Lee Groves

Travelin’ Man: Tucson – Part two

Just before the televised portion of the card began, I was the beneficiary of an extraordinary coincidence. The day before I left for Tucson the May 2012 issue of THE RING arrived in my mailbox. I glanced through the pages for a minute or two before stuffing it in my laptop’s carrying case because I wanted to save it for the upcoming trip. I also flipped through the pages during my Subway meal in Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon, but I didn’t delve into it very deeply.

Still, it pays to have a somewhat photographic memory, and the reasons soon became clear at ringside. I overheard a public relations guy talking to one of the ring card girls, one whose visage struck me as vaguely familiar. When I heard her introduce herself as Ashley Ferrera, a light went off in my head. I reached inside my laptop carrying case, pulled out my copy of THE RING and opened it to the centerfold.

It was her.


As soon as she ended her conversation, I called out “Excuse me, are you Ashley?”

She was. I then opened up the magazine and showed her the photo, causing her eyes to widen in recognition and excitement. She told me that while she saw the proof pictures she had not yet seen her photos as they were presented in the magazine. Knowing a unique memorabilia opportunity when I saw one, I pulled out a blue Sharpie and had her sign the photo. Before returning it to me, she posed for camera phone photos with it, ostensibly to have them posted online.

“You just made me famous,” she said half-jokingly as he handed the magazine back to me.

No, Ashley. You already did that by yourself.


By now boxing fans know that previously unbeaten 2004 Cuban gold medalist Yordenis Ugas lost a split decision to still-undefeated Johnny Garcia, but the CompuBox stats may offer a possible explanation as to why.

While Ugas landed more overall punches (148-132) and connected at a higher rate (30 percent overall and 42 percent power to Garcia’s 22 percent overall and 26 percent power), Garcia may well have prevailed for three reasons.

*  First, he threw far more punches – 606 to 496 – and judges these days give more weight to activity over accuracy, especially when the volume puncher is also the aggressor.

* Second, Garcia actually landed more power shots (101-90) than Ugas, but that’s mostly because he attempted so many more of them (387-217). Still, that activity and “want-to” might have persuaded the judges to award him the closer rounds.

*  Finally, Garcia mounted a late rally at the same time Ugas’ gas tank was emptying. Garcia out-landed Ugas 34-30 in the final two rounds and in the final three sessions Garcia earned power connect edges of 36-24 while unloading 53 power shots per round to Ugas’ 25.

Would a judging panel consisting of Jerry Roth, Dave Moretti and Duane Ford give such a fight to Garcia? Perhaps not, because veteran judges place more stock in sharper and heavier punches over industriousness. But for those who thought this decision was wrong, the number prove there’s some gray area there.

In scoring an off-the-floor seventh round TKO over late sub Fernando Beltran Jr., Diego Magdaleno produced a statistical tour-de-force. He out-landed the 12-year veteran 212-89 overall, 49-44 in jabs and 163-45 in power shots. He also reaffirmed his volume-punching credentials by averaging nearly 80 punches per round, but unlike such fighters he also was impressively accurate as he landed 39 percent of his total punches and 49 percent of his power punches.

One major area of concern was the flash knockdown Magdaleno suffered in round four, his second in his last three fights. Although his overall defensive numbers were above average (he tasted only 21 percent of Beltran’s overall punches and 27 percent of his power shots), at that moment Magdaleno seemed overly focused on attacking. But once he finished taking the mandatory eight count, Magdaleno reacted with a snarling fury that was breathtaking, especially for a fighter who at one time was criticized for his over-caution.

In the end, Magdaleno managed to turn a negative into a positive and he’ll give belt-holders Takahiro Ao, Takashi Uchiyama, Juan Carlos Salgado and even Adrien Broner a run for their money, if not an outright defeat.

As I packed up my equipment, undefeated Illinois light heavyweight Trevor McCumby dismissed winless Oregon-based Jose Rico in 88 seconds courtesy of a hammering right that left Rico draped along the bottom rope. Andy and I returned to the hotel shortly before 11 p.m. and after unsuccessfully trying to consume my entire room service meal I turned out the lights a few minutes past midnight so I wouldn’t feel completely dead the next day.

Saturday, March 24: I managed to squeeze in some useful rest before stirring awake at 3:30 a.m. and arising at 4. I met Andy in the lobby at 5:15 a.m. and we made our way to the airport.

My plan to get in a few winks worked wonders; I felt energized enough to get in plenty of rounds with the laptop. On the four-hour flight from Phoenix to Pittsburgh I had the good fortune of not having a middle seat occupant, so I bought a chicken wrap meal box and a Coke Zero, placed it all on the middle-seat tray and proceeded to crank out words by the hundreds. It was my most productive in-flight writing session in years, especially since my new Toshiba laptop boasts four-plus hours of battery power.

Both flights were extraordinarily free of turbulence and the drive home from Pittsburgh was uneventful. I arrived home in plenty of time to supervise boxing’s version of Super Saturday as Argentina’s TyC Channel, HBO and Telefutura competed for my attentions. Of course, they all won because to me all boxing is good boxing.

For the record, this past weekend was one of the busiest ever for CompuBox — four shows in two days. On Friday, numbers were compiled on cards aired on ESPN2 and Showtime while the next day they were used on HBO and NBC Sports Network.

As of this writing my next assignment will involve a ShoBox doubleheader featuring Jermain Taylor-Caleb Truax and Erislandy Lara-Ronald Hearns April 20 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Until then, happy trails.



Photos of Magdaleno-Beltran and Garcia-Ugas by Tom Casino-SHOWTIME

Photo of Farhood by Ed Mulholland-Fightwireimages.com

Photo of Andy Ruiz by Chris Cozzone-Fightwireimages.com

Lee Groves can be e-mailed at l.groves@frontier.com. Groves is a boxing writer and historian based in Friendly, West Virginia. He is a full member of the BWAA, from which he has won five writing awards, and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He is also a writer, researcher and punch-counter for CompuBox, Inc and the author of “Tales from the Vault: A Celebration of 100 Boxing Closet Classics.” To order, please visit Amazon.com or e-mail the author to arrange for autographed copies.

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