adventure took me back to the land of my birth, that wild place called Texas,
known for rednecks, long neck beers and hot, muggy nights.
My trip wasn‘t very exciting, although I did visit Corpus Christi
Beach where I discovered the Blue Marlin Saloon. I also visited Tuloso-Midway
High School, searching for my teacher, Barbara Davis, my former history
teacher. I was unable to find her. I
also visited Davila‘s Boxing Gym at 903 Park St. I spent some time observing
his fighters. I wonder if boxing fans know how much they owe old timers
like Mr. Davila. These guys are the backbone and heart and soul of boxing.
They are the ones, who via their dedication and diligence train,
manager and endure the ups and down of boxing.
I also visited my oldest friend Robert Hererra and his wife Sylvia. I
trained their son, now at the Merchant Marine Academy, who has great
potential. While in Kingsville Texas, I visited the 12th St. Gym and met Mr.
Jaime Cantu. He deserves a pat on
the back. Thanks to him,
Kingsville has a boxing program. It
seems he is not receiving assistance for providing an alternative to gangs and
drugs for the community. As usual, boxing gets a bad rap, in spite of the
millions ways it has helped millions of people. I gotta say, boxing saved me. Were it not for boxing giving
me a legitimate release for the anger I felt for having to endure the racism,
and oppression in south Texas during the 60 ‘s, I might be dead or in jail
right now. Anyone who follows the sport knows of all its troubles. Lets hope
the article by Jack Newfield in the Parade Magazine gets support and the sport
cleans itself up. According to Newfield a FBI sting may soon lead to
indictments for fixed fights and forged medical documents. Thank God. I ‘m
tired of crooks stomping all over it. I
don ‘t have much hope, boxing is a microcosm of our society, its violent,
materialistic and corrupt. I ‘m amazed God hasn‘t sent punishment. Which
is why we need this game and why we must clean it up. I agree with George
Foreman, it is the sport others aspire to be.
Center, LA California
Heavy Weight Championship of the World
Klitschko Vs. Sanders
April 24, 2004
It was not a pretty sight; neither boxer
demonstrated much technique or speed. Both appeared exhausted by the end of
the first round, and neither seemed to have any concept of fundamentals.
Seeing Emanuel Steward in Klitschko corner, I gotta wonder what‘s up. I know
he values fundamentals because I‘ve heard him address amateur coaches at the
National Amateur Championships in Las Vegas. Yet, he seems to have made
several drastic compromises on his standards.
We know he ‘s making lots of money.
My question is, how many compromises can he make to his training
standards and still claim to have standards. I use to respect him as a
trainer, now I gotta wonder.
The business of boxing has many dark
secrets. It has been manipulated, distorted, bought and sold by so many and
for so long, almost nothing upsets me anymore. Yet, I found myself feeling
disappointed with the performances of these two guys.
I may be one voice in the wilderness, but I know I am not alone in the
boxing world. What ‘s happening
to Emanuel Steward? No one can
blame him for the young Klitschko having a glass chin, but isn‘t it his job
to teach him how to better protect himself?
No one can blame him for head butts, cuts or swollen eyes and bloody
noses, but isn‘t it his job to insure fundamentals, defensive techniques and
foot positioning. Isn‘t it his job to instill awareness of their strengths
and weaknesses? I mean for god sakes, at least teach the man to keep his
hands up. I had always considered
Mr. Steward one of the best trainers in the business, I no longer think so. I
am starting to believe that it is about who you know, and being at the right
place at the right time, because the last two performances were barely
passing. We know he was hired by
the Klitschkos to train them, but wasn‘t he also hired to help them win. No
one can win without the use of sound, good old-fashioned fundamentals. He may not be able to teach a man how to take a punch, but he
can teach him how to protect himself better.
You can ‘t blame the cut man for your fighter being out of shape. You
can ‘t blame anyone but the trainer for allowing the fighter to be lazy, cut
corners and not train as hard he as should.
Luckily, Corrie Sanders was fat, slow, in terrible condition and over
confident. Equally as luckily was Klitschko, that Sanders believed he could
defeat Vitali because he had beaten his brother. As they say, “fools and their money are soon parted “, I
hope Emanuel Steward takes this old adage to heart, he seems to be slipping,
letting things go and not reading the writing on the wall. I never heard of a trainer losing his edge, or leaving it all
at the gym, but he ‘s doing something wrong.
I hope he wakes up. His
reputation can ‘t take too many more of these barely passing performances. I
would suggest the wolf is at the door and the hawk is closing in.
The Staples Center seemed about to explode
with abundance of humanity. The
first round saw Sanders coming with as a southpaw, while Klitschko was in a
left foot lead and pawed with his left hand. Klitschko came out aggressively
while Sanders continuously dropped his hands, leaving himself without a
defense. Sanders got a in a few left hooks and Klitschko fell to the
canvas, however the referee called it a slip. The second round Sanders out
jabbing, and moved away from Klitschko who stalked him. Sanders seemed to be
just a little to far away to be effective and Klitschko leaned back on his
back foot. Sanders demonstrated he was not afraid of the bigger man, however
he was unable to get past Klitschko ‘s size and reach. Sanders moved away
and Klitschko nailed him with several body shots then backed into the ropes
where he spent much of his time. Sanders
finally lifted his hands because Klitschko seemed to be gaining momentum while
Sanders lost it. Sanders ‘ face began to swell. I gave the second round to Klitschko. The third round began with Klitschko coming out jabbing,
loading up his right bomb, trying to nail him with it.
