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Avila Perspective, Chap 38: Hands of Stone, Golden Boy Deal and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 38: Hands of Stone, Golden Boy Deal and More

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    By David A. Avila

    When you break down fighting to its truest form on the streets, one realizes from the dangerous blacktops of East Los Angeles to the equally perilous avenues of Mombasa, weight classes are irrelevant. Fighting is fighting.

    One famous for his street-fighting background, Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran proved it many times against taller, heavier and seemingly stronger opposition in his lengthy career.

    The fabulous sneer of Panama’s Duran will be present to see IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. (24-0) match wits and skill against WBC lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia (39-0) on Saturday March 16, in Arlington, Texas. It’s a matchup the former multi-division champ (pictured on the left at Wednesday’s press conference) understands well.

    Back in his prime many poo-pooed Duran’s challenge of Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 that resulted in the American super star’s first loss. Later, “Manos de Piedra” challenged middleweight kingpin Marvin Hagler and was thought to be suicidal. Instead one of the most competitive and strategic fights developed and fans gasped at the exchanges between two classic Hall of Fame pugilists.

    Of course it could easily go the other direction as when Duran challenged Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns and was promptly whacked. Then, Hearns challenged Iran Barkley and was beaten senseless. That was followed by Duran challenging Barkley, knocking him down and taking his middleweight title belt away in front of a stunned boxing world.

    Prizefighting has a ripe history of weight jumping and successes of the smaller man beating the bigger man. It’s been going on for more than a century. Fighters like Bob Fitzsimmons, Sam Langford, Tony Canzoneri, and of course Henry Armstrong all did it with ease. In modern times we have James Toney, Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao conquering multiple weight divisions as well. There have been many others.

    I grew up hearing the stories from my own great grandfather Battling Ortega who told stories of fighting former world champions at lightweight to light heavyweight. When asked why he accepted those challenges he always responded “I don’t give a s**t. I’ll fight anybody.”

    Street fighting throughout the world never depended on weights. One does not ask for an enemy to jump on a scale and allow himself to be tape measured. Fighting is fighting.

    Will Garcia add another weight division to his list of conquests like Duran?

    That’s the joy of it. As boxing fans we look forward to watching the challenge. And for many we know it’s a special day on Saturday. The welterweight challenge will be shown on FOX pay-per-view.

    Golden Boy Series

    A monthly series by Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN begins March 21, with lightweight contender Mercito Gesta (32-2-2) fighting Juan Antonio Rodriguez (29-7) in the main event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, Calif.

    Once a month a Thursday night show will be streamed by DAZN with most of the fights emanating from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. Golden Boy’s lengthy list of prospects and contenders will be featured on these shows for the rest of the year.

    The dates listed beginning April are as follows: April 25, May 16, June 13, July 18, Aug. 22, Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 14, Dec. 5.

    Doors open at 4 p.m. For more information on the series located at Fantasy Springs call (800) 827-2946.


    Tevin Farmer (28-4-1) defends the IBF super featherweight title against Ireland’s undefeated Jono Carroll (16-0-1) on Friday March 15, at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. DAZN will stream the event live.

    Farmer, 28, is making the third defense of the title since taking it last August. Carroll, 26, fought to a draw in his last fight against Guillaume Frenois in a battle of southpaws. Once again Carroll faces another southpaw in Farmer. It’s always tricky business when lefties face lefties. It should be very interesting.

    Also, Katie Taylor (16-0) fights Brazil’s Rose Volante in a lightweight unification clash of world champions. Good stuff on DAZN. That’s Friday night.

    Murphys Boxing

    If watching boxing live is your preference a strong show takes place on Saturday, March 16 in Boston, Mass.

    The 4th annual St. Patrick’s Day clash takes place at Boston’s House of Blues. it features Mark DeLuca (22-1, 13 KOs) vs. Jimmy Williams (16-1-1, 5 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight battle.

    Also scheduled will be Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (29-3, 20 KOs) facing Khiary Gray (16-4, 12 KOs) in a middleweight clash set for eight rounds. O’Sullivan is the moustache wearing fighter who challenged Canada’s David Lemieux last September.

    It’s a very strong boxing card and can be watched live on Facebook at this link: All Star Boxing

    On the west coast All Star Boxing presents a solid boxing card at the Quiet Cannon golf course in Montebello, Calif.

    For more than 20 years Ed Holmes has been promoting boxing and introducing a number of stars. One of those who made his pro debut on All Star Boxing was Mikey Garcia back in July 2006. I was at that show and was never surprised at Garcia’s talent. He was already a show stopper in the amateurs.

    Maybe the next Mikey Garcia will be on the Friday night show.

    Among those on the card will be lightweight Michael Norato, welterweight Jhon Sanchez Leon, super welterweight Varges Vardanyan and middleweight Martin Saldana among others.

    Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information call (323) 816-6200.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel