On Your Seat Or On Your Knees: Knockouts At The Aragon Showdown

23.07.06 By Karl E. H. Seigfried – It was all about the knockouts tonight at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom as five local fighters took on out-of-town competition. A giant discoball hung motionless above the ring set up on the wooden dancefloor as waitresses worked the aisles and served up seven-dollar Dixie cups of Miller Lite (“Seven dollars each?”). As usual at promoter Dominic Pesoli’s shows, the crowd was completely behind the local fighters, booing the guests as they were introduced and giving standing ovations to the local boxers. Chicagoan Rudy Cisneros, one of the sixteen fighters on the new ESPN version of “The Contender,” was briefly introduced in the ring to an appreciative crowd..

Chicago’s Ashour Asho got a deafening welcome for his professional debut in a junior welterweight matchup with Indiana’s Jermaine Sanders (1-0 before tonight). The two started trading jabs right at the opening bell, but Sanders was quickly backed up into the ropes and then knocked down on one knee before taking a standing eight-count. Asho immediately went right back at him, knocking the Hoosier head-first through the ropes. After another count, Asho ran at Sanders from across the ring, and the visitor winged and missed huge roundhouse lefts and rights before being clocked and knocked down on his rear end. Referee Pete Podgorski waved it off for a KO at 1:29 of the first round.

Jeff Curran, fighting out of Crystal Lake, Illinois, was the only local fighter to go the full distance tonight, and also the only one to drop a victory to the visitor. In this junior welterweight fight, St. Paul’s Raul “El Matador” Gracia (not Garcia) won an unexciting four-round decision; there was more action from the ring-card girls between rounds than there was from the fighters during. The heavily-tattooed Curran and the southpaw Gracia both fought the opening round backing up from each other (which seems physically impossible, but there it was). There were big unison “Oh!”s from the audience as huge air-punches from both fighters sailed through the air without connecting.

The two boxers came out much more aggressively as the second started with some fierce trading. Gracia connected to the head of “The Big Frog,” who subsequently stumbled and touched the canvas. Curran connected with a nice left hook before both went back to dancing and missing. The Illinoisan, who seemed to be pulling his punches up short, again stumbled, this time back into a corner. In the third, Gracia continued pumping his jab into the air as he had in the earlier rounds. Curran appeared to have a habit of almost turning his back to his opponent when he backed up from attacks, and again his glove touched down as he continued to have balance issues. In the final round, Curran landed a nice jab to Gracia’s face, but then ate a right hook and missed some big shots before landing two solid rights up top. He missed a huge uppercut and stumbled one final time before losing a unanimous decision.

Undefeated Tavoris Cloud made his ring entrance wearing a zebra-skin robe and trunks as “Night Train” blasted from the P.A. system. Southpaw Mitchell Hicks, of Russellville, Arkansas, wore trunks emblazoned with the words “Hold My Beer,” a perfectly apt logo, since he only ended up spending two minutes and ten seconds in the ring. The fight was announced as a light heavyweight match, but both fighters weighed in at the lower end of the cruiserweight range (Cloud at 180, Hicks at 183). Hicks looked much bigger, but almost immediately hit the canvas on a straight right. He got up, and went right back down. Twice. Referee Tim Adams waved it off with the large man still down on his knees.

Super lightweights Marcos Esquivel (Aurora, Illinois) and Timothy Lindgren (Cass Lake, Minnesota) made it into the second round, but only just, as the visitor was counted out by Podgorski thirty-four seconds in. Lindgren, much more aggressive than his opponent at the start of the first round, opened the fight by scoring with his jab and then getting Esquivel on the ropes, covering up. Esquivel, making his pro debut, managed to land a straight right to his opponent’s face before getting repeatedly backed up into the corner and the ropes. He then tackled Lindgren and pounded his chest with both hands in celebration (?) before scoring a pair of right hooks to the head and one to the body. A right uppercut by Esquivel got Lindgren backed up into the ropes, and the visitor, although seemingly in trouble, traded blows right up to the bell. At the start of the second, Esquivel landed three quick right hooks to the body as the two clinched. Seconds later, Lindgren was down on his knees, grimacing as he was counted out. Working Esquivel’s corner tonight was Jesse “The Law” Torres, former Illinois junior welter champ.

Advertised headlining bantamweight Francisco Rodriguez was absent tonight, as was heavyweight Carl Davis, so local favorite Donovan “Da Bomb” George’s super middleweight fight with Phoenix’s Joe Varela was announced as the main event of the evening. George came out popping his jab in the air before tagging southpaw Varela with a straight right and knocking him down on his butt. When action resumed, George scored with a right-left-right combination and was grabbed around his waist by Varela, who was quickly knocked to the ropes, first by a left hook, then by a right. A perfect right hook to the body by Donovan floored Varela, who was counted out on his knees five seconds before the end of the round. George, still undefeated, did a celebratory standing back flip as the crowd went wild.

Article posted on 23.07.2006

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