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The Standing Eight Count: Ringside at Pechanga

By Dave Wilcox

Fox Sports and Goossen Tutor Promotions played host to a night of Boxing at The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Ca. on Thursday night. The Best Damn Boxing announcers period where on hand as the distinguished pair of Barry Tompkins and Rich Moratta called the action. As usual, “The Champ” Sean O’Grady was also there to do his part. For my money, I would rather listen to this group than any of the crews that we hear on the pay networks.

James Toney was very visible at Ringside as he helped with the television broadcast for Fox. I was at a moment of truth with “Lights out”. As I approached him to introduce myself and say hello, I couldn’t help but think there would be a right cross in my future. I kept wondering if Toney had read any of the stinging criticism that I laid on him after the Rahman fight. Toney has never been famous for keeping his cool and this seemed like an opportunity for me to meet my maker. So I called my wife to say good bye and tell her I love her and then headed over to speak with Toney.

All I can say is that it’s a good thing nobody reads my articles, because James ignored me as usual and went about his business of working the crowd and cheering on his stable mates. I was relived to say the least and was able to focus on the task at hand.

In the main event, “Fast” Fres Oquendo was to do battle with Javier “Monster” Mora from Anaheim, California. Mora was coming off his upset win over Kirk Johnson by way of twisted knee and he had the crowd behind him. Fres Oquendo is a former two time title challenger who seemed to me would be too schooled for the raw Mora.

The first round began with Mora pushing the action and Oquendo sticking and moving. The difference in class was apparent from the outset. At the end of round one, “Fast” Fres threw a barrage of around twenty unanswered punches and had Mora going. The bell would save Mora and looked as if this fight would be a short one. Many ringsiders scored round one a 10-8, I felt a 10-9 was a better call.

To Mora’s credit, he showed his heart and determination and kept pushing forward. Unfortunately for him, Oqeundo kept landing the cleaner shots. As the fight progressed, it was more of the same. Oquendo is a very awkward fighter and would make many heavyweights look bad. That’s just what he did to Javier Mora. Mora couldn’t find the range and seemed a couple steps too slow. The tenth round was ready to start, and in my estimation, Mora needed a knockout to win. He tried his best and was the aggressor in the final stanza, but it was too little and much too late.

I scored the last round for Mora and final card read 96-92 in favor of Fres Oquendo. The official scorecards where announced and to no surprise it was unanimous for “Fast” Fres. Two judges agreed on a score of 98-92 and the third judge had a more realistic score of 96-93. The coveted WBO Latino Heavyweight Championship belt was now securely around the waist of Oquendo.

Showcased on the undercard were the Dirrell brothers. Former 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist Andre and his brother Anthony were set to show their wares. Coming in Andre was the more talked about brother. Leaving he was still more talked about, but for the wrong reasons.

First up was Anthony as he was up against “El Charro” Juan Carlos Ramos of Monterrey, Mexico. In the first 10 seconds of the fight it was apparent this was a bad mismatch. Dirrell worked the body hard and ended the bout quickly at 2:04 of the first round with a short right uppercut.

 I expected more of the same as brother Andre stepped into the ring to match up against Alphonso Rocha of Guadalajara, Mexico. As the first two rounds unfolded, it looked as if Andre Dirrell was finding the range. He was a bit slower than was the case with his brother in the previous bout, but I had him winning the first two rounds. Something funny happened on the way to victory. Right before the bell sounded to end round three, Rocha struck pay dirt and the chin of Dirrell and floored him with a clean right hand. The referee gave him a standing eight and let the fight continue. As the fight wore on, so did Rocha’s face.

He looked to be the guy taking a beating, but on my card I had him winning. I gave Rocha round four and going into the final two rounds, it looked to me like Dirrell had to do something big to pull out the win. The final two rounds showed Dirrell looking a little crisper, but he was still weary. The final two rounds were close, but I scored them for Andre Dirrell. To my surprise, my card read a draw. The great Jimmy Lennon Jr. read the official scores and they all came up 58-55 for the winner by unanimous decision, Andre Dirrell.

Needless to say, Dirrell should feel lucky to get out of Temecula with a win. He has a lot of work to do in the Gym, that much is for sure. The great ones learn from tough fights and improve. That is what separates contenders from pretenders. Hopefully Andre Dirrell is in fact a future contender. Heaven knows Boxing needs all the young stars it can get.

 In earlier bouts:

Undefeated Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (16-0, 14 ko’s) from nearby Riverside, California had the crowd support as he matched up against everyone’s All-American Sedreck Fields. (21-27-2, 15 ko’s)  Arreola dominated from the start. A point was taken in round six from Fields for a low blow, but it would have no bearing on the fight. In the next round, Arreola would end things at :42 of the seventh round.

A big left hook to the body of Fields would cause Referee Ray Corona to step in and stop the fight.

In a six round heavyweight bout, Jason “The Sensation” Gavern of Kissimmee, Florida took on Derek Berry of Houston, Texas. With James Toney cheering him on, Jason Gavern came out victorious with a knockout at 2:55 of round five.

Yet another fabulous night of Boxing at the best Boxing venue in Southern California. The Pechanga resort and Casino has made quite a name for themselves in the Boxing community. They always put on nice cards, and stars come out. Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell was even there!  Wait a minute, the stars and Mario Lopez come out.

Random Boxing thoughts:

- The Goossen brothers are great! Joe’s golden locks and Dan’s Swede pimp jacket made my night at Pechanga.

- Oscar De La Hoya will fight Mayweather and win.

- Tarver vs. Hopkins is a silly match up and I will not be watching.

Keep punching
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