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


Arco Arena
Sacramento, CA
April 21, 2005

Promoter Don Chargin and Maloof Sports & Entertainment put on a great show. As a veteran sportswriter who has witnessed many great fights, I have to give this show two thumbs up. It was well organized and the main alone event was worth the trip. As usual, the Arco staff was professional, and even the fans were well behaved. There were no fisticuffs outside the ring and the event went smoothly, Thank God. The only thing worse than having to watch bad boxing is having to put up with drunken fools. Mauricio Borquez from Lakeside Ca, with five wins and three loses squared off against Bhakari Gates, a home town hero, with only one win and one loss. Gates simply out-classed and out hustled Borquez.

Danny Savala, another hometown hero and the shortest toughest kid I’ve met in a long time, proved height has nothing to do with heart or punching power. Danny, did a great job of out boxing, and out maneuvering Luis Medina, who came out ready to rumble and gave a good showing, until Danny landed a sweet left cross that laid Luis flat on his back. Sitting ringside, it appeared he might never get up again, but thank the God, he did. Danny’s record is now 5 wins, two losses and two ties, and two KOs. If handled correctly, Danny has the makings of one bad mother humper. Good job Danny!

The next bout matched Panchito Maldanado, from Lakeside, Ca. (7-6) squaring off with hometown favorite Anthony Charnell, (5-1-1, 4 KOs). This match was less spectacular, less refined; it consisted mostly of brawling, slugging, and swinging from left field, missing dozens of shots and not much boxing. As a veteran sportswriter, I grow weary of watching young fighters with so much potential wasted because of a lack of training. Anthony has the guts, the height, the power, and the youth to make it, yet he appears to lack a knowledgeable trainer. I‘ve grown sick of watching such young men thrown to the sharks, forced to swim or sink, with no hopes of reaching their full potential, because of poor coaching. Too bad, there ought to be a law against it. As a believer that every man makes his own destiny, I would advise Anthony Charnell to go elsewhere quickly. He needs to find a coach that can teach him how to utilized his gifts. I would suggest Anthony seek out Fear No Man Boxing Club in Stockton. I know the guy very well. Maldando got the decision.

The next bout brought another tomato can for Valanna McGee, (7-2-1 3 KOs). I’ve watched four of her fights and all of them have been with unprepared, poorly trained, boxers. That’s why there are so many such hometown heroes, who never leave their backyard, but when they do, K-Pow! A young lady by the name of Kelsey Jeffries is in the same boat. The problem with this is they never improve; they grow over confident and complacent. Her opponent Lisa Pederson (2-3-1), from Minneapolis, MN, was clearly a no-contest. It was like watching Lance Armstrong race against someone in a wheel chair.

There is no honor in defeating an unworthy opponent. Whoopee. McGee banged out another opponent who had no business being in the ring with her. I would suggest McGee get better opponents, otherwise she is heading for trouble, when she faces real opposition. There are worthy opponents all over the place, if she needs help finding one, I would be very happy to make the connection. The Novelty show of the evening featured Otis Griffin, of the Next Great Champ TV Show beating up another poor guy with no chance in hell of winning. Its not Otis’s fault, his job is to fight, but it does not make for interesting competition. It was barely a boxing match; it consisted of brawling, wild flurries, and stranger tactics. Neither boxer displayed knowledge of fundamentals, defense tactics, footwork, hand positioning and they did little more than swing form every angle imaginable. Finally after a hundred missed punches, Otis landed a lucky shot that rocked McAllister. JJ McAllister was making his Pro Debut and got knocked out by Otis who’s had six bouts with two KOs. Let me also say Otis is one of the nicest people I’ve met, as are his trainers. However, I would strongly suggest Otis get a real trainer. The two guys I met might be wonderful human beings, but they are not doing him any favors by allowing him to continue to box as he has. He has the tools to be much better. Otis is building up a record that will eventually lead to a real fight, then he’s gonna get hurt. I suggest he look up Fear No Man Boxing in Stockton and beg the coach to take him under his wing. It would be worth it.

