Boxers rumbling Saturday
Written by: Joel Priest
Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Which will benefit boxing fans tomorrow night at “Rumble in the Rockies.”
Because though some of the professional undercard bouts have been changed, the main attractions are still concrete: the returns to Sky Ute Pavilion of three Four Corners favorites.
Continuing his ascent to another title shot, Bloomfield, N.M., welterweight Joe Gomez (11-1-1, 5 KO) will still headline the event in an eight-rounder against El Paso, TX, lefty Bobby Joe Valdez.
Valdez (9-3-2, 4 KO) battled Gomez to a six-round draw last December in Albuquerque, but will make his second trip to Ignacio having not fought since. Gomez no doubt will be the crowd’s choice, making his eighth appearance at the venue.
The co-main will still pit Farmington, N.M., featherweight Victor Barela (8-0-1, 2 KO) against Leshaun Blair of Knoxville, Tenn., over seven rounds.
While Barela was victorious at “Sumer Smash II” recently, Blair will be going for his first win in two years and could be tougher than his 3-15 record would indicate. His previous outing—March 10—pit him against former WBC International flyweight champ Alex Baba (now 26-11-1, 20 KO), and Blair fared comparatively well before being TKO’d in the fifth of their six-rounder.
Also from Farmington, lightweight Joe Barela will return to action after more than a year away when he stands in against Edward Tomaselli. Barela claimed a four-round split decision over Terrence Jett (Las Vegas, Nev.) in his ring return following nearly two years of inactivity at last June’s “Boiling Point” card, while Tomaselli (0-2) will stand in after waiting about as long as a fighter can between bouts. According to BoxRec.com, the Albuquerque fighter hasn’t fought since August 8, 1998, when he was KO’d in the first against local rookie Anthony Lee Montoya (now 10-1-0, 7 KO) inside the Duke City’s Coke Pavilion.
The marquee ladies’ fight also hasn’t changed, and the rubber match between Albuquerque’s Jodi Esquibel (4-2-0, 2 KO) and Melissa Shaffer of Seattle, Wash. (via Van Buren, Ark.) is still a lock. Shaffer (10-5, 5 KO) won the most recent meeting last September, after Esquibel had edged past her four months before. Both four-rounders ended in unanimous decisions for the winner, and the two are listed to go five this time at 105 pounds—between the “light flyweight” and “strawweight” divisions, the sport’s two smallest classifications.
Silvanus Morris (0-1), a junior welterweight from Blanding, Utah, will still open the professional slate of fights, but not against Albuquerque’s Juan Romero. Opposing him over four rounds instead will be Colorado Springs’ Ruben Jacoby (0-3), who will have needed to add nearly 15 pounds since his last encounter back in February.
And following Morris-Jacoby will be Denver’s Manuel ‘Manny’ Perez (9-3-0, 2 KO) against Pedro Davila (1-1) of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, in the super featherweight/junior lightweight ranks. The advertised length of six rounds will seem short to Perez, the current WBC Continental Americas super feather champion, who has gone the distance and won a 12-rounder (the title bout) and most recently an eight-rounder—both in the last two months.
The gates will open for the pro action at 6:15 p.m., with the first scrape scheduled 45 minutes later. Ticket prices range from $20-35 and can be purchased at the Sky Ute Casino Gift Shop, Katzin Music in Durango, Western Warehouse in Farmington, or can be charged by phone by calling (970)-563-3000.