3/12/2016 Lancaster Ca.- WCB traveled to the Pioneer Events Center last night to the always entertaining ESTRADA-ROMAN boxing show. Actually, there was some MMA action goin’ down but yours truly has to plead ignorance to what this popular sport is all about. So let’s focus on the main event first for a change.
Jose Hernandez (11-2-1-4K) v. Victor Barragan (12-8-1-3K)
Though there was a little skirmish after the main event and some pepper spray was involved but I don’t think that clouded my vision of what took place.I’d never experience pepper spray and that shit ain’t no joke. Now, I’ve seen the popular Hernandez a few times and know his trainer Alan Cox, well. Al and I go back to his amateur days and his training days at the Hoover Street Gym on the rough side of LA. In Hernandez’s previous fights I saw, he showed lots of promise and seemed to improve with each fight. Last night, however, he just didn’t seem to be himself. At one time or another every fighter has an ‘off night’ and that seems to be what happened to Jose. He seem a little lethargic from the opening bell and never really got untracked. He did land his share of shots but not enough of them.
His opponent, Barragan from Michoacan, Mx. (where it seems all the tough guys reside), put pressure on the home town guy from the start and aside from an ill-fitting mouthpiece that he lost a number of times, he had little trouble outhustling Jose. Jose started with a nice left jab, but Victor had very little trouble getting inside and roughing Hernandez up. The pattern was, Jose spending too much time on the ropes allowing the aggressive Barragan to empty his tank. From the second round on, I thought, ‘this is a fight where Jose needs to be at his best’ and tonight, he wasn’t. Normally, he keeps his opponents at bay with a good jab and good inside work but tonight he just seemed a bit weak and several times as he went back to his stool, I saw a guy having a hard time focusing. Usually, he fights with a lotta’ passion but tonight even his most rabid fans seemed to realize something wasn’t right.
After soaking up so much to the body, Jose’s spirited rally in the closing rounds wasn’t as strong and he seemed frustrated that this guy wasn’t goin’ away. Jose landed some clean rights late in the seventh and eigth rounds but lacked power and didn’t come close to slowing down this roughneck, Barragan. With his fans trying to will him to victory, Jose was still struggling to get untracked, he just didn’t seem himself and maybe I’ll get a chance to talk to Alan about this. After the final bell, one of Victor’s handlers asked me, “what do you think”, and I said, “I think you won but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the call”. When the scorecards were read, there was a long pause before the final tally was given and Victor’s cornerman looked down at me. The verdict went to Hernandez but I’m sure he’ll say this wasn’t one of his sharpest performances and I expect to see him bounce back, but hey, a ‘win’ is a win, right? Afterwards a fan said to me, “man Jose’s my boy, but he lost”.
Poula Estrada (4-0) v. Peggy Maerz (2-8-1)
If the undefeated, talented switch-hiiting Poula Estrad ran against Donald (the Moron) Trump, she’d win. She’s that popular. She showed a lot more power last night than I’d seen before under the teaching of Johnny Rosa ( with her dad’s help, of course). The mean-muggin’ Maaerz came all the way from Canada and I don’t know what was on her itinerary but I assure you it wasn’t that ass whippin’ Poula had for her. I may have to refer to her as ‘Punishin’ Poula’ the way she was blasting away at Maerz. The Canadian sorta’ through Poula off with her gang bangin rough house style and Poula always has that deer in the headlights look but her peepers were even wider when the Canadian cannonball shot outta’ her corner. She landed a hard right to Estrada’s jaw backing her into the ropes. Poula was having a hard time timing Maerz and in the clinches, this girl was rough. In round two, Poula located some real estate (from her dad, I guess) and started to slow Peggy’s roll with some jarring right hands.
In fact one of those bombs dropped the Canadian to her knees as Poula gestured to a fan as if to say “look at tha shit”. By now, Ms Maerz knew there were some better places for her to be in Cali. Than the PEC. In her corner, the ref came to check on her and Peggy said, “I’m fine, I slipped”. I was real close and I heard everything (thanks to Herve getting me a prime press location). I though, hell, anybody would “slip” after that right hand that she just ate. For the rest of the fight, it was pretty much target drills as Estrada continuously located Marerz’s face with that right hand as well as some sweet left hooks and her constant switching wasn’t doing her opponent any favors, either. I was impressed with Poula’s power tonight as she rocked Maerz often and just seemed to be enjoying her performance. This was an outstanding performance and she needs to be busier, with all her talents. There was no need for the Pec chefs in this one, this was a shutout.
Alex Vlas (0-2) V. Danny Fabela (0-2)
In a tussle of super lightweights looking for their maiden win, this was a pretty entertaining hookup. Vlas must not have warmed up too well in his dressing room as he was stretching and flexing during the first couple of rounds but fable was warm as hell and he clipped Flexor with a couple of nice hooks, wobbling him with one. Fabela looked smooth and confident, like an old schooler as he slid around the ring setting traps for Vlas, nailing him on the way in. On two occasions, Fabela drilled Vlas with big right hands dropping him. Vlas’ game plan seemed to be to just walk in an hope to land a big shot but Fabela got the memo and was ready for any and everything. Vlas connected with a big hook in the second, shaking Fabela for a second, then spent therest of the night looking for that hook again. Meanwhile, Fabela was on cruise control until the last minute when Vlas found him again and they did it right up to the bell. This was nice, and Fabela is no longer a virgin in the win column.
Benito Salazar (0-3-2) v. Jordan Harris (Debut).
Paramount’s hard luck guy, Benito Salazar’s peeps probably figured after five fights, they should be able to handle a rookie. But Palmdale’s Harris didn’t know anything about this ‘rookie’ stuff, as he took the work right at Benito, even dropping him with a right hand. He didn’t go crazy though and just went about his business. Then Salazar started getting involved and things got interesting. Salazar found a spot for his left hook at the end of the second, putting a little shake in Harris’ legs. Both guys put on a good effort with Harris slightly ahead. By the fourth round, Harris was showing a little wear from this pro pace and Salazar was starting to come on, landing the better shots. I thought Salazar pulled this out with a busier final round but Harris got the nod and I can see this one happening again. Salazar is way over due for a win, if his confidence isn’t blown up, already. This was a pretty impressive beginning to Harris’ pro career. See you next time, young man.
Julian Bautista (2-1-1k) v. Eddie Diaz (1-4)
Eddie Diaz from Torrance got off to a good start, boxing well behind his left jab and keeping Bautista in check. Diaz is a good boxer but not a particularly big hitter. He won the opening round. Things changed in a hurry in round two, as Bautista, with better head movement was stalking Diaz and getting inside with some short punishing action. By the round’s end, Diaz was already showing some affects and Julian was just getting started. Bautistas’ attack was more consistent while Diaz was boxing in spurts despite his corner screaming for more action. At the end, Diaz sucked it up and there were some nice swapping goin’ on right to the bell. The decision was announced as a majority draw amidst a lotta’ booing, I think most were of the opinion Bautista had done enough to win.
One of the highlights of my evening was sitting with referee Wayne Hedgpeth, a well traveled ref that I’ve seen plenty of times on televised fights. We shared many old school boxing stories. He’s a Jersey guy and I’m from Philly so we had a lot to discuss. Also had nice chats With Marty Denkin Jr., son of world renowned ref Marty Denkin. It’s always good seeing my old boxing friends at the fights and the Pec shows always seems to bring out the best. This was another outstanding Estrada and Roman Boxing Promotion. The crowd was large and lively a bit too lively at the end, but WCB is looking forward to the next card and to see ‘Punishin’ Poula’ in action. Finally, those ring girls were Da Bomb.