Friday, July 31, 2009

South wins again in football

In the history of the New Mexico High School Coaches Association All-Star football contest, the South normally dominates the North in the 4A/5A game.

On Friday night, it was no different. The South beat the North 35-17 at Wilson Stadium.

Former Las Cruces High quarterback Dante Caro threw two touchdowns and ran for one, former LCHS running back James Hall Jr. ran for two touchdowns, former LCHS receiver Jacob Lilley caught three balls and also made all five extra point attempts.

Former Mayfield standout Matt Flores caught a 15-yard touchdown pass, former MHS running back Jacob Ceniceros caught a pass for 39 yards and former MHS DL and FB J.D. Ordunez had a sack and a solid run late in the game.

- Felix

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Solid night for the South basketball teams

It was a very productive night for the South boys basketball teams in the annula New Mexico High School Coaches Association All-Star Games.
In the 1A/2A game, the South overcame a 23-point second half deficit to win 98-93. Former Mesilla Valley Christian standout Zach Adams had 13 points to aid in the win.

In the 4A/5A game, the South won 124-117 in overtime. Hobbs forward Juhreece Thompson scored 29 points, 10 of them in overtime to help in the win. Las Cruces High's Lucio Luttrell (eight points), Mayfield's Nate Abeyta (eight rebounds, huge 3-pointer late), Chaparral's Humberto Talamontes and Deming's Anthony Lopez all played key roles as did Alamogordo's Travis Geiger.

I was also impressed with Gallup's Alponso Hubbard, who scored 25 points for the North. Hubbard, as fans might remember, scored more than 40 points against Las Cruces High in a state tournament loss in March. He is headed to a junior college in Wyoming. He is a strong player with multiple skills.

Of note, the games were played at Eldorado High School in Albuqurque and it turned out great. The crowd was decent and the crowd got into both games, a nice site at the summer event. It felt like I was watching a good regular season night of hoops.

- Felix

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Abie Han, Escalante do just fine

Friday's fights at the Don Haskins Center turned out to be a winning success for area boxers Abie Han and Antonio Escalante.

The junior featherweight Escalante (21-2) faced a tough challenge against Lock, but pounded out a 10-rounded decision against the slick fighter. Escalante hurt Lock to the body several times and nearly ended the fight several times. Next up? Who knows. He hopes to land a title shot, perhaps Bernard Dunne?

Also, Han, a junior middleweight prospect looked solid against Brian Soto. Granted Soto hadn't been in the ring since 2002, but Han showed great power with his right hand and showed some versatility with his punches. He keeps improving and I think he might be the best prospect young or old in the area.

- Felix

Friday, July 24, 2009

Antonio Escalante wins boxing match in El Paso

El Paso junior featherweight Antonio Escalante won his 10-round fight against Cornelius Lock on Friday night at the Don Haskins Center.

Escalante, who was was cut on his left eye early in the fight, won by scores of 100-88 x2 and 98-90. Escalante is now 20-2 in his career. Escalante landed several hard body blows and was in control for much of the fight, flooring Lock twice in round three.

Lock had his moments, but was unable to keep Escalante off of him for much of the night.

- Felix

Antonio Escalante wins boxing match in El Paso

Trout opponent for July 31

Las Cruces' Austin Trout will fight Venezuelan Marcos Primera on the July 31 fight card in Las Cruces at the Pan American Center.

Trout is 18-0 and is coming off a eight-round decision win against Shawn Garnett last month in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Primera is 20-17-2, but hasn't fought since 2007. He is durable and has fought some decent fighters.

