“Bad Blood” in Chicago: Four Fights

20.10.07 – By Karl E. H. Seigfried: Last night at the Cicero Stadium, just west of downtown Chicago, four exciting fights went down on the “Bad Blood” card presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions. Although the Illinois Super Welterweight Title fight between Rudy Cisneros and Jose Luis Gonzalez was cancelled, the fights that did go off offered a variety of styles and matchups..

The headliner (and the fastest-moving fight of the evening) was a lightweight bout between Chicagoan Juan Carlos “Superfly” Sandoval, brother of former lightweight champ Jesus Chavez, and Juan Carlos “El Pez” Martinez, who fights out of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The lanky Sandoval, who came into the fight as Illinois State Lightweight Champion, had a much longer reach, but the compact Martinez seemed harder, hungrier, and stronger, with much heavier hands.

Sandoval, 14-2 (12) before the fight, was most successful with rights (both up and down) and jabs, many of which went right through the center of Martinez’s guard during the first three rounds. Unfortunately for the Chicagoan, Martinez got stronger, faster, and more evasive as the eight-round fight went on. Martinez threw a variety of combinations, and his right hand seemed to stun Sandoval a few times. El Pez, coming in with a record of 14-5-1 (11), threw a pair of left-hands to the body in the sixth round that gave off some nice, loud smacks.

The unanimous decision went to Martinez, and the scores of 77-75 and 78-74 (twice) reflected the hard-fought fight. Nationality trumped locality as audience chants of “Pescado!” drowned out chants of “Jimmy!” throughout the fight, and the final bell brought a chant of “Mexico!” Sandoval crossed himself before each round, calling on the Prince of Peace for help on the battlefield.

Before the main event, Chicagoan (by way of the Ukraine) Viktor Polyakov overpowered Corey Budd of Ohio. The super middleweight bout, scheduled for four, only went for two, when Polyakov won a KO victory at the 1:52 mark. The Ukrainian Boxing Team showed up to support their countryman from the bleachers. They are in town for the AIBA World Boxing Championships, which start this week and serve as an Olympic qualifier for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Polyakov, entering at 5-0 (4), was powerfully-built and every shot he threw with his heavy hands seemed to have his whole weight behind it. Budd, whose record of 8-17 (7) said a lot, blinked hard after every shot Polyakov landed (and there were a lot of them). The Ohioan’s nose was bleeding already in the first round. He didn’t seem to know how to tie his opponent up in the clinches, as Polyakov kept on landing shots with his free hand as Budd clung to him.

Budd came out blinking hard for the second round to the sound of lots of encouraging yelling for Polyakov in Ukrainian, and was soon knocked down and counted out in the corner. Sitting in press row, I got a big drop of blood from Budd’s nose on my Muhammad Ali t-shirt, and the little girl sitting behind me was so excited to get a drop on her sweater that she stood up and yelled, “Finally—some blood!” Good times.

Before Polyakov’s victory, Chicago light heavyweight Gerald Taylor won his second victory (in his second pro fight) over Tyrone Dowdy of Memphis. Dowdy was announced as “a veteran of thirteen professional fights”—never a good sign. It turns out his record was 2-11 (1) coming in, with 8 KO losses. He looked very small next to the heavily-muscled Taylor, who had a massive upper body. Dowdy turned wrestler almost immediately, and was repeatedly warned by referee Gerald Scott for leaning way over, leading with his bald head, and straying low with his punches.

Taylor knocked him around the ring throughout the first round, and Dowdy took a knee early in the second (Scott waved it off as no knockdown). Dowdy then went down in a corner (seemingly from a phantom punch), and got up only to double over and allow Taylor to tee off with a long series of powerful uppercuts. Scott separated them, but Dowdy soon looked longingly at the ref and pointed to his lower rib cage. Taylor landed one final, hard shot as the fight was waived off at 2:39 of the second round.

The evening started off with a four-round cruiserweight fight between Chicago’s Cedric Agnew, 4-0 (3), and Lucas “The Mad Dog Pit Bull” St. Clair of Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1-0. Agnew dominated the fight, as reflected in the final scores of 40-34 (twice) and 39-35, and looked like he could have knocked out St. Clair at any time. The Dakotan looked wobbly from the first round on, and was obviously a victim of conditioning; he started each round strong but quickly burned out. He took two standing counts in the first round and was breathing loud and hard throughout the match. Ref Pete Podgorski was watching him like a hawk throughout the fight and between rounds but let it go the distance.

Agnew is a fast counterpuncher and fights from behind a high defense, somewhat like the Turtle of Winky Wright, and his best punch was clearly his powerful left. Whenever he flurried, St. Clair’s defense seemed to fall apart, and the Dakotan’s punches got lighter and lighter as the fight went on. At one point, the visitor almost fell over from exhaustion when he missed a big left.

Chicago favorite and WBC Lightweight Titleholder David Diaz was ringside, still getting congratulations for his victory over Erik Morales in August. Also in attendance was Rita “La Guera” Figueroa, the popular Chicago boxer who is undefeated in ten pro bouts. Much thanks go out to Dominic, Tina, and Bernie at 8 Count for the fantastic seats for myself and German art photographer Mechthild Op Gen Oorth (, who was shooting black and white photos of the bouts for an upcoming exhibition highlighting her jazz, blues, and boxing photography.

You can contact Dr. Seigfried at

Article posted on 20.10.2007

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