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, April 27, 2007

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Chicago’s My Kind Of Town
A Good Night’s Boxing at Cicero Stadium



When I think of boxing on Telefutura I think of Cicero, Illinois. It seems as if every third broadcast is televised from Cicero Stadium, a venue outside of Chicago. And when I think of quintessential Telefutura fighters, super lightweights Francisco Lorenzo and Cristobal Cruz fit the bill.

Evenly matched, these vets put on 12 rounds of rock ‘em sock ‘em robots on the Spanish channel, which regularly outshines its rival on ESPN2, Friday Night Fights.  (FNF, on the other hand, showcased Zab Judah against hapless Ruben Galvan, a .500 fighter in his last 10.)

The judges gave Lorenzo a close UD by scores of 115-112 (twice) and 114-113. I’m glad I didn’t have to judge it; it was too close to call. The 35-year-old Dominican Lorenzo, who turned pro late in life, moves to 28-4-2 (14), while Cruz goes to 34-10-1 (22).

Even though Lorenzo is squat and muscular and Cruz is long and spindly, their fighting styles are similar. They eschew jabs and any semblance of a safety-first mentality for wide hooks and long, rainbow rights.

A clear slip by Lorenzo in the first was ruled as a knockdown in the first. He didn’t help his cause when he threw a low blow in the second and received a warning. But the majority of the time they dug mightily and cleanly to the body.

Still no jabs to be found in the third. In the fourth, fatigue was setting in and they looked sloppy. When Lorenzo was tired he opted to pot-shot. Cruz didn’t have to work to hard to draw him into slugging, which is how they ended the round and began the fifth.

The best punch of the night came midway through the fifth, when Lorenzo caught Cruz with an overhand right to the temple. The punch sent him lurching across the ring.  Undeterred, Cruz got right back in the trenches and gave as good as he got. Lorenzo fell in love with that Sunday punch and when it missed—which it did often, now that Cruz was prepared for it—it missed by a mile.

The sixth was Cruz’s best round. He assaulted Lorenzo with an array of punches and pushed him back. The Dominican’s legs looked stiff, as if he was boxing on stilts.

The seventh was close. They must’ve thrown a hundred a piece, and neither looked ready to give.

But in the eighth through the eleventh, Lorenzo was the one looking for breathing room. Unfortunately for Cruz, Lorenzo pot-shotted well, even though his pins didn’t look great. Cruz’s feet looked stuck in cement, and he was never able to capitalize on the situation.

The final round was a gut-check time, and both passed the test. I didn’t count any jabs but saw every other type of punch that isn’t short or straight. While no one likes a draw, I couldn’t see either being declared the winner or the loser.    


Super feather Carlos Vinan, now 7-3-2 (1) after receiving an eight-round majority draw against Carlos Madrid, is nothing spectacular. But he did score a SD last January over a fighter named Eric Hunter, who I think has the makings a future world champion.

Against Madrid—who is a Mexican, not a Spaniard—he found his equal. The judges got this one right. Scores were 76-76 twice and 77-75 for Madrid, who now goes 8-2-2 (2).

The two would muck and grind for the better part of eight rounds but, neither had the stopping power to turn the tide in his favor. It was a hearty effort that primed the fans for the main event, which shared many characteristics with this match.

Super middle Donovan “Da Bomb” George is a popular 22-year-old from Chicago with the potential to develop a following like Irishman John Duddy.  He’s a good ticket seller in Chi-Town—one of the most underrated fight towns in the States—and has a forceful advisor in Mike Michaels (Cestus Management, best known for handling Mike Arnaoutis).

George is personable, funny, sports a new mohawk, looks to have a decent punch, and has skin color that is a lighter shade of pale. A showman, he does a back-flip after his victories.

The first time I saw him he had an off night (or was it?) and I dismissed him as yet another great white hope. But at 13-0-1 (11) he has gotten rid of a few journeymen that’ve taken other prospects the distance. His recent opponent, the now 13-14-1 (9) Alberto Mercedes, qualifies as one of these. Not only did George take him out, he did so at 2:59 of the first round. (This bout wasn’t televised.)

Sure, Meredes had lost nine of his last 11 going in, but he’s gone deep rounds with many familiar names. I’ve seen him fight before and I can attest he’s tough as an old boot. Maybe “Da Bomb” has got some spark?

Jnr. Middle Rudy Cisneros got a TKO 5 over Leshon Sims.

Welter Ivan Popoca scored a TKO 2 over Gustavo Palacios.

Welter Andrzej Fonfara won a UD 4 over Justin Danforth UD.





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