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Jorge's Corner
The Voice of Boxing in Central and Northern California


Special Recognition & Acknowledgment
Jan 1, 2006

Jorgeís Corner 2005 Awards

As wind pounded us, bringing with it tornado force gales and down pours of Biblical portions, I pondered upon 2005 in Stockton, or Gun Smoke as I call it. While the city fathers shoved new developments down our throats, and fill their pockets, there were sixty-five murders, thirty that still remain unsolved. We became known as number one in auto thefts, and for the highest crime rate in the nation. As the former police chief became mayor, and the former sheriff became a federal prisoner, Stockton residents suffered under the yoke of senseless violence, and blatant disregard for the rights of its citizens. Things appear to be getting off to roaring start in 2006. While the mayor makes promises, residents are dying and struggling to survive with record unemployment and little hope for the future.

Stockton was voted the dumbest city in California and ranked below average in a national survey of readers. It seems the average person doesnít even the paper. They donít watch the news and care nothing about world events. Which might explain the high rate of unemployment, teen pregnancies, dropouts, and crimes rates. Yet, the city leaders who are buying up downtown property, which is where city funded development is taking place, are getting richer. The name Fat City seems to have more to do with our crooked politicians, than the amount of money in boxing purses. Stockton cops have also gotten better at killing suspects, which is why I advise every to be wary while visiting.

It wasnít all bad, during 2005 I enter acted with Eric Morales, Sugar Shane Mosely, George Foreman, Oscar de la Hoya and many others. I met local Olympic hopefuls Stan Martyniouck and Brandon Gonzales. I accidentally also uncovered some of the foulest behavior Iíve ever witnessed, which left me feeling disgusted. Again, proving age has nothing to do with wisdom. It seems the older some folks get they surrender all pretense of civility or decorum. I did as the bible suggested, shook the dust form my feet, and moved on. May God, bring them peace, as for me, I avoid such individuals

I work hard at covering local boxing events. Although I like the big shows, I really enjoy watching local talent develop. There is something special about watching young lions evolve and face their challengers. Thanks to my stories fans across the world are now aware of local fighters. My main allegiance is to Central and Northern California boxing fans. The following are my picks for Jorgeís Corner, Best of 2005 Awards.

The Best Venue Award goes to Jerry Hoffman who only stages two fights a year, but does so with class. His shows are by far the best. The Portola Plaza Hotel on the wharf at Monterey canít be beaten. It is beautiful. His shows are usually exciting, and always sold out. The great room rates offered by the hotel are a rare perk. Despite set backs and problems, Jerry always manages to put on an exciting show. Congratulations Jerry Hoffman, Winner of Jorge's Corner, Best Venue Award. The worse venue has got to be the Palace Indian Casino, in Lemoore, that holds their shows out in a cow pasture, smells of cow dung and ditch water or in a huge tent that leaks. Parking is awful and its so far away it requires an overnight stay. The fog is spooky and there is nothing to do out there if you donít gamble. Youíd think anyone who makes that much money could afford a better setting. The good thing is, there is a lot of room for improvement. Lets hope things get better. The last time I wrote an uncomplimentary commentary about the Palace, I received ugly threats and foul e-mails. Lets hope theyíve gotten better management.

The Best Ring Girls Award. Once again I gotta give this award to Jerry Hoffman who has managed to consistently find the most attractive, classicists ring girls. The singing sheriff, the military color guard and attractive setting, set new standards. Play Haters who criticize boxing should attend one of Jerryís shows. I believe they would be impressed. Congratulations Jerry Hoffman, Winner of Jorgeís Corner, Best Ring Girls Award. The least attractive ring girls Iíve seen have been in Stockton, although, things have improved. Iíd suggest the ring girls at ARCO Area get rid of those awful outfits. Whoever finds the girls for The San Jose Pavilion needs to be more particular. Ring girls are supposed to be eye candy, not toothaches. They are there to compliment the promoter and management, not give them a black eye.

The Best Overall Card Award. This was also an easy selection. The San Jose Pavilion has consistently staged the best card. Again, theyíve had complications, and still managed to put on the best shows overall. Congratulations San Jose Pavilion, Winner of Jorgeís Corner Best Overall Card Award. The worse cards have been at Arco Arena, it seems the promoter doesnít care about quality boxing, as long as they rake in the bucks. I hope the new year brings an improved attitude on the part of Arco Arena whose done nothing to assist Sacramento Olympic hopefuls Stan Martyniouck and Brandon Gonzales. Someone should wake up the mayor as well. Imagine what a shot in the arm it would be for Sacramento to have two of its citizens on the USA Olympic Boxing Team.

Best Amateur Show. This was an easy selection and goes to Oscar Tenedora of Manteca, who blew everyone out of the water, including all the professional shows when he staged the USA Vs MEXICO amateur card in San Francisco. His pre fight show was way above and beyond anything Iíve seen outside of Vegas. No one even comes close. Congratulations Oscar Tenedora, Winner of Jorgeís Corner Best Amateur Show. The worse is impossible to pick, there are so many bad ones to choose from.

Best Up and Coming Promoter Award. All promoters are notorious money grabbers, stingy and downright scrooges. Some are not very nice people either. Many colorful names come to mind. I wonít give names, as Iíve already had my life threatened for exposing several shortcomings. Iíve met many new wanna be professional promoters. They usually come in with a bang and leave with a whimper. James Grunsky has not only stayed and improved, he has demonstrated potential for excellence. Thanks to him Stocktonís Glory days have been reawakened, and boxing is once again something we can look forward too. Congratulations James Grunsky, Winner of The Best Up and Coming Promoter Award. The worse canít be named for obvious reasons.

