Late afternoon on Thursday, the Grand Ballroom of the Pala Resort Casino & Spa was all abuzz as the multitude of photographers, TV stations, close to 20 boxers, their managers and corner men, the promotion groups of Gary Shaw Productions in association with Greg Cohen Promotions and All In Entertainment, representatives from the California State Athletic Commission, the fight doctor, the Public Relations staffs from the Casino and the boxers were all scrambling about to get the necessary forms filled out, the medical requirements satisfied and weigh-ins complete for tomorrow night’s boxing show scheduled to air 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. PCT.
Then, word came that one of the gentleman in the Main Event, Marvin Quintero of Tijuana had trouble crossing the border because his Visa had expired. To top it off, the CSAC commission was not going to allow one of the other boxers to fight. His fight card confirmed that he had no business in the ring, at least until he fully recovered from his last couple losses.
That’s a problem that can escalate into even more serious problems. Since his opponent was a local boxer and that boxer had sold 250+ tickets, the majority of his tickets would have to be returned. It takes a while to give back that kind of money – 250 tickets costing on average $40 per ticket. First, the fighter would have to get in touch with all of his patrons and painstakingly ask each if they still wanted to come to the show. If they didn't want to come to the show, then he'd be going all over the county trying to retrieve those tickets and get them back to either the promoter or the casino to request the refund of $10,000. Not only is this work messy, time consuming, it will most certainly jeopardize the boxer's ability to sell tickets in the future.
Next, there were several boxers who didn’t make the required weight. They would need to go somewhere, perhaps the hotel’s sauna and lose that excess weight and then be re-weighed. One by one, the problems mount and one by one they need to be solved. By 7 p.m. the fighters had been weighed and the fight card was still intact with it’s original nine bouts with three of those bouts to air on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
In Bout #1, they have 31 year-old Rustam Nugaev (26-6-1, 16 KOs) from Perm, Russia. Nugaev will be going up against 27 year-old Marvin “Cachorro” Quintero (25-4-0, 21 KOs) from Tijuana, who fought only twice in 2012 and not once in 2013.
In Bout #2, they have 33 year-old Khabir Suleymanov (16-3-0, 6 KOs) of Los Angeles, CA by way of Chelyabinsk, Russia, going up against 22 year-old Roman Morales (17-0-0, 9 KOs) of San Ardo, CA.
Bout #3, between 33 year-old Michael Balasi of Honolulu, Hawaii (10-3-0, 7 KOs) and the 19 year-old sensation Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (20-0, 11 KOs) is scheduled to be the first bout to air on the Friday Night Fights show. In less than three years, Harrison has had 20 fights. Even though Balasi has been boxing professionally for 14 years, his low number of fights can be attributed to the lack of boxing shows on the islands. He lost his last fight to San Diego’s Giovanni Santillan who trains at the Undisputed Gym in downtown.
Bout #4 features Kelly “Cornbread” Lionell (0-2-0) from Los Angeles, CA going up against another youngster, 18 year-old Mario Barrios (2-0-0, 1 KO) from San Antonio, Texas.
In Bout #5 it will be 27 year-old Francisco Santana (18-3-1, 8 KOs) of Santa Barbara, CA going up against 34 year-old Jorge Pimental of Guaymas, Mexico (28-21-0, 22 KOs).
In Bout #6, they have 29 year-old Sergio “Pollero” Rivera (l) of Huatabampo, Mexico (27-14-2, 17 KOs), who has lost 9 of his last 11 fights, going up against 22 year-old Alejandro Luna (16-0-0, 12 KOs) from Bellflower, CA. As of yet, Luna has yet to fight anyone “with a pulse” and this will be his second go-around against Rivera.
In Bout #7, they have Juan Urbina (0-0-1) from Jalisco, Mexico going up against Eduardo Martinez from Chicago, Illinois who is making his pro debut. In Urbina’s 2012 debut, he fought fellow debutant Randy Guerrero to a draw.
Bout #8 has 31 year-old Aaron “Gavilan” Garcia (13-3-2, 4 KOs) going up against 28 year-old Thomas “Animal” Herrera (3-9-1, 1 KO). Garcia won his last fight over Kevin Hoskins with a fifth round knockout. Herrera, who has only one win over the past six years, lost his last fight to Roque Ramos at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
In Bout #9, it will be Kenneth Sims Jr. of Chicago, Illinois (l) making his professional debut against 26 year-old Cory Muldrew (1-5-0) from Arizona.