Different name, same game: Martinez wins

Durango’s Miguel Gallegos, right, attacks the body of Farmington, New Mexico’s Joe Barela during ‘March Boxing Madness’ action inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center in Ignacio, Colo.
Las Vegas, Nevada’s Arturo Izquierdo, left, swings a right to the temple of Zamir Young during ‘March Boxing Madness’ action inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center.
Shiprock, New Mexico’s Steve Victor, right, connects with a left to the head of Billings, Montana’s Daniel Gonzales during ‘March Boxing Madness’ action inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center.
Ignacio High School student Aislinn Red performs the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Saturday, Mar. 3, inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center prior to the first of six professional bouts making up Left Hook Promotions’ ‘March Boxing Madness’ card.
Boxing promoter Byron Frost (left) and event coordinator Deanna Frost prepare for the start of Left Hook Promotions’ ‘March Boxing Madness’ pro card, Saturday, Mar. 3, inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center. Six bouts comprised the lineup (a seventh did not materialize, though one boxer – Denver, Colorado’s Alma Garcia – was in attendance and presented to the crowd).
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

‘Ironman’ scores KO to close out undercard

Returning to action in Ignacio for the first time since defeating Terry Buterbaugh in May 2015, Aztec, New Mexico’s ‘Ironman’ Joe Martinez (formerly Gomez) knocked out Denver, Colorado’s Corey Alarcon 2 minutes, 54 seconds into the second of six scheduled super-welterweight rounds – highlighting the ‘March Boxing Madness’ undercard lineup, Mar. 3 inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center.

“I was predicting the fourth,” said Martinez (21-7-1, 10 KO), a 2003 Aztec High graduate who wore black trunks with Tiger orange trim – in remembrance of the nationally-infamous Dec. 7, 2017, shootings at AHS – for the bout. “But … the sooner the better, so it’s all good!”

The well-traveled Alarcon dropped to 17-21-1 (4 KO), but Martinez knew he’d have to work hard to win.

“Fighting at Sky Ute, the electricity, the energy – it’s amazing you know?” he said. “Especially going against somebody like Corey; he’s fought a lot of world champs, and he’s gone the distance with a lot of guys. For me to stop him in the second round really meant a lot.”

After referee Stephen Blea counted Alarcon out within his own corner, a moment of silence soon hushed a roaring Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center, as an honorary ten-count tolled in memory of those lost in the aforementioned tragedy.

“My son goes to Aztec, so that was really tough,” said welterweight Joe Barela, who’d squared off against Durango’s Miguel Gallegos in the night’s second slated bout. “My plan was to come out with a bunch of ‘Aztec Strong’ stuff – I was going to order some ‘Tiger’ trunks – but this … fight was for my dad. He wanted me to come back, and I promised him I’ll do more.”

“I had a lot of ring rust,” he added. “Like, I knew what I needed to do, but my body wasn’t letting me. I’m going to try to get … a couple more fights in, talk to the promoter, and I’ll try to get a rematch!”

Scrapping in memory of his father and mother, lost in a March 2015 motorcycle accident in Arizona, and simply stoked to again taste battle, Barela’s long-awaited return ended on the down side of a 39-37, 39-37, 40-36 unanimous decision after four frames, but the Farmington, New Mexico man (now 5-4-0, 2 KO) was eager to learn from the loss.

“I want to keep going,” he said, his previous action having come back in May ’08. “You know, it’s been nine years since I’d been in the ring, and I felt strong. I could tell the mistakes I made, and I know what I need to fix, but I felt really good. When I came out … I just felt the audience.”

“This was my first fight without my parents … so that was the hardest part.”

Shaking off a slip to the canvas early in Round 2, Gallegos (5-1-1, 1 KO) weathered Barela’s jab- and counterpunch-based approach, though a left hook early in Round 3 backed him near the ropes and had him on the verge of going down.

“I hadn’t fought in eight years until the last time I fought,” Gallegos recalled, “and it’s hard when you haven’t heard much of a guy fighting in a long time – you don’t know what he’s going to do.”

Nobody really knew what Las Vegas, Nevada’s Arturo Izquierdo was going to do in the following bout. Having been a sparring partner of none other than Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (50-0-0, 27 KO), during the last year, the 23-year-old – who nearly represented his birth country of Costa Rica at the 2012 Summer Olympics – prevailed over Zamir Young by TKO, with the action officially stopped 2:07 into the fifth of six scheduled rounds.

“My fighting style is always uncomfortable for anyone I get in the ring with,” said the southpaw. “I wanted to make it quicker, but I think I made a pretty good show. I’m not completely satisfied, but I’m glad that everyone enjoyed it.”

No stranger to SUCREC, Young dipped to 2-7-1 while Izquierdo improved to 5-0-0 (2 KO) and also provided the quotable of the night: “Sometimes you win, sometimes you…got to keep training harder.”

Getting the whole show started after Ignacio High School student Aislinn Red’s rendition of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ Shiprock, N.M., super-middleweight Steve Victor dedicated his 40-36, 40-36, 40-36 four-round shutout of Billings, Montana’s Daniel Gonzales to two supportive IHS grads.

“My uncle Danny Victor [announced as being in the Class of 1975], I was pretty close with him when I was younger,” he said, “and my late uncle Rudy Victor [Class of ’73]. I never knew who he was, but from the stories I’ve heard from my father, he was a good man.”

Victor improved to 3-7-2 while Gonzales fell to 12-43-2 (4 KO) after Victor’s power shots – including a notable roundhouse right landed in Round 3 – began piling up and taking their desired effect.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for this victory,” said Victor. “I just kind of stepped in with the jab, kind of to … see what he had – he’s an experienced fighter, way more fights than me – and I wanted to take that first round.”

“I’ll look forward to another win, keep training hard and working at it.”

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