Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios is no fluke, and he definitely loves to fight. He took up boxing ten months ago, and in a tough Rio Grande Valley, where there is no lack of tough fighters of Mexican descent, took the Valley’s Golden Gloves Championship in his weight class. “El Gallero” (Palacios) is a class fighter, and with a large following. Some hundred and fifty folks drove up from the Valley to see him fight in his Pro MMA debut, in his new role as “El Orgullo del Valle,” (“The Pride of the Valley”).
I was sitting ringside with Charlie Clark to watch Rickey take on an improved Gerardo Botello in this main event contest. The first round clearly went to Ricky, but it was obvious he was scoping out, and testing, his opponent. His buzz saw nature emerged in the second round, which he clearly dominated. I was impressed by his utter confidence. Palacios is exciting to watch; you quickly gather he enjoys what he’s doing, and he’s good at his game, controlling the ring and the fight, and handling his opponent seemingly with ease. He moves with fluid grace and power, like a cat, and although Botello appeared physically larger than Palacios, at no time was he able to control him. One understands Botello taking him to the mat; Ricky’s stand up game, between bobbing and weaving, is a flurry of devastating punches and damaging round house kicks. Nonetheless, when on the mat, Ricky employed alligator rolls at will, and in what ever position he found himself, he was fighting, punching, and from what should have been difficult angles, driving punishing knee strikes. He didn’t punch his opponent’s rib cage, he pummeled it, with such power that the impact could be loudly heard at ring side. As Bottello tried desperately to cover his ribs, it was obvious the pummeling was taking its toll. Prior to the fight Ricky had announced to his stand up fight coach and mentor, Jeff Bonugli, that he would end the fight by knockout or tap out. The fight was called as a TKO at 1:47 of the third round.
Nor does one seek to denigrate Gerardo Botello, a courageous scrapper. After all, his opponent was the best fighter in the house. While there was at least one other better than average fighter in the matches prior to the main event, (there was one, and inevitably there will be an exciting match up); he too would have fallen to Palacios. Bias? We shall see. Pound for pound, my money is on Palacios, for whom the sky is the limit. Yes, if I were to bet on any of the fighters in the arena bridging the gap between now, and a future in the UFC, my money would be on Ricky Palacios, “El Gallero.”