Telefutura sported a Mexican-Cowboy theme, with the announcers donning corny cowboy hats. The largely Latino crowd, clad in genuine ten-gallon hats, bolo ties and boots presented an unmistakably authentic image. Yep, this is how role do it in Odessa, Texas’ Far West Center.
While the fights were lively, they were strictly club fight material, with no future champions I’ve far as I could see. In fact, the super bantams in the main event—Tomas Villa vs. Trinidad Mendoza—had a combined 17 losses and five draws going in.
Truth be told, the majority of these losses belong to the journeyman Mendoza, and this night was no exception. He is not without skills, but he’s regularly matched with monsters like Ponce De Leon, Israel Vazquez, Jhonny Gonzalez and upstarts like Antonio Escalante. I don’t think Tomas Villa is necessarily in this class, but he’s #9 in the WBC and had enough to TKO Mendoza at 1:29 of the 6th round.
It was clear from the opening bell who was the stronger fighter, as the now 17-5-3 (11) Villa bulled Mendoza around the ring. Mendoza fought off the ropes for the first three rounds, scrambling from corner to corner. He countered well but his punches rarely cam in bunches and had little effect on Villa.
One of the announcers gave Mendoza the fourth, on the strength of his best punch of the night—a right uppercut square on the chin. But that was just one shot and didn’t earn the round, in my opinion.
Villa’s pressure continued through the fifth and his man showed the wear and tear. Surprisingly, Mendoza came out in the sixth looking rejuvenated. He got up on his toes and even peppered Villa with some sharp left and rights. But they only made Tomas sneer.
Soon, Mendoza was once again trapped on the ropes and a thudding right hook to the ribs put him down. No rookie, the now 21-13-2 (16) opponent spat out his mouthpiece to buy some time.
It wasn’t enough. Villa closed in again, catching him with two head shots that undid him. Mendoza went down again and the ref began his count, but waved it off before reaching 10.
Welterweight Nurhan Suleymanoglu—16-7 (8)—was once a tremendous amateur. Originally from Kazakhstan, he moved to Turkey in the early ‘90s, representing that country in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. (He earned silver in ’96.)
By the time got to the America in 2001 to pursue a pro career, he was already 30. As with many great amateurs from abroad, he may have joined the pro ranks too late. Still, he began auspiciously, going 14-0 (6), and was as slick and confident as a “young” pro could be. The over 300 amateur fights he’d had, might’ve helped in this regard.
He lost his 15th pro fight in 2004 against David Estrada, and ever since then he has looked like a different fighter to me—the type that ought to hang ‘em up before it’s too late. It’s not that he hasn’t hung tough with most of the fighters that have been beating him; he’s just not nearly as crisp as he used to be, and when he gets tagged hard, he doesn’t take it well anymore.
Garbriel Martinez, a 19-year-old who raised his record to 12-0 (7), stopped Nurhan at 2:00 of the seventh (TKO).
The fight was fairly competitive through the first five to six rounds—though the older man was getting caught with stuff I used to see him slip with ease. In the seventh, Martinez caught him flush a few times and Nurhan fell apart. Luckily, the ref jumped in at the right moment and saved the faded fighter from unnecessary damage.
Judging by the way this warrior fights, Nurhan is probably too tough for his own good. Perhaps the decision to retire shouldn’t be left to him? Certainly, there’s plenty of ham n’eggers who are in worse shape, mentally and physically, than him. (And to be clear, I have no information regarding his medicals. My take is solely based on what I’ve observed of him in the ring.) It’s just that with a blue-chip athlete, one’s deterioration stands out in relief that much more.
I used to love to watch Suleymanglu box. Those days are over.
Super bantam Jaime Villa TKO 3 over Blake Franklin
Jnr. feather Jose Salazar UD 4 over Carlos Cardenas
Martin Minajares TKO 1 over Michael Taylor