On Feb. 18, 1989, in a fight televised by CBS Sports, Puerto Rico’s Jorge Maysonet fought the fight of his life as he went for his first world title.
Unfortunately for Maysonet, on that night, he ran into the buzzsaw that was Simon Brown when the welterweight was at the top of his powers. Maysonet was impressive (and fearless) as he bounced a number of power punches off Brown’s dome without any reaction from the champion. This, despite Maysonet having scored 19 knockouts in 19 victories at the time.
Maysonet, like many other opponents, would eventually find Brown’s power too much, as he was knocked out in three rounds. He would never get another opportunity to fight for a world title and retired five years later.
Now a couple of decades later, 23-year old Jorge Maysonet Jr. hopes to continue where his father left off. If his record is any indication, the power that his father possessed didn’t skip a generation — Maysonet Jr. has 10 knockouts in 11 victories as a professional.
Tonight, Maysonet Jr. faces his stiffest test as he takes on spoiler Gabriel Tolmajyan (13-2-1, 3 KOs) in the eight-round televised co-feature of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. Apart from never being stopped, Tolmajyan has never been knocked down, making himself a tall order to knockout for Maysonet Jr.
Though his father’s career was over by the time he was born, a young Maysonet Jr. still found himself inspired to become a fighter by his title challenging father.
“At four years old, I watched some videos of my father’s fights,” Maysonet Jr. told RingTV.com after weighing in Thursday. “My dad worked at a gym, and everyday after school I would go to the gym. Ever since then I always wanted to be a fighter.”
Though the original Maysonet obviously finished his career with his dreams unfulfilled, his son presents another opportunity at winning a world title. Maysonet also indicated that for his one and only challenge, he got sick ten days before the fight and was not in the right kind of condition to fight. Still, he put up a brave challenge and went out on his shield, something he is proud of.
Maysonet hopes his experiences are something his young son can learn from. Already, he says his son is more disciplined than he ever was. He’ll need to be in top condition in order to squeeze out a victory over Tolmajyan, who last was seen by ESPN2 audiences giving southern California prospect Abraham Lopez all he could handle. Tolmajyan also previously scored an untelevised victory over Daulis Prescott, the brother of Breidis, who was undefeated at the time.
Maysonet Jr. is intent on not becoming another famous name on the resume of Tolmajyan, and hopes to become one of Puerto Rico’s future stars, which the small province is in desperate need of with Miguel Cotto on the way out the door and Felix Trinidad long retired.
If Maysonet Jr. is successful tomorrow night, it’ll be just the beginning for the young fighter.
“In my dreams, my son continues where I left off,” said Maysonet. “I’ve made sure he learned from my mistakes and always gets the best training, which I was unable to do, so when he gets his chance, he’s ready for it.”
Friday marks Maysonet Jr.’s first chance, and by all indications, there will be no excuses for anything other than an impressive performance.
Theran the latest in a line of Colombians
Though he likely won’t fight on the televised portion of tonight’s card, one name to keep an eye out for in the future is that of Colombian middleweight Alex Theran.
Theran (11-0, 8 KOs) will fight David Lopez (4-8-3, KO), of Caldwell, Idaho, tomorrow in his second fight in the United States since signing with Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing.
Though he had an impressive amateur career, Theran elected to turn professional due to issues with the Colombian amateur committee. Theran has two wins over 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao of Brazil on his amateur resume, having beaten him in both the Pan American Games and the Central American Games.
Theran is just the latest Colombian import to come over to work in the United States. Alex Camponovo, the general manager of Thompson Boxing in Ontario, Calif., has done a tremendous job of finding quality talent in the South American country and bringing it to the States.
Theran is a housemate of newly-crowned 130-pound titlist Jonathan Romero, as they live together in the house of their trainer Danny Zamora, who trains them at the Santa Fe Springs Boxing Club. While Romero has been with Thompson Boxing since before he scored an upset of Chris Avalos in 2010, Theran signed with the promotional company in March of last year.
“It is a great honor to fight behind Jonathan [Romero] and see him bring a title back to Colombia,” said Theran to RingTV.com just after weighing in Thursday at the Chumash Casino.
Camponovo was the man who helped bring Yonnhy Perez to the United States. Perez eventually became a bantamweight titleholder and participated in some of the past decade’s most exciting fights at the 118-pound limit. It is because of his success that Camponovo has scoured the country for more possible projects.
Though Colombians are mostly known as wide-swinging brawlers, Romero and now Theran are showing American fight fans that there is some substance to some of their fighters. Theran will look to alternate fighting between the States and Colombia and could appear on the April 26 show in Ontario at the Doubletree Hotel if things go smoothly on Friday, according to manager Juan Carlos Devia.
An enticing six-round welterweight bout was scrapped between local favorite Francisco Santana (15-3-1, 8 KOs) of Santa Barbara and Vito Gasparyan (14-3-5, 8 KOs) of Glendale, Calif. The bout was slated to open the live telecast of tonight’s Friday Night Fights, but Gasparyan was allegedly jumped on Easter Sunday and rendered unable to fight. Santana has been in with a tough slate of fighters, including junior welterweight contender Karim Mayfield and junior middleweight contender Jermell Charlo, giving both fighters their toughest fights as professionals. Santana also earned an untelevised draw with Golden Boy Promotions prospect Julian Williams at a previous card that took place at Chumash Casino.
Speaking of Colombians, one of the country’s most exciting products in recent years was junior welterweight Ricardo Torres, who was far and away one of the heaviest handed fighters in the lower weights in recent years. Torres, participated in a great duo of fights with Kendall Holt five years ago (has it really been that long?) with the second fight being one of the craziest one-round brawls in recent memory.
Following those two fights, Torres would fight just once more, a ten-round TKO victory over Raul Pinzon in May 2009. According to a quality source from Colombia, Torres isn’t doing very well. He apparently suffered long-term damage from the first fight with Holt that took place in Colombia and suffers from some sort of paralysis on one side of his body due to the damage he took to the back of his head. Torres was set to fight Holt a third time, but pulled out due to his not feeling well enough to compete. Hopefully he gets the care he needs in Colombia.
Photos / Gary Shaw Productions
Mark Ortega is the boxing columnist for the Martinez News-Gazette and is a member of the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America and the RING Ratings Advisory Panel. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org well as followed on Twitter @MarkEOrtega.