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Lucky Eagle Casino .....Fight Night XXVI
Katherine Dunn

February 5, 2000

Lucky Eagle Casino .....Fight Night XXVI
Saturday, February 5th
Rochester, WA
Matchmaker: Bennie Georgino
Inspector: Tom Sporar
Referees: Bob Howard, Jeff Macaluso
Judges: Glen Hamada, Morris McCollum, Roy Selbert
Ringside Physician: Dr. James Ferguson

The virtue wowsers commonly brand Indian casinos as satanic sink holes baiting the innocent to bankruptcy and degradation, but these complaints are notably noisiest in states where the government lotteries resent any competition that is livelier and more entertaining than a scratch-off ticket. The fight fan is beholden to the Indian casinos across the nation which have virtually saved boxing by reviving the small club shows that are the developmental gardens of the sport. The majority of all professional boxing in the U.S.A. currently takes place in casinos.

The Lucky Eagle is a long, low casino tucked into the tall trees on a hill above the tiny farm town of Rochester, Washington. In the three years or so that the Chehalis tribe has been offering professional boxing shows at the Lucky Eagle there have been changes. The parking lot is bigger, smoothly paved and lit. It is ringed by discreet bird houses on tall poles and in the summer you can ramble the soft path on the outer edge and watch horses at graze or play in the big, rolling paddock beyond the fences. Little Rochester has a new Post Office and a well-equipped RV park, a candy store and an espresso take-out joint, among other improvements.

After more than two-dozen pro fight cards, the casino and its matchmaker, Bennie Georgino, have the production values nailed. The dimmed bingo parlour is transformed by the white-lit ring. Ring Announcer Greg Bailey is graciously professional and lends his mighty baritone to the national anthem.

The six bouts on Saturday nights' card clicked along at a nice pace, with rousing theme music for each boxer's entrance and no delays. The menu was varied with one excellent fight, one modest but decent main event, and enough slop on the undercard to make you appreciate the good stuff when it came along.


The Fight of the Night honors go to a hellatious 8 round leatherfest between 26 year-old prospect Don Juan Futrell of St. Louis, MO (138 1/2 lbs, ) and 37 year-old veteran Tony Duran of Denver, (137 1/2 lbs). This was a classic clash of styles. The rugged Duran has the compact, tucked-in, straight ahead hooking style we associate with good, tough Mexican fighters, Futrell is a fast, long-armed, relaxed southpaw designed by an excellent amateur background.

The first round went to Duran for determined bull rushes and body attacks on the hard-to-find Futrell, who conducted a tap and run exploration.

Futrell started the second with pitty-pats that failed to impress the lunging, grappling Duran, and had us suspecting that Futrell might be more dancer than fighter. But half way through, Futrell uncorked a sudden and startling fusillade of crisp, accurate combinations that drove Duran to back-and-cover on the ropes.

Effective double hooks were Futrell's favorite weapon, but his failing was to back off and let the durable and ferocious Duran to rally and launch a counter attack. A nasty swelling developed beneath Duran's right eye and Futrell ripped it open in the fourth. A mistake. The glaring wound unleashed Duran's monster heart and he stormed forward, putting Futrell on the ropes.

Futrell snapped back in the fifth and the drama continued with Duran never yielding and Futrell edging him out, round after round. All three judges called it 78-74 for Futrell. Duran's record drops to 13-22-2, 8 KO's, which does not reflect his ability. Futrell moves up to 14-2, 9 KO's and deserves watching.

Modestly Respectable

The main event was a10 round World Boxing Board Middleweight title fight. WBB champ, Julio "The Cuban Lover" Garcia (159 1/2 lbs, now 19-0-2, 7 KO's) is 26 years old, originally from Cuba and now fights out of Nevada. Though he's muscled and cut and looks like he ought to have an enormous bang, the light-fisted Garcia won a unanimous decision over solid work horse, and ex-WBB champ, Eric Holland, of Tacoma (159 1/4 lbs, now 21-27-3, 4 KO's), who also works ernestly but without power. Two judges called it 97-93 and the third saw it 99-91, all for Garcia.

On the undercard:

Anthony Curry (296 1/4 lbs, now 4-7, 3 KO) of Chowchilla, CA won a unanimous decision over Craig "Tiger" Payne (313 lbs,now 12-19-1, 8 KO's) of Michigan. Two judges called it 58-56, and the third called it 59-55. Curry was in slightly better shape than the gelatinous Payne, and certain brilliant characters in the audience took up the responsibility of notifying the pair, at the top of beer-amplified lungs, that they were "FAT!" This observation may have obscured the fact that both fighters were canny boxers of the sluggish school engaged in what amounted to a civil and scholarly sparring session.

In a female four rounder, 20 year-old Jr. lightweight Jenna "Bambi" Bertoncello of Issaquah, WA (131 1/4 lbs, now 2-1, 1 KO) decisioned 36 year-old Suzanne McDaniel of Boise, ID (135 lbs, now 0-2). Bertoncello is a former martial artist, who lacks snap and is inclined to hike her right foot off the ground a foot or two in a kind of bolo kick when throwing her right hand. This comical trick worked only because the stronger McDaniel seemed petrified in a classical bareknuckle defensive pose and didn't think to let her hands go until the final round. When McD started throwing punches, Bertoncello's various frailties were exposed.

Another female four had 153 lb Dakota Stone of Seattle, WA going to 1-1 with a decision over 164 lb Stacy Taylor of Tacoma, WA who was making her debut. The muscular Taylor had plenty of courage but her primary skill was in clinching. Stone, who has some actual amateur experience, had more skills but both women were showing signs of serious fatigue by the second round.

Heavyweights-- James Partch (194 1/2 lbs, now 0-2) of Portland, Or was TKO'd at 2:06 of the second round in a scheduled four by Greg Dials (240 1/2 lbs, now 2-0, 1 K0) of Tacoma, WA. This was a crude business and ref Bob Howard did Partch a favor by stopping the affair while Partch was still vertical, though battered on the ropes.

In fairness to matchmaker Georgino, it must be mentioned that the undercard bouts were last minute pairings magicked into being within three days of the event. Though the Lucky Eagle commonly has solid cards as much as a month or six weeks in advance, the flue and fluke season had wreaked havoc on the original line-up.


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