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Zena Takes Tumble in Night of Setbacks at The Country Club

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

It was a rough night at the Reseda Country Club.

One bout was lost when a fighter couldn’t make the weight.

Another when a fighter failed to show.

A third when one of the participants took off for work, unaware he was supposed to be fighting.

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Comedy of errors? Perhaps Mike Zena made the biggest error of all by being guilty of none of the above.

The junior lightweight from Hayward showed up for his scheduled 10-round main event against Armando Baeza of Norwalk only to suffer his first professional loss, dropping his record to 14-1-1.

Zena had his own problems at the weigh-in. He found, much to his chagrin, that he was 1 3/4 pounds over the 134-pound limit. He successfully sweated out that obstacle only to run into Baeza’s right hand.

Baeza, 133, put Zena down in the fourth round with a right and went to win a close but unanimous decision to improve his record to 12-3-1 with 5 knockouts.

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Judge Chuck Hassett scored it 95-94, Robert Byrd 97-93 and Dick Young 97-92.

“It was a tough fight,” said Johnny Flores, Baeza’s manager. “This was only my fighter’s second 10-rounder, so we were testing some deep waters.”

For a while Tuesday, it looked as though there would be no card at all. Juan Hernandez was the fighter guilty of being overweight. Juvenal Molina was the man guilty of not appearing.

It had been decided Monday night to use Daniel Garcia of Oxnard as a fill-in, but a call to his house wasn’t made until Tuesday morning. By then, he had left for his job as a field worker.

His father still held hope that Garcia might drive into Reseda after work, but he never made it.

That left The Country Club with just 3 fights, a total of 24 rounds.

The California State Athletic Commission has a minimum requirement of 26 rounds. An appeal was made earlier Tuesday and commission officials, taking into consideration the fact that the card was to be televised by a cable channel, waived their rule.

In the first fight, super bantamweight Jorge Rodriguez of Maywood won a unanimous 8-round decision over Simon Contreras of Mexico.

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Rodriguez improved to 12-3; Contreras dropped to 16-5.

In the other fight, junior middleweight Floyd Weaver of Diamond Bar improved his record to 6-1-1 by scoring his fourth knockout. Weaver stopped Roberto Garcia (7-15-3) of Los Angeles at 1:45 of the second round of a scheduled 6-round bout.

It was Weaver who was down in a strange first round, the victim of a Garcia left. Garcia wasn’t satisfied with that. So he threw another left. While Weaver was still down.

Hassett, the referee, counted the knockdown, then took a point from Garcia for the second blow.

The illegal punch seemed to infuriate Weaver. He got to his feet and fought back with a new fury, stopping Garcia a round later with a right-left combination.


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