Jamel Herring isn’t a quitter, he’s a world champion

Herring vs Oquendo post fight analysis

Saturday night’s WBO junior lightweight title bout between champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and Jonathan Oquendo ended in a way that left many, including the participants disappointed.

Herring got the better of most of the action but wasn’t able to get his game going like he wanted to, before advising his corner that he couldn’t see, which ultimately led to a disqualification win for him, since the headbutt that caused the cut over his eye, was caused by a head-butt that had already been deemed intentional by the referee Tony Weeks.

Oquendo for his part, seemed to understand that he was the less physically talented boxer and did what he came there to do for the most part, make it an ugly, foul filled, boxing/grappling match.

The ending was strange and actually had referee Tony Weeks and a Nevada State Boxing Commissioner discussing how the bout should be ruled since the foul that caused the injury that caused the stoppage, had occurred three rounds before the bout was stopped.
According to the rules that the bout was fought under, the referee made the correct decision in ruling it a disqualification win for Herring, it just seemed like the timing of the stoppage and Herring’s advising of his corner that he couldn’t see, was what left a lot of people confused.

On air commentators Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley insinuated that Herring quit and probably should have fought through his injury to finish the bout, and expressed their disappointment with his decision to advise his corner of his situation, resulting in the end of the bout.

Writers and fans have been giving their opinions on what Herring did, didn’t do, and/or should have done, and have mostly turned their back on Herring, pretty much labeling him a quitter, which is in the opinion of this writer, wrong and unwarranted.

First of all we can’t assume what another person is thinking or why they do things, so until we hear it from Herring himself, we really don’t know why he advised his corner he couldn’t see at the time he did. Maybe he was okay at the time he initially got head-butted, but then as the injury progressed, he wasn’t able to see?
Secondly, Herring probably won every round and wasn’t getting hit with anything significant other than head-butts, so why would he quit?
Herring looked frustrated with the head-butts and grappling of Oquendo but didn’t look to be in any trouble, and definitely wasn’t getting overwhelmed or beaten down by any stretch of the imagination, so to try to spin a narrative that he couldn’t hang, just doesn’t make sense.

We don’t know what was going on in Herring’s mind, but we do know several facts that can’t be disputed:

1. He fought a bout against covid-19 before he even stepped in the ring.
2. The fight had already been rescheduled twice, making Herring’s training camp for Saturday night’s bout his third camp in the last several months, leaving him over-trained, which was evident by him not having his legs under him and not being able to get into a rhythm.
3. Herring is a Marine who survived two combat tours, a former Olympian and a current world champion. Those are hardly the credentials of a quitter.

He also became world champion while battling PTSD on a daily basis, which is something even Andre Ward nor Timothy Bradley are qualified to speak on, even with all their respective in ring credentials.

Herring has already proved himself a champion in the ring and in life.
After he rests, spends time with his family, and lets his injury heal, we’ll see a different fighter against Carl Frampton.

Local Fighters Go Undefeated For The Weekend

H-Town takes over Baja California, Mexico and Fort Payne, Alabama

ABO Regional Heavyweight Champion Juan “El Jefe” Torres started the winning weekend off on Friday night in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico.

Juan “El Jefe” Torres took a 6 round unanimous decision over Angel Barron

“El Jefe” was able to grind out a tough, six round unanimous decision victory over Angel Barron by landing the cleaner, more affective punches throughout six rounds of action.

The Legions Boxing and Training Complex team then continued the H-Town takeover in Fort Payne, Alabama on Saturday, going 6-0 for the night.
Results are as follows:

Omar Rosales won a four round, unanimous decision over Ashton Royal.

Omar Rosales lands a right hand on Ashton Royal

D’Angelo Keyes took a six round, unanimous decision over Anthony Curtiss.

D’Angelo Keyes chin checks Anthony Curtiss

Cristopher McCoy stopped Ariel Vasquez in the fourth round with a flurry of body shots for the fourth round TKO.

Chris McCoy wins by fourth round TKO

James De la Rosa, who lives and fights out of Harlingen, Texas but was representing Legions Boxing last night, beat Demetrius Walker by unanimous decision in eight rounds.

James De la Rosa dominated Demetrius Walker

Allen Melson, an Alabama native that lives and fights out of Houston, knocked Fredrick Gray out cold in the first round.

