Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Abie Han column

Improving Han could soon be toast of El Paso
By Felix Chavez
El Paso Times
El Paso and the Borderland have long craved a boxing world champion to call their own.
There are plenty of boxing prospects in the area, i.e. featherweight Antonio Escalante, junior middleweight Austin Trout and heavyweight David Rodriguez all with dreams of becoming world champion. Juarez featherweight Mickey Roman started strong in his pro career and while he pestered Escalante enough to earn respect in their February match, he failed to get a win and is nowhere near a title shot.
And there are others who hope to make their mark in the rough and tumble world of professional boxing.
Lurking in the background (but maybe not for much longer) is El Paso junior middleweight Abie Han. The 25-year-old could very well be the top prospect to come out of this area in many years.
Han turned pro in 2007 and dedicated himself to boxing, which for him has turned out to be the right move.
One look at Han in the gym or in a real fight and he stands out right away because of the energy and fury he puts into his craft.
Han is a heavy-handed punching machine, who has scored nine knockouts in his 10 fights. Most recently, he discarded of 21-fight veteran Jose Gonzalez, who is not so easy to dispatch of. Gonzalez had been stopped just once before and that came late in a fight against Ronald Hearns. Han took out Gonzalez in less than three full rounds.
Gonzalez had also given respectable junior middleweights Carson Jones and Joaquin Zamora plenty of fits.
So for Han to handle Gonzalez like he did, says a lot about the fiercely competitive Han.
Han has shown the ability to take on tough fighters early in his career. In his fourth pro fight, he took on and beat unbeaten Ibahiem King by decision.
Han has had the advantage of getting quality sparring in the Borderland. He has routinely spars with the Las Cruces duo of Trout and Siju Shabazz.
But there was one sparring session that has stuck out in my mind. Several months ago, he sparred with the 18-2-1 Zamora in Las Cruces as Zamora was prepping for a fight. Han outworked and frustrated a determined Zamora during a sparring session.
That was my first insight into the promise that Han had as a professional.
Han’s pro career will continue to depend on his development both offensively and defensively and also on whether he can take a big punch he faces an opponent who is equal.
But Han has very good boxing skills, carries heavy hands and unquestionably a very exciting fighter due to his aggressive style.
And it appears Han is willing and able to meet a big challenge in front of him and he is slated to take on former world title challenger Jose “Shibata” Flores in Phoenix on July 17. Flores hasn’t fought much in recent years, but if he has anything left, could give Han a serious test.
So far, Han has passed every challenge presented to him, in the next year he may just become a household name not only in El Paso and the Borderland, but also around the country.

Felix Chavez can be reached at fchavez@elpasotimes.com; (915) 546-6374

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