"Star Power: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" - The Mexican Independence Day Event For All Generations; Gamboa-Ponce De Leon on Saturday

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 7)...Throughout the history of boxing, generations of family members have come together to watch the sweet science. Whether it was fathers and sons watching fights together or grandfathers buying tickets to take their grandsons to stadiums or arenas, the sport has always been a family affair. Now, with top pay-per-view events being televised live nationwide, it's not uncommon for three generations (or more) to gather in the same room and share in the thrills of major prize fights.

This is certainly true with boxing's massive Mexican and Mexican-American fan bases and it's no accident that there's a major fight card on the Saturday of Mexican Independence Day weekend every year. It's an ideal night for bringing these families together and this year is no different with "STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" Saturday, Sept. 17 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as well as STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. This event will provide the kind of ultra high quality fight card from top to bottom that offers something for fans of every generation.

Maybe Grandpa doesn't yet know and love the new stars of the fight game, but he certainly knows and loves Erik "El Terible" Morales. With the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez long retired, Morales now represents the "old guard" of Mexican warriors, a blood-and-guts aggressor from the traditional all-action Mexican mold who has been delighting audiences for more than 18 years. He is a throwback to whoever was the most popular Mexican fighter of the older fan's youth, whether that was Kid Azteca, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate or Salvador Sanchez. For fans who love Morales, his fight on Sept. 17 against knockout-minded Lucas Matthysse might feel like the main event of the evening.

For slightly younger fans, those in their twenties perhaps, it's rising star "Vicious" Victor Ortiz who might be their favorite. Ortiz, a Kansas-born, California-based Mexican-American who faces the challenge of a lifetime against the best in Floyd Mayweather in the evening's main event, is the fighter who's been developing in front of our eyes for the last five years, rising from prospect to contender to champion. If he defeats Mayweather, he'll instantly become the hottest Hispanic attraction in all of boxing.

However, what if you're a little younger, a Mexican or Mexican-American teenager or a pre-teen kid beginning to follow in Dad and Granddad's footsteps as a fight fan? Then your favorite is probably Guadalajara's Canelo Alvarez, the undefeated super welterweight sensation who'll be headlining STAPLES Center portion of the event against Mexican-American veteran Alfonso Gomez. If there's a young woman at the family pay-per-view gathering, you'd better believe Canelo is the fighter on this card who will grab her attention.

If that's not enough, don't forget Jessie Vargas, the unbeaten 22-year-old from Las Vegas who represented Mexico in the 2008 Olympics. Like Alvarez and Ortiz, he's a star of the future that today's kids might be telling their grandchildren about in the future.

For many years, Oscar de la Hoya's fights were associated with the Mexican Independence Day weekend. There was his domination of Hector Camacho in '97, his rematch with the iconic Chavez in '98, his superfight with Felix Trinidad in '99 that set the record at the time for a non-heavyweight fight with 1.4 million pay per view buys, his grudge match with Fernando Vargas in '02, his second fight with Shane Mosley in '03 and his challenge of Bernard Hopkins in '04. Prior to De La Hoya's rise, the holiday weekend belonged to Chavez; he fought Mario Martinez in '84, Lonnie Smith in '91, Camacho in '92, Meldrick Taylor in a rematch in '94, David Kamau in '95 and finally De La Hoya in '98. De La Hoya and Chavez both fought six times in headlining bouts on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

In more recent years, the weekend has been spread among other beloved Mexican fighters. Marco Antonio Barrera defeated Robbie Peden in '05 and Rocky Juarez in '06. Juan Manuel Marquez took center stage against Joel Casamayor in '08 and Mayweather in '09. In 2010, both Canelo Alvarez and Victor Ortiz turned in show-stealing performances on the undercard of the event topped by Mosley's fight with Sergio Mora.

Major boxing events are a great Mexican Independence Day weekend tradition and this year, it will be a tradition that the whole family-every generation-will enjoy. From the opening bout until Mayweather and Ortiz are in the ring and Michael Buffer is bellowing "Let's get ready to rumble!," STAR POWER is precisely the type of event fans have come to expect on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

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"STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" is a mega-event taking place Saturday, Sept. 17 from two world-class cities with three world titles at stake. Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz will face off in a 12-round fight for Ortiz's WBC Welterweight World Title from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Canelo Alvarez and Alfonso Gomez will do battle in a 12-round fight for Alvarez's WBC Super Welterweight World Title from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Also live in Las Vegas will be Erik Morales vs. Lucas Matthysse in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight World Title and an opening fight featuring undefeated rising star Jessie Vargas against top contender Josesito Lopez. The mega event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, DeWALT Tools and AT&T. Alvarez vs. Gomez is presented in association with Canelo Promotions and Morales vs. Matthysse is presented in association with Box Latino Promotions and Arano Box Promotions. "STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Fans in the United Kingdom can watch the fight live on Primetime, channel 480 on Sky, Virgin on Demand and streamed live via the website at 2:00 a.m. BST (Sunday, September 18).

Remaining tickets for Mayweather vs. Ortiz are priced at $1,250, $1,000 and $600, not including applicable service charges, with a total ticket limit of twelve (12) per person. Ticket sales are limited to ten (10) per person at the $1,250, $1,000, $600 and $300 price levels with a ticket limit of two (2) per person at the $150 price level.To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at or

Tickets for Alvarez vs. Gomez, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $50, are on sale now and available for purchase online at, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000. Tickets are also available at STAPLES Center box office.

