Raging River

By Wrigley Brogan on November 5, 2018
Raging River
Arms, elbows, teeth, language, everything was used in the main event. (Wrigley Brogan)

The shows are the small club type fights of yesteryear: smokers and legion fights staged wherever a pool-sized hall could be found…

What better place to increase an education than at a local college? In this case Green River College in Auburn, Washington. The Auburn area is the home of former lightweight champion Greg Haugen and the Green River Killer. Haugen put away 40 people; the Green River Killer, 49. Staging a local boxing card at the college would prove to be much more civilized than a Haugen fight and more entertaining, and less permanent, than murder. The show was the second event at the college staged by PNW (Pacific North West) Boxing Promotions under the direction of Keith Weir. PNW is a small independent organization devoted to providing an outlet for emerging boxing talent. With a small budget they manage to stage some very competitive bouts. They are the only promoters in Washington working without the safety net of a casino, something that makes them unique.

The shows are the small club type fights of yesteryear: smokers and legion fights staged wherever a pool-sized hall could be found. Local fights are often much more interesting than the big multi-million dollar corporation fights that charge $500 a ticket for the cheap seats and exclude the working people who have always supported boxing in favor high-rollers who know nothing about boxing but want to attend an “event” to brag about. They don’t know the difference between Mickey Walker and Mickey Rooney.

The event took place on a rainy, windy, night in October so blustery the owls refused to hunt and witches and goblins crawled about. Pick-up trucks and rusted Hondas waited in long lines to park close enough to prevent passengers from drowning on the uphill walk to the venue. The college is shrouded by evergreen trees as if hiding from anything academic. The fights are held in a small gym, just right for an intimate evening of people attempting to bash each other about. The ring lighting casts harsh and interesting shadows, good for classic-looking B&W shots.

This is the place you want to be on a fight night. One expects something good to happen although that expectation can often lead to disappointment. Not this night. A line halfway around the gym ended at a bucket of boiled $4.00 hot dogs with mustard the only condiment. This is a place of truth and there is no reason to disguise the elongated mystery meat with sauces cooked up in a chemistry lab. (I ate two.) The ring girls fiddled with their iPhones. They were the kind of ring girls a small town supplies from the local Dairy Queen and who, when they strut half naked around the ring, you can’t help but dress them with your eyes.

Some tall gray-haired man in an ironed suit and looking like a preacher in an opium den was studiously taking measurements of the ring with a Stanley tape measure from Home Depot. A glow of self-important government official hung from him like a man who had stepped in a cow pie but could not smell it because on him it never has an odor. He measured the ring ropes to the ring posts, the height of the posts, the length of the apron, anything he could measure, and jotted everything down in a little book that could be used against someone in a court of law.

I learned later that he was some new government official with the state boxing commission. In the short time he had been there he had raised havoc and several other members had moved on or quit. Who knows? Perhaps he is a decent guy like most government people. I only know what I see and hear. No other people from the commission sat with him the entire evening and preferred to stand against the wall and keep tight lips.

The eight fights on the card were all interesting. On any boxing card these days one is lucky to get one or two decent and well matched bouts. I was surprised last month when I attended the Murata vs. Brant middleweight fight in Las Vegas, all the undercard fights were decent and well matched. This night was no different, just for less money. People tend to forget that boxers get the same beatings for $100 a round as they do for $1000 a round.

The Bard of Boxing, A.J. Liebling, called such fighters “brave, unimaginative, and without class, sticking to one or two habitual maneuvers until, by sheer courage and endurance, they arouse the crowd.” These fights certainly did that.

Taylor Shirley and Alex Alvarez made their pro debuts by going toe-to-toe until Alvarez was knocked out in the 4th round. Debut fights are often entertaining. Both men enter the ring with unblemished records and neither one wants to lose.

Andres Garcia and Chris Johnson entered the ring with 1-0 records. Johnson took the majority decision in a close and tough fight. John Peak scored a unanimous decision over Chaz Jordan. Greg Cruz KO’d Justin Hubbard. Cris Reyes scored a TKO over William Smith. Nicholas Jefferson scored a TKO over Jose Leon. Rob Diesel beat a very determined, although aging, Kenny Guzman in a bout that had the crowd on its feet rooting one minute for Guzman and his great heart, then for Diesel, a local boy.

