Forgotten Legends: Luisito Espinosa

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By: Steve Gallegos

Before Manny Pacquiao, before Nonito Donaire, there was Luisito Espinosa who is The Philippines unsung hero. Known as “Lindol”, which means earthquake, Espinosa was definitely a force in the featherweight division throughout the 90’s.

One boxing publication wrote about Espinosa saying that once again there was a “Thrilla in Manila”. With a tall lengthy frame and an exciting Boxer-Puncher style, Espinosa would take the featherweight division by storm.

Espinosa turned pro in 1984 and won his 1st world title in 1989 at Bantamweight and defended it twice before losing in 1991. After going 9-1 in his next 10 bouts, Espinosa was able to win another world title by outpointing Mexican Manuel Medina to win the WBC featherweight title in 1995.

After winning his 2nd world title, Espinosa would go on a hot streak in which he successfully defended his title 7 times over the next 3 years against world class opposition such as Cesar Soto, Alejandro Gonzalez, Manuel Medina in a rematch and Kennedy McKinney.

His bout with McKinney in November, 1998 would be his career defining moment as it was his 1st fight in front of a national audience on HBO. McKinney was coming off of his career best performance by dethroning Super Bantamweight Kingpin Junior Jones by an impressive 4th round KO. The prize was the opportunity to challenge the “Cash Cow” of the featherweight division, “Prince” Naseem Hamed. Espinosa was determined to make a statement on the biggest stage of his career and did not disappoint as he destroyed McKinney in 2 rounds.

The Hamed fight didn’t materialize and many believe the “Prince” intentionally ducked Espinosa. Espinosa chose to defend his title in a rematch with Cesar Soto and would lose a controversial unanimous decision. His career went into a downward spiral as he would lose 5 of 8 bouts from 2000-2005.

He retired from boxing in 2005 with a record of 47-13 with 26 KO’s. Today he has crossed over into the world of Mixed Martial Arts and has trained fighters such as Nick Diaz in Boxing so they can improve their stand up fighting style. While he was on the cusp of getting to that next level of stardom, he wasn’t quite able to reach the status that his successor Manny Pacquiao has reached today. He wasn’t able to climb to the top of the ladder; however he did get his foot on it.

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Garcia Breaks Rocky, Donaire Stops Darchinyan & Andrade Captures Title

Martirosyan vs Andrade

By: Steve Gallegos

Photo Credit: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Martirosyan vs Andrade

Last night’s HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader in Corpus Christi, TX provided lots of action. Demetrius Andrade looked very good outboxing Vanes Martirosyan en route to a 12 round split decision. Despite being knocked down early, Andrade looked sharp, boxed smartly and avoided dangerous exchanges. The judge who scored the fight for Martirosyan, really needs his eyes checked as there was no way you could have scored this fight for Vanes.

 

 

 

Donaire vs Darchinyan

The best fight of the night was in the 2nd bout of the evening as Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan fought a long awaited rematch of their 2007 bout in which Donaire upset Darchinyan with a stunning 1 punch knockout. During the early stages of this fight it was a war of nerves as both fighters were very tentative. Both fighters would have moments in which they rocked each other and it was a fairly even fight going into the 9th. Nonito Donaire didn’t seem like his head was in the fight and his corner was pleading with him to step it up and he did in the 9th by landing a hard one punch bomb that put Darchinyan down. Vic was able to get up and beat the count but his legs were gone and Nonito stepped in and sealed the deal. A great win for nonito, who called out Guillermo Rigondeaux for a rematch. After the way he was outclassed in his their last fight, I don’t think that’s the best fight to take. Nonito needs to move forward and fight other good fighters in the featherweight division.

 

Martinez vs Garcia

The main event between Mikey Garcia and Rocky Martinez had all the makings of a classic and fireworks were expected. It didn’t turn out to be the all out slugfest we hoped for but it was still a fun fight to watch. Martinez who is normally a come forward pressure fighter, elected to try and out box the boxer, Garcia and had some early success. He even dropped Garcia with a short right hand in the 2nd. Other than that, it was all Garcia, who was able to weather the early assault and began picking Martinez apart. Rocky didn’t put the pressure on like many expected and elected to box more which was not to his favor. Garcia ended the bout in the 8th with a beautiful body shot that left Martinez on his knees unable to get up. A great win for Garcia in a very good 2013. The future looks bright for this young star. All in all a good night at the fights in Corpus Christi and HBO’s fall boxing lineup continues to provide action and drama.

Little Guys. Big Fight : Martinez vs Garcia

By: Steve Gallegos

Tomorrow night Roman “Rocky” Martinez and Miguel “Mikey” Garcia do battle for Martinez’s Jr Lightweight crown.

2013 has provided us with some memorable matchups and many fight of the year candidates such as: Bradley vs Provodnikov, Rios vs Alvarado 2, Figueroa vs Arakawa, Alvarado vs Provodnikov and Segura vs Marquez. Martinez vs Garcia has all the makings to top all of these fights as fight of the year, should the fight turn out like we are hoping.

To quote Jim Lampley, “This is the biggest little fight that money can buy”. These 2 fighters are tailor made for each other and we should expect fireworks when they meet tomorrow night in Corpus Christi. You have your classic boxer/puncher in Garcia against the puncher Martinez. Both men have great punching power as Garcia has 27 KO’s in 32 wins and Martinez isn’t bad either with 16 KO’s in 25 wins.

Martinez does like to come forward and press the action and he has beaten some very good fighters along the way such as Nicky Cook, Ricky Burns and Diego Magdaleno. Garcia is more of a boxer and has great speed; however he does like to get in and mix it up with his opponents which make for some very exciting performances.

His resume of opposition isn’t bad either as he made easy work of former featherweight champions Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez. Although Garcia is Mexican-American, he does have a good following amongst Mexican fight fans which renews the rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Martinez does consider this fight as a revenge fight for his fellow countryman Juan Manuel Lopez, so he will be out for blood once the opening bell sounds. On paper, this is a great matchup and great matchups lead to great fights and great fights lead to trilogies. This fight has the potential to form itself into a classic trilogy on the level of Barrera-Morales or Vazquez vs Marquez. The expectations are high and this fight is very unlikely to be a disappointment. The winner of this fight; Boxing Fans.