It’s been 37 years since I covered my last fight.

It’s been 47 years since the city of Dallas hosted its last title fight.

I figured Friday night was a good time for both of us to end our droughts.

So I wandered over to Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center to watch Maurice Hooker, a local kid, win the North American Boxing Organization’s junior welterweight title with a sixth-round TKO over Eduardo Galindo. It was the first title fight in Dallas since Curtis Cokes, another local kid, defended his welterweight title against Willie Ludick in 1968.

Both fighters entered the ring without defeats, but the night ended with Galindo sitting on his stool after five rounds with blood gushing from a cut over his right eye. The ring doctor stopped the fight.

Hooker improved to 18-0-2 while Galindo fell to 10-1-1. Hooker brought 13 knockouts into the ring and Galindo seven and the first round was a showcase of two fighters who could punch. Heavy blows were landed by both fighters. But Hooker focused on his boxing in the second round and took control of the fight.

Galindo came into the fight heavy at 151 pounds – 11 more than Hooker – and wanted to showcase his power. A frustrated Galindo twice challenged Hooker to stand there and fight, once in the second round and again in the fourth, but Hooker picked his spots and landed all the punches of consequence over the final four rounds.

The victory guarantees Hooker a spot in the world rankings. I doubt I’ll go 37 more years again before I see my next fight.

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_DSC7226 Photos by: Stacey Verbeek




Por Aleudi Rosario Cotto, OMB –

El miembro del Salón de la Fama del Boxeo Internacional, Joe Cortez, uno de los árbitros más reconocidos en el pugilismo, se unió a la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) como nuevo Asesor del presidente de la North American Boxing Organization (NABO), Richard De Cuir.

Así lo dio a conocer el presidente de la OMB, Francisco “Paco” Valcárcel, quien le dio la bienvenida al ya retirado oficial de boxeo a esta entidad y elogió las capacidades de Cortez.

“Estamos sumamente orgullosos de contar con Joe Cortez, un gran profesional y una gran persona, en la familia de la OMB y la NABO. Sabemos que la gran experiencia de Joe será de gran ayuda para este organismo y para la NABO”, indicó Valcárcel. “Bienvenido Joe Cortez a la familia de la OMB”.

Nacido en Nueva York, de padres puertorriqueños, Cortez fue boxeador, ganando los Guantes Dorados varios años en el aficionismo y luego acumuló marca como profesional de 18-1 antes de retirarse a los 24 años. Cortez comenzó como árbitro a finales de la década del 70 y en su carrera como tercer hombre en el cuadrilátero trabajó en más de 170 combates de título mundial, destacándose siempre por su rectitud.

Por su gran labor como árbitro mundial, Cortez fue exaltado al Salón de la Fama del Boxeo Internacional en 2011, entrando a este recinto el mismo año que Mike Tyson, Julio César Chávez y Kostya Tszyu.


Zahir Raheem

Zahir Raheem dominated the first six rounds and avoided trouble in the last four to earn a unanimous 10-round decision over Bayan Jargal, capturing the World Boxing Organization’s North American Boxing Organization junior welterweight title.

TACOMA – Zahir Raheem was tired. But it was the good kind of tired — a satisfied kind of tired. After 10 rounds, the final four of which he fought with basically one hand, the 37-year- old Raheem still had enough energy to raise a title belt in front of a sold-out crowd at the Emerald Queen Casino show room on Friday night.

Raheem dominated the first six rounds and avoided trouble in the last four to earn a unanimous 10-round decision over Bayan Jargal, capturing the World Boxing Organization’s North American Boxing Organization junior welterweight title.

Judges Tim Wood and Marlon Perry scored the fight 99-91 while Alan Krebs scored it 97-93 in favor of Raheem.

“I felt good,” Raheem said of going 10 rounds. “It was fun. I felt strong. I was a little exhausted in that seventh and eighth and ninth round. But it was good overall.”

Since returning to the ring under Brian Halquist Productions a year ago, Raheem (35-3, 21 knockouts) had fought a total of eight rounds in his three fights, knocking out opponents early. Before that, he had taken two years off from professional fighting with the exception of a few exhibition bouts. His last fight that went 10 rounds came in May of 2007 in a unanimous decision win over Cristobal Cruz.

“I thought his conditioning was good,” said trainer Rob Bell. “Considering he hasn’t gone 10 rounds in years, to go 10 rounds against that guy was big. The guy was young and he just kept coming.”

Jargal, 31, had only been knocked out once in 24 career fights and wasn’t going to go down easily.

Raheem, who does much of his damage as a counterpuncher, didn’t get many opportunities early since Jargal (17-5-3, 11 knockouts) didn’t throw many punches. Both fighters got busier in rounds three through five and Raheem started landing shots. He buckled Jargal in the third with a short inside right to the jaw and followed with a nice combination.

“He was a little awkward,” Raheem said. “It was hard to get my timing down.”

Raheem landed decent scoring shots in the fourth round and early in the fifth round. But Jargal kept coming.

“I was like, ‘Damn, what is wrong with you?’ ” Raheem joked.

Late in the fifth round, a right to the top of Jargal’s head proved more damaging to Raheem. It left the hand aching, the pain growing with each punch. It basically became useless for power punches late in the fight.

“It was effective early and I had to stop using it,” Raheem said.

For the final three rounds, it was just survival and scoring if possible for Raheem. He used left jabs followed by short left hooks.

“Hey, Bruce Lee fought with his eyes closed,” Raheem said. “Sometimes, I train with one eye open. Sometimes I train with one hand. You never know what’s going to happen in the ring and you can’t quit.”

Jargal was able to land some decent punches in the ninth and 10th rounds with Raheem looking to avoid any big punches that could put him down.

“He never really hurt me,” Raheem said. “If he would have, I would have been out of there.”