My respect and admiration for Mr. Savannah has been articulated many times in person and here on the blogsite.
I will have to go back to the blog I wrote about “Savannah” to see exactly how I described him, but I’m almost positive I described him as either a Houston boxing legend or Houston boxing icon.
Legendary, and iconic, are both accurate words to use when describing Mr. Savannah and his contributions to the community, youth, and boxing scene in Houston, Texas.

Willie Savannah
Creed Fountain, Willie Savannah, and Oscar “Skip” Davis

When I started this blog about boxing, and the Houston boxing scene in particular, Mr. Savannah was one of the first people who I chose to recognize for his contributions to boxing and the city of Houston.
I’ll re-publish the post I did on Mr. Savannah tomorrow after I make some improvements to it.
For now, I’ll share some of what the boxing community is saying today, after learning of Mr. Savannah’s passing.

Willie Savannah and Juan Diaz
Juan Diaz, Jose Diaz, and Willie Savannah

Juan Diaz:
” If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have become a world champion, or the man I am today.
He took a chance on me when I walked into his gym as a little, eight year old fat kid. He was ready to close the gym down before I came to his and Clara’s gym but he said they would ‘start me off.’
Later he changed it to, ‘We’ll close the gym down once this fat kid leaves.’
I never left, I kept training and listening to him and we stuck with it.
I learned so much about boxing and life from him. We won four world titles together and a lifetime of memories.
He was like a father to me and I was like a son to him.”

Derwin Richards, Juan Diaz, Willie Savannah, Creed Fountain, and Ronnie Shields

Ronnie Shields:
” Today is a sad day for me!
I’ve lost Willie Savannah, my one-time manager during my boxing career.
Everyone called him “Savannah” and he was a father figure to most, including Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz and to many children who trained at his boxing gym.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP Savannah, you will be truly missed.”

Rocky Juarez:
“RIP Mr. Savannah,owner of one of Houston’s top respected gyms for many, many, years.
Mr. Savannah was a beautiful man, who loved people with open arms.
You will be missed, I always looked forward to our talks.
Blessings to Mr. Savannah and family.”

Rudy Silva:
” I owe so much to this man when it comes to boxing. The numerous conversations we had on the phone and in person, I will never forget.
And I will always be thankful for such a great leader that God put in my journey in the sport.
He taught me the bad part of the game and also the loving part of the game.
He taught me so, so much about the professional side of the sport, especially when it came to managers and promoters, which I will always be thankful for.

I knew when my phone rang and it said incoming call Mr. Savannah, I needed to take a seat because school was in session and he was gonna educate me for a minimum of thirty minutes! lol.
Listening to his stories all the way back from being with Juan Diaz in Mexico, to dealing with Don King, were always so interesting.

This one really hit home today when I heard the news.
Houston we lost a great one today.
I will truly miss you my good friend, RIP Mr. Savannah.”

#worldboxingicon #savannahboxing

Gilbert Renteria:
” Rest in peace to another boxing legend, Willie Savannah.
A man who left his legacy stamped in the boxing community.
A man who always had his doors open to me and my brothers.
A true champ….. we’ll meet again one day champ!”

Aztlan Boxing Gym:
” Atzlan Boxing gym mourns the passing of one of the most iconic boxing trainers in Houston boxing history.
Rest in peace Mr. Savannah.”

El Tigre Promotions:
” We are at a loss of words for the passing of our good friend, Willie Savannah.
Willie was a pioneer of modern day Houston boxing,giving his all to the children of our community.
He never gave up on helping kids,including, Ronnie Shields, Derwin Richards, Juan Diaz, the Charlo brothers, and Regis Prograis, who all got their start at the famed Savannah Boxing Gym.
Our condolences to his wife Clara Savannah and the Savannah family and friends.
May your legacy live on as you are now at God’s side.”


Willie Savannah and Regis Prograis

Regis Prograis:
“Just hearing about the sad news of the passing of Mr. Savannah.
That man was a true legend that helped countless kids and adults.
When I came from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Mr and Mrs Savannah welcomed in the gym with open arms, made me feel like that was my home, and never charged me a dime.

