Scheduled for 15 rounds December 2, 2021 Sam Houston Coliseum Houston, Texas World Lightweight Title
Joe “Old Bones” Brown (93-20-12) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was living and fighting out of Houston, Texas at the time, under the management of Lou Viscusi and training of Bill Gore and was the world lightweight champion.
English lightweight champion Dave Charnley (33-5-1), came to Texas to challenge for the world title.
In a short, savage fight, Brown retained his title by 6th round TKO, after he badly damaged and cut Charnley’s right eye, forcing the ringside officials to stop the fight between the 5th and 6th rounds.
The scene was AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Pacquiao vs Margarito undercard, November 13, 2010.
Manny Pacquiao was at or near his best, and was riding a wave of momentum after beating Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey prior to facing Margarito.
Manny had been looking for the Mayweather fight at the time but wasn’t having any luck in landing the bout, so he and Top Rank decided he would face Margarito at the home of The Dallas Cowboys instead. Bringing the fight to the Dallas area, with it’s large Mexican and Mexican American demographic was a smart move and the stadium would prove to be packed on fight night.
With Pacquiao already leading the resurgence of Filipino boxing, he took it one step further for this fight, and brought along several of his Filipino countrymen to introduce to the worldwide stage in Denis Laurente (38-4-5), Richie Mepranum (22-2-1 ), and Juan Martin Elorde (11-0).
Although Margarito could have still been considered a threat at the time due to his pressure heavy, rugged style and size advantage, this was undoubtedly the Manny Pacquiao and Friends Show, and all of the Filipino fighters were matched accordingly. Manny and company didn’t come to Texas to get tested, they came to pick up wins and look good doing it.
Of the three Filipino boxers on the under-card, Juan Martin Elorde came in with the most hype and possibly most promise.
Undefeated and the grandson of Hall of Famer, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, Juan Martin was purportedly a national amateur champion in his home country, and had blazed his way to an 11-0 record with 4 knockouts in the pro ranks, fighting exclusively in The Philipines. His bout on the Pacquiao vs Margarito undercard was meant to be his introduction to the boxing public on the world stage as the next big thing to come from The Philipines.
With all the right cards in his hand and the support of main event attraction Manny Pacquiao, Elorde would only have one problem on this night, his opponent Angel Rodriguez, who was living and fighting out of Houston, Texas.
Rodriguez had somewhat of a late start in boxing and only had six amateur bouts before turning professional. Relying mostly on strength, punching power, and grit, since he hadn’t had time to develop his skills before joining the punch for pay ranks, he looked to out fight opponents that had the edge in experience and technique on him.
By his own admission he was “Thrown to the wolves” after his second pro fight, his next seven opponents having records of (5-0), (3-0), (5-0), (5-0-1), (7-0), ( 5-0-2), ( 8-0-1) including Diego Magdeleno and Adrien Broner.
He would then go on to pick up an easy win before challenging another undefeated fighter (10-0) and picking up another loss, bringing his record to 4-4-2 going into the Elorde bout.
Never one to shy away from a good fight, Rodriguez approached the four round bout with the mindset of giving Elorde a warm welcome to Texas, and a warm welcome he gave, beating Elorde by unanimous decision, against all odds!
Sick of seeing the same old formula of promoter favored fighter picking up an easy win against an opponent that had little to no hope of winning, I personally, especially enjoy an underdog turning the tides on his opponent and the boxing establishment, and banging out a win when he was brought in to lose.
For this reason I decided to tell the story of this fight, and to let Rodriguez tell the story in his own words.
Angel, tell me about the Elorde fight, how were you able to pull the upset?
“Well throughout my career, I always came in as an opponent. That’s what my career was built on, taking on undefeated fighters and exposing them. I only had six amateur fights, and basically I was thrown to the wolves after my second pro fight. “
“As far as the Elorde bout, well my coach came in the gym and said Top Rank was looking for an opponent for an undefeated fighter on the Pacquiao vs Margarito under-card. We looked into the guy and saw that he had an undefeated record, but hadn’t fought anybody worth bragging about, so I said, “Come on with it.”