- Felix

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weights for friday Night fights

ESPN's Friday Night Fights
Don Haskins Center
El Paso
Lightweights 4 rounds
Cesar Valenzuela (1-0) 135 1/4 vs. Miguel Buendia, pro debut, 137

Featherweights 10 rounds
Antonio Escalante (19-2) 12 vs. Cornelius Lock (17-4-1), 122 1/4

Junior Middleweights, 4/6 rounds
Abie Han (4-0) 157 vs. Brian Soto, 3-0, 154 3/4

Junior Lightweights
Carlos Velasquez (10-0) 128 1/4 vs. Juan Nazario (6-1-1) 128 1/4

Junior Featherweights, 8 rounds
Juan Velazquez (9-0) 122 3/4 vs. Jose Beranza (31-15-2) 121 1/4

Featherweights, 6 rounds
Saul Morales (6-1) 126 vs. Guadalupe DeLeon (7-7) 126 3/4

Welterweights, 4 rounds
Brian Luna (4-0) 142 1/4 vs. Tomondre King (4-15-5) 146

Tickets are still available at UTEP Box Office, 1st fight 7 p.m., doors open 6 p.m.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Di Pace out of fight

Las Cruces bantamweight Sammy Di Pace has suffered an apparent shoulder injury and is off the July 31 fight card at the Pan American Center. He is 6-0 in career.


More on Gatti, Arguello

Boxing suffers two sad losses

It's been a sad few weeks for the sport of boxing, not because of what has happened inside the ring, but rather what has happened outside of the ring.
Two deaths of former ring legends have forced many fans and ring historians to remember the lives of Arturo Gatti and Alexis Arguello much too soon.
Gatti was the younger man and was a champion in the late 90s and into the 2000s. He will always be remembered for his risky style in the ring, his unbelievable comeback wins and a willingness to take on anyone.
How could one forget his memorable win against Wilson Rodrgiuez in March of 1996. Behind on two scorecards and with one eye completely shut, he rebounded to stop Rodriguez to retain his super featherweight title. He also had three brutal fights with Micky Ward, a rough and tumble affair with Gabriel Ruelas and a pair of close fights with Ivan Robinson.
Gatti was one of the sport's great attractions. He wasn't perfect, he lost 9 of 49 fights, but his great heart in the ring allowed for a cult following of sorts among fans. He was very popular in the New Jersey/New York area and when he fought on television.
There is no doubt that Gatti was a throwback type of fighter, kind of like a Rocky Graziano or Bobby Chacon.
The only sad part of the Gatti's career was how it ended, a seventh-round stoppage to the non-descript Alfonso Gomez in 2007. But Gatti knew it was time to quit boxing and he did. Sadly, his life came to an abrupt and sad end and we never knew what kind of successful life he would have had after boxing.
Gatti wasn't perfect in the ring, but he gave boxing fans and heck even sports fans some of the greatest moments in sports. Boxing is often built around the savagery of what two gladiators do in the ring and he was the epitome of savagery and doing what it took to win.
Meanwhile, Nicaragua's Alexis Arguello was a true champion and one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the boxing canvas. A winner of 82 of his 90 fights, Arguello was an artist of sorts in dominating the junior lightweight and lightweight divisions. He had power, 65 knockouts, and he displayed great boxing skills as well in his career.
He too was involved in some of boxing's greatest moments. It's funny, but he might be more known for his two losses to Aaron Pryor than any other fights. In the two classics, fought with Pryor in the early 1980s, it was give and take both ways and with some luck and maybe if he was just a tad younger, he may have won both of those fights instead of winding up with losses. In addition, he had great fights with Chacon, Ray Mancini and Ruben Olivares among others.
Arguello was a man of great will and a gentleman as well. I was fortunate to meet him at a fight card in Albuquerque several years ago and he was gracious with his time and stories.
A champion in three weight classes, Arguello will always be one of the top fighters off all-time in my book. Arguello was a great tactician and was simply a marvel to watch and he was a great inspiration to Hispanic fighters.
On July 31 in Las Cruces, George Foreman III, the son of former heavyweight champ George Foreman, fights his second career fight. Foreman III is 1-0 and obviously has a long way to go before even coming close to being compared to his father. But it should be interesting watching the younger Foreman fight if for nostalgic purposes only.
The older Foreman was a ferocious puncher and was one of the great heavyweights of all-time. I've never seen the younger Foreman fight, but it will be interesting to see if he carries any of the skill level and temperament that his father had.

Miguel Cotto vs. Manny Pacquiao

Mark Nov. 14 on your calender. That's when Manny Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) will meet 34-1 Miguel Cotto in a 12-round fight at 145 pounds.

