Today I had a rare day off, and decided to attend Golden Boy’s “Fight Night Club” at club Nokia, a nightclub venue located near the Staples Center. Tickets were $28, ticketmaster fees were around $10, parking was $5, and Budweiser was $8. So if you go to the next one, meet me in the parking lot for a pre-game.
Despite the unusual choice of venue, I was pleased to find that the place was small enough that there really wasn’t a bad seat (or spot, since the cheap tickets were standing room only), and when I found myself in a bad spot, I just moved a few feet over for a better view. The ring was located on the main stage, and the pit area is located a few steps lower than the surrounding floor, allowing us in the back to get a good view of the action. Security was tight, so I am not sure if the balcony seats are worth the $60, but I can’t imagine they were any worse than being on the ground floor. Overall, I was very satisfied with the view.
The turnout was also pretty good, and only got better as the night went on; considering there was a Lakers game going on simultaneously, I was surprised at how many people made it out, true fight fans. By the end of the night, the place was comfortably filled: plenty of people without feeling crowded.
Those of us who were there were treated to five fights, and a chance to see Bernard Hopkins in person (I left before he came out).
In the first bout, Ricky Lopez 4-0 (2) took on Rufino Serrano 1-1 in a decent four rounder. The first thing I noticed was that Lopez is SHORT, but it didn’t matter much. Lopez was quick to get on the inside behind an accurate right hand lead in the first two rounds, and landed good hooks when he was close enough to his man. Lopez slowed down a little in the third and was on the back foot for most of the round as Serrano came forward and fired away; nothing landed of note, really, from either guy, but I gave it to Serrano for the aggression. Round 4 was a recap of the first two rounds with Lopez countering Serrano’s looping punches. The judges scored it 40-36, all for Lopez. BTBC had it 39-37 for Lopez.
The second bout had Charles Huerta 11-0 (7) against Noe Lopez Jr. [until tonight, undefeated, but currently 4-1 (3)] in a featherweight scrap. Both fighters were cautious in the first round, with some good exchanges, but nothing of particular note landed. In round 2, Lopez went down and the referee ruled it a slip. From my position I couldn’t see a punch landed so it seemed a reasonable call, but after Lopez got up, he wasn’t the same. Huerta jumped on him and began landing the hard stuff until the bell ended the round. In the third, Huerta continued where he left off and landed a teeth-exploding right hand that resonated throughout the club (the crowd responded appropriately) and dropped Lopez. Lopez beat the count, but when the pressure was turned on again, he took a knee without being hit. After he got back up, Huerta jumped on him and knocked him down again, causing the referee to call an end to the fight at 1:03 of the third round.
Luis Ramos took it to Baudel Cardenas in a lightweight 6-rounder that didn’t go the distance. Ramos looked the best of all the fighters on the card with his smart, accurate, punching, and steady bodywork. In the first round, he nailed Cardenas with a straight left to the stomach that put him down. Cardenas gamely got to his feet, but his body was a consistent target throughout the fight. In the second, Cardenas 18-17-2 (6) showed his experience as he bullied his opponent and worked him on the inside. Ramos tied up when necessary and landed solid blows to Cardenas’ head, knocking grease into the audience. Cardenas took it rather well. This continued for the next two rounds: Cardenas doing solid work on the inside, Ramos getting his distance and rocking Cardenas’ brain and mixing it to the body. Round five looked like a repeat of the last three, until the last minute when Ramos backed Cardenas against the rope and fired a quick 1-2 upstairs that dropped Cardenas along the ropes to the canvas. Cardenas looked out of it as his mouthpiece fell out of his mouth and he crawled to all fours. The ref waved it off at 2:26 and Ramos advanced to 11-0 (6)
In the main event, another six rounder, David Rodela 13-1 (6) and Juan Garcia 14-3 (5) went at it for the coveted “Quakerstate Durability Championship Belt,” the same one you could get a picture taken with in the corner (along with two HOT-T-T ring card girls). Despite the belt on the line, the fight was pretty good. The first two rounds went to Rodela as he used his jab smartly and worked Garcia to the body. Round three went to Garcia as it seemed that Rodela abandoned his jab in favor of powerpunches. Garcia avoided a lot of them and found his range, staggering Rodela at the end of the round. Rodela decided not to hang on, and instead fired back until the bell. Good stuff. In round 4, Rodela hit Garcia with a bomb that caused him to bend over at the waist against the ropes. It looked like he was going down, and Rodela backed off…until Garcia decided that he wouldn’t go down and Rodela jumped on him again with uppercuts. It reminded me of Jack Dempsey hovering over Jess Willard, except in this version Willard comes back, and Garcia recovered, somehow, and continued to exchange until the end of the round. In the last two rounds, Rodela kept looking for a knockout and Garcia just got in close and countered the wild punches from Rodela. Rodela was awarded a split decision. BTBC had it a draw. Judges Ray Corona and Alejandro Mapula were on drugs with the ridiculous score of 59-55 for Rodela.
After the cameras turned off, we were treated to the last bout between Ramon Flores 3-5 (3) and Jose Roman 4-0 (3). Flores knocked Roman down in the first round, but Roman recovered quickly and boxed smart. Flores was clearly the cruder of the two, and frequently missed wide punches, hooks from the outside and Darchinyan uppercuts that weren’t accurate in the least. In round two, I wrote down “ZERTUCHE–PAVLIK!!! GOTZ-DAMN!” in my notebook, because Roman clocked Flores along the ropes and put him to sleep on his feet. Flores turned off like a robot and teetered forward for a second before Roman went to town and put a few hard uppercuts and hooks into his head for good measure. Flores was done-for, and lay on the canvas for a solid 5 minutes before they had him up on a stool. A stretcher was used to extricate him from the premises, and just as well, because that guy was on queer-street, and will probably be there for a few days still.
Overall, a good time. $28 is a solid price for the fun of watching a live card with excited fight fans. Apparently there was a $1000 bonus for the two fighters who put on the best fight, this may have influenced the fighters, because all 5 bouts were pretty action packed. There will be a “Fight Night Club” once a month for the next 3 months. Check it out, and drink in the parking lot.