By Ricardo Ibarra
An intriguing welterweight clash will top the 124th edition of Brian Halquist Productions’ long-running ‘Battle at the Boat’ series this Saturday at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. Facing one of his toughest tests to date, local prospect Andre Keys (11-1, 5 KOs) will take on hard-nosed banger Manuel Monteiro (7-1, 7 KOs) in the ten round main event of the six-bout card.
Keys, who was once a decorated amateur fighting out of the famed Tacoma Boxing club under the guidance of former U.S. Olympic team head coach Tom Mustin, has looked increasingly sharp as he wades through the paid ranks. He turned pro in 2016 and although he had a rocky start to his career—suffering a surprising first round defeat to Tommy Turner in his second pro bout—he quickly rebounded and is currently riding a ten-fight win streak, with four of those victories ending within the distance. This will be the second fight of the year for Keys, who last fought in August, scoring a six round unanimous decision win over Antonio Neal.
Monteiro, who fights out of Las Vegas, will be looking to come back from his only career defeat, which he suffered this past September at the hands of unbeaten Northwest prospect Cris Reyes in a grueling battle that ended with Reyes knocking out Monteiro in the tenth and final round. Monteiro was undefeated in seven fights coming into the bout, with all seven of his wins ending by way of knockout. The aggressive Monteiro proved himself to be a tough competitor in that fight, even in a losing effort, fighting at a fierce pace before finally succumbing to his opponent’s pressure. He’ll again represent a stern challenge for another regional prospect.
Keys and Monteiro will face off over ten rounds at the 147 lbs. limit, with a five-fight undercard rounding out the remainder of the event.
In a light heavyweight match-up, Tacoma’s Juan Jackson (2-1) squares off with Alex Cazac (1-2), of Portland, Oregon, over five rounds. Jackson is looking to get back into the win column after dropping his first loss this past March, a four round unanimous decision defeat to Joe Boerschig in Colorado. Prior to that, Jackson was unbeaten in two fights, with his last win being a four round unanimous decision victory over John Peak in February. Cazac, on the other hand, is hoping to add another win after claiming his first victory in three fights this past February, a shut-out four round decision win over Roman Avetisyan.
Alaska’s William Parra-Smith (3-4, 3 KOs) will take on Parkland, Washington’s Marco Garcia in a four round Jr. welterweight bout. Parra-Smith, who’s spent the last year fighting mostly in Washington state and making some exciting fights in the process, is looking to rebound after dropping a four round unanimous decision to Luis Alvarado in September. He’d racked up to straight knockout wins before the Alvarado loss, with his most recent being a first-round knockout of Jerald Gregori in August. Garcia will be making his debut as a paid boxer.
Also scheduled on the card; a pair of welterweights will make their pro debuts against each other as Nick Vasquez and Jose Cervantes meet in a four rounder; Cody Brown will make his entrance into the pro game against Dylan Blakesly (0-4) in a four round welterweight contest; and lastly heavyweight Sua Tuani (1-0, 1 KO) will look to add another exciting knockout to his resume in a scheduled four round fight, facing off with Rafael Brewster, who is making his paid debut.
Doors to the I-5 showroom at the Emerald Queen Casino will open at 6 p.m. with the first fight set to kick off the event at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the EQC box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information, visit the Battle at the Boat Facebook page and www.halquistproductions.com