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Riot At The Hyatt

Lucius Shepard

    Another sold-out promotion by Jerry Hoffman at the Monterey Hyatt on the night of July 3rd was marred by curious judging and two questionable stoppages.  But overall it was an entertaining evening with a spirited crowd and several very watchable fights.

    The opening 6-rounder between San Jose's Beto Cisneros (147) and Sacramento's Fronza Ekford (147) was a hotly contested war that proved to be the most competitive fight of the evening.  Eckford dominated two of the first  three rounds with sharp punching from the outside and had Cisneros wobbly in the third; but Cisneros's blistering body work wore his opponent down and he dominated the last half of the fight, causing most ringsiders to believe that he had won a clearcut decision.  Two of the judges, however, saw things differently, and Eckford was awarded an unpopular split decision by scores of 56-58, 58-56, and an entirely improbable 59-55.  Eckford improves to 5-4 while Cisneros drops to 2-3.

    In a spirited four-rounder, Jesus Rodriguez (135 1/2) of Salinas evened his record at 1-1, pounding out a unanimous decision over a game but overmatched Alfredo Aceves (135) of San Jose, who was making his pro debut.  Rodriguez dominated every round and had Aceves on the verge of a KO at the final bell.  The scoring was 40-36, 40-36, 40-35.

    In a bout that was a late addition, Santa Rosa welter prospect Santos Valdez (13-1, 147 lbs) stopped Anthony Bier (0-5, 147) of San Jose, when the fight was inexplicably halted at the 15 second mark of the first round following a flash knockdown.  After being dropped by a Valdez left hook, Bier jumped up early in the count and appeared ready to continue, but was promptly waved to his corner by the referee, whose actions seemed directed by some inner voice rather than what he saw. After the fight, the California commission requested a copy of the tape.

     One reason for the sold-out room was the presence on the card of Salinas jr. welter prospect Jose Celaya (139), who chose not to travel to Australia as an Olympic alternate and has entered the "Who's-The-Next-Oscar sweeptsakes by signing with Bob Arum.  Celaya may well prove to be the winner.  He's got the rock star looks and displayed impressive speed and power in taking apart Antonio Marquez (139 1/2) of San Jose, stopping him at 32 seconds of the 2nd round.

    After withstanding Marquez's bullrushes, Celaya peppered his opponent with sharp combinations, dropping him with a left hook for an 8-count near the end of round 1.  Once again, however, the stoppage seemed premature, coming at a time when Marquez was in no appreciable trouble. Letting the fight continue would have only postponed the inevitable, but no one, not even Celaya's corner, was happy with the result.  Celaya, whose record improved to 2-0 will be fighting at the Hyatt again on November 25th, and I urge anyone in the area to check this kid out--he's got the talent and connections to go a long way in the sport.  Marquez' record drops to 1-3.  Following the bout, several gentlemen at ringside who had bought tables were heard pleading with the two refs to exercise better judgment as to stoppages, because they felt they deserved more bang for their buck.

    Gina "Boom Boom" Guidi (154) of San Leanndro wears a tattoo on her right calf that reads Judge Not...Lest Ye Be Judged and owns three world title belts.  I'm not sure what world Gina is champion of, but I find it hard to believe that it's Planet Earth, because she seems a talentless brawler without power whose best weapon is her head.  Her opponent Marsha Valley (155) of Los Angeles landed almost all the clean punches and dominated from the outside, but the judges, apparently heeding Guidi's cautionary tattoo and giving credit to her flailing headfirst rushes, awarded her a very unpopular majority decision by scores of 57-57, 58-56, and 59-55.  Guidi's record now stands at 14-1-1.  Valley drops to 7-5-3

    The walk-out bout was a listless heavyweight six-rounder between Greg Kirkpatrick (225) of Roseville, California and Tacoma's Greg Dial (256).  Both fighters were 4-1 going into the bout, and afterward many ringsiders felt that both fighters should be 4-2.  Kirkpatrick spent the first three rounds fleeing in apparent terror, bouncing off the ropes, skipping away, and clinching.  Following his smaller opponent about left the overweight Dial badly winded by the middle of the fourth, and this sufficiently emboldened Kirkpatrick to throw a number of harmless punches, most falling short, others slapping against Dial's arms and gloves.  At the end of the bout Kirkpatrick lifted his arms in victory. Dial had the decency to make no such display.  Once again the judge's view differed from that of those at ringside as they awarded Kirkpatrick a majority decision by scores of 57-57, 58-56, and 59-55.

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