The main event was one of the best fights I’ve seen in a very long time. I’ve watched main events with Gilbert Martinez who was so boring I actually surrendered my sit ringside. I’ve watched Montel Griffin, hug and dance with his opponent at nauseum. This bout was a sportswriter’s fantasy. There was anger, emotion, fury, and righteous outrage. To give the fight more juice, the replacement was not the one originally scheduled to fight. Eric Regan, with 23-wins, one loss and 15 KOs was suppose to meet Middleweight Champion Eduardo Ayala, who failed to materialize. In his place, the powers that be, accidentally found a tougher, cooler, more deadly opponent, Darmel Castillo, with only 9 wins and eight loses, and only one KO, was brought in to take a beating. No promoter in his right mind would knowingly pick an opponent that had a chance of actually defeating the hometown hero. Too bad things don’t always work out the way they’re suppose too. This is why boxing beats the rest.

I knew Darmel was tougher than the rocks used to build the Alamo. He had to be to survive the mean streets of San Antonio. There, the loser usually dies. It’s just the way it is. Fistfights are not events between gentlemen, but between men who have battled all their lives, just to survive. Fighters are not guys who bow and wear white and practice kicking and punching make believe opponents. Kick boxers are not guys who compete for trophies, there everyone kicks when they street fight, and fights continue until one of the combatants is unable to get up. Having been raised in the same area, I knew Eric was in for a big surprise. Darmel Castillo proved me right. I was the only one in the entire arena cheering him from the beginning of the fight. I have to admit I wanted Darmel to win. It was a real contest for about the first two rounds, then Darmel clearly beat down the Hit Man. Castillo, out smarted, out punched, out moved and out balled, Eric, who was clearly afraid of “Darmel, The Texas Tornado”. In one of the most exciting fights I’ve witnessed, Darmel knocked ³Glass Jaw Eric Regan² down early in the fight with a dynamite right. As his corner begged him to get up, he lay like a dying beached whale. The crowd was going nuts and everyone expected him to stay down, but he got up. Regan, who stumbled about like a drunken sailor barely survived thanks to the referee. I’ve not seen this obviously biased refereeing before. I’ve known the referee for many years, and up to that point he had always acted as a detached, professional. However, he clearly gave Regan a chance to finish the round, even though he took twenty-five punches without fighting back. Even the ring doctor stepped into the ring and had words with him. Everyone was surprised the referee failed to stop the fight. I feared a tragedy, especially after watching the TV special on Emile Griffin who killed Kid Paret. Thank God, no one died. Eric continued to take a beating from this crafty, gutsy unknown. The remaining rounds saw Darmel calmly administer a sound thrashing, as he waited and carefully picked his shots. The crowd, which had booed Castillo during the introduction, was clearly impressed. Where there had been hostile cat calls and boos, now there were wild cheers and applause. Sadly, Eric, the hometown hero fell from the pedestal where he’d been placed by crafty matchmakers who thought they found him tomato can. This is why boxers should not surrender their careers to their handlers. This is the type of defeat I see in store for Valanna McGee, unless she faces better opponents. By the way, I like Valanna, she is attractive and the perfect rags to riches story. A single mom, fighting to make it with her daughter. Who wouldn’t like her? As much as I like her, it does not mean what I say is not also true. I see years of suffering in her eyes, I don’t blame her for wanting to fight. I wish her lots of luck, lots of money, and much better opponents.

Eric, “Glass-Jaw Regan”, who’s been protected is now paying the price. He’s fallen a very long way. His desperation has only began, next come the jeers, the stares, and the “I coulda told you so’s”, from people who once cheered him. Eric learned the same lesson all protected boxers have learned. A fighter can only be protected so long, eventually he has to step up and face a real opponent. This is why boxing is the best sport in the world. There is no room for fakes, and less for fools. There is no joy in the River City tonight. The after fight party was canceled and Eric is not taking calls. Darmel Castillo will return to Alamo City, and those of us who witnessed the fight will talk about it for a long time to come. Congratulations Darmel.

Sun Tzu, the great Chinese General author of The Art of War, might suggest a new strategy for Eric Regan, once known as “Hit Man”. He might suggest one with less sizzle and more meat. He, as well as I, would suggest new coaches, new managers, and a return to old fashion, time proven training methods. I would once again direct him to contact Fear No Man Boxing Club in Stockton. The coach there might be able to resurrect him to his former self.