“Elorde is southpaw so I sparred with nothing but southpaws, and we figured that with my aggressiveness, once I took the fight to him and got inside on him, he would essentially no longer be a southpaw, and at that point I would let my hands go. On the night of the fight I did just that and I was victorious by unanimous decision, all three judges had it going my way. “
“I basically just smothered his ass and I have to admit, the sumbitch was really tough! I was tagging his ass and he just wouldn’t budge, those Filipinos have good chins! All in all I was just the hungrier fighter on that night. The public and the promotion tried to make him out to be a something he wasn’t, a superstar. Well maybe he was in his country but not on this side of the world, and my job that night was to remind him where he was at.”
In an environment where help and role models are hard to come by, former professional and Olympic boxing champion Ricardo ” Rocky” Juarez, has stepped up and showed himself to also be a champion of the North Central/ Northside neighborhood he grew up in, always finding ways to build up and give back to the community and treating others in a kind way.
After his sensational amateur boxing career he became known as “The Pride of The Northside” while fighting professionally, a nickname he inherited from 1972 Olympic bronze medal champion, and arguably the best boxer amateur or professional to have ever been born and raised in Houston, Jesse Valdez.
Apparently taking his “Pride of The Northside” moniker to heart, Juarez is very active in the community and has consistently donated his own time and money to help out whenever it’s needed.
One of the ways he found to give back was by buying the boxing gym he fought out of, renovating the building and gym, and opening Rocky’s Boxing Gym, giving the community a safe place to stay healthy and learn boxing from a former Olympic and professional champion.
On any normal day he usually has a gym full of students of all ages and experience levels, but with the current coronavirus panic going on worldwide and city officials recommending all gyms close, Rocky was forced to close his doors this week.
Rocky found a way to improvise and help the community stay fit and stay positive though, going through a one hour workout/boxing lesson, on Facebook live this week.
The workout is done with very minimal equipment, (a set of dumbbells) and was designed to help all of those that have been forced to stay inside, to avoid catching and spreading the coronavirus.
I’ve posted the workout video below, it’s an intense workout but it can be broken down to suit your individual fitness levels. Enjoy!
Rocky’s Boxing Gym is located at 1524 Freeman Street, Houston, Texas, 77009 and will resume regular business hours as soon as possible. For more information call 713-538-3552
Although he never competed as a professional, 1972 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Jesse Valdez is considered one of the best, if not the best boxer to have ever been born and raised in Houston, Texas.
A classical boxer with power in both hands, who could fight going forward or backward as well as counter-punch, Valdez started his amateur boxing career at The Red Shield Boxing Club in Houston’s Northside, under coaches Moses Vaquera and Charlie Court.
According to Valdez he decided at about the age of 14 or 15 that he would try to make it to the Olympics, but would never turn pro. When asked what would lead him to that decision at 14, he stated:
“When I was 14 or 15 there were pros training at the gym I went to after school. There was one professional boxer there I really liked and looked up to. He was a world champion, (who I won’t name) and I used to like to watch him work out. I’ll never forget, one day he asked me if he could borrow $1.00. I was a kid who didn’t have a nickel to his name at the time and that really opened my eyes. Here was a world champion asking me for money. It stuck in my mind.”
Local Coach Howard Mena is doing his part to keep the community kids off the streets, phones, and internet and in the gym.
Mena and his assistant Coach Joe Rodriguez, dedicate most of their free time to the gym and the amateur and professional boxers that compete out of their gym, as well as youth and adult boxing enthusiasts that just love a great boxing workout.
Both coaches travel locally and nationally with their fighters to amateur and professional bouts and coach Rodriguez also volunteers his time to work as a USA Boxing official at home and around the nation.
Mena’s Boxing Club has a family atmosphere and a qualified coaching staff that can help you with all your boxing needs. From just getting in shape and learning self defense, to fighting for a professional world title.
Please enjoy this link to a great article/interview written by Kelsey McCarson for The Sweet Science. The article/interview was written in April 2019, before Regis “Rougarou” Prograis won his WBA 140 pound title in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Regis is set to fight IBF champ Joshua Taylor in London on October 26 for the WBA and IBF titles, as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy in The World Series of Boxing final.
In the interview we get to know a little more about Benton and his background in the sport of boxing, told in his own words. Mentored in boxing by his father Bill Benton along with the late Al “Potato Pie” Boulden, he has become one of the most sought after and savvy trainers in town.
Benton is also known as one of boxing’s good guys, who approaches boxing as his job, while respecting the game and all of it’s constituents.