The Sweet Science Starting to Thrive Once Again Locally
- Lake Region Fitness in Hawley is playing a major role in boxing's resurgence
HAWLEY — When local boxing fans descend on the Wallenpaupack Area High School gym next month, three very familiar names will figure prominently in the proceedings.
David Vazquez, Lamont Capers and Benjamin Burgos are all playing key roles in bringing the "Sweet Science" back to Wayne and Pike Counties.
Vazquez is the driving force behind Boxing by the Lake II, a pugilistic extravaganza scheduled for Saturday, February 2.
As the general manager and boxing coach, one of David's main duties is to train up & coming fighters.
Vazquez grew up in The Big Apple, but re-located to Hawley when Lake Region Fitness first opened its doors two years ago.
He'll be a major presence at "Boxing by the Lake II."
"I'm very excited about it," David said. "The first time we did this, the gym was just about sold out. I'm thinking it will be even better this time around."
Boxing by the Lake II will feature between 12 and 15 bouts, including seven heavyweights.
Doors open at 7 p.m. with action to follow at 8 p.m.
Tickets are available at Lake Region Fitness and cost $20 for general admission, $35 ringside.
Capers is 21-years-old and originally hails from Brooklyn (NY).
Lamont is a veteran of many amateur fights who just recently made his professional debut. Capers traveled to Dickson City on Dec. 7 for his cruiserweight bow at the Genetti Manor.
There, Lamont dominated all four rounds of his bout with Tim Hopkins en route to a unanimous decision.
"I wanted to start off a little bit slow and feel him out, but the opportunity just presented itself and I took advantage," he said.
Capers knocked down his opponent in every round, which earned high marks from Vazquez.
"Lamont has a big reach so he's very effective with long jabs," Vazquez said. "I like what I've seen from Lamont so far."
By the time the final bell mercifully sounded on this one, all three judges had scored the bout heavily in favor of the Lake Region Fitness fighter.
Bernard Bruni, George Hill and Pierre Benoist all had the fight 40-34.
As The News Eagle went to press on Thursday night, Capers was deep into preparations for his second professional fight.
Lamont was slated to take on Mario Murphy at the Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington (MD).
"I'm really excited and very optimistic," Lamont said. "I don't know a whole lot about my opponent, but I'll fight my fight and see where it goes from there."
Capers' father was also a boxer and a big influence on his style. Lamont has more than 20 amateur bouts under his belt and his all-time favorite fighter is the irrepressible Roy Jones Jr.
Offense as Defense
Burgos is 26 and spent his formative years in Nyack (NY).
He's on the fast track, having split his first two pro fights and already set with two more bouts in the near future. If all goes well, Burgos will have 10 on his calendar for the year.
"We have to go quicker with Benjamin due to his age," Vazquez said. "He has a lot of potential, but he got started a little later than Lamont so things are moving faster for him."
Burgos made a solid professional debut as a light welterweight back in October, downing Rasheed Estrada at Philadelphia's National Guard Armory.
All three judges named Benjamin the winner in this 4-rounder: Alan Rubenstein (40-36), Dewey LaRosa (39-37), Joseph Pasquale (39-37).
"Benjamin has very sound technique and he can create a lot of offense with his defense," Vazquez said.
"I'd really like to see him be a little more patient, maybe counter punch a little more and wait for an opening … tune down the aggression just a bit."
Burgos grew up admiring Wilfredo Gomez, a devastating puncher who posted a career record of 44-3-1 with 42 KOs.
"I loved everything about him," Benjamin said with a big smile. "He's was a real fighter. He was always going forward, never back … and I love that."