Most Improved Local Professional Boxer Award. Although there are many young boxers whom demonstrated potential, few have also displayed consistent improvement and professionalism. This award goes to Vicente Escobedo of Woodland, a former Olympian. Vicente has impressed me with his focused, demon-like attacks upon his opponents. He has not only beaten his opponents, he has forced them to retire after suffering humiliating poundings. I believe Vicente will continue to improve and win a world championship. Congratulation Vicente Escobedo, Winner of The Most Improved Local Professional Boxer Award.

Best Trainer Award. Unlike knowledge via experience, ignorance is contagious, and spreads like the flu. I wish I could make this award. I have been embarrassed by some performances. This can only be blamed on the trainers. I have been consistently disgusted with Mexican boxers who arrive with seemingly no training or knowledge of boxing. They step into the ring with nothing but heart, and no skills. They leave beaten, and humiliated. I rate the boxers and trainers in Stockton at zero. The last two professional shows have left me feeling sick. If I had not been ringside covering the event I would have left in disgust. Once again it falls upon the trainers, who lack the knowledge, and strength of character to seek outside help. Its too bad, several of the guys might have potential. As it now stands Stockton boxers will be target practice for better-trained fighters. The local trainers who claim to coach boxing are a disgrace, and a reflection of the primitive environment found here. In Japan such a performance could only be redeemed by committing Sepuko, too bad we donít live in Japan.

Best Fight Fans Award. One of the important aspects of boxing are the fans. Iíve not witnessed any more enthusiastic fans than those in Stockton. Fans here are rough, generally undereducated, usually unemployed and openly aggressive. They carry their pride on their chest and will not hesitate to fight, throw cups, cell phones or anything available into the ring. I was present when sports writer Pedero Fernandez got nailed on the head with a cell phone for his unfavorable announcement. Unlike General Patton, he has never returned meek fans with weak hearts should stay away from Stockton. The fights are usually horrible events, bloody, violent, lacking skill and are little more than blatant displays of violence. They are however, welcomed with cheers and applauds beyond anything Iíve heard anywhere else. Tremendous, thunderous cheering and foot stomping are normal. Drunken, hysterical screaming and bloodthirsty yelling are also considered normal here. Keep in mind we are surrounded by several prisons and the worse CYA facility in California. We house the most drug rehabilitation programs and 160 ex felons are released into our population 12 times a year. Is it then any surprise Stockton fans love to watch two men beat each other, regardless of skill, age, experience or ability, the bloodier the better. One of the local heroes is a 45-year guy, who has never fought outside of Stockton. Another 42 year old, retired, only after being knocked out and caused a near riot. Having actually been in a Pakistani War Camp, except for the guns, language and clothing, itís about the same. The primitive environment, below standards in reading, economy, high unemployment, and high crime rates make attending a boxing event truly courageous. Keep in mind our Sheriff Baxter Dung was convicted of corruption, and there were 65 murders last year. I donít call it Gun Smoke for nothing. Congratulations Stockton Boxing fans, Winners of The Best Fight Fans Award.

Local professional boxers appear to lack the ability to take it beyond the Civic Auditorium. At 37 years Rodney Jones, is still trying to win a championship. I believe he needs a real trainer, the one he has thus far failed to help him. David Martinez, has dropped his former trainer, and disappeared. Thank God Kenny Lopez retired, after being knocked out. Nick Brooks should consider playing hockey, because he canít box. His last outing was a disaster. Everado Lopez was equally as bad and Tony ďRedĒ Dominguez is way past retiring. I gotta hand it to him, he wonít quit and he keeps filling the civic auditorium. James Grunsky, the local promoter, makes a bundle every time he puts him on the card. Andreas Zapata lacks skills and training, aside from having a cool Mexican name, the guy canít box. I donít believe he knows the word parry, slip or block. The last few guys are a perfect example of individuals who want the glory without the sweat, none have any amateur experience, yet are all pros. None of these guys have a knowledgeable trainer, and are risking their lives senselessly. Such reckless bravado is simple ignorance disguised as bravery. Keep in mind, that for the price of a license any fool can call himself or herself ďprofessionalĒ. It doesnít mean they know what theyíre doing. Overall boxers from Stockton are as bad as those found in the movie ďFat CityĒ, a depressing tale about alcoholics, drunks, and losers. The reality, although difficult to believe, is worse than the movie, which is fiction. Sad to say 2006 looks as bleak as 2005, because as much as things change, most stay the same.

All that being said, I look forward to 2006. I look do so without much hope of change, but a cheerful heart, ready to accept it, should it appear. Once again, even though I may stumble and even fall, Iíll continue to try and make the right choice, even if it isnít the easiest.

Stockton has a new hockey team and a brand new multi million-dollar sports complex, which will hopefully bring positive changes. Weíve just got to find a way to stop the murders, and reduce auto thefts. Curbing the endless flow of undocumented immigrants who lack employment might help, as well as building a bigger jail to house the criminals of which we have many. It looks hopeless, and yet we must continue.

Fans should keep in mind the U.S.A. is still at war and our men are in harms way. Remember to send up a prayer and ask they be returned home safely. I send a hello to my former High School teacher, Barbara Davis Cox, of Tuloso Midway High School. If you know her, say hello. In the mean time I gotta say Thank God for Boxing!

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez