Boxing


Humberto Soto vs. Lucas Mathysse on Saturday; Reform in boxing

LOS ANGELES (June 19, 2012) - Former Three-Time World Champion Humberto "Zorrita" Soto will seek to join rare company among active fighters with 60 wins as he pursues his 60th professional victory when he faces the always-dangerous and hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse in a battle of world-ranked super lightweights in the co-featured fight on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, June 23 live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

Soto (59-7-2, 34 KO's), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will battle Matthysse for the vacant WBC Continental Americas super lightweight title and look to extend his current 15-fight winning streak. He'll also look to push himself higher in the world ratings where he is already rated number two by the World Boxing Council (WBC), number three by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and number seven by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

Matthysse (30-2, 28 KO's), whose concussive power led him to scored nine knockdowns in a fight against former World Champion DeMarcus Corley, has won his last two fights and will be making his fifth start in the United States on Saturday night. Matthysse's only losses came via controversial split decisions to former World Champions Devon Alexander and Zab Judah in a pair of fights that many ringside observers felt Matthysse won. A native of Trelew, Argentina, Matthysse is rated number four in the world by the WBC, number six by the WBA and number eleven by the WBO.

Soto and Matthysse's 12-round fight will immediately precede what should be an exciting 12-round main event between former World Champion, Kansas native Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO's) who now resides in Ventura, Calif., and contender Josesito Lopez (29-4, 17 KO's) of Riverside, Calif.

Tickets priced at $250, $150, $100 and $50 are available online at www.staplescenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000 or at STAPLES Center box office.

If triumphant, Soto at 32 years old, will join a handful of active fighters with 60 or more wins, including James Toney, Jorge Arce, Jose Luis Castillo, Luis Ramon "Yori Boy" Campos and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.

"Winning 60 fights would be great, but winning another world title is what I really want,'' said Soto who turned professional at 17 years old in September of 1997. "I've always worked very hard in training trying to learn different things. I've always been very dedicated in the gym. Matthysse is a great fighter with a very respectful power punch. I'm going to fight a very intelligent fight. I'm going to follow my corner's directions and go in there and outbox him and be the smarter fighter."

A terrific counter-puncher with good overall skills and movement, the crowd-pleasing 5-foot-7 ½-inch Soto has fought excellent opposition throughout his career, including former World Champions David Diaz, Jesus Chavez, Joan Guzman, Jorge Solis and Kevin Kelley.

Soto captured the WBC super featherweight title in December 2008 and the WBC Lightweight World crown in March 2010. He made three successful defenses of the 130-pound belt and successfully retained the 135-pound crown on four occasions.

One of his most memorable title defenses came in a close, unanimous 12-round decision win over the brave and determined Urbano Antillon in a spectacular, fast-paced, give-and-take slugfest on Dec. 4, 2010 in Anaheim, Calif.

"I thought I won more clearly than the judges had it (115-112, 114-113 twice), but without a doubt it was the toughest fight of my career,'' Soto said. "There were a lot of rough tactics from him (Antillon threw Soto to the canvas three times), but I expected that which is why I never became frustrated by it."

Four of Soto's defeats and both of his draws came during his first three years as a professional. Soto's last loss came via a controversial fourth-round disqualification in June 2008. He is coming off of a unanimous 10-round decision over Claudinei Lacerda last April 7 in Cancun, Mexico.

Matthysse, a solid amateur before turning professional in June 2004, will look to turn what Soto hopes will be a boxing match into a brawl. The Argentine, who is well known for his thudding power, would be undefeated if only he'd received the benefit of the doubt in two very controversial and questionable points losses to Judah and Alexander (in which he knocked both of them down) in what amounted to home games for them.

The younger brother of retired former welterweight world title challenger Walter Matthysse, Lucas is comingoff of two knockout wins in his native Argentina. In his lone outing this year, he scored a dominant sixth-round technical knockout win over Angel Martinez on Feb. 10. Prior to that, on Dec. 9 the 5-foot-9, 29-year-old knocked out Sergio Priotti in the fourth round.

Before that, Matthysse fought three left-handed former world champions in a row - Judah on Nov. 6, 2010, Corley on Jan. 21, 2011 and Alexander on June 25, 2011.

A two-fisted slugger who tends to start slowly, Matthysse spotted Alexander an early lead but rallied to drop him with a right hand in the fourth. He rocked Alexander in the seventh, eighth and tenth rounds, but it wasn't enough as he lost by one point on one of the scorecards (95-94), by three on another (96-93) while winning by three (96-93) on the third card.

"I was robbed,'' Matthysse said. "I gave it my all and it was a tough fight, but I thought I won. He's lucky he won the fight."

The aggressive-minded Matthysse obliterated Corley in a fight in Argentina, flooring him twice in the fifth round, once in the sixth, three times in the seventh and three times in the eighth. The referee finally halted the slaughter at 2:00 of the eighth.

Against Judah, Matthysse also overcame an early deficit before coming on strong in the late rounds, registering a knockdown in the tenth round and dominating the 11th and 12th stanzas. However, he came up on the wrong end of a split decision by the scores of 114-113 twice and 113-114.

"In Argentina, I win this fight," Matthysse said. "Around the world, I win this fight, but he got the home decision. Zab never hurt me. I fought my fight and pressured him the whole time and I closed the championship rounds. I clearly won."

Regarding his upcoming assignment against Soto, Matthysse, a tattoo artist in his spare time outside the ring, said, "It's very simple, I need to go to war. I need to put a lot of pressure on him and I need to work hard and win every round. That's the gameplan - go to war. I'm going to leave it all in the ring."

