Zamir Young heads undercard’s hit parade

Fruitland, N.M.’s Suanitu Hogue made his ring entry one of the true highlights of
Cortez, Colo., super middleweight Zamir Young zeroes in on opponent Grant John during Bout 4 of
Fruitland, N.M.’s Suanitu Hogue made his ring entry one of the true highlights of "Rumble in the Rockies II," June 28 at the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center.
Cortez, Colo., super middleweight Zamir Young zeroes in on opponent Grant John during Bout 4 of "Rumble in the Rockies II," June 28 at the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center. Young scored with the punch, and scored himself a unanimous-decision victory.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Weebles wobble, but they don’t…

Most folks out there could finish that well-known slogan; Cortez, Colo., super middleweight Zamir Young, seen smiling inside the Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center ring, couldn’t believe that Grant John was his, well, weeble.

“I was smiling because I was just trying to have a good time; I’m very confident on how hard I can get hit before I black out and can’t think straight anymore,” Young said.

Able to survive a five-round throwdown against the battler appropriately dubbed “G-Rock,” with each fighter firing at will right from the opening bell, Young managed one knockdown in the most well-received bout of the June 28 “Rumble in the Rockies II” undercard and left with a unanimous decision bumping his professional record up to 1-2-1.

Both appeared ready to hit the canvas in Round 2 after each put fist to the opposing face, and Young all but finished John at center ring once in the third before finally putting him down near the ropes in the fourth, with referee Stephen Blea stepping in to administer a standing-eight count to John.

“He gave me a couple pretty hard shots and I felt it, definitely – I was bleeding too – but I was sparring with heavyweights, and that was happening all week,” he said. “So it wasn’t really a big thing to me. … You can’t go into a fight expecting not to get hit.”

Almost as impressive as main-event fighter Kenny Lemos’ admitted drop of more than 30 pounds in barely three weeks in preparation to face James “Lights Out” Toney was Young’s trimming of nearly 20 to get down to his previous day’s weigh-in of 164.6.

“I would ride my bike 10 to 11 miles to town, and I would hang out at the gym, then I would ride the bike back home,” he said. “And I would take a day off, but run 5 miles that day in the morning, then 5 at night. And I started cutting weight, getting my mind right, pushing my body to the limit – to the next level, where I want to be.”

At 169.4 pounds, John (now 1-1) weighed in well over the agreed contract weight, but the bout went forth after his camp agreed to pay Young’s a $200 fine.

Getting the evening underway were super featherweights Suanitu Hogue – who entered, fittingly, in full feather-adorned headdress – of Fruitland, N.M., and Colorado Springs’ Ronnie Reams. After both were warned against using illegal tactics in the second of their five rounds, Reams took the advantage with numerous lefts near the end of the third (in which Hogue also briefly went down on a slip).

A good flurry began Round 4, though Hogue (now 0-3) would later answer with one of his own, and Reams (2-2) rolled to a 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 unanimous decision by intensifying his shots in the fifth.

Shiprock, N.M.’s Steve Victor stood in with Denver’s Carlos Sanchez for five super-middleweight frames in the slate’s second bout, but after a fairly-even first, began taking some hard rights in the second and appeared somewhat dazed.

Tiring and breathing nasally in the third, Sanchez tried maintaining his pace only to find Victor patient and willing to often engage in a preemptive clinch, before finding Victor’s left had life in the fourth.

But ultimately it wasn’t enough; Sanchez (6-4, 2 KO) won by 47-48, 48-47, 49-46 split decision.

“I think it was a pretty good, tough fight – a good stepping stone for me,” said Victor, now 1-3-1, “so I’ve got to do what I do … which is prove myself.”

Fruitland super-feather Jazzma “Turbo” Hogue had already proven himself well on previous high-profile undercards – including a Manny Pacquiao-headlined bill in December 2012 – but, standing 2-5-1, sought a needed victory when he faced off against Denverite Raymond Nichol for five rounds in Bout No. 3, and ended the first with a solid attack out of a neutral-corner tie-up.

A good left-right combo midway through the second had Hogue looking the stronger, and despite his corner’s pleas for him to pound inside, Nichol’s body shots were outclassed by Hogue’s in Round 3. After his mouthpiece popped out early in the fourth, Nichol (now 3-2-1, 2 KO) began looking to load up for bigger punches, but found few as Hogue commanded a 49-46, 49-46, 50-45 verdict.

Finally, in the night’s “Feature Bout,” prior to Toney-Lemos, Gerardo Quintana of Hobbs, N.M., and Cris “Lightning” Leyva of Farmington, N.M. fought to a majority draw after six rounds at super middleweight, but Quintana apparently didn’t feel he deserved even that much.

“He even told me after, like, ‘Dude, you got that,’” Leyva said.

“And this … just calls for a rematch; he’s a tough kid, an up-and-comer. Didn’t expect him to be that tough coming out, but he’s tough,” he said. “Got some more experience than me in boxing, I’ve got more experience in MMA … took his best shots, and I gave him my best shots. And it was a good fight.”

Leyva dictated early on before Quintana settled in for the duration with several scoring lefts. Round 2 appeared to go in Quintana’s direction, but the third saw Leyva looking better and quicker to jump in close and physically prevent punch after punch from ever coming his way.

“I guess my legs just gave out around the second round; I just reverted to brawling and let him smother me, you know,” said Quintana, now 3-0-1 with three KOs, “instead of trying to do what I do.”

Two major body shots in the fourth allowed Quintana to deny Leyva the round in its entirety, but Leyva recovered well in Round 5 to fight Quintana to a near-even sixth.

Scores were announced as 56-58, 57-57 and 57-57.

“I didn’t do well, in my opinion,” Quintana said, “on my side – not taking nothing from the guy [Leyva] … he’s tough. That was for sure.”

“He landed a few more power shots than I expected, but I kept the pressure – his face was more bloody, had more bruises,” said Leyva (2-0-1). “I thought I won, but hey … nothing wrong with a draw. You learn a lot … and I’ll come back better.”

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