Down For The Count

Colorado boxing continues to take a beating--for now.

There were also two other fighters who were allowed to participate even though both of them had been banned from fighting in Colorado. One of these boxers was Ariel Conde.

Fighting under the name Henry Perez ("He'd fight under the name 'Harry Truman' if it would get him into the ring," Walker jokes), Conde managed to lose yet another fight. (Conde admits to fighting under aliases. He confirms that he knew he wasn't supposed to be allowed to fight in Ignacio, but he says, "I'll do whatever it takes to get in.") Kislowski claims that the out-of-state commission allowed Conde to fight over the protests of others at the show who knew of Conde's banishment and could see through his alias. "First of all," says Kislowski, "if people pay good money to see a fight, they should see something legitimate. Conde is not a legitimate fighter. If I paid for a ticket to see him fight, I've been cheated. But more importantly, what about Ariel? What if he got hit and went down and stayed down?

"Boxing is a dangerous sport, so you need to take precautions to protect fighters, and it's just not happening when we bring in all these different commissions. It's too inconsistent."

The fight in Ignacio is not the only instance in which fighters were allowed into the ring without going through the proper pre-fight screening. At the Great Room show, Ariel Conde's second fighter, Contreras, was originally scheduled to fight only in an exhibition bout. However, as a way of placating the crowd after the first three fights ended in the first round, the Arizona commissioner supervising the bouts, Steve Freedman, allowed Contreras's fight against Steve Valdez to count for the record. Although their fight went the distance, much to the delight of the crowd, Ed Walsh was amazed that the visiting commissioner allowed the fight to happen in the first place. Walsh contends that there had been no official weigh-in, and neither of the fighters had been given a pre-fight physical examination because it had been scheduled as an exhibition. "They danced with the devil on that one," Walsh says. (Andy Lee refutes Walsh's assessment of the situation, saying that the two fighters did in fact weigh in. He says there was a six-pound discrepancy, and the lighter fighter agreed to go ahead with the match.)

But Lee is no fan of the current system, either. "Sometimes," he says, "no commission is better than some commissions."

But with no commission, there's always a chance that an Ariel Conde will wind up fighting and getting his brains knocked out. Conde himself doesn't sound concerned about it, although he says he's trying to phase out his own career and focus on being a trainer for other fighters.

"I'm not a mean guy, but I've been fighting since forever," he says, "and when people ask me to fight, I can't help but say yes. But now I have a beautiful baby girl, my first child, and I realize what losing all these fights was doing to me. I used to be the craziest fighter in the world. I loved to fight, I loved to hear the people in the crowd. And when you win, you forget all about the pain. But now I'm gonna be a trainer, and because I know all about love and pain, I'll be a good one. I just hope that Denver opens the door for me again, because I'm having my nose operated on next month, so next time I come to Denver, my nose is gonna be straight.

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