I didn’t know it back then but the gym is where I released a lot of my pent up rage as a teenager, and if it wasn’t for that gym, I don’t know where I would be today. I’m forever grateful for Mr and Mrs Savannah and for everything they did for me.

Jermell Charlo, Willie Savannah, and Jermall Charlo

Jermell Charlo:
“Rest in paradise Willie Savannah.”

Willie Savannah and Rafael “Tiger” Medina
Mr. Savannah and I, at an El Tigre Promotions show


Judges scorecards were suspect and heavily in favor of the house fighter

July 24, 2021
Fantasy Springs Casino
Indio, California, USA
Golden Boy Promotions
Streamed by: DAZN

After accepting the bout on two weeks notice, making weight concessions, and still agreeing to fight after his opponent couldn’t make the agreed upon weight, Josue “El Zurdo de Oro” Morales appeared to get the best of his opponent Hector Valdez, but somehow still lost by unanimous decision.

Valdez, who is signed to Golden Boy Promotions, landed a few good punches here and there, but hit mostly air all night. He was totally missing punches at times, and having his punches easily blocked at other times, never able to come up with any answers for Morales’ deft movement, quick punches and defensive superiority.

Morales, not known for his punching power, landed speedy scoring combinations in spurts, in between jabbing, feinting, and pivoting Valdez into knots.

In situations where there was no room to maneuver in the small, “punchers” ring provided by Golden Boy Promotions, Morales would employ a high guard that seemed to be inspired by Winky Wright, blocking mostly everything and rarely taking a solid punch.

Clutch City Boxing had the bout scored 5 rounds in favor of Morales to 3 rounds for Valdez, by way of points scored and superior ring generalship.

Naturally the DAZN production team, commentators, etc are going to favor the Golden Boy Promotions fighters given their affiliation and common interests in promoting Golden Boy’s fighters, but the blatant favoritism of the entire broadcast took away from what were supposed to be a professional boxing contests in my opinion.

During the eight round contest between Valdez and Morales, commentators Sergio Mora and Brian Kenny virtually ignored and did not comment on most of Morales’ offense, and would only give begrudging credit for his classy defense. On the other hand Valdez was given credit and praised for anything he was able to accomplish, and some things he wasn’t even accomplishing.
After Morales clearly won the first three rounds and began losing the fourth round, Mora and Kenny incredibly began stating that Valdez was on the verge of stopping Morales and being the first to either knock him down and/or out.

The three judges at ringside apparently didn’t watch the fight and only listened to the announcing team of Mora and Kenny, giving Morales zero rounds on two scorecards and only one round on one scorecard, giving Valdez a unanimous decision win.

The favoritism displayed by DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions is at least somewhat understandable, again based on their interests in building the reputations of their fighters and moving them up the ranks.

On the other hand, the obvious bias the California State Commission judges displayed last night left much to be desired. Again, in my opinion.

The almost criminal matchmaking for the Estrada vs Adkins bout should also be mentioned, as the badly overmatched Adkins suffered a terrible knockout loss at the hands of the experienced and elite level, professional skills of Estrada.

Estrada shouldn’t be faulted for doing her job and she’s proven in the past that she’s willing to face the best competition available, sometimes even fighting above her weight class to do so.

The matchmakers and California State Commission that made and sanctioned that bout should be faulted however, and questions should be asked in reference to how that bout even materialized.

El Zurdo De Oro Faces Golden Boy Promotions Prospect Hector Valdez

Houston native Josue “El Zurdo De Oro” Morales (11-11-4) will face Golden Boy Promotions prospect Hector Valdez (12-0) on the undercard of the Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Samuel Vargas bout tonight on DAZN at 7 pm.

Morales vs Argilagos

One of my favorite local boxers, Morales represents the throw-back fighter prototype, willing to fight whoever is presented to him, often times in their hometown. And although his record may not be as pretty as many of the protected, big promoter signed boxers he often faces, his skill-set, professionalism, and pride in his craft are of championship caliber.

