.

Sure, he won his 14th consecutive fight. Undoubtedly, Mosley is a great name to add to a glittering résumé that now includes world titles in an unprecedented eight divisions and victories over 15 current or former world champions.

However, if recent trends continue, one has to wonder where Pacquiao intends to take his wild ride through boxing history.

Once lauded for cleaning out weight classes by taking on the best opposition available -- Marco Antonio Barrera at featherweight, Juan Manuel Marquez at junior lightweight, and Ricky Hatton at junior welterweight -- the 32-year-old WBO welterweight champion’s last few choices of foes since taking the pound-for-pound mantle have left much to be desired.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

VIDEO: 1-on-1 Exclusive w/ Manny Pacquiao after beating Mosley!

I caught up with Manny Pacquiao after his unanimous decision victory over Shane Mosley, first ringside for a couple of questions, then afterward at the postfight press conference.


Mosley Survives Pacquiao in an Unsatisfying Unanimous Decision

By Ryan Maquiñana, Ringside

LAS VEGAS, NV – As Manny Pacquiao knelt triumphantly in the corner of the MGM Grand Garden Arena ring Saturday night, an unfamiliar noise rang out.

Ultimately, the Filipino franchise fulfilled what most had prophesized, an asymmetrical and deliberate pounding of future Hall-of-Famer Shane Mosley. However, Pacquiao was unable to defend his WBO welterweight title in style, as a reluctant Mosley refused to take the risks necessary for knocking off the pound-for-pound king from his throne.

“I was telling my corner I was having problems moving,” said Pacquiao, who reportedly had been suffering from cramps since the fourth round.

Perhaps most telling of all, however, was the sellout crowd of 16,412 and a press row so vast that many media members weren’t even allowed into the venue itself for the festivities. In addition, with over a million pay-per-view buys in tow, Pacquiao was able to prove that he needed neither HBO nor an adversary in his prime to accomplish his objective of bringing a blockbuster bout to the bottom line.


EXCLUSIVE: Pacquiao-Mosley & Arce-W. Vazquez Official Scorecards!

VIDEO: Andre Ward primed for Abraham

I caught up with Andre Ward at the Super Six press conference in Las Vegas to get his thoughts on his upcoming semifinal against Arthur Abraham next Saturday in Carson.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Maquiñana: Mayol bout leaves unanswered questions

Ryan Maquiñana

The addition of former light flyweight champion Rodel Mayol to the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming fight with Shane Mosley didn’t raise many eyebrows among casual fight fans.

As nondescript as the announced eight-round bout may seem, however, speculation surrounds whether it serves as a reason why San Leandro’s Nonito Donaire never appeared on any of his fellow Filipino’s undercards despite being a Top Rank stablemate since 2007.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pacquiao-Mosley Media Fight Week Schedule

For those of you fans headed to Las Vegas early, here's a look at the media schedule I was given for the week's events leading up Pacquiao vs. Mosley, courtesy Magna Media:

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

CONGRESSMAN MANNY PACQUIAO and SUGAR SHANE MOSLEY, who combined have won world titles in 11 weight divisions, will battle for Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title on May 7 at the sold out MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao vs. Mosley, promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions, Tecate and MGM Grand, will televised Live on Pay-Per-View. The media fight week schedule is as follows (all times PDT.)


Noon - Mosley Grand Arrival
12:30 p.m. - Pacquiao Grand Arrival

Noon - Media Center Opens – Studio A / B


11:45 a.m. – Lunch is served – Hollywood Theatre
12:30 p.m. – Press Conference Begins - Hollywood Theatre


10:00 a.m. - Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson

11:30 a.m. - Non-Main Event and Select FNF Fighters


1:00 p.m. – Doors Open to Public
3:00 p.m. – Main Event to the Scale

5:00 p.m. – ESPN2 Friday Night Fights at Mandalay Bay

9:00 p.m. – BWAA Awards Dinner at MGM Grand
(Cocktails begin at 8:00 p.m., Dinner and Awards at 9:30 p.m.)


Per Top Rank, just added:
Super Six Semifinal
(Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham) at MGM Grand

3:00 p.m. – Doors Open at MGM Grand Garden Arena
3:10 p.m. – First Bout
6:00 p.m. – Live Pay-Per-View Broadcast

The four-fight Pacquiao-Mosley pay-per-view extravaganza will be produced and distributed live on SHOWTIME PPV®. Remaining closed circuit tickets, priced at $50, are on sale and available at all Las Vegas MGM Resorts properties.

The Pacquiao vs. Mosley pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $54.95, will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV®. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. For Pacquiao vs. Mosley fight week updates, log on to or

# # #


Lee Samuels, Top Rank: 702-732-2717 /
Ricardo Jimenez, Top Rank: 909-615-3436 /
Fred Sternburg, Sternburg Comm/Pacquiao: 303-548-0707 /
Suzanne Summerville, Sugar Shane Mosley Prom: 818-851-0095 /
Ed Keenan, EMC Events: 609-399-1330 /
Scott Ghertner, MGM Resorts Int'l: 702-650-7565 /
Steve Brener, Brener Zwikel: 818-462-5598 /
Chris DeBlasio, SHOWTIME: 212-708-1633 /
Media Credentials: