Local fighter left off card
Another boxing show comes to Stateline and local fighter Juan Torres mysteriously is absent from the card.
In a town where professional fighters are as scarce as backyard swimming pools, you’d think the local boxing establishment would take care of one of it own.
“My first rule of thumb is to hit the local kids first. If he wants to fight, we’ll get him on,” said Lou Duva, the patriarch of Main Events boxing, which is producing Saturday’s card.
In actuality, Torres has been knocked out of the local fight scene since 1995. In fact, this week marked the four-year anniversary since Torres last boxed at Caesars Tahoe – an eight-round decision by Desi Ford that handed the local boy his first professional defeat.
“If he wanted to be on the card it’s the responsibility of his manager to contact us,” said Donald Tremblay, a Main Events publicist.
He’s too proud to make a public plea to fight before his hometown. But his comments on the subject obviously reveal the hurt inside.
“It all comes down to politics that the local kid isn’t on the card. If they think someone could sell more tickets, more power to them,” the 31-year-old Torres said. “The last time I fought there Chaquita Gonzales was on the card and they almost canceled my fight because they were running over the time limit. Before they could cancel it some people were starting to ask for their money back because they wanted to see my fight.
“I’m a nobody as far as title contention goes, but I still think there are locals here who are willing to go watch somebody they know and somebody who they feel close to.”
In fairness to the 77-year-old Duva, the trainer/manager of 18 world champions didn’t know of Torres or that there was a local fighter for the card. He’s not the matchmaker. Main Events has used seven matchmakers for this card, including Don Chagrin, who has promoted numerous cards in the Sacramento area and was responsible for landing Roseville’s Eric Regan for Saturday night.
“For some political reason he can’t get me on the card. They have someone who has been calling and wants to fight me. They should put me on there for an eight-round fight and not worry about finding two fighters four the two four-rounders,” Torres said.
“(Manager) Jorge (Marron) is waiting for something bigger for me, but I can’t sit around and wait. Even a four-rounder would be better than nothing. I need to say busy; the worst thing is not being active.”
Torres (12-6) last fought in April, suffering a first-round knockout to rising 142-pound star Zab Judah of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is managed by Duva.
Although there was never an investigation, Tremblay said some boxing promoters are reluctant to use Torres now because of the quick knockout.
“We were in hot water over that fight with ESPN2. They were disappointed that the kid didn’t put up more of a fight,” Tremblay said.
Following a mandatory 45-day wait following a knockout, Torres has since had two fights canceled. He was scheduled to fight Angel Manfredy in France and last week was set to fight on a card including and promoted by Julio Cesar Chavez in Mexico.
“I have had bad experiences in Mexico. They called with 48 hours notice, and there were 20 people involved in the matchmaking. We didn’t want to take any chances,” Torres said. “I’ve never been on the same card with Chavez, but I have been with great fighters before. It’s all business, and we’re all human in this world.”
Torres’ drop in classification also may be contributing to his scant fight offers.
“I’ve never lost at 135. I think they’re more worried about me fighting at 135 pounds. My speed is back and my power is way up now. My sparring partners say I was hitting them more solid and faster than when I was trainng at 142,” Torres said. “I definitely don’t want to fight at 142 anymore. I felt like I was trying to kill giants with stones at that weight.”
Torres said that if he wasn’t added to the card by Thursday, he wouldn’t step in as a last-minute fill-in.
“It’s frustrating. I spent the last six weeks in San Diego training, and now I feel like it was in vain. I’ve been hitting between 133 and 136 every day, and I feel strong. I’m in better shape than I’ve been,” he said.
Finally, Torres saved the final jab for himself.
“My life’s hectic, but mom always told me to go to school. I’ve always believed her, but I’m just hardheaded,” he said.
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“Let Them Play,” rallies are taking place across California with a mission to bring back high school and youth sports.