Seven of the MGM Resorts properties will host closed circuit viewing of "STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz." Tickets for the closed circuit telecasts at all venues are priced at $50, not including handling fees. All seats will be general admission and are on sale now at each individual property's box office outlets or by phone with a major credit card at 866-799-7711. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. Tickets for the viewings at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay will also be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or online at

A Gamboa Loss Good for Business?

By Chip Mitchell : As early as 2008, a winner-takes-all showdown between undefeated featherweights Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa seemed inevitable. It was a 50/50 fight if there ever was one, and Bob Arum proclaimed that it could be built to be the “biggest featherweight fight of all time”.

Top Rank Boxing began promoting cards that featured Lopez and Gamboa in co-feature fights. The effort was made to develop the proposed battle into mega-fight status. Hardcore boxing fans, as well as casual observers began to clamor for the fight to take place. Arum had other plans, however, and as subsequent fights and years went by, many wondered if the fight would occur.

Each time Arum was pressed with the question, he would say that the time wasn’t right. He wanted to continue building it up to a mega-fight, one that crossover fans and boxing purists alike would desire to see.

Top Rank then came up with an idea, which was to have ‘JuanMa’ Lopez and ‘El Ciclon de Guantánamo’ Gamboa fight common opponents. It was a good idea, but risky because of the unforgiving nature of the sport of boxing. For example, if JuanMa looked light-years better than Gamboa versus the same opponent, the luster of a mega-fight could dampen a bit.

Funny thing, that sport of boxing. There are no guarantees, and on the night of October 10, 2009, the luster of a mega-fight did diminish a bit. The place was Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater, where a spirited crowd watched Lopez enter the ring against Rogers Mtagwa. The first six rounds went as expected and Lopez was clearly in charge. The seventh round featured a right hand by Mtagwa that staggered Lopez a bit. Lopez didn’t look too hurt but he began to eat Mtagwa’s leather.

In four of the next five rounds, Mtagwa put the Lopez/Gamboa match-up in serious jeopardy as he gave Lopez a serious beating during their exchanges. Lopez miraculously survived the twelfth round and gutted out a decision victory. News out of the Lopez camp was that JuanMa had problems making weight, and that he’d move up to 126 pounds.

The Gamboa fight was still on, as Yuriorkis cruised to a fourth round stoppage of Whyber Garcia.
The next time these two warriors were featured, JuanMa was able to stop a game Steven Luevano. It was a good win against a fighter who had five title defenses, and had never been knocked out.

Earlier that night, Gamboa beat Rogers Mtagwa (yes, that one) via second round TKO. It was “easy work”, a term talented fighters have used in the past to describe scintillating ring performances.

By now, some felt the luster had worn off to the point that they implored Arum to make the fight as soon as possible. Arum wouldn’t hear of it, and told all within listening distance that the fight was still quite a ways down the road.

Gamboa fought Orlando Salido in 2010 and won a unanimous decision. JuanMa won a thrilling fight about two months later against Rafael Marquez. Lopez had his breakout fight and seemed to have reached star status. Fans again asked for the JuanMa/Gamboa match-up.

Top Rank wanted to build the fight up even more and on April 16, 2011, the unthinkable happened. JuanMa fought Orlando Salido (yes, that one) in Puerto Rico and was stopped (while standing). The referee, Roberto Ramirez, Jr thought JuanMa had taken enough punishment. The luster of a super-fight with Gamboa had just about lost its gleam.

As I poll hardcore boxing fans on occasion, most feel Gamboa will run through JuanMa if they meet. I usually ask a follow-up question such as if they felt the same way two years prior. Most feel that it would’ve been an even fight in 2008, but it has taken too long to make. I counter that Bob Arum is one of the best promoters and part of the reason is because he can build certain fighters up and get them a solid fan base. Most fans I polled agree and still hope that the fight happens.

I ask myself, what would change their opinion that this could once again be a 50/50 fight? The answer is simple and it’s already been visited in this story. A common opponent!

If Daniel Ponce de Leon can beat Yuriorkis Gamboa this weekend, the pendulum will swing back towards JuanMa and make it closer to being the even fight it was a few years ago. JuanMa had an “easy work” night against Ponce de Leon (yes, that one) in 2008. He won by first round TKO. A win over Mike Oliver in October and a rematch victory over Salido would surely bring the odds back to 50/50.

Fans stay tuned. A victory on HBO this Saturday by Ponce de Leon over Yuriorkis Gamboa doesn’t just do wonders for his career. It will also play a part in boosting fans’ belief that JuanMa can still beat Gamboa. More so, a Gamboa loss will help facilitate Top Rank’s original quest to make this an even money mega-fight that hardcore and casual fans want to see.


LOS ANGELES, September 8 - Female boxing icon Mia St. John will be one of the guest speakers along with First Lady Michelle Obama to talk about the need for more mental health programs on Monday Sept. 12 in Washington D.C.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute of Public Policy conference will host a three day event pinpointing mental health issues and an ever-growing population of people that are not covered under current mental health programs.

St. John, a former world champion prizefighter from Los Angeles and perhaps women boxing's most famous athlete, has been a strong proponent for school-based mental health programs.

"The need for strong support of mental health programs has been a target for Mia St. John for many years," said Laguna Beach's Claudia Ollis, a woman's boxing advocate and promoter assisting St. John. "She's a pugilist and a fighter for mental health needs especially for the youth."

St. John, a former lightweight world champion, is currently working toward a rematch with another boxing icon Christy "The Coalminer's Daughter" Martin. They last fought in 2009.

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Article posted on 08.09.2011

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