Cutmen, ring doctor stay busy in bloody combat
It was bloodier than one of those old driver’s education movies that instructors try to scare their students into driving safely.
Half of the six fights on Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s boxing card – the Stateline casino’s first in 11 years – on Friday produced fighters spilling their blood all over the ring. Ringside doctor Joseph Heflin advised referees to stop all three ESPN2 bouts because of proximity of the headbutt- or punch-induced cuts to the eyes.
Promoter/manager Lou Duva’s promising junior welterweight Oscar Diaz of San Antonio suffered the most severe wound when he was accidentally headbutted by Mexico’s Pedro Garcia. In the third round, the fight was briefly interrupted to allow Diaz’s handlers to control the bleeding from the deep cut next to their fighter’s right eye. Later in the round, Heflin stopped the bloodbath, sending Duva into an outrage.
“It wasn’t going into his eye,” Duva said. “The only time you’ve got a danger is if it’s going into the eye. Give us a chance to control the cut, that’s all. We could have controlled the cut.”
Since the fight didn’t go at least four rounds, the outcome was ruled no contest. Diaz had won the first two rounds on the judges’ scorecards. He was taken to Barton Hospital where he was expected to receive at least 15 stitches.
“They say he hit me back here, here and everywhere and they didn’t tell him anything,” said Diaz (4-0). “Then to find out I was winning all the rounds, I wanted to win for my coach and everybody, but at least I didn’t get a loss on my record.”
The 30-year-old Garcia brought 57 more pro fights into the six-rounder than Diaz – 68-3 as amateur .
“My kid is a good fighter. I want him to get experience,” Duva said.
Middleweight Jose Ramirez of Albuquerque, N.M., and lightweight Leobardo Roman of Mexico also were cut, provoking Heflin to intervene.
As disappointed as the 18-year-old Diaz was after his brief fight, it only paled how lightweight Simon Ruvalcaba, a friend from South Lake Tahoe, felt after losing his second pro fight by a unanimous decision.
“I was shocked,” Ruvalcaba said. “I felt better than the first fight and when two of the three judges announced it a shutout I thought it was for me.”
Much like he did in his first meeting with Justo Almazan in Vallejo, Calif., Ruvalcaba started fast, using his longer reach and a tactical switch in the first round.
“Coming out southpaw may have been a surprise to some people, but that’s something I planned when I was driving back to the hotel after the first fight,” Ruvalcaba said. “I came out southpaw because of the way he throws wild hooks. I thought I’d be able to land the right hook, but after I missed the first double hook I just switched right-handed.”
Almazan (5-14-3) controlled the final three rounds by attacking inside while Ruvalcaba had trouble landing from a distance and mounting much offense.
“I was just out of range, so whenever I’d step in thinking I had that extra step to be at my range, it turned out to be in his range,” said Ruvalcaba, who lost 40-36 on two judges’ cards and 39-37 on the other.
Trainer Juan Torres instructed the 23-year-old Ruvalcaba to go all out in the fourth round, but Ruvalcaba was spent.
“What’s wrong? I’m in great shape, and that’s two fights in a row where I faded at the end,” Ruvalcaba said. “Mentally, I felt great about this fight, but physically I felt like I was having an asthma attack or something. I dug down deep, but for some reason toward the end I was gasping for breath.”
Many fans from Sacramento made the trip over the Sierra to root on unbeaten Regan. He didn’t disappoint them as he rocked Ramirez from the opening bell, landing a left, then a right that opened cuts over both of his opponent’s eyes and forced a standing eight count.
With Ramirez wincing and squinting, Heflin recommended an end to the six-rounder at 1:11 of the first round.
“It was perfect,” said Regan, who raised his record to 14-0 with nine KOs. “Both punches were right on my big knuckles and I felt them right in my glove.
“I wasn’t really looking for the knockout. He came out and didn’t really throw anything, so I was trying to set him off a little bit and make him punch.”
Several of Regan’s kickboxing matches have been shown on TV, but his short night’s work was his boxing TV debut.
“Getting out in front of people is always kind of nerve-wracking,” Regan said. “It’s such a mental game, getting out and the spotlight is in your eyes and people watching. I do this every day in the gym, but put me in a different environment it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Heflin also stopped the Roman-Jairo Ramirez bout in the sixth round due to a cut. Ramirez of San Diego won by technical decision – 60-54 on all three scorecards.
In the main event, Efren Hinojosa of Mexico City won a unanimous decision from Ivan Robinson of Philadelphia in a 10-round lightweight bout. Hinojosa improved to 23-0 despite referee Vic Drakulich deducting three points for low blows.
All three judges awarded the bout to Hinojosa 96-92. Drakulich took away a point from Hinojosa in the third, fourth and 10th rounds and vehemently instructed the unbeaten fighter to go to his corner after hitting Robinson after the bell in the fourth round.
But Robinson couldn’t counter Hinojosa’s superior left-hand jab enough and never had him in trouble.
Robinson’s record dropped to 30-6-1.
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