Tomorrow, Saturday morning, April 26, many of San Diego’s boxing fans had planned to travel north to Carson, CA to see one of San Diego’s elite boxers, Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (19-0-0, 15 KOs) face Martin Honorio from Mexico City, Mexico (32-8-1, 16 KOs). As a caveat, they had Keith “One Time” Thurman going up against Julio Diaz plus Lucas Matthysse facing tough guy John Molina. What an outstanding fight card.
And for those who couldn’t make the trek north, they could always watch the live broadcast on Showtime, starting at 6:00 p.m. What a fun night for local boxing fans.
Then around 2 p.m. today, Thursday, came news that Senor Honorio was having some sort of Visa problems and could not make it to the weigh-ins.
What? Honorio, at one time a top contender, a gentleman who has fought all over the planet and 18 times in the U. S., suddenly has a problem with his Visa? Seems like there’s more to it than we’re being told. Who knew what and when?
Anyway, here’s the message we received at 2 p.m. today. “Unfortunately Antonio Orozco's fight with Martin Honorio here at the Stub Hub Center has been cancelled due to opponents Visa Issues. The fight will be moved to May 15 on FOX SPORTS 1 in Del Mar. Yes, we are coming home!! So start getting your tickets now!! Thanks for all your support!!”
I’m certain the news comes as a shock to many. It’s like having concert tickets and then at the last minute your favorite performer or performers were suddenly pulled from the show. Fortunately, the promoters did have the foresight to stack this fight card with three additional bouts that show great potential - the Keith Thurman vs. Julio Diaz, the Lucas Matthysse vs. John Molina and the Figueroa vs. Belmontes bouts.
Ace in the hole could be the Figueroa vs. Belmontes bout
In their opener, they have the WBC lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa Jr. going up against Jerry Belmontes a gent who claims he has Figueroa’s number.
The 5’ 7½” champion, Figueroa, is from Weslaco, Texas, and the 5’ 9” Belmontes is from Corpus Christi, Texas and as youngsters the two fought at least three times with Belmontes succeeding every time.
The 24-year-old Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) has stated he is “looking for payback” against Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs), because “Belmontes has beaten me three times from when we were in the amateurs."
This is understandable since Belmontes would have been a year older, more experienced and taller. Over a 12 to 13 year period a lot can change in a fighter’s maturation.
The 25-year-old Belmontes has been more haughty, presumptuous in regard to their previous meetings and has stated as much, “When I was like 11, 12 years old. I remember beating his a## five times actually. I guess the last two times, I punished him because I stopped him the last two times we fought. I guess that he doesn't remember those two but I've got the book that shows it and it says I beat him five times. I mean, I beat the crap out of him. The last time, I made him cry. I stopped him in the third round and I made him cry."
"This fight can be a good fight because he's a good, aggressive fighter," said Belmontes of Figueroa, who won his belt against Nihito Arakawa, flooring the Japanese veteran twice during an unanimous decision last July.
“But he hasn't really fought anybody with my talent level or with the kind of talent that I have. He's fought everybody who comes forward and stays right there in front of you. But I'm going to show him what a real boxing lesson is."
Belmontes is feeling bumped after upsetting previously unbeaten Will Tomlinson of Australia in Tomlinson’s U.S. debut on March 8.
"I got six weeks to train and I trained really hard," said Belmontes, who is 2-3 in his last five fights. “I've told everybody that when I'm in shape and at 100 percent, nobody at 130 or 135 can beat me and I'm going to prove that again on April 26 against Omar Figueroa. I'm going to beat the s##t out of Omar."
With all of Belmontes’ boasting, it’s a given that Figueroa will be ready. Here’s hoping Honorio will be ready with an updated Visa for that rescheduled May 15th fight at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
In the non-televised fights on Saturday it will be Frankie “Pitbull” Gomez (16-0, 12 KOs), East Los Angeles, vs. Orlando Vasquez (12-3-1, 6 KOs), Bayamon, P.R., 10 rounds, welterweights; Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz Jr. (9-0, 7 KOs), South El Monte, CA, vs. Luis Maldonado (38-11-1, 29 KOs), Calexico, CA, 8 rounds, super bantamweights; Terrell Gausha (8-0, 5 KOs), Cleveland, Ohio vs. Charles Whitaker (40-14-2, 24 KOs), Miami, Fla., 8 rounds, super welterweights; and Sharif Bogere (23-1), Las Vegas, vs. Artura Urena (26-16-1, 22 KOs), Mazatlan, Mexico; 8 rounds, lightweights.
Note well: the first fight begins at 1 p.m. PT.