In fact, loses against Nico Hernandez, Joannys Argilagos, and Jose Balderas could have easily been called wins for Morales, had he been the promoter backed boxer, as his opponents were. A draw against Damien Vasquez in Edinburg, Texas is another bout that could have easily been called a win for Morales, but the draw decision was fair nonetheless, as opposed to matches in Vegas and California that went down as unanimous decision losses despite the fact that the bouts were close.

Tune in tonight on DAZN and show some support for up and comer prospect Valdez, and one of the most underrated talents in the game, Josue “El Zurdo de Oro” Morales.

Hector Valdez, Dallas, Texas


📸’s by Hosanna Rull/IRULL FOTOS/Forcetrain Promotions

According to Genc “The Sexy Albanian” Pllana, his rematch with Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe has been canceled after Igbokwe tested positive for Covid-19.
Approximately one hour ago, one of his social media pages Pllana wrote:

“Hopefully I’ll be back in the ring sooner than later.”

“My opponent tested positive on his second test for covid so my fight is off. I was excited to fight and put on a good show,but unfortunately it’s off for now.”

This was a bout many were looking forward to, that was sure to bring excitement.

Between Igbokwe’s explosive combination punching and Pllana’s unorthodox but powerful attacks, an electrifying return bout was almost a sure thing. Hopefully this rematch can be rescheduled for a later date.

Best wishes to Igbokwe for a speedy recovery and to both boxers for a quick return to the ring.

Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe proudly representing Houston, Texas before bout in March 2020.


First bout between the two resulted in a close, majority decision for Igbokwe

📸’s by Hosanna Rull/IRULL FOTOS/Forcetrain Promotions

Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe and Genc “The Sexy Albanian” Pllana last fought in August of 2019, in an eight round bout that ended in a close, majority decision for Igbokwe, in Houston, Texas.

Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe

The bout, promoted by Forcetrain Promotions, saw both fighters have their moments and after eight rounds of action one of the judges had it scored evenly for a draw, while the other two judges had it scored 78-74 and 79-73 for Igbokwe.

Genc “The Sexy Albanian” Pllana

Watching the bout live, I felt Igbokwe eeked out a close decision but could also see how someone could have scored it as a one or two point decision for Pllana. The draw scorecard was definitely a better reflection of the bout than the other two scorecards, which is why I believe they are re-matching tonight.

Both fighters made weight yesterday at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Igbokwe coming in at 165 and Pllana weighing in at 167. 3 for their eight round, super-middleweight rematch.

This should prove to be a very entertaining bout between two boxers with lots of potential, skill, and determination, and both teams deserve props for being willing to run it back.

The Top Rank promoted card will be televised live on ESPN tonight with first televised bout starting at 7 PM.

Video courtesy of ABF Vice President Clare Burke


It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I pass along the news that our dear friend Dickie Cole has passed today July 18, 2020.

Donald Curry and Dickie Cole

Dickie devoted his life to boxing and, in so doing, touched countless lives. Dickie shared his father’s deep love of boxing and attended North Texas University on a boxing scholarship. After working as a referee and judge for 29 years, Dickie became the Executive Director of the Combative Sports Division of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, a role in which he served for 21 years and for which he was revered.

Dickie Cole, George Foreman, and Jeff Zimmerman

Dickie also proudly served as the President of the North American Boxing Federation along with serving as an Executive Board member of the NABF along with serving as a member of the Board of Governors for the World Boxing Council.

Dickie, Laurence and Jo Ann Cole

Like so many of you, I owe a debt of gratitude to Dickie that I could never truly express with mortal words. The NABF has always been like a family to me, and that is due in large part to the leadership of “Uncle Dickie” and his partner-in-crime, Sammy Macias. As I reflect today, I can’t help but think of countless GREAT times and memories that we shared over the years, but also that Dickie and Sammy are together again along with their dear friends Spider Bynum and Gale Van Hoy.  One can only imagine the joy and laughter of these four together again on the other side.

Rest in Peace, our dear friend. I do not have the words to express how much you will be missed however your fingerprints are all over the sport of Boxing.

