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Avila Perspective, Chap. 129: Remembering Rod and More Fight News

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 129: Remembering Rod and More Fight News

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    By David A. Avila

    We lost another one in the boxing world.

    Rodney Cruz Hunt, 53, passed recently from complications of the Covid-19 virus and for many of us, he was photo-journalist, promoter and marketer all in one.

    Hunt (pictured with PacMan) formed a company called GM3 Boxing and staged several boxing cards in Tijuana, Mexico over the past three years. If you were involved in Southern California prizefighting or professional sports in general, you probably knew him or had seen him.

    Heavyweight fighter Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola mentioned Hunt’s death during a press conference for his upcoming fight with former world champion Andy Ruiz. Out of respect, Arreola wanted to give his farewell.

    “I heard of his passing this morning and I’m deeply sadden,” said Arreola during a telephone press conference.

    Myself, I had known Hunt for decades, first as a camera-carrying journalist for CBS and KHJ while filming sports at Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium or the Staples Center. He knew all of the Los Angeles sports stars like Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Matt Kemp, Sugar Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao and James Toney.

    Hunt covered Arreola extensively when the Mexican-American heavyweight was preparing for a showdown with Vitaly Klitschko for the world title in 2009. Almost everyday Hunt was in the Riverside boxing gym with camera in tow filming various aspects of Arreola in training.

    Later, Hunt worked with Dan Goossen at Goossen Promotions and became a fixture at many local fight cards. He loved boxing and could talk for hours about it. After Goossen passed away in September 2014, a huge void was created in Southern California boxing.

    After a few years, Hunt missed the boxing game and decided to start promoting at a small level. He called me to ask my opinion regarding female prizefighters. We kept in close touch for the next few years.

    In a very short time Hunt signed a talented prospect in Aida Satybaldinova and was assisting with Japanese fighter Tomomi Takano. Meanwhile, he continued working as a cameraman for television networks. He quickly became enamored with female boxing’s fighting spirit and helped get them on a national televised game show featuring boxers Claressa Shields, Mikaela Mayer and others.

    Hunt kept working in journalism and was often seen at events until 2020 when the pandemic hit full force. Though prizefighting continued with outdoor events in Tijuana, Mexico and in various spots in Texas and Florida, he had stopped putting on boxing events. I called Hunt late in 2020 and discovered he had contracted the coronavirus.

    Hunt had five cell phones. I never knew which phone was best to call. So, I found it best to text or message him. He messaged me back that he was recovering from the virus and I fully expected him to return to action.

    Sadly, he passed this week.

    Here’s one last toast to Rodney Cruz Hunt. Salud!

    Crowded Fight Week

    A Top Rank boxing card on Saturday morning, April 3, features Jamel Herring (22-2) defending the WBO super featherweight title against former two-division world titlist Carl Frampton (28-2) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ESPN+ will stream the fight card.

    This fight was sidelined for various reasons and now they finally meet in the boxing ring.

    Herring, 35, a popular former US Marine, will be defending the WBO title for the third time. The tall and lean super featherweight keeps surprising foes with his aggressive style and hopes to fend off the challenge from Frampton.

    “I’ve told people throughout camp that I’m a fan of Carl. He’s a two-division champion and besides his accolades in the ring, he’s a father and a husband like myself, so we both share common mutual respect,” said Herring. “He will be the biggest name on my resume.”

    Frampton, 34, a former super bantamweight and featherweight world champion, anxiously seeks to be a three-division world champion.

    “It would mean the world to me to become a three-weight world champion,” Frampton said at a press conference. “This is a chance to go down as the only ever three-weight world champion from the whole island of Ireland.”

    Uzbekistan

    Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0) defends WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles against Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3) on Saturday April 3 at Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

    It’s been more than a year since Akhmadaliev won a touch and go battle against Los Angeles fighter Danny Roman to win the world titles by split decision. Some feel Roman won the fight, but it was very close.

    Akhmadaliev, 26, a southpaw with a power-boxing style, trains in Indio, California with Joel and Antonio Diaz. This will be his first defense of the two world titles he took from Roman. And he will be fighting in front of his countrymen.

    Iwasa, 31, is also a southpaw and a former world titlist who is making a second attempt to win another world title. He lost the IBF title to TJ Doheny back in August 2018.

    Fights to Watch

    Sat. FITE.TV 3 p.m. Lester Martinez (7-0) vs Gabriel Lopez (10-4-1).

    Sat. ESPN+ 8 a.m. Jamel Herring (22-2) vs Carl Frampton (28-2).

    Sat. DAZN 9 a.m. Murod Akhmadaliev (8-0) vs Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    A toast to Rod. This Covid has been horrific on all fronts. I know of no one who has not been impacted is some way (remote or otherwise) and for those of us who want to enjoy what few years we have left--our so-called golden years-- it has been emotionally devastating.

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