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


Gun Smoke California

March 2, 2006

I hoped to bring you news of the last boxing event in Stockton, However, I was not granted a press pass, so its like it never happened. Local fans will cheer to learn Stockton’s Rodney Jones has earned a shot at the title. The least well-known famous boxer in Stockton will get his chance to show his mettle. Rodney has struggled a long time. He’s outlasted thousands of wannabes tough guys who faded like cheap tattoos. He is a class act, accompanied by hard work, guts and character. As a sportswriter it is impossible to maintain complete objectivity. I will openly admit my personal bias towards Rodney, who deserves our support and respect. Good Luck!

Less interesting is that Oscar De La Hoya, is making a final drive for glory. He’s getting it on with brawler, Ricardo Mayorga, May 6, 2006. It’s really nothing more than a money making publicity stunt. He’s lost the hunger that made him a legend. I have other issues with Oscar’s sense of loyalty, which is about as valuable as a wooden nickel. He uses people like a hooker uses Johns. Meeting him, did teach me a lesson, since then, I have avoided meeting celebrities. There’s sometime disingenuous about someone so preoccupied with star appeal. I don’t associate anyone who tries to play me.

Along this same topic, I received an e-mail form Joe Perez’s camp; it refereed to an article I wrote about father-son boxing teams in Sept. 2005. He took offense. I want to respond. Boxing is about people and their struggle. It brings to light many issues, some not so wonderful. Nowhere else in boxing is the best and worse brought to light as in the case of father-son boxing teams. Oscar is one example. On the bright side a father -son team brings ideas of indescribable affection between father and son. We instantly flash back to movie scenes, which filled our hearts, and lifted our spirits. We are enlightened, inspired, and grateful for such an awe-inspiring experience. On the dark side, we witness soul-wrenching conflict. We see a boy fighting to exert himself as a man. We see a father using emotional blackmail to oppress him. The father believes he knows what’s best. I’ve see fathers rob their sons of righteously earned victory and freedom. The results are tragic and heart breaking. Depending on the players, the over-bearing father may break his son’s spirit. In such cases the son surrenders and becomes a puppet. He eventually quits and disappears into the faceless masses that exist day to day. He wonders the world sad, angry and emotionally devastated ending up nowhere.

In other cases, the son will reject his father's control and make a break for freedom. Like an escaping slave he may loose balance temporally, but eventually rediscover himself. He prefers to stand or fall on his own, knowing that he has no one else to blame. Such events are rare. I know several middle age men, who still are attempting to please their tyrannical fathers, who refuse to grant them acceptance. In essence they are children with middle age faces. It’s a tragedy difficult to fathom, yet it as common as trees.

If the escaping young lion is lucky, he will find a “good” coach to help guide him. You’ll notice I said “good” coach. A “good” coach will become a mentor and advisor. This will vary in degrees, depending on the individuals. However, without the emotional baggage, it is much easier than a father-son relationship. Like a father, a “good” coach will set standards of acceptable behavior and clear boundaries in and out of the ring. Unlike his father he will permit and expect mistakes. Unlike a father, who considers his son property, he will encourage free expression and risk taking. He will monitor minor details, like holding up your hands in sparring. A “good” coach will acknowledge that his student is a reflection of his ability, and proceeds solemnly. A “good” coach knows that permitting a boxer to demonstrate poor techniques in training is dangerous, as boxers tend to fight like they spar. This should hold especially true if the coach is also your father.

Although lack of character is common amongst people, arrogance and pride are epidemic. Few posses the strength to admit their flaws and limitations, this is not a crime in itself, until it places the young man in danger. Professional boxing is dangerous. This holds doubly true if your opponent knocked out both of his prior opponents. The question is why was Jose “The Punisher” Perez Jr., matched with such an opponent, if his father, also his manager, believed he was not ready? This should have been a red flag and a lesser opponent should have been found. End results were that Jose was knocked out May 8, 2005 at the Radisson Hotel, in Sacramento Ca. As I stated in my article, “it was an ugly knockout” as quoted by the referee who worked the fight.

In my article of Sept. 16, 2005, I wrote that father-son teams are rarely successful and used Jose as an example. I stated Hector Manuel Leyva was in the world of boxing, with 3 wins and 3 losses at the time he fought Jose, a nobody. I still say he was a nobody. I never suggested that anyone was not a good human being. My observations related only to boxing. Although corruption is rampant throughout boxing, it is especially true in third world countries. I believe it is impossible to get accurate boxing records from Mexico.