Our love and sympathy to Dickies dear wife, Jo Ann and his entire family.

Duane Ford

President NABF

North American Boxing Federation

TRAVELL “BLACK MAGIC” MAZION: 7/24/95 - 7/15/2020


NABF Super Welterweight Champion Travell “Black Magic” Mazion passed away yesterday, after being involved in a traffic accident in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

Travell “Black Magic” Mazion

A throw-back type fighter who preferred to let his fists do the talking, Mazion stayed away from the trash talk that has become common in recent times and was known for his classy demeanor inside and outside the ring.

Mazion was known for appreciating and motivating his friends, family, and fans.

17-0 with 13 KO’s at the time of his passing, and signed by Golden Boy Promotions, Mazion was well on his way to becoming a world champion.

Always a class act, “Black Magic” opted to not have ring entrance music for his bout against Jeremy Ramos in August of 2019, instead asking for a moment of silence and prayer for the victims of homeland terrorism in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

Travell “Black Magic” Mazion drops and stops Fernando Castaneda in round 1 in San Antonio, Texas 1/11/2020. Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

Mazion’s last bout as a professional in January of 2020, may have been his finest performance, and definitely proved to be a story book ending to his short life and boxing career.

Matched against tough Mexican battler Fernando Castaneda at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, in front of a very pro-mexican crowd, Mazion scored an explosive first round knockout, using the Mexican fan’s favorite punch, a left hook to the liver.

Mazion vs Castaneda

The loud cheers of appreciation and congratulations inside the Alamodome were indicative of the fact that “Black Magic ” had won over The Alamodome crowd as the WBC/NABF Super Welterweight Championship belt was placed around his waist, and he was sought after by many of the fans in attendance for pictures as he walked back to the dressing room.

His positive energy and electric performance that night gave the Texas fans something to be proud of and many left the Alamodome as new “Black Magic” fans.

Travell Mazion wins the WBC/NABF Super Welterweight Championship 1/11/2020. Photo by Tom Hogan/ Golden Boy Promotions

Mazion was known and loved by many in the Texas boxing community of fighters, promoters, managers , etc, and there has been an outpouring of social media posts today in celebration of this fine young man’s life and career.

Clutch City Boxing would like to offer condolences to Travell’s family and friends and may God bless his soul.

Longtime Texas Boxing Official Robert “Bobby” Gonzalez Passes Away June 30, 2021

Robert “Bobby” Gonzalez grew up in Houston’s Barrio Magnolia, and graduated from Milby High School.
He first became involved in boxing in 1962 as an amateur boxer, training and fighting out of The Magnolia Y.W.C.A.

Robert “Bobby” Gonzalez
January 10, 2022 - June 30, 2021

From 1981 through 2017, he worked with The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Combative Sports Division) as a professional referee and judge.
In his career he worked everything from local four round bouts, to world championship bouts that included many great local boxers, as well as some of the biggest names in boxing in the last forty years.

Referee Robert “Bobby” Gonzalez with Ricardo “Rocky” Juarez

Gonzalez was involved as a referee and judge in bouts that featured many great boxers including, Jesse Benavides, James Pipps, Jorge “Maromero Paez, Stevie Cruz, Orlando Canizalez, Billy Hardy, Jesse James Leija, Steve McCroy, Henry Maske, Chris Henry, Irene Pacheco, Rocky Juarez, Juan Diaz, Raul Marquez, Mark Johnson, Rafael Marquez, Danny Jacobs, Jermell Charlo, George Foreman, Regis Prograis, Michael Nunn, Larry Holmes, James Toney, Jorge Arce, Erik Morales, and many more!


Biased scores and punch-stats take away from what was otherwise a great Tuesday night fight

đź“· ‘s by: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

Coming into last night’s bout, San Antonio’s Kendo “Tremendo ” Castaneda and team knew they had the odds stacked against them. Not only would Castaneda be fighting with only seven days notice, but he would be doing it against Jose Zepeda, a fighter associated with Top Rank Boxing, promoters of last night’s six bout card on ESPN.

