By Ricardo Ibarra
Photos: Mike Blair/Boxingprospects.net
In a grueling cruiserweight battle, Tacoma’s Marquice “Tree” Weston (15-1-1, 8 KOs) added his eighth consecutive win on Saturday night at Green River College in Auburn, Washington, defeating Colorado’s Joey Montoya (9-6-3, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision.
Fighting in the main event of Pacific Northwest Professional Boxing Promotions’ stacked eight-bout card, Weston had to push through some rough moments and out-slug the tough Montoya over eight rounds to pull away with the victory.
The paced picked up quickly, with both fighters unloading heavy artillery early in the first round. Weston, the taller of the two at 6’7”, gave up his reach advantage and chose instead to stay in close and trade with his shorter opponent. The two swapped punches and momentum early on but as the round wore on it was Weston’s heavier shots that were finding their target more often.
In the second round Montoya was able to tighten things up a bit, pressing in close and firing away, but Weston rallied back late, landing a series of hellacious left hooks to close out a close round. The pace continued in the third and fourth rounds, with both fighters winging away at each other and each finding some success, but Weston was more consistent, landing the heavier blows at a greater rate.
Weston began to use his reach more often in the fifth, staying at a longer distance and snapping jabs, followed by right hands and left hooks. Montoya continued to press forward, but with Weston moving more he was not able to find the same success that he had earlier. In the sixth, an increasingly frustrated Montoya began to resort to dirty tactics and lost a point in the round for what appeared to be an intentional low blow. The pace ignited again after the infraction, with Weston stepping to Montoya and slugging away, trading heavy shots in the pocket.
Weston regained control in the seventh, working off his jab and consistently landing the cleaner punches. Weston found his mark often in the final two rounds of the fight, smashing Montoya with ferocious power shots. Late in the eighth a right hand snapped back the head of Montoya, appearing to momentarily buckle the Colorado fighter. In the final moments of the fight, the two unloaded in the center of the ring, closing out what was an entertaining fight. All three judges scored the fight for Weston with scores of 80-71, 80-71, and 79-72.
“He’s one tough son of a gun,” said Weston of his opponent after the fight. “This was definitely one of the toughest fights I’ve been in. He was able to sit there and bang with me the whole time. That made for a very exciting fight. I thought it would be scored closer, but I was landing the cleaner shots and I was the bigger puncher. I was right on the money. But he’s one tough fighter. I appreciate him coming, because I needed that for sure.”
Weston added his fifteenth career win and his third victory of the year. Montoya, meanwhile, dropped his fourth consecutive loss.
A seven-fight line-up made up the rest of the card. In the co-main event, Seattle’s Rob Diezel (13-7, 4 KOs) broke a sixteen-month-long stretch of inactivity, taking a six round unanimous decision win over Kalispell, Montana’s Kenny Guzman (4-3, 1 KO) in a featherweight match-up. Diezel was the more effective fighter throughout, using his movement to control the range, and setting up power punches with crisp jabs. Working his way in and out of the pocket, Diezel consistently beat Guzman to the punch, unloading with quick flurries before his opponent could mount a consequential retaliation. In the fifth, Diezel dropped Guzman with a hard-right hand. Diezel stepped up his attack and deposited Guzman on the mat again moments later, this time with left hook to the body. Another hook to the body dropped Guzman again in the sixth. Diezel went on the attack after the mandatory count, drilling Guzman with hard body shots, but the tough Montanan withstood the onslaught and made it out of the round. Two judges scored the fight a shutout at 60-50, with the last seeing it 59-50, giving Diezel his thirteenth win as a pro.
Tacoma’s Nicholas Jefferson (7-0, 5 KOs) added another stoppage win to his undefeated record, defeating Visalia, California’s Jose Leon (7-4-1, 6 KOs) in a Jr. middleweight bout. Jefferson went to work quickly, stepping forward with an aggressive attack and landing clean power shots. Mid-way through the round Jefferson caught Leon with a flush left hook, sending him to the canvas. After the count, Jefferson pressed and began to tee off on Leon, catching him repeatedly with hooks in close, but he was unable to capitalize before the bell sounded to end the round. Jefferson continued to press in the second round, and by the third was consistently drilling Leon with hard and accurate punches. In between rounds three and four, Leon’s corner made the decision to end the fight, awarding Jefferson his seventh career win. After the fight Leon announced he would be retiring from the sport.