Perhaps, unbeknownst to my critic, boxers are entertainers; they are paid to perform and valued only because of their performance. Anyone who gets on any stage will be subject to critical observations; these will depend on who makes them. In my defense, that someone would have an emotional response proves boxing is about struggle and a reflection of life. It is why everyone respects fighters.

My critic stated I refused to interview Jose. As I said before, a boxer with six wins is not yet “known”. I cover fights all over Northern and Central California. I did receive offers to interview Jose, and tried to make arrangements to meet with him before one of the fights. My offer was not accepted. Perhaps they thought I should meet him at his convenience, I did not do so because I also have a life. Also because I’ve been in this game all my life and I don’t cater to prima Madonna's. I’ve spent twenty years in the military and been around fighting men all my life, after serving in a combat zone, a kid with six wins isn’t that impressive. Looking back, I believe they know they blew it; they should have taken the opportunity to establish a beneficial connection with a sportswriter. I would call that an “error in judgment”. It was shortsighted and demonstrates poor judgment.

I did send Mario Garcia, a colleague to interview Jose in San Jose Ca, before a fight that was latter canceled. I did not use the information, because Mario reported he was not impressed with Jose. Since the fight was canceled, it was a no story. My critic, who accused me of being drunk, will be happy to learn I don’t drink, nor do I apologize for my opinions. I suspect my critic is one of the people that neglected to make sure Jose did not drop his hands, but failed do so. I suspect he gained prestige from his role in Jose’s career, and the article did not reflect his opinion of himself. He states that Jose quit boxing and joined the US Cost Guard because he was tired after 12 years, sorry, I don’t buy it. I personally know boxers who have been in this game all their lives, and are still not tired of it. (Rodney Jones is 37, and Tony Dominguez is 40, both have been boxing all their life). Rather, I suspect Jose finally did what he should have done a long time ago, and made a break for freedom. I believe Jose will return. I wish him well, although I never met him personally, I saw him fight. He was a capable opponent with potential. However, he also lacked proper fundamentals, he dropped his hands, lacked proper foot positioning and balance. He never pivoted into his punches and lacked defensive techniques. He had good hand speed and ring knowledge. Above all he lacked maturity, which was demonstrated via his reaction to defeat. Coming back from a loss takes great character. As I’ve already said, “A boxer’s performance in the ring is a reflection of his coach’s ability”. This is what it is, especially if the coach is your father.

I know truth Sayers are not welcomed, as few care to hear it. Look at how well the President reacted to the truth. It was like showing Dracula a crucifix. I know truth is different for everybody. The pompous Philosophy Professor at Delta College would say there is only one truth. Maybe in his classroom, but not in the real world. I thought he was full of shit and suffered by egomania. This is very true about those in power. Powerful men don’t want to hear anything that differs from what they believe. They don’t care about truth, when confronted; they will use their authority to shut you up. This may come as political pressure, jail, or having someone kill you. History is filled with stories of good men disappearing. Remember Martin Luther King and Jesus? I am by no means comparing myself to either of them; however I believe what I say is true, but not enough to get killed for.

Outside the ring, I don’t criticize, judge or complain about people. I work at not offending others, its often very difficult. Although these are common Christian values, good Christian are not common. If you find yourself in a bad spot, unable to pay your medical bills, you are simply screwed. If you wait for divine intervention, you may end up waiting forever. Most people just don’t care. Our society is not geared towards helping the unfortunate; look at the victims of Katrina. Even after all the finger pointing and apologies, thousands remain homeless. Life is never easy; it’s filled with controversy and strife. Despite these truths, I struggle to keep hope alive and make the best choices possible, not always the easiest.

The final truth is I am only expressing my opinions. I have no divine authority, nor do I control any boxing association or organization. I simply describe what I see. Its what I do. I received several death threats last year. I’m not gonna be a hero, If some fool pulls a gun and says you’re wrong, I’d say, Yes sir! Life is too sweet to risk losing over opinions. If my critics want to shoot someone, I hope they do elsewhere. I have no personal problem with anyone, nor do I stand to gain by my observations. I don’t really care who wins or looses. Neither Jose or anyone else is worth getting shot for. I’ve spent my time on the bull’s eye while in the military, and it all seemed like bullshit. I don’t recall feeling more American when I returned, I do recall all the shit I had to go through. I recall my wife’s tears and months in the hospital. The next time a president asks if I’d go to war, I’d say, sure, if you, or you son comes with me. Iraqi freedom won’t bring my dead buddies back. Fighting for someone else’s freedom is like screwing for birth control. I do this because I love boxing. It has brought me immeasurable benefits. I call it my religion. I know that even on dark days when someone is “hating” me, I rather be doing this than anything else. Once again I gotta say, Thank God for Boxing!  

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez