Golden moments

No matter how many, or how few, times a fighter's laced up the gloves, there's always something to be learned every time they step into the ring.

But the newcomer learns a much different lesson, and the Friday evening session of the New Mexico Golden Gloves competition was no exception.

CMI photo: Tony Bullocks

Alejandro Velazquez, right, from Clovis Boxing exchanges blows with Brett Yarborugh from NMI Boxing in the 161-pound open division the opening night of the New Mexico Golden Glove boxing tournament Friday at the Roy Walker Recreation Center in Clovis. Velazquez went on to win by decision.

Albuquerque-based Salinas Boxing had each end of the spectrum, from relative newcomer Ozzy Chavez to brothers Jason and Christopher Brandon Salazar boxing in three of the eight matches held at the Roy Walker Recreation Center.

Cheered on by his girlfriend, Justyne Garza, Chavez took a decision in his 145-pound novice fight against Lawrence Ertolacci of Roswell.

Prior to the match, Garza — who has dated Chavez for about five years, since they met at Volcano Vista High School — said she wasn't all that concerned about her boyfriend going into the fight.

"I'm pretty confident in his skill level," said Garza, who graduated with Chavez last May. "He's been a jujitsu wrestler since I've known him, so it's not that different."

There's still a learning curve, however. Chavez started off strong, but seemed to wear down in the second and third rounds.

"He's tired; that's why he ain't throwing," came from Ertolacci trainer Antonia Rozco in the second round. Chavez, who thanked trainer Tony Sigala following his victory, agree.

"I always get told to be conditioned," Chavez said. "If you come in conditioned, you have the upper hand."

As he cut the tape from Chavez, Sigala got set to do some more work with the Salazar brothers. With more than 50 fights between them, Sigala — a boxing trainer for 40 years in Albuquerque — said those two can work more on strategy.

But for younger fighters, the most important thing is to protect yourself.

"I try to let them know to get their hands up," Sigala said. "They can't do much until they know how to throw straight."

Christopher Salazar, 17, who won a decision over Vicente Terazas in the 132-pound open division, said it's a different type of learning when you're on your 35th fight.

"You learn how to study a fighter," he said. "The shoulder tells you when they're going to throw."

Jason Salazar's luck wasn't as good in his 18th fight, as he was on the losing end of a decision to Raul Prieto in his 152-pound open fight.

" I know anything can change the fight," Jason said. "They're training just as hard as you are, and they don't want to go home empty-handed."

The Salazars will both stay Saturday. Christopher has another fight to try and earn his way to the regional meet two weeks from now in Albuquerque, and he'll have Jason rooting him on.

"We push each other," Jason said. "It's good knowing somebody has your back."

The competition continues 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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