"Ortiz vs. Lopez," a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Silver Welterweight Championship taking place Saturday, June 23, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif., is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. The co-feature will see former Three-Division World Champion Humberto "Zorrita" Soto battle Argentinean knockout artist Lucas Matthysse in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Lightweight title which is presented in association with Baja Boxing Promotions and Arano Box Promotions. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader begins live at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) with preliminary fights airing on SHOWTIME EXTREME at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

REFORM IN BOXING: - IRONIC TRUTH, JUST FOR NOW

By Reni M. Valenzuela: Lest we lose track of the main purpose why there is need for change and reform in boxing at this juncture, we have to maintain the proper perspective. Or boxing will end up the same while the key players stray for now and forever, and as the sport returns to its vomit and wander aimlessly again in the wilderness, sidetracked.

There are always side issues and sub-issues to every main issue. Therefore we should not blow things up from their size and nature lest we get pictures out of proportions to distort the truth and mislead all of us.

It comes as a sigh of relief, just for now, knowing that two US senators are on track to do their part to alleviate the people’s frustration in the sport of boxing. The revival of the proposed legislation aims to “create a special boxing commission to oversee all matches and restore integrity to the sport… Under the legislation, all referees and judges participating in the championship or a professional fight lasting 10 rounds or more would have to be fully registered and licensed by the commission. A sanctioning organization could provide the names of the judges and referees it considers qualified for that caliber bout, but only the commission could appoint judges and referees to participate in the matches.”

The bill is actually far from polished and perfect in details. Hence valid arguments inside the chamber would have to do the job of making everything right as it is presented for formal deliberations in the US Senate.

Neither the two senators who are sponsoring the bill nor the content of the bill itself are not without flaws, just as columnist Keith Terceira laid out so well in his informative article, if indeed such are the facts.
But it is enough, just for now, that the need to heal the sport is felt so strongly like never before. It is so good, just for now, to know certain prominent legislators are motivated and driven to act with urgency in resolution of the problems that have plagued the sport for so long.

And it is heartwarming, just for now, to hear a senator said two days ago on the Senate floor, “Clearly, the conspiracy surrounding the integrity of the sport and how it is managed in multiple jurisdictions.” Senator John McCain further stressed that among all the other sports, boxing is the only one in America without a strong and centralized association regulating it. He reasoned out that the ongoing controversy arising from the Pacquiao-Bradley fight “is the latest example of the legitimate distrust that boxing fans have for the integrity of the sport.”

No great and lofty idea is perfect at first. Yet we don’t let flaws overshadow the idea itself. Systemic “flaws” are usually and simply oversight which are mostly treatable by paracetamol. Corruption, however, along with injustice and conspiracies are deeply imbedded cancer cells in any human or sports organization. They are not curable by mere anti-biotics. Even the most advanced pro-biotic radical substance would be too insignificant to heal a disease that requires major surgery and the world’s ardent prayers.

If the proposed bill has headache due to stress or suffers from a stomach upset caused by acidity, we treat it with over-the-counter medicines. But if boxing or a loved one is terminally ill, we go to the emergency room and allow surgeons to do the delicate work as we are constrained to enter alone our private closets sobbing and storming heaven for mercy.

Boxing is so sick and is currently undergoing some radical procedure as it is supposed to be treated. Hard and painful, but it’s the “healing balm” needed to restore health and rejuvenate life, not “life” in the sport.

One ironic truth in boxing these days is Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao being the top two highest paid athletes today. The fans are rather confused whether it’s something to rejoice about or a news to grieve over because the fans have always been at the receiving end of countless shenanigans in countless ways and in countless major and minor boxing events for the past many years, with the Pacquiao-Bradley, being the most celebrated among the most recent ones.

The “highest paid athletes” revelation speaks of boxing being afflicted with a rare disease that “baffles” medical science and “experts.” Some promoters and pundits just don’t seem to be earth-dwellers.

Hopefully, just for now.

renimvalenzuela@yahoo.com

OFFICIAL BELVEDERE BASH WEIGH-IN

@ REAL TIME SPORTS BAR
(AT 1120-22 WEST DEVON AVENUE IN ELK GROVE VILLAGE)

5:00 PM ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20

The Media and General Public are invited to the official weigh-in for Hitz Boxing's "Belvedere Bash" event.

The official weigh-in will be held at Real Time Sports Bar (1120-22 West Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village, IL) at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, June 20.

All fighters involved, all promoters and organizers will be available for interviews and photos.

The next night, on Thursday, June 21, "Belvedere Bash" will be held at The Belvedere Banquet in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Featured in separate bouts that night will be several local favorites including Geesala, County Mayo, Ireland's Henry "Western Warrior" Coyle (16-2, 12 KOs), who will go eight rounds in the junior middleweight division; Chicago's popular slugger Mike "Hollywood" Jimenez (7-0, 4 KOs) will have a six-round super middleweight battle against tough Indianapolis veteran Mustafah Johnson; Chicago super bantamweight Sergio Montes de Oca (6-1, 1 KO) will go four; and Bassett, Virginia's Elijah McCall (9-1-1, 8 KOs), son of former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall, will fight in a heavyweight four-rounder.

Rounding out the action and making their pro-debuts in separate bouts will be MMA fighter PJ Cajigas and Golden Gloves Boxing and World Amateur Kickboxing Champion Simon "The Punisher" Buettner. Both will fight super middleweight four-rounders.

Tickets are just $40 and available at www.fanfueled.com or the Hitz Ticket Hotline at 630-442-4203. The Belvedere Banquet is located at 1170 West Devon in Elk Grove. On fight night, doors open at 6:30 pm and the first bout is at 7:30 pm.

All bouts are subject to change.

For more information, visit www.hitzboxing.com.

Real Time Sports Bar is located at 1120-22 West Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village (Phone 847-534-5000). For more information on Real Time Sports Bar, please visit www.realtimesportsbar.com.

Article posted on 20.06.2012



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