Undefeated lightweight Cris Reyes (5-0, 4 KOs), of Renton, Washington, added his second win in two months, stopping Anchorage, Alaska’s William Parra-Smith (0-1) in the second round. Reyes came out strong from the start, sending Parra-Smith down early in the opening round with a vicious left hook to the chin. Reyes continued to let his hands go once the action was allowed to resume, smashing Parra-Smith with hard hooks in close. A vicious left hook sent him down once again towards the end of the round. In the second, Reyes continued to attack, catching his opponent with thudding shots to the head and body. Near the end of the round a debilitating left hook caught Parra-Smith flush on the jaw and sent him down one last time. Referee Joel Scobie called a stop to the bout at 2:46 of the second round.
Seattle’s Gregory Cruz (2-0, 1 KO) made short work of Justin Hubbard (0-2), of McMinnville, Oregon, in a Jr. Lightweight contest, stopping him with just one second to go in the opening round. Cruz took control early, stepping in with solid one-two’s and hooks to the mid-section. Mid-way through the round a straight right-left hook combination rocked Hubbard. Moments later a series of rights dropped Hubbard to a knee. Nearing the end of the round, Cruz again sent Hubbard down to a knee with a right hand. Referee Louis Jackvony waved off the contest at 2:59 of the first round.
In a light heavyweight match-up, Tacoma’s John Peak (3-0, 1 KO) took a four round unanimous decision win over Chaz Jordan (0-1), of Seattle. It looked like it might be an early night in the first round after an uppercut sent Jordan down to a knee and a subsequent series of uppercuts had him in serious trouble later in the round. Jordan proved to be a resilient fighter, though, and slowly worked his way back into the fight. Peak continued to be the more accurate fighter in the second, but Jordan had his moments and made the round close. In the third Jordan gained some momentum, appearing to do enough to win the round with stiff jabs and right hands. Peak rallied back in the fourth, though, repeatedly finding his target with hard overhand rights and uppercuts. The official tallies read 40-35, 40-35, and 39-36.
Former Oregon amateur stand-out Chris “The Truth” Johnson (2-0) added his second win as a pro, defeating Normandy Park, Washington’s Andres Garcia Abarca (1-1) by majority decision. Both fighters battled for distance early in the fight, but it was Johnson who began to take control with his jab and effective counter-punching. In the second round, as Johnson began to catch his opponent more, Garcia Abarca began to hold often, losing a point for it late in the round. Throughout the remainder of the fight, Johnson used his superior counter-punching abilities to land the cleaner, more effective punches. Two Judges agreed, giving him the nod by scores of 40-36 twice, while the last judge saw it even at 38-38. The fight was contested in the welterweight division.
In the evening’s opener, Fairbanks, Alaska’s Taylor Shirley (1-0, 1 KO) had a successful start to his pro career, stopping Hermiston, Oregon’s Alex Alvarez (0-1) in the fourth round. The fight got off to a fast start as both combatants exchanged heavy fire in the first round. Shirley began to find his effective distance in the second round, landing left hooks to the head and rights to the body. In the third a vicious left hook, followed by a right sent Alvarez crashing to the canvas. Alvarez made it up quickly but looked wobbly. Shirley went after him, but tired himself out before he could inflict too much damage. In the fourth, Shirley unloaded again, smashing Alvarez with hard hooks in the center of the ring. A series of unanswered punches buckled Alvarez, prompting referee Joel Scobie to wisely step in and call it. The end came at 1:53 of the final round. The bout was contested in the cruiserweight division.
A large and boisterous crowd packed into Green River College, making for an exciting atmosphere. PNW Professional Boxing Promotions will stage their next card sometime in early 2019.