I am signing off for a while. I am heading to Arizona to stand watch with the Minutemen along the Arizona-Mexican border. Having done my time during actual combat, I don’t anticipate any heroics. My philosophy is the only good war, is the one you can walk away form. I do feel the need for a semi adventure, one without rockets, artillery, snipers and body bags. I send a heart felt hello to all my fans in uniform now serving in Iraq. Remember Guys, Never drop your guard, and don’t forget anything.

A special hello to Mr. Roy Egelbreight, formally of Golden Boy Promotions, now working his magic in Sacramento. As a fan of this great sport, I am privileged to be able to do something I love. I am blessed beyond words, so in closing I’ll say as always, Thank God For Boxing.

Fernando Vargas Vs Ray Joval
Corpus Christi Texas
March 28, 2005

About the most impressive detail of this over-dramatized, pseudo boxing spectacle was that it was held in my hometown of Corpus Christi Texas. Other than that I was not impressed. I wanted Vargas to demonstrate the old black magic that once made him dangerous. I wanted to see him explode into a fighting frenzy like a caged lion, instead all we got was a boring, lack luster main event that looked more like a sparring session.

I believe the embarrassing tears during the pre fight interview were just emotional baggage. I’d have to say, “Toughen up boy, a lot of us had a hard coming up”. Vargas failed to take advantage of being in Texas. The Southwest is famous for spiritual healers. Any “curandero”, would have told him to embrace his pain and use it to fire himself up. Instead of whining, he should be pumped up and proud. How many guys can claim to be professional fighters? It seems Vargas has lost his mojo. A curandero could have done a “trabajito” and performed a “limpia”. It might have helped him get his magic back. As it is now, his nickname “El Feroz”, no longer applies. The half crazed warrior that once launched kamikaze attacks with blood thirsty abandon has become as domesticated as a house cat. What we have now is a less confident, very cautious, emotionally challenged, old looking, 28-year-old nice guy. Nothing wrong with that if you wanna sale shoes for a living, but not as a fighter. I gotta ask, what happened? Where has the real Fernando Vargas gone.

I never cared for his trash talking, but Vargas once had something. He was a tough street kid who took no shit from anybody. He never hesitated to trade blows with anyone who gave him an excuse. He was interesting to watch and impossible to predict. As crazy as that might have been, its preferable to the guy who cried on national television. Its bad enough Oscar De La Hoya’s, “Next Great Champ”, brought us a crybaby a week. To add insult to injury, they were all supposed to be Mexican American tough guys. Now we got Fernando Vargas, the once upon a time bad ass, crying, before the fight. Please.

I was embarrassed for Vargas. Who told him it was ok to cry while being interviewed? Someone should punch out Vargas’ advisor and fire his trainer. His coaches better feed him some loco weed, or do something else quick. I liked him better when he was talking trash and insulting Oscar. I miss his brashness. I miss his tough guy personality and his “screw you” attitude. It may be antisocial, but it’s preferable to this milk-fed-creampuff, who wants to be understood. “Vargas, You’re suppose to be a fighter, not a guest on the Doctor Phil show”. Even Doctor Phil would say, “crying dogs can’t hunt”.

I’d suggest he visit the area where he grew up, and rediscover the ugly realities that made him want to fight. Life may have changed him, but it’s still the same for millions of Chicanos everywhere. There are hundreds of tough, hungry, young fighters ready and willing to risk it all. My confusion is why did he change? He had the right formula, all he’s got to do is stop “feeling” so much, and just go for it.

Dwelling in the past is the last thing a fighter should to do. Everyone has had disappointments and heartache. Its private stuff that needs to stay private. Old time trainers wanted their fighters to be bachelors. Women tend to make men soft, they steal a man’s fury. Look at what Robin Gibbons did to poor Mike Tyson. She had him whipped, he acted like her house pet. A fighter has to be willing to risk it all without fear, remorse, or regret. The more civilized a fighter becomes, the more apt he is to get hurt. A fighter has to be half crazy to begin with. Once he becomes too “civilized”, he might as well quit. A fighter had to be able to distance himself from all those emotion that make most men tame and “civilized”.

I’d suggest Vargas re-dye his hair blonde, walk up to Oscar, and spit in his eye, then challenge him to another fight on national television. This strategy worked for Hopkins. After Hopkins beat Oscar, they became partners, now Hopkins is gonna make big money. Maybe, if Vargas gives Oscar a good fight, they’ll become buddies, and he can also make millions. Spitting in Oscar’s eye would get him negative press and a lot of people would want to see them tangle again.

