Jnr. lightweights Juan Carlos Salgado and Ivan Valle proved their toughness just by showing up as the main event on Telefutura’s recent broadcast from the Cliff County Casino in Camp Verde, Arizona. In an outdoor ring, they boxed in 120-degree weather.
Despite the sweltering heat, they fought a rugged—sometimes dirty—10 rounds, with Salgado getting the UD nod by scores of 93-94, 90-96 and 92-95.
A decorated amateur from Mexico City, the rangy 22-year-old Salgado now moves to 18-0-1 (13). Valle, a very tough outing for all but a few (Humberto Soto dispatched him in four last year) drops to 25-6-1 (21).
At the opening bell, Valle pressured Salgado and dug hooks to his body. Ivan is at his best when he fights off the front foot and makes the fight.
In the next two rounds, Valle, 27, continued to impose his man-strength on Salgado, who last November fought at 123 pounds. But J.C. made some adjustments and displayed his superior boxing ability when he let his hands go. He even dish-ragged Valle to the canvas at one point; not in retaliation to anything in particular but to make a statement. His nose was bleeding badly and the sight of his own blood might have unnerved him?
Both fighters’ trunks displayed the Mexican colors of red, green and white. You got the sense that each was trying to suggest he was more deserving of wearing them.
Both fighters exchanged rabbit punches in the fourth, but I liked what I saw from Salgado. Along with a bit of a mean streak that’s helpful when in with a tough customer like Valle, he looked more like a pro than many other sub-20-fight prospects I’ve seen. He planted his feet, sat down on his punches, and worked ably in the pocket. His punches were accurate, even when letting six-punch combinations flow from his stringy arms. He had a tendency to hold his left low, but seemed to have a good instinct for when to pick it up.
Unfortunately, the fisticuffs resembled Lucha Libra in the fifth. J.C. went south of the border when he had Ivan on the ropes. The victim was bent down low before the blow ever landed, so I’m not convinced the shot was intentional. The ref took a point. When the action resumed, they didn’t touch gloves. And soon Valle returned the favor with a blatant low-blow that earned him a one point deduction.
Surprisingly, they touched gloves at the beginning of the sixth. Valle started to clinch a lot, and I wondered if he was hoping to make a silent deal. Salgado wouldn’t have it and finished the round with head-snapping uppercuts and rib-rattling hooks.
In the seventh, Salgado landed a left hook to the body that sounded like a firecracker exploding. Later in the round Valle responded in kind, but sabotaged his work by resorting to roughhouse tactics; he held his foe behind the head while cracking him with his free hand.
After being warned numerous times, the ref took a point away from Valle for rabbit punching in the ninth. One suspected that this last deduction did him in, even the fight was pretty close. Valle would need something big in the 10th.
But the sun and all of those physical rounds had sapped Valle, and he didn’t have any TNT left in his mitts. The final round featured a lot of grabbing and sloppy punching. Frankly, I was just impressed that they could stand the heat...to say nothing of fighting in it.
Several West Coast boxing writers have been giving major pub to jnr. welter Victo Ortiz, and have proclaimed him a certain future world champion. (Certainly we in NY are guilty of sometimes overvaluing the prospects in out backyard.) Beyond his performances in the ring, they are impressed with his overall intelligence and discipline for a man of only 20.
Ortiz hails from Oxnard, California, made famous for its greatest boxer to date, Fernando Vargas. The precocious Vargas was indeed something special—at least when he was young and undefeated. But he had a wild, reckless side which sometimes got the better of him inside and outside the ring. I don’t know how good Ortiz is going to be, but I do admire his controlled execution in the ring.
He raised his record to 18-1-1 (13), making short work of Maximino Cuevas at 2:44 of the first.
Cuevas falls to 9-6-1 (5) but his record deserves some investigation. He is routinely pitted against good prospects, and loses. But has never been stopped this way. A right uppercut, left and another right took him out in devastating fashion.
It’s time to see Ortiz on something like Boxing After Dark, against a real threat. His Telefutura days look numbered.