They held the best until last Wednesday night at the Glendale Youth Recreation Center.
To no one's suprise.Utah's best amateur boxers squared off in the USA-Amateur Boxing Federation state championships, but there was only one highly billed fight. Danny Montoya and Ray Montoya (no relation) had to sit through 11 bouts before staging the main event.
Then they settled a score that has been simmering for two weeks.
The Montoyas fought for the first time ever in Ogden two weeks ago. In that bout, Ray, of the Price Elks Club, won a close decision in the 139-pound category. But he had gone down once during the first round, giving rise to speculation that Danny, of the Salt Lake PAL, deserved to win.
"It was a push down, not a knockdown," insists Ray. "I saw the videotape."
This time he didn't want to leave any doubt. Ray used a superior arm span to keep Danny a safe distance away and earned a state title.
"I wanted to make sure I won this time," he said. "Last time there was kind of some doubt in the audience. There were some boos when I won."
The three-round bout began with Danny, a cousin to Salt Lake professional Tony Montoya, Jr., aggressively stalking his opponent. He waded in as close as he could get, throwing punches into Ray's sides and ears, but only occasionally landing a telling punch to the head.
In the second round he cut Ray's mouth, but was unable to get inside the long arms.
They began the third round with an enthusiastic exchange of punches. But the final round wore down with both of them landing a few shots but not doing much damage.
Ray and eight other open division winners will represent Utah in the regionals in Denver Feb. 17-18.
Getting to the regionals wasn't so tough for some of the crowd. Henry Espinosa at 119 pounds; Eugene Barnhart at 125; Tony West at 132; Doug Moore at 165; Freddie Gomez at 178 and Samson Pouha at heavyweight all were unopposed in the finals.
Only two Open Class fights were held besides Montoya vs. Montoya. At 106 pounds Edward Martin easily handled Steven Dreyfuss and at 156 Art Henderson outpointed Larry Peck.
Martin, who dropped from 125 to 106 to fight this year, shook his younger opponent early with several combinations to the head. After the first minute of boxing, Dreyfuss spent his time just trying to avoid getting knocked out. He took a standing eight count in the first round.
The Peck-Henderson fight was closely contested, but Peck began to tire in the second round. Henderson's right hand began cutting through in the third round to secure the decision.
In Junior Olympics division, Julian Stevens beat John Garrett at 60 pounds; Colby Rogers outpointed Idilio Esquivel at 65 pounds; Mario Villagrana beat Leroy Chavez at 80 pounds; Tyrone Johnson decisioned Gilbert Coria at 75 pounds; Angel Martinez beat Freedom Conrad at 80 pounds; J.C. Villistrigo beat Joe Villagrana by retirement in an 85-pound match; Brian Babbington decisioned Steven Valdez at 95 pounds; Gary Gomez beat William Coleman at 106 pounds; and Jesse Montoya won at 112 pounds over Poncho Valdez.