Both fighters pawed the air with their lead hands. Klitschko stalked
Sanders, trying to set up the right. Sanders looked tried and moved like he
had sand in his legs, throwing punches from his hips, swing his arms without
any power, however he threw many punches then both took a stance and unloaded
several dozen shots pounding each other giving the audience an exciting few
moments. Klitschko displayed a
mouse on the left side of his head. Round
four, Klitschko came out pawing with his left, Sanders moving away and into
the ropes, Sanders demonstrated an effective counter punch jab, but lacked the
conditioning to go after Klitschko. Sanders made several tactical mistakes
moving towards Klitschko‘s power, neither fighter demonstrated good boxing
skills, both waited too long and nether seemed in shape to be in the ring. The
fight moved slow and sloppy. Sanders did demonstrate effective fast counter
punches with his left, but not enough to take control. Klitschko threw more
punches and dominated the round. The
fifth round saw Klitschko coming after Sanders who appeared exhausted, moving
slowly, then exploding into a super quick jab counter punch. Klitschko threw
left jabs and right hands that pushed Sanders across the ring without a
response, then missed by a mile when he threw a wild John Wayne left that
appeared amateurish and desperate. Klitschko
dominated the round with his jab and wiliness to push the fight. Sanders
lacked grit and little of the magic he had the night he defeated the younger
Klitschko. The bell sounded and Klitschko again came in aggressively, jabbing
and controlling the fight. Sanders lacked aggressiveness, allowing himself to be pushed
around, swinging his arms like a wounded bear, no power, no plan just
swinging, and then Sanders got in a lucky shot and the tables momentarily
switched. Sanders demonstrated he had a rock chin, while Klitschko displayed
the same weakness as his brother. Sanders grew confident and came after
Klitschko who appeared exhausted. Blood flowed from Sanders' nose and the
swelling over his left eye grew. The bell sounded with Klitschko being the
aggressor pushing Sanders around, then again the tables switched and then they
traded bombs. Klitschko threw
body shots then to the head, out smarting and out pointing Sanders. Sanders
missed many shots due to his hands being so low and poor positioning. Sanders
continued to take punishment during the remaining moments of the round.
Sanders was clearly losing due to lack of activity, while Klitschko seeking
revenge clearly demonstrated his willingness to go after Sanders.
Round eight, saw Klitschko again being the aggressor, Sanders finally
held up his hands and continued to take punishment from Klitschko who stayed
busy. Klitschko seemed content to score while Sanders appearing desperate
wanting to take out the bigger man and traded power shots, moving towards each
other like to giants pounding away at each other with murder in their eyes.
Sanders, exhausted but refusing to quit, swinging his arms like tree limps, no
power no technique, just swinging poorly and taking punishment. Klitschko
sensing his fatigue tried to finish him, the referee stepped in and stopped
the bout. Sanders took terrible
punishment the last moments of the fight, thank God the referee stepped in,
making an excellent call and stopping the contest. 17,320 fans watched from
the stands as Michael Buffer made the announcement.
Klitschko made history by being the first heavyweight champion of the
world with a PH.D. Proving once again that boxing is not for dummies.
We said goodbye to the Staples Center in Los
Angeles and made our way back to Gun Smoke, Stockton California, where a judge
Richard Guiliani, a former prison guard dismissed all charges against several
peace officers who killed a man while he was handcuffed, sedated and in
custody. Only two of the 12 cops
who participated in the killing were charged, but never indicted. Stockton may
be one of the last Wild West towns in California, known for crooked cops, a
corrupt grand jury, questionable judges and a brand new Downtown Theater
complex. We, the little people of Gun Smoke, who work, obey the law and try to
survive the thousands of newly released prisoners could sure use a super hero.
Where is Zorro, the Lone Ranger or Spider man when you need ‘em? I ‘m more
afraid of the cops then I am the crooks. Heck, at least you can fight back
when confronted by a criminal, what do you do when you're handcuffed, gagged,
sedated and the cops are out of control?
Its amazing the military is willing to charge abusive correctional
officers who abused Iraqi prisoners, while in Stockton, The District Attorney,
the judges and the Grand Jury give our abusive cops a slap on the wrist and a
free pass. It makes a person wonder, how did we get so lucky. We have a
sheriff under FBI investigation, drunken cops, a former police chief who gets
elected mayor and a grand jury made up of fools.
My congratulations go out to Michael Fitzerald, the first local
reporter to take a stand against this out rage.
No word from the mayor or the newly appointed police chief.
The former police chief stated during his campaign for mayor, that he
would let the police department handle internal problems, thereby excluding
the citizens. You have it tough, you have no voice, nowhere to complain and
isn‘t life great in our hypocrisy democracy? Life in Gun Smoke goes on as
usual. The only up side to this dark chapter in Stockton ‘s history is that
it will finally get federal intervention.
Lets hope we also replace the grand jury; they seem to need a
proctologist to get their heads out. Aside
from having to exist with hundreds of newly released prisoners, I‘m sure
that many tax paying, hard working people would like to see some improvement.
I just hope it doesn‘t get worse, if that ‘s possible.
I am still seeking funny
stories from any coach, trainer, promoter, ring girl, referee anywhere.
I am working on a book of boxing humor.