15th July 2006
Mercado Benito Juárez
(open air market), Toluca
What had taken
Jazmín Rivas (who stands first in line to challenge
Alejandra Oliveras for the WBC super-bantamweight title)
twenty-two hard rounds of boxing and Jackie Nava (who gets
second dibs in October if Rivas fails) eight, took 19-year-old
Zulina "La Loba" Muñoz less than one round on Saturday, when she
stopped Martha Leticia Arévalo of
Guadalajara in the Mercado Benito Juárez in
Toluca. Making a nonsense of the Jaliscan's reputation as
a tough nut to crack, the NABF champion chewed her up and spat
her out in 1 minute 20 seconds flat.
According to Esto, it wasn't
a fight; it was a thrashing; and it had become a dangerous one
by the time referee Laurentino Ramírez
called a halt to the proceedings, with the youngster connecting
at will with both hands, and the veteran, hurt several times in
the first minute, now out on her feet. "I hit hard," Muñoz told
Rodolfo Rosales Salinas of El
Independiente last week. "Everyone tells me that — even the
boys I spar with in the gym."
"She looks anything but a boxer,"
mused Salinas. "She has a willowy figure and the face of an
angel, gladdened by a natural smile." Golden Gloves champion in
2004 and with nine fights already under her belt in the paid
ranks, "her face bears no trace whatever of her hard
profession," though she greets the suggestion that she could
make a living more easily as a model with disdain: "The fact is,
I like boxing. It's a sport of challenges; though I'll only
stick with it for a while. My aim is to resume my studies and
become a doctor."
Doctor Jekyll, I presume.
Muñoz camps up the supposed paradox
between her daytime role as a carer — she graduated last year as
a nurse — and the killer instinct that led team-mates to
christen her "The She-Wolf" : "The great thing," she explains
archly, "is not to confuse the one job with the other. When I'm
in the ring and I see my opponent bleeding, I'm never tempted to
offer assistance. I close in and finish her off — after all, the
object is to win; and by all means possible.
"And when I see her on the canvas, I
The referee intervened, of course,
on Saturday before she could put Arévalo on the canvas,
but there was in any case no further
kudos there to be gained. This was a voluntary defence. Zulina's
manager (Mauro Ayala)'s strategy is to keep the youngster busy —
she was fighting here for the tenth time in seventeen months —
and he was inaugurating a new venue at the
same time, with a bill that combined the pulling power of the
pretty teenager with the attempt of a local fighter, Gabriel
Pérez, in the co-main event, to wrest the Fecarbox
super-bantamweight title from Armando Cardona; but he must have
expected Arévalo — and her fellow Jaliscan, Cardona, too, for
that matter (since he only lasted one round longer) — to put up
a better showing than she did. The idea was to give Muñoz
a workout, not throw her a bone; but the champion was mindful —
like Myriam Lamare, headlining for the first time that same
evening in France — of her obligation to entertain.
"Some of these American fighters
enter the ring intending all along to leave it to the judges,"
Lamare told Canal+ in a pre-fight interview. "I'm not like that.
I'm fighting in front of my own people here. I want it to be
spectacular. And I want it to be quick."
Whether or not it was spectacular in
Toluca, it was certainly quick. Embarrassingly so, in fact. From
the outset, Zulina just fell on the veteran and kept hitting and
hitting her. "She was intransigent," wrote
Jesús López of Box Latino; and imbued, evidently,
with an icy determination to put the challenger in her place.
"When the bell sounds," the same
writer added, "she becomes an authentic she-wolf." And
whilst the authenticity of this transformation isn't something
I've been able to verify from this side of the Atlantic, I do
know, I suspect, what he means : He means that in place of the
girl you'd like to take home to meet your mum, she becomes the
girl you'd like to introduce to the little thug who used to
empty your Thermos of cocoa onto the pavement on the way to
school. That's what he means.
Of course, knowing the school I went
to, the gentleman in question's probably a bishop by now. But
what difference? A bully with a bleeding heart is still a bully.
Go get him, Zulina!
sources Esto, El Independiente,
and Box Latino