It might work, Oscar is loosing money, His sports wear Idea is a flop, they’re practically giving away his stuff at Big Lots. I also suspect things are not going well between him and his lady. I’ll bet if Vargas spits in his eye, Oscar will swing back. Then the media will jump on it, and make it more interesting for all of us. But please, enough with the crying. After watching those fake tough guys on the “Next Great Champ”, I don’t want to see anymore crying Mexicans. Its gonna ruin our tough guy reputation.

I still have a problem believing Vargas did not know someone was giving him steroids. I know he’s not a brain surgeon, but he must have known they were gonna test him. I understand the pressure to win, but come on man, get real.

I watched Vargas pummel Fitz Vanderpool in July of 2003, then fight in December, then vanish. He reappears in Tejas, and almost brings me to tears. He was terrible. The problem was that Joval only came to show off his hairstyle. Carefully selecting your opponents is necessary so it may not be Vargas’s fault, but someone blew it. The matchmaker should have found someone who “wanted” to fight. Joval demonstrated no balls, and few boxing skills. I would not spend money to watch Vargas dance around for another ten rounds. I hope he gets his act straight. His notoriety may help, but he’s got to make it fun to watch. If he wants to play it safe he should take up golf. Boxing is not for the meek. Otherwise he should do like Oscar, and get into promoting.

After watching this terrible performance, I felt deceived. I came to watch a warrior destroy some fool wearing a halo. Not witness another tragedy. If this is a good as Vargas can do, maybe he should consider taking steroids. I heard steroids are suppose to make people crazy. It would at least make it more interesting. Speaking of steroids, I’ve asked Sylvester to cut the crying scenes form his next episode of The Contender, lets hope he listens. I’d rather watch replays of Rocky, then more crying tough guys.

I want to send out a special hello to the Escobar’s of Main Dr, and Hererra’s of Kingsville, Texas. I want to say hello to Father David Mac Donald, of Virginia, my best friend. I want say hello to the Minutemen along the Arizona-Mexican border. Keep in mind, No matter how bad things get, they can get worse, ask any solider in Iraq, which is why I say, Thank God For Boxing.

Morales Vs Pacquiao
Las Vegas NV March 19, 2005

There are many worthy competitors in boxing, but few real heroes. I remember when Antonio Barrera wiped the floor with wonder-punk Prince Hamed. It was memorable because it striped away the phoniness from that trash talking fool. I refuse to call him anything other than ridiculous for his before fight performance and his delusional self-importance. What a jerk. Thank God, Barrera shut his mouth.

Erik Morales, who has played a major role in Barrera’s life also touched the stars by defeating Manny Pacquiao, a much more respectable opponent. While Barrera defeated a fool, Morales presented us with an opportunity for a great rematch.

I was happy Morales won, not because I have similar roots, but because he was the best fighter of the two. He fought smarter and better. He picked his shots, attacked with ferocity and strategy. He proved that as a boxer/ puncher he is worthy of respect, and should never be counted out. Manny Pacquia did not disappoint me. No one can say he did not put forth his best effort. He may lack fundamentals, and punching power, but nothing when it comes to courage. Pacquia won my respect because of his unwillingness to surrender.

As expected Pacquiao started fast, coming out blazing with both guns, nailing Morales with serious shots that had the crowd on its feet. Morales demonstrated tremendous pose, and a counterattack worthy of an ancient Gladiator. Fans in the ancient Roman Coliseum would have been impressed with this bloody battle. I saw Pacquia loose the spiritual battle early on to Morales who fought as if possessed. Manny seemed to grow smaller as the fight went on. I saw him falter and loose confidence in himself. I believe he stopped believing he could win, and kept fighting on pride alone. He knew he’d lost, before the last bell sounded. It was never the less, a fight worth watching. I must admit I believed Pacquiao would take Morales out. Especially after disposing of his two prior opponents. Morales had much to make up for when he squared off against him. Great job Erik!

A word should be said about referee Joe Cortez, who has done an excellent job. Such consistency is rare and reason for praise. I cannot remember a controversial stoppage by Cortez. As a former referee, I gotta give Joe a thumbs up and a pat on the back. You’re Aces in my book Joe, keep up the good work.

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez