Title just out of Torres’ reach
SACRAMENTO – Like a wise, old poker player, Hector Torres knew when to fold in his North American middleweight kickboxing championship bout with Eric Regan on Friday night.
Making his comeback from a six-year retirement, the bloodied 28-year-old from South Lake Tahoe threw in the towel following the seventh round of the scheduled 10-rounder at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
“You just have to know when to stop; that’s when people make their mistake. If you have machismo and too much pride, you’re in trouble,” said Torres, who suffered his fourth defeat in 29 pro bouts. “The money ain’t that great to get out there and get hurt. You need to fight a smart fight and get out while you can.”
Throughout the first three rounds Torres was the aggressor, stalking the 6-foot-2-inch Regan and trying to entice him into a slugfest.
“I was trying to be aggressive. He wasn’t getting hurt that much, so you might as well play around a little. That was my mistake right there, playing around and trying to stay my distance, and that’s what killed me,” Torres said.
Regan, a crowd favorite from Roseville, was stung by a straight Torres left late in the second round. But before Torres could capitalize on the opportunity, the bell sounded.
“Hector is a tough man, but someone who is going to beat me has to have better stamina than me. I consider myself a Kenyan on conditioning or a marathon runner,” Regan said.
In the third round, Regan began avoiding the inside exchanges with Torres and turned the fight when he bloodied his nose toward the end of the round. The blood only stopped flowing between rounds, making it tough for Torres to breathe.
“I’ve had problems with my nose since I started training. It’s just a weak nerve, and it kind of gets used after a few punches,” Torres said.
Regan kept the edge by repeatedly landing distant kicks with his long legs.
“My looks are deceiving because I’m tall and skinny. And my legs are a great asset for me because they are so long,” Regan said.
Regan dominated the fifth and sixth rounds, while Torres’ nose continued to bleed profusely. In fact, the ring doctor stopped the action in the fifth to slow the bleeding.
“The ref kept saying, ‘If I don’t stop it, we’re going to stop it,’ Torres said. “I tried my hardest and the blood didn’t stop coming, so I said, ‘Hey, that’s enough.'”
Before the end, Torres took a standing-eight count in the sixth round. Regan reeled off a series of kicks that Torres couldn’t answer.
“Man, that reach of his. He just kept his front kicks out there. He’s a tough kid who took some tough blows,” Torres said.
The seventh round was more of the same as Regan adhered to his corner’s warning of avoiding the ropes. He won the round by piling up the points with his pinpoint kicks.
Juan Torres, who won his 137-pound by technical knockout earlier in the evening and then served as a corner man for his brother, started asking Hector after the sixth round if he wished to continue.
“We made the right decision on stopping the fight,” Juan said. “It was a tough fight to take for his comeback.”
Added Hector, “I was behind in points, and this was my comeback fight. Live to fight some more.”
When Hector refused to answer the bell for the eighth round, Regan threw his arms into the air and jumped onto the ropes.
Afterward, breathing deeply in his dressing room, Torres didn’t rule out a rematch with Regan.
“Why not? I know how he fights now. Before, I knew nothing about how he fights. I’ll just fight him inside and stay inside,” he said.
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