By David Finger
Hobbs, New Mexico, hosted another successful boxing show this Saturday (October 27) and may have witnessed the birth of a real life boxing rivalry, bad blood and all. Desmond “Dez” Hill dominated the normally durable Omar Acosta, pounding Acosta relentlessly before stopping him in the fourth round.
Leading up to the fight Maurice Jackson (1-0, 1 KO), who was scheduled to fight in the co-main event but saw his fight fall through the day of the weigh-in, entered the ring to let fans know that he wanted to step in with Hill next.
Undefeated cruiserweight Richard Villa (2-0-1, 1 KO) of Roswell also stepped into the ring and issued a challenge to Jackson in response, as well as one for Hill. It was an interesting side story to the Hill-Acosta main event, as the Odessa native was trying to establish himself as the best light heavyweight/cruiserweight prospect in the Southwest with his fight against Acosta.
And although Hill did show signs of ring rust, having not fought since February of 2017, there was no question after his stoppage of Acosta that he looks to be the real deal. Hill came out aggressively in round one, pressuring Acosta relentlessly but not showing the recklessness of some of the undercard fighters with his aggression. Hill pounded the body of Acosta, forcing him to the ropes, and seemed to find a home for the overhand right, landing the punch on the chin of Acosta at will. Acosta tended to lay on the ropes for much of the fight, prompting Hill to win the periods of inactively by simply tapping the glove and arms of Acosta with soft punches. Hill’s minimal aggression during these periods ensured that he won every second of every round, even during the down time. In the closing seconds of the opening round Hill upped the ante and put an exclamation mark on the round with a furious flurry in the closing ten seconds of the round.
Hill continued his aggressive approach in round two, as Acosta seemed willing to either lean into Hill or lay on the ropes. Acosta briefly flicked the jab in round two, which proved effective, but he soon resorted to his odd strategy of leaning back on the ropes and letting Hill pound away. Hill did at times fail to diversify his attack, allowing Acosta to land a solid counter right hand after avoiding the overhand right from Hill. But Hill remained in complete control in round two despite the occasional counterpunch from Acosta. Acosta, perhaps sensing the fight was slipping away, tried to up his activity in round three, but it proved short lived as fatigue began to set in. Acosta would lose his mouthpiece twice in the round and after losing his mouthpiece in round four he was docked a point by referee Robert Velez. It was a development that all but ensured that Hill would win the fight, but that didn’t stop the undefeated Texan from going for the KO. Hill unleashed a furious combo to the head of Acosta shortly thereafter and finally broke the wavering Acosta midway through the round. Acosta dropped to a knee where referee Veloz waved the fight off without a count at 1:47 of the round. After the win was announced Hill, whose record improved to 3-0, 3 KOs, called out the undefeated Maurice Jackson, questioning why he was so vocal on Facebook but remained silent when the two saw each other at the weigh-in the day before. He then promised that Jackson was “next”. The war of words soon promoted undefeated Richard Villa and Rico Urquizo to step into the ring to throw their names in the hat, a development that soon brought on calls for a tournament to determine the best cruiserweight in the state. Promoter Isidro Castillo could be heard discussing the possibility of a tournament to settle the issue starting with his next show in Odessa on January 26. Lost in the shuffle was the loser, Omar Acosta, whose record slipped to 1-3, 1 KO. Acosta announced his retirement after the fight.
With the original co-main event scrapped at the last minute, debuting Luis Santos-Rodriguez saw his junior featherweight fight against Clovis New Mexico’s Michael Petersen elevated to the co-main event. It was a fight that sadly did not live up to the distinction as Santos-Rodriguez annihilated Petersen in only 38 seconds of the opening round. Petersen was completely outmatched and was dropped in the opening seconds of the fight with a flurry upstairs. Poor footwork and form, coupled with a bad habit of turning away from his opponent, established beyond all doubt that Petersen had no chance and referee David Rios waved the fight off moments later. With the loss Petersen drops to 0-2.
In another cruiserweight fight local boy Michael Sanchez continued his quest to establish himself as New Mexico’s most unlikely prospect. After getting destroyed in his pro debut against a world class prospect named Joey Alday in November of last year, Sancehz rattled off a pair of knockout wins and had some local fans wondering if he might still emerge as a prospect in his own right. And for two rounds he looked the part, jumping on the seasoned veteran Richard “Rico’ Urquizo early and backing him into the ropes and outworking him. But the dream came to an end in the final seconds of round two when Urquizo landed a wicked body shot that sounded like a baseball bat cracking into a ball for a home run. Sanchez was visibly hurt by the punch and never recovered. Although he still appeared to win round two, the third round saw the wheels come off his performance as Urquizo pinpointed the left side of the body. The Clovis native voluntarily went to the ropes to allow Sanchez to try and flurry, only to fire back with the body shots. By the midway point of the round Sanchez had discontinued his offense and seemed to be trying to keep his distance, but Urquizo smelled blood and upped his offensive output. Sanchez ate a viscous combo upstairs, prompting him to cover up in the corner where a right hand sent him spinning around. Another combination upstairs from Urquizo dropped the Hobbs native but to his credit he not only got up, but tried to go out swinging. But though his strategy was brave, it proved futile as another wicked body shot sent him to the canvas a second time. The fight looked to be over but the brave Sanchez rose a second time as the bell rang. Sanchez tried to jab and move to start off round four but there was little question that it was only a matter of time, and when a hard right to the temple sent Sanchez to the canvas a third time, referee Robert Veloz waved the fight off at 1:05 of the fourth round. With the win Urquizo improved to 4-5-2, 2 KOs while Sanchez dropped to 2-2, 2 KOs.
In the opening fight of the night lightweight Ricky Reyes of Hobbs captured his first win as a professional, winning a four round decision over the scrappy rookie Tyler Cole. The muscular Cole was an intimidating physical specimen, but ultimately lacked the skills of Reyes. Cole pressured Reyes relentlessly in round one with a wild attack, but Reyes wisely let the bulky Cole punch himself out before upping the pressure in round two. Although Cole tried to maintain the pressure, it was clear he lacked the conditioning to maintain the same level of pressure for a four round fight and Reyes was able to win the final three rounds of the fight. Judge Ester Lopez scored the fight 40-36 for Reyes while Judge Stan Saavedra and Anthony Romero both scored the fight 39-37 for Reyes, who sees his record improve to 1-2.
In a fight featuring a pair of debuting welterweights Carlos Villalva of Seminole Texas stopped Isaac Sifuentez of Dimmit, Texas at 2:02 of the second round. Sifuentez was rattled by a combination upstairs in round two and began blinking his eyes as if he had been thumbed. But the move only promoted Villalba to jump on him, firing off another combination that dropped him, prompting referee David to wave off the fight.