Pacquiao is the king of boxing right now having dispatched the likes of Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, David Diaz, Erik Morales (twice), Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez in recent years. He is fast, strong and has handled the move up in weight from 105 to 147 just fine. He has great reflexes and will be hard to beat at his best. He is a disciplined fighter now, much more than when he was younger.

Cotto's only loss was to Antonio Margarito, but he has regrouped to win two straight against Michael Jennings and the tough Joshua Clottey. Cotto has been in several big fights and done well. He will have to smother Pacquiao and try to wear him down with body shots. It should be an entertaining fight, but my early prediction is a Pacquiao win by knockout late, let's say the 9th round.


2009 Mesilla Valley Christian Football Schedule

Aug. 21 vs. Carrizozo (scimmage) 6 p.m.
Aug. 28 vs. Marfa, Texas, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 vs. Mescalero, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Animas, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Jal, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Capitan, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Clayton, 1 p.m .
Oct. 16 vs. Hope Christian, 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 vs Valencia JV, 1 p.m.

MVCS will play its home games at Onate High School and will be playing in its first season of high school football under new coach Charles Gleghorn.

- Felix

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fight card almost set

The card for Friday's ESPN2 card at the Don Haskins Center is nearly set. Super bantamweight Antonio Escalante takes on Cornelius Lock in the 10-round main event.
Featherweight Juan Carlos Velasquez takes on Jose Angel Beranza in an eight-rounder, Carlos Ivan Velasquez takes on Juan Nazario in a six-round super bantamweight attraction, junior middleweight Abie Han meets Brian Soto in a four-rounder, lightweight Karl Dargan is looking for an opponent, welterweight Robert Luna Jr. takes on Manuel Bocanegra in a four-rounder and featherweight Saul Morales meets Guadalupe De Leon in a four-round.
Tickets are still available starting at $20.

- Felix

Monday, July 13, 2009

George Foreman III

There is a good chance that George Foreman III, the son of former heavyweight champ George Foreman could fight on a Las Cruces card at the Pan American Center on July 31. Stayed tuned. He is 1-0 as a pro.

Also, Las Cruces bantamweight Sammy Di Pace could be on the card.

- Felix

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Arturo Gatti passes

In another sad story of a boxer dying, former world champion and crowd pleaser Arturo "Thunder" Gatti was found dead on Saturday.

Gatti went 40-9 in his career and was one of the most popular fighters on TV and live in person.

Here are some of my favorite Gatti moments.

1. March 23, 1996 a 6th-round KO of Wilson Rodriguez. Behind on two scorecoards, Gatti rallies to stop Rodriguez despite being in serious trouble and within minutes of being stopped. He had a closed eye, but the desperate Gatti rallies for a win.

2. Dec. 15, 1995, a 12-round decision over Tracy Harris Patterson. Gatti beats Patterson to earn his first world title. It was a tough fight, but Gatti showed his toughess and boxing skill to earn the win.

3. Oct. 4, 1997, a 5th-round knockout of Gabriel Ruelas. This was a tremendous fight between two good fightes and again this was a crowd pleaser fro the opening bell. Ruelas appeared he was taking over the fight when Gatti stopped him.

4. May 18, 2002, Gatti loses a decision to Micky Ward in the first of three fights. The two battle toe-to-toe the entire night before Ward earns a close decision.

5. Nov. 23, 2002, Gatti earns revenge on Ward in another tougt fight, but this time Gatti is able to land the cleaner blows and fights a smarter fight.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Prep Soccer

The New Mexico Activities Association would like to announce that the 2009 NMAA State Soccer Championships will be held at the Albuquerque Public Schools new soccer complex, November 5-7.

The four-field complex is located just west of Voclano Vista High School on Albuquerque’s west-side. All four fields at the APS Soccer Complex have lights and are artificial turf. (See attached photos).

NMAA Executive Director Gary Tripp said, “The New Mexico Activities Association is excited to host the 2009 State Soccer Championships at the new APS Soccer Complex. Albuquerque Public Schools have done a wonderful job building a facility that will be utilized and enjoyed by the athletes of New Mexico.”

