By David Finger at ringside
Boxing fans in Odessa, Texas were treated to an exciting night of boxing as New Mexican Jose Luis “Guero” Sanchez scored a upset over undefeated California prospect Rashad Shahid in an eight round WBC JR NABF welterweight fight.
For boxing fans in the Land of Enchantment there was recognition that Sanchez was a scrappy, and deceptively talented, fighter despite his record of 12-3-1. But in Texas he was a little more of an unknown quantity. But after dominating the San Diego native over eight rounds he clearly made a name for himself in Texas as well.
At the opening bell of the co-main event Shahid, 146.4, marched forward, loading up on heavy shots. But Sanchez , 146.6, boxed effectively against his aggressive foe and dropped him in the closing seconds of the opening round. Sanchez maintained control in round two and in round three a hard left sent Shahid reeling into the ropes, midway through the round. However, in round four it started to appear as if Shahid was slowly taking back control of the fight as he seemed to edge out the round. But it was short lived as Sanchez regained control of the fight in round five in dramatic fashion, knocking down Shahid for the second time in the fight with a picture perfect counter. By round six Sanchez was starting to show some signs of fatigue, but Shahid was unable to capitalize and although Sanchez was visibly tired in the final two rounds of the fight, his built up such a huge lead in the opening five rounds that the scores were academic. Judge Daniel Sandoval scored the fight 79-71 while judge James Moreno had it closer at 76-74. The third judge, Kerry Hatley, scored the fight 77-73 for the Albuquerque native who sees his record improve to 13-3-1, 4 KOs and now hi=olds the JR NABF welterweight title. With the loss Shahid falls to 10-1, 7 KOs.
In the highly anticipated main event, popular local featherweight prospect Conrado Martinez took on his toughest test in fellow undefeated prospect Frankie Sanchez Jr. from Aurora, Colorado. Despite only being 19-years old Sanchez was not afraid to stir the pot, as both fighters developed some bad blood at the press conference. But despite this being his first fight outside of Colorado and Wyoming, Sanchez came in confident and clearly was not overwhelmed by the moment. Although both fighters started the fight cautiously, the Martinez would go on to land a solid right hand that had the crowd cheering. But Sanchez showed that he came to Texas to go to war and he fired back with a counter right of his own. By round two the tone of the fight was emerging: Sanchez, not respecting the power of his opponent, would walk in throwing bombs while Martinez, seeing opportunities, would pick his counterpunches carefully. Sanchez briefly pinned Martinez on the ropes and tried to unload, but the cagy Texan was able to avoid most of the punches. The third round saw more of the same with Sanchez throwing punches in bunches but with the less active Martinez displaying his defensive skills while landing the periodic counterpunch. It looked like the recipe for a tough fight to score, with the fight to be decided on if the judges liked accuracy or activity more. But by round four it appeared that Sanchez had started to run out of gas, with his activity level going down significantly. By round five Martinez was in control as he maintained distance behind the jab and kept the gritty Sanchez on the outside, nullifying his aggression. Still, there seemed to be the possibility of a draw, leading to many Odessa fight fans holding their breath as the decision was announced. In the end however, the judges saw Martinez as the clear winner with two judges scoring the bout 60-54 while the third scored it 58-56. With the win Martinez improves to 6-0, 0 KOs while Sanchez, who still remains a prospect worth keeping an eye on, falls to 6-1-2, 5 KOs.
In a highly anticipated undercard fight, super middleweight prospect Joey Alday Jr. scored the biggest win of his career as he knocked out veteran Salvador Alexis Camacho Velazquez in just 27-seconds. It was a step up in competition for Alday as Camacho, the former Mexican Super Welterweight champion, had fought some big name fighters in his 31-fight career including Terrance Cauthen and Erickson Lubin. But Alday made a statement, knocking Camacho out cold with a picture perfect left hook that send Camacho to the canvas in the opening seconds of the round. Referee Robert Velez wisely waved off the fight midway through the count. With the win Alday improved to 10-1, 8 KOs while Camacho falls to 24-8, 22 KOs.
Rounding off the card junior lightweight prospect Jose Manuel Izaquirre, 131.2, of Odessa scored an impressive six round majority decision over Alejandro “El Pork Chop” Guerrero, 132, of Irving, Texas. The southpaw Izaquirre frustrated Guerrero with his southpaw jab and his overall awkwardness, and appears to be a fighter who could make a run down the line. With the win Izaguirre improves to 6-0, 2 KOs while Guerrero falls to 12-4, 9 KOs.
In a stunning upset Joshua Montoya boxed brilliantly en route to a four round decision over undefeated Marshall Sanchez over four rounds in a junior lightweight fight. Montoya used his size and reach advantage to completely frustrate his undefeated foe. With the win Montoya improves to 5-3-2, 0 KOs while Sanchez falls to 10-1, 4 KOs.
Also rounding off the card, welterweight Kevin Soto improved to 4-1, 2 KOs after he stopped Ricky Evans at 2:42 of the second round. Evans sees his record now stand at 0-5. Debuting Alberto Hernandez scored a four round split decision over Gerardo Reyes in a lightweight fight and in the opening fight of the fight Venezuelan Luis Roman improved to 3-3, 2 KOs after crushing Mexican Alejandro Heredia by way of second round TKO. The end came at 0:57 after referee Rocky Burke stopped the action.
Overall the event proved to be a knockout for the promotional team of Iram Sanchez and the Discovery Odessa Fight Night crew. With a near capacity crowd at the Panamerican Ballroom in Odessa it is safe to say that we should be seeing more boxing coming to Odessa, Texas in 2023.