BY EVAN HERTZOG
Sparta Combat League, better known in this part of the world simply as SCL, put on one of the best boxing cards of their 2017 campaign when the likes of Antonio Flores, Andrew Strode, Heath Soderstrom, Alejandro Ibarra and the great Jose Arellano invaded the Grizzly Rose last Saturday afternoon in Denver(see the fight magazine Facebook page for live breakdowns of the fight) for SCL’s â€œPound for Poundâ€. The atmosphere was what we have all come to expect from SCL, with a packed house and some of the areas most prominent combat athletes in atendence, including current TUF26 coach, undefeated UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje and the young undefeated rising boxing star Misael Lopez just to name a couple. This is no shock as the promotion continues to grow its brand on multiple levels and attracts some of the best athletes the state and surrounding region has to offer.
I wanted to wait for Tuesday, to write up about the latest SCL boxing event because of a few major takeaways I left the Grizzly Rose with on Saturday afternoon. So let me move forward with my Tuesday takeaways SCL boxing edition.
In my opinion you can take three major things away from SCL’s Pound for Pound. These things were glaring to me as I made my drive home down south I25 on Saturday:
- Sticking to the fight plan.
- The body shall never forget.
- Warriors are made through adversity.
Lets go ahead and do these in the order I have them written down. My first big takeaway from Saturday is that, those that had the ability to overcome their opponent and stick to their fight plan, went home with big victories this past weekend. My first example of this came in the outstanding bout between Mario Quezada (2-1) and Andrew Strode (2-0).
Quezada made it very clear early in the fight that he would be trying to close the distance as quickly as he could and overwhelm Strode with inside punching. To manage this attack, Strode would have to implement his plan in response to the quick and smothering Mario Quezada and he would have to do so from first to final bell. The game plan? Stick and move. Be the more accurate and quicker puncher going backwards and sideways. Use superior hand speed to counter the quick closing Quezada and lastly never shell up on the ropes. Keep moving.
All of these things were delivered on with precision and consistency from the young Andrew Strode. He was able to slow Quezada down greatly by the fourth and final round of their contest, specifically with a beautiful recurring straight right counter punch as Quezada tried to swarm Strode. The willingness of this young fighter to stick to his plan and execute it consistently throughout the fight speaks volumes to the future of this young and talented fighter and the success that comes with fighting the fight that the match-up calls for.
The second takeaway from Saturday is nothing new, it was just reaffirmed on the day. The body never forgets and if you invest in it early and often, your chances of success grow immensely. This should be number one for most fighters but in the one punch knockout hungry world we live in the body goes neglected for most. A lot of fighters have lost site on the fact that if you stick to the body, that knockout becomes easier to achieve later on in the fight. I suppose the young man that I’m highlighting this category doesn’t fall in the most fighters, list I mentioned before but he could very easily been the main focus on all three of my takeaways as he exemplified all of them.
Antonio Flores (4-0) put on a show and captured the Pro 140lb SCL boxing title in impressive fashion over the very talented and tough Jonny Jarabek (5-2). The fact that he was able to score such a great victory over the likes of Jarabek is one thing but the way he did it was what was most impressive. The body attack of Flores was relentless and brutal. It started in the first round and continued until the fight was waived off in the third round. The body punching check was cashed in near the midway point of the scheduled six round fight. Flores, determined to stay low and punish the ribs, liver and midsection of Jarabek, was able to drop the taller and longer fighter to the canvas on three occasions, with the third coming just moments after the second knockdown, the fight was waived off and Jarabek had no argument. Flores was dead set on sticking to the body and boy did it pay off as he left with one of the most impressive victories of the evening and the 140lb SCL title belt draped over his shoulders.
REPEAT AFTER ME: THE BODY NEVER FORGETSâ€. Thanks for the reminder Antonio!
Finally in what seemed to be the theme, not only on the SCL boxing card but throughout the weekend here in Denver. The bounce back. Yes, the bounce back was very real in the mile high this weekend. This, yet another reminder to one of the oldest adages in sports. â€œ It isn’t over until it’s overâ€, which couldn’t ring more true than in the fight game. In multiple bouts this passed weekend we saw fighters come off the canvas to either win a decision or score huge stoppages of their own. We learned much about which fighters possess a real warrior mindset when the cards are stacked against them and they are approached with adversity for the first time in their fighting careers. I can’t continue without filling you in with a little factoid about Antonio Flores from the previous category. He went to the body and finished Jonny Jarabek, after getting dropped by him in the first round.
The fighter that I would like to stay focused on in this though, is the great young undefeated boxer, Jose Arellano(4-0). It was rumored before the fight and later confirmed by Arellano himself after the bout, that he came into fight night at fifty percent, with a busted nose and broken finger and knuckle in his power punching right hand. If the will and strength to go on and fight for his fans doesn’t speak enough to his fighting heart and character then maybe the fact that he did so while taking on the most dangerous opponent of his career thus far in Ruben Tellez, will do so for you. Now digest that and add in the fact that he was rocked and hurt by Tellez in the first round, which forced him to a knee momentarily. The odds were not great for Arellano early but we all found out that the odds are just that, they are not guarantees. The heart and and toughness, along with the smarts and undeniable skill, was enough for Jose to not lose another round in the fight against the super talented Tellez. With a broken right hand that he threw continuously through the final four rounds of the main event to ultimately score a unanimous decision victory and move to (4-0) as a great young pro. I think it is safe to say we found a true warrior in Arellano.
Stick to the fight plan.
The body shall never forget.
Prove your fighting heart coming off of the canvas and become a legend.