The main event was the one fans had all come to witness: Marquice Weston (14-1-1) against Joey Montoya (9-5-3) in 8 rounds they hoped would burn up the canvas. They were not far wrong.

Montoya, having the build of a heavyweight, followed a frown as he crawled through the ropes and stood confidently in his corner. He was there, without any doubt, to fight and to win. His corner seemed dark in shadow, the ring lights afraid to shine for fear of some diabolic retribution.

In contrast, Weston, a local favorite, looked more like a basketball player than a boxer. He stands somewhere between 7 and 15 feet tall. He does not crawl through the ring ropes, he steps over them. His well sculpted body reveals a washboard of stomach muscles with arms wrapped in tight steel cables. He has an ingratiating smile and, in opposition to Montoya, the ring lights shone on him as if coaxing him to instantly grow fruit. Weston is one of the two best cruiserweights in the Northwest, the other being Patrick Ferguson, who holds an almost identical record. Weston has shown no interest in fighting Ferguson and Ferguson has returned the compliment, a bad sign for anyone hoping to make the higher ranks.

Almost seconds after the bell Montoya complained that Weston had done something illegal, like hit him. I did not hear the complaint. This is when the problems started. The referee, Joel Scobie, looked baffled. He is one of the better referees in the area and drives down from Canada to do his job. He is fair and well liked and very professional. He had never encountered what was about to happen and he totally failed at the task at hand.

Montoya banged back with some illegal moves of his own causing Weston to complain. The battle of illegal tactics was on, not quite a bad as Sandy Saddler vs. Willie Pep, but close. Arms, elbows, heads, teeth, language, everything was used and mixed gracefully in with the legal blows. When Montoya went down he charged back using his head as a battering ram.

The fight was one of the roughest ones I have ever seen. Weston proved he is a man with guts. I have followed his career from the beginning. He has generally been a tough gentleman but I wondered how he would do against a battering ram. Not to worry. Piss him off and he will come after you without losing his head.

Scobie was at a loss. He wanted to do something but seemed confused. He forgot that he was the man in charge and he let the fighters dictate the fight. He should have taken control from the beginning. It is easy to criticize a man who has been put in a position in which he has never been before. He is a quick learner and I am sure the commission took him in hand. The mistake will not happen again. What better place to learn than at a college?

And Weston and Montoya? They knocked each other around the entire 8 rounds with Montoya getting the worst of the battle. His eyes swelled, his nose bled, his face blacked from the blows. He is tough as nails and could have quit at any time. He refused and lost be decision. Weston continued to show his skill. Why he won’t fight Ferguson is a mystery. He certainly has the proficiency and the guts.

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  1. Your Name 10:27am, 11/06/2018

    ok ok. Accepted. BTW, Illinois does pretty well But LA was the best for a long time.

  2. Ho Lee Chit 07:07am, 11/06/2018

    YN… My apologies.  Maybe a bad choice of words indeed. Also, my apologies to the state of Washington. Woodfield was from Oregon, which probably has dreary weather as well, being next door and all. The Left Coast has to be the Capital Of Serial Killers. California is a large state population wise, so just on sheer numbers, that explains California.  However,  Washington and Oregon are not heavily populated, so it has to be something in the water out there.

  3. Your Name 06:53am, 11/06/2018

    Not sure making light of a serial killer’s work is very cool but…...

  4. Ho Lee Chit 06:39am, 11/06/2018

    Must be the weather in the Northwest. Seems like a helluva lot of serial killers are spawned from that area of the country. I would think that only California produces more serial killers. The three that immediately come to mind from Washington state have to be the aforementioned Ridgeway, Bundy,  and Randall Woodfield aka the I-5 killer, not to be confused with the I-5 strangler, Roger Kibbe, who did his “work” in California. Woodfield was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 1974 NFL draft. I believe Woodfield was cut due to his off field behavior which was a history of exposing himself to females. Nice article once again.

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