By Jake Donovan
Former strawweight titlist Alex ‘Nene’ Sanchez returns to the ring after a 35-month absence to headline in the 2011 season finale of ‘Boxeo Telemundo.’ The 38-year old Puerto Rican takes on another former champion in Eric Ortiz at the Kissimmee (FL) Civic Center on December 9.
The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds, with a regional title at stake along with bragging rights in the ongoing in-ring rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico.
“We are excited to close out our 2011 schedule with a clash of two former world champions from Puerto Rico and Mexico, which are always a classic,” says Felix ‘Tuto’ Zabala Jr of All-Star Boxing.
Sanchez (31-7-1, 21KO) fights for the first time since April ’08, when he suffered a rematch knockout loss at the hands of Nelson Dieppa in a bout that came after a 30-month exodus from the ring. His last win came seven years ago in his native Puerto Rico, having lost three straight.
The diminutive Boricua win his first championship in 1993 in just his 12th pro fight. He defended the strawweight belt six times before running into the best fighter in the history division, falling short to Ricardo Lopez in their August ’97 unification bout.
He has since struggled to regain past glory, having tried and failed in four subsequent title shots at strawweight and junior flyweight.
The bout in the Puerto Rican-friendly region of Kissimmee surprisingly marks his first ever appearance in the state of Florida.
Like his comebacking opponent, Ortiz (32-12-3, 21KO) has also dropped three in a row, including a 4th round stoppage loss at the hands of Edgar Jimenez this past July.
The pinnacle of Ortiz’ career came in 2005, capturing a junior flyweight belt with a 7th round knockout of Jose Aguirre. The reign was short-lived, as a motivated Brian Viloria just six months later.
Despite their recent struggles, it’s not uncommon for returning veterans to deliver entertaining action on the ‘Boxeo Telemundo’ series. Antonio Diaz returned from a three-year break to score a thrilling win over former title challenger Felix Flores in their own Mexico-Puerto Rico grudge match in July ’08, on a night that preceded the first fight between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
More than three years later, Sanchez and Ortiz throw down six days after Cotto and Margarito will have fought their rematch.
The show caps a year in which every scheduled card came off as planned. All-Star Boxing and Telemundo revealed its full 2011 schedule late last year, and didn’t miss a beat along the way.
“We had a very successful year and we will come back stronger in 2012 with another 12 shows” said
TICKETS AND SHOWTIME
The December 9 telecast airs live at 11:35PM ET in the United States, and 12:00AM ET/11:00PM CT in Mexico and Central America.
Tickets are on sale at Kissimmee Civic Center 201 E. Dakin Ave, Downtown Kissimmee,
FL or by calling 407-935-1412.
The main event is accompanied by six more bouts, with the first bell at 8:30PM local time.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com