Also with roughly half the experience of Zepeda, it seemed as though Castaneda was being brought in as more of a sacrificial lamb than a viable opponent with a genuine opportunity to win.

Kendo “Tremendo” Castaneda makes his ring entrance.

But Castaneda and team knew a win was a good possibility because they knew several things that apparently Top Rank and Zepeda didn’t.

For one, Castaneda is a well schooled fighter, from the same tough, local fight scene that has produced current world champions Joshua Franco and Mario Barrios, as well as top prospects “Bam” Rodriguez, and Hector Tanajara.

Secondly, Castaneda is a supremely confident person and fighter, who is not easily discouraged or intimidated.

Third and most importantly, the kid can fight.

Castaneda and Zepeda lock horns

And for all ten of the rounds scheduled last night, Kendo “Tremendo ” proved all of the above.

The first two rounds were “feel around” rounds in which both fighters looked to be finding their range and rhythm.

I gave Zepeda the edge in the first round by nature of his jab and a few hard shots thrown, with some landing and some missing.
Round 1, Zepeda

Round two was close,but Castaneda landed more punches as well as controlling the ring and the action by nature of his affective aggression.
Round 2, Castaneda

In the third round Castaneda found his range and began landing quality combinations to the head and body of Zepeda.
Round 3, Castaneda

Fourth round was evenly fought until Zepeda landed some good body shots that affected Castaneda.
Round 4, Zepeda

In rounds five, six, seven, and eight, Castaneda got his jab going as well as getting the better of the exchanges, while Zepeda looked to be only looking for a hard straight left, with not much success.
Rounds 5,6,7,8 Castaneda

Zepeda had a second wind of sorts, and took the ninth round, but not by much.
Round 9, Zepeda

The tenth was another close round as both fighters looked to be tired, but Castaneda took the round by throwing quick, three and four punch combinations to Zepeda’s body every time the fighters got close to each other.
Round 10, Castaneda

Overall I had Castaneda winning seven out of ten rounds, with the tenth round being the only round that a decent argument could have been made for Zepeda, if one tried hard enough.
And even if a judge were to give the tenth to Zepeda, Castaneda would still have won six rounds to only four for Zepeda.

Zepeda’s body language after the tenth round, as well as his swollen and marked up face told the story of the bout as the judge’s scorecards were added up.

A sign of what was to come was given though when the punch stats were shown and the numbers seemed to have been mistakenly been reversed.

According to the punch stats, Zepeda out-punched Castaneda by a substantial margin, and that was already strange. But even more peculiarly, whichever blind persons that were supposedly counting the punches landed, only gave Castaneda credit for landing ten body punches for the entire ten rounds!!

When the decision was announced as a unanimous decision for Zepeda with the judges only giving Castaneda two rounds and three rounds on the scorecards, it became clear that the decision was decided even before the bout ended.

Great fight by both fighters, with Castaneda doing the better work overall, that was marred by very suspect scorecards.

I understand that although certain things are looked at while judging a round, scoring is still subjective, and opinions will vary.

At least half of the rounds were close, so for that reason I could have even accepted a split decision for Zepeda or a draw.

However, when the scores are off by as much as they were last night, the only two conclusions that can be made are that the judges are either incompetent, or corrupt.



Tuesday, July 7, 2021
MGM Grand
Las Vegas, Nevada
Top Rank Boxing
7 PM Texas time on ESPN

Kendo “Tremendo” Castaneda 143.9 lbs VS
Jose Zepeda 143.9 lbs

Castaneda (right) of San Antonio, Texas is looking to upset Vences and prove the oddsmakers wrong.

Andy Vences 129.5 lbs
Luis Alberto Lopez 128.2 lbs

Andres Cortes 132 lbs
Alejandro Salinas 132 lbs

Gabriel Muratalla 118 lbs
Sergio Lopez 119 lbs

Genaro Gamez 146 lbs
Reymond Yanong 141 lbs

Eric Puente 135 lbs
Diego Elizondo 135.9 lbs