The 2009 State Soccer Championships first round will be held at home sites, prior to the quarterfinals, semifinals and championships being held at the APS Soccer Complex.

For additional information pertaining to this announcement, please contact Robert Zayas, NMAA Assistant Director and Director of Communications, at 505.977.5386 or

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Claud Gobble lands job

Former Mesilla Valley Christian and Hatch Valley head boys basketball coach Claud Gobble will be an assistant coach to William Benjamin at La Cruces High.

Benjamin replaced Mike Smith after the season after a long tenure as an assistant on the boys team.

Gobble is no stranger to LCHS. He was an assistant under Mike Carr when the team finished second to Alamogordo in the 1996 state tourney in 4A.

Gobble coached MVCS to two Final Four's in Class A and took the Bears to a handful of state tourney showings.

- Felix

Former Gadsden football coach lands job

Former Gadsden head football coach Carlos Lowenberg has landed a job at Anthony (Texas) High school as the teams head coach.

He was at Gadsden High from 1997-2003. He's also a longtime head coach in El Paso. The hire isn't a bad one for Anthony HS. Lowenberg is a career football guy and he's a solid coach who is a proven winner. And it sounds like he's motivated to get back into coaching and do a good job.

- Felix

Monday, July 6, 2009

Antonio Escalante and big July 24 fight

On July 24 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, local boxing star Antonio Escalante faces a big challenge when he takes on Cornelius Lock at a catchweight of 126. Escalante usually fights a weight class lower at 122 and that's where he hopes he lands a title fight.

Escalante is ranked in the top five by the World Boxing Organization and the World Boxing Association. He has been improving of late and he's beaten some very good fighters on his way to a 19-2 mark. Lock, who owns 18 wins in his career, is getting better as well and he has a lot at stake with this fight.

Escalante has emerged as a threat in the 122 pound class and he gets a chance to improve his record against quality opponents when he mets the slick Lock.

The 10-round fight will be a test for Escalante in many facets. He'll have to continue to improve defensively and he'll have to have a strong showing in front of his home crowd if he wants to continue to improve his stock.

Tickets range from $20-$75 and the fight card is expected to feature several El Paso and Las Cruces fighters. Tickets can be purchased at the UTEP boxing office or all Ticketmaster outlets.

- Felix

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Zach Diaz and New Mexico State football

In an interesting development, former Las Cruces High kicker Zach Diaz was invited to walk-on at NMSU by the coaching staff. Diaz was a solid place-kicker for the Bulldawgs during his prep career and also dabbled in soccer during the offseason.

Diaz has a good leg and was fairly accurate. He'll have to get continue to improve and get stronger, but taking a chance on Diaz is a good thing for NMSU and on this one, I give DeWayne Walker and his staff at NMSU credit. Good Kickers are at a premium on the college level and if you can get one locally, that's a plus, especially one that has potential to do some decent things.

Because of Diaz' accuracy in high school, he gave the Bulldawgs an extra weapon and he was a key reason the team went to the semifinals during his junior season and won the 5A state title as a senior.

- Felix

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The great Alexis Arguello dies

In a tragic event, the great Alexis Arguello died on Wednesday in his home country of Nicaragua.

Arguello was one of the greatest fighters of any era. He won 82 of his 90 bouts, 65 of them via knockout. He was a great fighter at both junior lightweight and lightweight. He was involved in two great fights with Aaron Pryor in addition to his wars with Ruben Olivares, Bobby "Schoolboy" Chacon and Ray "Boom Boom Mancini".

He also won titles in three weight classes. Arguello was a great champion, he was a great tactician in the ring and he always fought the best of the best. To beat fighters like Chacon and Olivares was a true accomplishment because those two guys were great fighters. He also beat a game Cornelius Boza-Edwards in his career.

Arguello was a hero not only to his many fans in Nicaragua, but he was a hero hispanics and fight fans all over the world. He was a gentlemen and he respected people. I met him one time several years ago at a fight card and he was gracious as ever with people.

When Arguello fought, it was time to stop and enjoy watching a tremendous fighter, whose skill level was as good as anyone at the time.

- Felix