Allen Melson puts Fredrick Gray to sleep
Allen Melson wins by first round KO

Noe Lopez also scored a first round stoppage, putting a beat down on Zachary Johnson until Johnson could no longer continue.

Noe Lopez flattens Zachary Johnson
Noe Lopez wins by first round TKO

Lopez dedicated his fight to his former coach Hector Rocha, who passed away last weekend after a months long battle with covid-19.

Hector Rocha: April 5, 2021 - August 15, 2021

A founding father of boxing in Houston, Texas, Rocha dedicated over 60 years of his life to boxing.

A trailblazer of boxing in Houston, Texas, Hector Rocha dedicated over sixty years of his life to boxing, with at least forty of those years spent teaching, coaching, managing, and mentoring the youth and young adults of Houston’s North Side.

Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, coach Rocha made Houston his home and was a staple of the boxing scene in the area since the early seventies.
His approach to boxing was centered on teaching discipline, conditioning, and the basics, and always with an eye on a professional career for his fighters.

In fact Rocha was able to take boxer Pascual Aranda from starting his pro career with little to no amateur experience, to challenging then WBA featherweight champion Antonio Esparragoza for the world title in July of 1987.

Aranda would be unsuccessful in that fight, but his spirited effort gave his hometown crowd much to be proud of that day at the Las Americas Arena in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Rocha was active in boxing virtually until the end of his life, working his last bout on March 7, 2022 at Constellation Field in Sugarland, Texas, on a Force Train Promotions card.

As was his custom, he brought a fighter in Cesar Ochoa that was ready to fight.

Ochoa gave up a significant size and weight advantage to rising Houston prospect Rafael “Tiger” Medina, but still gave as good as he got.

The four round slugfest had the Constellation Field fans on their feet, as both boxers threw caution to the wind and attacked each other with a fierce intensity.

Medina ultimately won a majority decision, but the one judge that scored the bout a draw (Clarence Broze) seemed to be much more on point than the other two judges, who had Medina winning by scores that weren’t indicative of the close fought battle that the two warriors treated the crowd to that night.

Tiger Medina vs Cesar Ochoa

Many former students and friends took to social media to share stories of their experiences with Rocha, as the Houston boxing community mourns the loss of another one of their premier boxing coaches/personalities.

Angel Rodriguez: (pro boxer)

“Rocha was around for a long time, he’s the one who initially turned me pro. He was always in good spirits.
I have to say. His pride and joy was Pascual Aranda, who he trained and got a title shot with.They lost by K.O in the 10th I believe.
He use to show me videos of that fight. The old man always had that dream within him to make a world champion.
Now that I think back on his life the real Champ was him because of how he dedicated himself to the sport and to his fighters.
During training he always motivated us with his words and good spirit.
A very cool old timer, he was fun to be around. Never a dull moment, always laughing and joking about everything. He had a young heart until the end. I think boxing kept him young.
I’m very sad to hear of his passing. Especially because of this Covid bullshit.”

Tomas Ortiz and Coach Hector Rocha

Tomas Ortiz: (former pro boxer and owner of A’s Boxing and Fitness)

“The boxing community lost a great man. Anyone who ever met him knows he was quite special.
His personality was unique.
Rocha always called it like he saw it and was not one to sugarcoat things.
So, when he praised you or gave you a compliment, you knew it was real.
It was a privilege to have known him. He will be missed. R.I.P coach Rocha”

Noe Lopez and Coach Hector Rocha

Noe “Skinny Boy” Lopez: (pro boxer)

Man, I don’t even know what to say. This man took me in at his boxing gym when he didn’t wanna deal with any kids anymore.
Taught me the best discipline ever in boxing
This man believed in me like nobody else.
You couldn’t tell him I wasn’t gonna be a world champ.
It really hurt me today when I got the news, and Houston boxing took another big hit man.
Next weekend I will be fighting for my old man Hector Rocha, so just know we coming with everything.
Love ya old man … Rest In Peace ….. and don’t bug Mr Savannah up there. ”

Diana Leon: (President of The Gulf Local Boxing Chapter)

“We are saddened and heart broken at the loss of another great coach, Hector Rocha.
The Gulf boxing family has many great memories that will always stay in our hearts. Our prayers go out to the Rocha family and boxing community. He will always remembered.”


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

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!