Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Bits & Pieces: Weight controversy in Vegas


While HBO and Showtime go head-to-head tonight with shows from Montreal and Carson, Calif., respectively, Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions have a card at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas that will be televised on UniMas’ Solo Boxeo. Here are some notes compiled from Friday’s weigh-in:


Sanchez Jr. overweight, but IBF allows title to remain on the line

The main event tonight’s card is the IBF super flyweight title bout between the incumbent Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr., of Mexico, and undefeated challenger Roberto Domingo Sosa, of Argentina. At Friday’s weigh-in, an odd situation developed when Sanchez Jr. came in a pound heavy on his first attempt to make the super flyweight limit of 115 pounds.

Per the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Sanchez Jr. had one hour to try and shed the excess pound. When Sanchez Jr. came back, he was still a half pound over. The NSAC called his 115.5 official, but the IBF rules allowed for Sanchez Jr. to try one last time an hour later.

The club where the weigh-in was conducted at, Vinyl, had to clear things out for their show later that night and had them move the scale off the stage and onto the wooden floor in the corner. This upset the team of Sosa greatly, as they felt it would affect the reading of the scale. Luckily, by the time Sanchez Jr. returned, they were able to restore the scale to its original spot on the stage.

Sanchez Jr. hopped onto the scale and weighed 115.2 according to the digital scale. Yet, the IBF representative ruled that Sanchez Jr. made weight. When asked for the justification, the official reported that NSAC commissioner Keith Kizer said that this particular scale rounds up in increments of two-tenths, and in the case of a .2 reading, he calls it even. The IBF representative went off this recommendation, and the title is on the line for both fighters.

Members of Sosa’s team obviously reacted very negatively to this development, with multiple members getting into it with Francisco Arce, Sanchez Jr.’s co-promoter (as well as the brother of beloved Mexican fighter Jorge Arce).


Younger Magdaleno sees no speed bumps ahead

Appearing in the co-feature is young junior featherweight prospect Jessie Magdaleno, who takes on Henry Maldonado, of Nicaragua. Magdaleno will be fighting for the first time since big brother Diego separated from trainer and manager Pat Barry, who Jessie has stuck with.

Considering the younger Magdaleno has worked in the same gym as his brother his whole life, one would expect it to be a difficult adjustment.

“I’ve been training as hard as I always do,” Magdaleno said shortly after weighing in at 122.5 pounds.

“Yeah, he’s gone, and yeah, it sucks, but either way, we are still there for each other as much. Even though we aren’t working in the gym together, we are working together outside of it.”

Barry hasn’t noticed any issues since the separation, and spoke on the fallout after the weigh-in.

“Diego, I trained for 14 years,” Barry told “I’m still not sure what happened. I got info that he was looking for someone else as long as six months ago. He said he needed someone else to get him to the top, a one point loss in a split decision is as close as it gets.”

The consensus regarding the Magdaleno brothers is that Jessie is more talented and Diego was the harder worker in the gym. Barry agrees, with half of it at least.

“Jessie does have more talent, not to take anything away from Diego,” said Barry. “I have complete confidence in the way Top Rank is moving him, and I really would like for him to be fighting for a title by the end of the year. I think he is ready to step up. I’m hoping this is our last eight rounder, then get one or two ten rounders, then hopefully challenge for a title.”


Cutman weighs in on Lebedev’s grotesque eye

Working cuts for Jessie Magdaleno is Luis Perez, who worked the cuts for Guillermo Jones a few weeks ago against Denis Lebedev. Lebedev was stopped in the 11th round after his eye was hideously swollen early in the fight. Being in the opposing corner, few had as good a vantage point as Perez.

“They were playing with his life allowing the fight to continue as long as they did,” Perez told “The fight should’ve been stopped in the eighth, but we knew it wasn’t going 12.”

In what was a sure fire candidate for Fight of the Year, the 41-year-old Jones, of Panama, turned in a brilliant performance by outclassing his younger opponent in a fast-paced fight.

“I have worked some big fights, but that was one of the most intense and brutal fights I’ve ever seen. Guillermo was very mentally prepared. He felt very disrespected by the betting odds and was willing to go through fire to win.”

Another important cruiserweight fight takes place today as the rubber match between Marco Huck and Ola Afolabi goes off in Germany. When asked about the prospects of Jones against either, Perez likes their chances.

“I think either fight is a great fight. I think Guillermo Jones is too much of a good boxer for Marco Huck, however.”


Top Rank signs Perez

Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman confirmed to that Salinas, Calif.’s Alejandro Perez signed with the promotional company on Monday.

Perez will return to the ring on July 13 on UniMas and Top Rank sees him campaigning as a featherweight. Without a promoter, Perez has achieved some pretty solid results in the last few years. He knocked off Antonio Escalante in one round and stopped Derrick Wilson in a firefight on Solo Boxeo last year.


Soapbox: awful matchmaking in Montreal

In the opening fight of the Chad Dawson-Adonis Stevenson card in Montreal, a promising Olympian named Artur Beterbiev makes his professional debut against Christian Cruz (12-14-1), a tough journeyman who has been in with the likes of Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal among others.

From that standpoint, it seems like a solid fight for a pro debut. When you take a closer look, it is easy to see if for what it really is: a disgusting mismatch that never should have been approved.

Cruz hasn’t won a round, let alone a fight, in seven years. Though some losses have come against solid opposition, there are also a few losses to journeymen mixed in there.

Having been in attendance for Cruz’s loss to Ernesto Castaneda on a small club show in Sacramento, it was evident even then that Cruz is the definition of a shot fighter.

Even in his best days, Cruz was little more than a tough guy with tons of lunch resistance. He put together a nice stretch where he beat Dallas Vargas on points and then stopped Enrique Ornelas on HBO Latino’s Boxeo de Oro. In that fight, Cruz lost every round before scoring a shocking stoppage late in the fight.

Since then, Cruz has been used as cannon fodder for quality fighters. He hasn’t fought in the United States since 2009, making one wonder if he can even get licensed in the states he’s previously fought in before. He’s fought in Canada and Germany exclusively since then.

Matchmaker Marc Ramsey has first-hand experience just how little Cruz has left, he worked the corner for Pascal against him years ago. It’s sad that fights like this get made and fighters like Cruz are pimped out until they literally have nothing left. If something goes wrong Saturday, don’t say there wasn’t any concern beforehand.


Final Notes

A Top Rank source indicated that Mike Alvarado will fight in Denver on HBO, but no date has yet been secured. As far as an opponent, the fight has been offered to Zab Judah, though it isn’t expected that he will take the fight. The projected undercard would likely feature welterweight standout Jessie Vargas.

A fight that is being worked on for lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran is a title opportunity against Scotland’s Ricky Burns, the WBO champion at 135 pounds.

Next week, live boxing takes place at the Chumash Casino in wine country, Santa Ynez, Calif. The card will feature Rustam Nugaev, Roman Morales, and Alejandro Luna a,one others, and is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.