Professional boxing matches are rare spectacles in pandemic time, but Spokane native Patrick Ferguson found a way into the ring.
All it took was a trip to central Mexico, stringent social distancing and sanitization measures, and the drive to face an opponent he twice vanquished in previous bouts.
Ferguson, the Lewis and Clark High graduate who won a fringe World Boxing Council United States cruiserweight title in 2017, was willing to go the distance.
The early August fight against Miguel Cubos was anything but long, though, which may not have been worth the price of admission if fans were allowed into the Aquacaliento, Mexico, venue.
Ferguson, 29, knocked out Cubos in the second round to improve his overall record to 17-2-1. The fight was part of a card that featured three Mexican national champions.
Ferguson and trainer Chauncey Welliver – a former heavyweight Spokane boxing star dubbed “The Hillyard Hammer” – weren’t allowed to leave their Mexico hotel room before the match for quarantine purposes. They were escorted to and from the ring, cornavirus tested and operated in a setting with no fans.
“It was kind of quiet, so it felt like a sparring session,” said Welliver, who has trained Ferguson at Hillyard Hammer’s Boxfit in Spokane. “I’m not used to everyone being able to hear me when I tell a boxer, ‘Hey, throw the 1-2.’ You could hear everything.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Ferguson has been living with his fiancee since last year in Los Angeles, where he’s rarely boxed live because of the state’s social distancing mandates. Ferguson set up a gym in his garage to stay in shape, but he’s made multiple trips to Spokane this year to help continue a career that was put on hold because of the virus. His previous fight was in January in Montana.
When Ferguson’s promoter brought up the prospect of fighting again in Mexico, he was eager to exchange blows with a live opponent.
“It was an opportunity to stay sharp and active,” Ferguson said. “The guys who don’t lose that sharpness are the ones that do well. A lot of good (boxers) aren’t getting that opportunity right now with everything that’s going on.”
Ferguson previously fought Cubos in 2018 in Phoenix and at the Coeur d’Alene Casino, both wins by unanimous decision.
Welliver, who wore a face shield as he coached, said that a few spectators thought Cubos won the previous fight in Idaho, so Ferguson wanted to dispel the doubt with a third win.
“I knew he was going to come out wild, so I went to his body and he fell apart,” Ferguson said of his August fight. “Feels good to put an exclamation on it. After the fight, he said he didn’t want another rematch.”
Ferguson is one of the “top three boxers to ever come out of Spokane,” Welliver said, adding that he thinks Ferguson will continue to ascend.
“He’s rare right now because he’s active. That’s a major leg up than a lot of these guys,” Welliver said. “Is he a world title contender? No, but he’s in the right direction.”
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