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German Villasenor

Mariana “Golden Girl” Juarez Fights Linda Tenberg in Houston
By David A. Avila
Maxboxing.com
August 5, 2004
 
 
Fight by fight, site by site, the legend of Mariana Juarez grows every day across the Southwest.

The Mexican beauty seems to have that magnetic attraction that only a few fighters possess like a perpetual golden spotlight.

Juarez may be the “Golden Girl,” the female equivalent to Oscar De La Hoya, but like the Golden Boy she has to prove it in the ring. On Saturday she faces veteran fighter Linda Tenberg (11-9) at the Pasadena Fairgrounds in Houston, Texas. The first bout begins at 7 p.m.

Raised on the streets of Mexico City, Juarez (12-3-3) fought in tough bouts against other Mexican bantamweights with little to show for it but bumps and bruises. The paydays were ridiculously low and the battles fierce.

“When I fought for the Mexican title the arena was full,” said Juarez, 24, who fought a losing decision against Ana Maria Torres for the Mexican bantamweight championship in 2002. “It was the most exciting fight I’ve ever fought but there was little boxing.”

After that fight she moved north in search of richer purses and better training. Her friend Marco Antonio Barrera convinced her the move was wise. Unlike men, women are not protected and perfect records are virtually nonexistent.

Now veteran trainer Ben Lira prepares her daily routines and shows her boxing techniques that are not favored in Mexico. Jabs, defense and footwork are worked on every day.

“Mexicans don’t like to see boxing, they want to see brawling and knockouts,” Juarez said, smiling as if remembering a narrow escape. “They don’t like to see jabs.”

Juarez’s first fight in the states was against Elena “Baby Doll” Reid, a left-handed slugger. Both junior bantamweights were unaware of each other in that first contest and engaged in one of the most exciting fights of the year. It ended in a six-round draw.

“I’d love to fight Elena Reid again,” said Juarez with that tint of excitement. It’s a rather strange emotion she shows in her eyes when an interesting challenge might take place.

Last week, Juarez met IBA junior lightweight champion Chevelle Hallback at a fight card in Rancho Mirage. When told that Hallback would be willing to spar a burst of happiness crossed her face.

“She loves a challenge,” said Lira, who formerly trained Linda Carrillo an amateur flyweight National Champion. “It’s in her blood.”

After sparring several rounds with the very athletic and hard-hitting Hallback, a sense of fulfillment on Juarez’s face showed she was happy with the day’s work.

“She’s real good,” said Hallback, who is considered one of the best female prizefighters on the planet. “She’s pretty strong for her size.”

On Saturday the lithe Juarez hopes to translate her preparation and sparring into a victory against Tenberg. She loves the fact that Reid fought and beat her twice in spirited battles. It motivates her.

“I’m going to do my best,” Juarez said. “I want to show my fans.”
 
     
     
     
     

 

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