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Sugar Ray Leonard Mainliner at PAL Boxing Event
Story by Sue TL Fox
October 10, 2011


(OCT 10) While nine amateur and professional boxing bouts provided action inside the ring, the main event, Saturday night, at the Clark County Events Center in Ridgefield Washington, on the outskirts of Vancouver, was the appearance of three time world champion Sugar Ray Leonard. The event was a PAL fundraiser sponsored by the City of Vancouver Police Department.

Video of Sugar Ray Leonard


The evening commenced, in the shadow of the ring, with a VIP cocktail party and dinner for invited guests, followed by the introduction of Leonard by the evening's promoter, Patrick Ortiz. Sugar Ray spent nearly an hour signing various boxing memorabilia and posing for photos with the fans who lined up around the ring area for their moment with the former boxing great. And, from the reaction of many of the fans, it was well worth the wait. Leonard exhibited, in full force, the charismatic personality that he was justly renowned for during his time in the ring and following his retirement, doing boxing commentary and guest appearances on all three major networks along with HBO and ESPN. Those fans came away with a full fledged understanding of the true definition of the word "champion" and a realization that for some of the truly great in the sport of boxing that label remains intact long after the final bell in the ring. [Flash Photo Slideshow of  Leonard]

Amateur Fight Card - Oregon vs. Washington

In the first four bouts of the evening, the amateurs competed in three round bouts--Oregon vs. Washington.

In the first fight, Joerrel Raynosa, 152, 22 years old, of Fisticuff's Gym, won a decision over Carlos Arias, 150, 23 years old, of Beaverton, Oregon; second bout of the evening, Corey Hill, 125, won a decision over Jerrell Barbour, of the Tacoma Boxing Club;  third bout, Demetrius Price, 141, won by decision over Junior Zurita, 141; and lastly Efrain Estrada, 132, of West Portland Boxing Club, won a decision over Hector Rendon, 132, of the Tacoma Boxing Club. There were no knockdown in any of these bouts, and all went the distance.

On the pro side of the event....all four round bouts, except for the main event that was a six rounder.

In the opening pro bout of the evening, featherweights, Marco Candenas, 125, of Salem, Oregon, defeated Kendall Ward, 127.5, of Vancouver, Washington, when Candenas stopped Ward in the second round by TKO.

The next bout featured a battle of the heavyweights. When both boxers entered the ring---it left little doubt that this fight would probably not last the four rounds. Sylvester Barron, weighing in at 236.5, from Anacortes, Washington, towered over his opponent, Matt Kovacs, 258, coming from an MMA background, of Arlington, Washington.

With Kovacs and Barron throwing a heavy barrage of combinations, they both appeared to get tired toward the end of round two. In round three though, Barron poured on the heat, and with a clear left uppercut to the face of Kovacs, he went down for the count. Kovacs got back up and the fight continued temporarily---but with Barron sensing that Kovacs was in trouble, he continued to pound away. The ref stopped the fight as Kovacs was being pressed against the ropes by Barron. Barron moved his record to 4-1-0 (2KO), and Kovacs slipped to 0-0-2.

Video of knockdown and stoppage


Coming into the third pro bout on the card, this bout would be one of the best and entertaining bouts on the card. Gabriel Pineda, 137, of Hillsboro, Oregon, was making his pro debut against Nalo Leal, 4-12-1, from Airway Heights, Washington. Pineda proved to be quite impressive in this four-round bout, that ended 1:25 seconds of the fourth round by TKO, when Pineda punished Leal with body shots that took him down for the count.  After Leal took a second eight count from body shots, the fight was over.

The fourth bout on the card was equally impressive as the third bout, when local favorite Sammy Perez, 132.5, of Vancouver, Washington, made his pro debut. Perez was set to fight undefeated boxer Danny Ruiz, 134.5, 2-0, of Riverside, California.

In the first round,  Ruiz used his height and reach against Perez, and made himself a hard target to hit. Perez was having to resort to fighting close inside counter-punching in this round. In the second and third round, Perez became increasingly relentless----throwing eight, sometimes 10 plus combinations, not only throwing them with lightning speed, but with accuracy and explosiveness. By the fourth round, Ruiz appeared to be bewildered by Perez's relentless attacks, and was more in a defense mode at this point in the fight. Perez won by a majority decision.

In the main event, Vancouverís Virgil Green, 139.5, undefeated at 3-0, faced Jesse Isais, 139.5, 2-1-1 (1KO), of San Diego, California, in a six-round fight. The bout went the distance, and Green's boxing record remained unblemished. In what was a technically sound bout with these two boxers, it did not have the pizzazz of the previous two fights on the card.

As a side note....Sugar Ray Leonard just recently worked with Dream Works in the recently released movie "Real Steel", that has already received rave reviews. Sugar Ray worked on the set with actor Hugh Jackman, and choreographed the Robots who fought in the ring in the movie. Sugar Ray said in one interview, "I couldnít visualize robots being in a movie, except for Transformers. But, as things were progressing, to have seen the finished product, I was blown away. My main objective was to not really make Hugh a fighter, but to make him look like a fighter. So, I conveyed to him the fact that itís not just about throwing a punch, but itís about looking and feeling the punch. When he threw the punch, as a fighter, there has to be a conviction and an intention of landing that punch. The face has to match the intention. As a trainer of a robot fighter, that relationship is very, very intimate, very real and very powerful."  Link to complete Interview 

WBAN would like to personally thank the City of Vancouver Police Department, and promoter Patrick Ortiz, who gave WBAN access to cover this boxing event.

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