Boxing: Local prospects on center stage
A cast of local prospects, most of whom are regular fixtures on the Houston boxing scene, will do battle on Thursday, May 19, at the Houston Club, 811 Rusk Street. Billed as the Ballroom Brawl, the event will be staged by Savarese Boxing Promotions.
Featherweight Miguel Flores puts his undefeated record of 8-0 (5 KOs) on the line against Rolando Campos, 2-3 (1 KO), of San Antonio. Heavyweight Skip Scott, 12-1 (7 KOs), takes on Dennis McKinney, 28-52-1 (14 KOs), of South Carolina.
Flores, 18, said he knows little about his opponent, Campos, except that Campos is a right-handed fighter with an aggressive, "come forward" style. Although he sports a losing record, Campos, 27, is on a two-fight winning streak.
"He's a good, solid opponent who's going to go in there and try to win the fight," Flores said. "The better the opponent, the better it will make me look."
A boxer-puncher who favors the left hook as his anchor weapon, Flores has developed into a relentless body puncher, as evidenced by his last fight against previously undefeated Rheno Nieto, 2-1 (1 KO), in January. Mercilessly zeroing in on Nieto's ribcage with both fists from the opening bell, Flores gradually broke him down and sent him to the canvass three times before stopping him in the fourth round.
A 2010 graduate of Sam Houston High School, Flores turned pro in 2008, three months after his older brother Benjamin, 19-3 (6 KOs), lost his life from injuries sustained in the ring and has dedicated his career to the memory of Benjamin.
Accruing miles on his odometer is the foremost priority at this juncture of his career, Flores said. He is always matched against older and more physically mature men who hit harder and take a better punch the peers he previously fought in the amateurs, and it will take a few years for his body to fully transition from adolescent to adult.
"I'm still young, I'm only 18, so I need more experience and to learn how work with (grown men) and to take them out earlier," Flores said.
Asked to assess his progress after almost two years as a pro, Flores said: "I think I've accomplished a lot of things. I've got eight fights and going on to my ninth. Everything has worked out great. I think I'm moving up fast for my age."
Like Flores, Scott is also in the learning stage of his career, but unlike Flores, at age 32, he does not have youth on his side. A latecomer to the sport, Scott lost his pro debut in 2006 and fought intermittently over the next three years.
Trying to make up for lost time, the 6'8" heavyweight recently embarked on a whirlwind schedule, averaging a fight every two months in the last year and a half.
Scott a faces 38-year-old veteran journeyman in McKinney, whose 13-year career has mainly been as a stepping stone for upcoming prospects to climb the rankings. McKinney was previously defeated by Scott's stable mates Steve Collins, Fred Allen and Eugene Hill.
"He's an old veteran who has about 80 fights," Scott said. "He's a real tough guy, real strong and a good opponent."
Although he has fought predominantly in Houston, Scott also does battle on a regular basis at various locales in Louisiana where his manager Kerry Daigle is based. Three of his last four bouts were fought in the Pelican State so Scott is eager to return to Houston, not only to maintain visibility among his core fan base, but also to showcase the skills he has picked up on the road.
"I'm excited about fighting back in Houston in front of a lot my fans who want to see me fight again and also to take notice my growth in the ring," Scott said.
Scott's opponents have overwhelmingly had losing records thus far, but he is verge of stepping up his level of competition, he said. He is scheduled to fight his first eight-round bout in Hollywood, Fla., in July and, should things unfurl the way he envisions, he would engage in his first 10-round fight by early next year.
"Experience comes with the more fights I have," Scott said.
"It's like on-the-job training. With every sparring session, with every fight, I get better and better. With experience I'm learning how to relax in the ring."
Both Scott and Flores are co-trained by Bobby Benton and Aaron Navarro at the Main Boxing Gym.
Also on the card, heavyweight Steve Collins, 24-1 (17 KOs), faces Rubin Williams, 29-14-1 (16 KOs), of Detroit. Heavyweight Fred Allen, 11-0 (6 KOs), takes on Theron Johnson, 5-4 (1 KO), of Chicago. And Bahodir Mamadijonov, a Houston-based lightweight from Uzbekistan and protégé of 1984 Olympic gold medalist Frank Tate, makes his professional debut against DeShaun Williams, 2-5 (1 KO), of Galveston.
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