Roberto Duran headed to Odessa, Texas

By David Finger

Odessa, Texas may not be a boxing Mecca yet, but if undefeated Texan Desmond “Dez” Hill (3-0, 3 KOs) continues his winning ways that may change in 2019. The Odessa native will fight for the first time in his hometown on December 8th at the Ector County Coliseum and he will do it with boxing royalty watching.

The legendary Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran has been confirmed as a special guest for the Odessa show by promoter Isidro Castillo. Duran, a 2006 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, is one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities and is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters of the 20th century.

He was perhaps best remembered for his trilogy against “Sugar” Ray Leonard as well as his reign as lightweight champion from June of 1972 to January of 1978. Interestingly enough, Duran’s appearance ringside for the Odessa fight card on December 8th will come 29-years and one day after his third and final fight with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Leonard defeated Duran by way of 12-round decision on December 7, 1989 in Las Vegas Nevada in one of the sports earliest PPV fights.

Although Duran will be available to meet with fans and sign autographs, West Texas boxing fans will nonetheless be excited to also see their native son as he takes his first major step up in class in the boxing ring. Hill, a former MMA fighter and King of the Cage veteran, will take on the cagy veteran Ricard “Rico” Urquizo (4-5-2, 2 KOs) in a four round light-heavyweight fight. Although Urquizo doesn’t possess the flashiest record he has proven to be a more than able gatekeeper in the southwest, who possess a veteran bag of tricks. Urquizo has already scored impressive wins over Michael Sanchez and Omar Acosta earlier this year and also challenged for the NABF Junior Cruiserweight title back in July. Although he came up short in his only title fight it still established Urquizo as the most seasoned fighter in the Permian Basin. Nonetheless Hill has shown flashes of brilliance in his three knockout wins and he has many fight fans talking world ranking…assuming he continues to dominate against the next tier of fighters like Urquizo.

In the co-main event undefeated lightweight Abel Mendoza (11-0, 8 KOs) of Pecos, Texas is scheduled to take on the ever dangerous TBA in a four round fight. Mendoza has looked the part of a world class prospect in his eleven fights…but he has yet to fight a boxer with a winning record and in his last five fights his opponents have a less than stellar record of 8-35-1. Nonetheless matchmaker and promoter Isidro Castillo has earned a reputation in the Southwest of being an able matchmaker who can find gritty and tough opponents for just about anyone, and many are assuming that regardless of who Castillo finds for Mendoza, fans will not be disappointed with the action after all is said and done.

Also on the card is a four round middleweight fight featuring Christian De Hoyos (7-1, 1 KO) of Detroit in a long awaited comeback fight after a 13-year layoff. De Hoyos was a solid, if not spectacular, prospect out of Detroit in the early 2000s but questions remain as to what he will bring to the table after such a long layoff. He hasn’t picked a soft opponent for his comeback either in journeyman Even Alexis Torres (7-7, 5 KOs) of El Paso. Torres has only been stopped once in his career and in his last fight he lost a split decision over undefeated prospect Shady Gamhour back in August. Torres also has scored wins over Quilisto Madera (7-0), Bryan Flores (5-0), Christopher Jones (5-1) and main-event fighter Richard Urquizo by way of first round knockout.

Also featured on the card will be Oscar Espinoza (2-1, 2 KOs) of Hobbs as he takes on debuting Edger Lerma of El Paso in a middleweight fight. Also rounding off the card will be Roman Huerta Hobbs against Mark Sanchez of Midland in a heavyweight matchup. Both Huerta and Sanchez will be making their professional debuts. Carlos Villalva (1-0) of Seminole will take on rookie Larry Sanchez of Odessa in a four round welterweight fight. Opening the night of boxing will be Jimmy Meza of Odessa as he makes his professional debut against Roswell New Mexico’s Tyler Cole (0-1). The fight card will be promoted by Isidro Castillo and Eric Gutierrez in partnership with Golden Eagle Promotions out of Texas. Tickets can be purchased at the Ector County Coliseum or by calling promoter Isidro Castillo at 1-575-263-4942.

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