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


Arco Arena
Sacramento, CA
May 27, 2005

Those of you who follow local boxers would have paid twice the price for a ticket. It was a great show; Don and Lorrain Chargin hit one out of the park. They have consistently brought great fight nights to Sacramento. Their secret is consistency and attention to detail. Thanks to them many professional boxers can earn a paycheck doing what they love. If you’re a fight fan, you gotta be there.

Unfortunately it seems I don’t get credit for consistency or attention to detail. I have made the trip to Arco many times to help promote their shows and bring fans in. Yet, when it came time to finding me a place ringside, I was shunned and cast aside. However, being a true fight fan, I chose to stay. Sadly, I would not have been much good from where I was. I felt disrespected and a little pissed off. Things looked bleak, but I learned in the military that just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do. The fans sitting behind me were stone drunk and making asses of themselves. Just when I was about to pack it in, I heard a voice calling my name. It might as well have been Jesus, because the voice saved me. Like Moses parting the Red Sea. One of the finest human beings I’ve met in boxing Dave Nelson, a professional referee got me a sit ringside. I felt as if I’d been delivered.

Dave Nelson is also a military veteran. He is a genuine Olympian on the American Team with Cassis Clay, who latter became Muhammad Ali. This fine old gentleman has given more to boxing than any promoter or commissioner past or present. Dave has dedicated his entire life to boxing. It was Dave Nelson who started the PAL boxing club in San Jose. It was Dave Nelson who championed college Boxing in Santa Clara University. Dave has mentored and tutored some of today’s most powerful attorneys. His unassuming style would never let him share such information; he has many friends in high places. For some reason the brownnosers and political appointees at the commission have elected to ignore his contributions. According to my sources, Dave was asked to resign. It seems Dave who belongs to American’s Greatest Generation does not believe he should have to kiss ass in order to be assigned a fight. As a result, Dave is not “liked” by the guy in charge, and has not worked a main event in years. He has been cast aside and sent to work “tough man shows” in Modesto. He has endured this abuse silently, until now. For a man who has generaled boxing all his life, this is like being demoted. Yet, being the man he is, Dave Nelson continues to do his job in a professional manner. His enemies lack the balls to step up and face him, like cowards they cast stones form a distance, running when the light shines on them. Its the same reason I have been calling for a general overhaul of the California Boxing Commission, its polices, and how they are implemented.

I suggested that he might now want to be seen with me, as I have being throwing stones at the Boxing Commission for years. His response impressed me. He said there only a few things money cannot buy, one those is a real friend. I gotta tell you, they just don’t make ‘em like him anymore. I am proud to say Dave Nelson is my friend.

I hate egomaniacs that play politics. I can’t think of name descriptive enough to demonstrate my disdain. I wonder if they know how much harm they cause? I don’t believe they care, because if they did, they’d know that pitting referees against each other, and making them compete for approval, is the cause of so much bad blood amongst professional referees. It lowers standards, and creates and “good old boy” psychology, which gives some an unfair, privileged position. I believe the Governor needs to get involved and thrown out the trash, clean house, and establish fight assignments on a rotating bases. I have a letter to our Terminator Governor on the way. Fans are asked to write the Governor.

I did not go to watch the Main Event. Rogelio Castaneda Jr., of Sacramento with a record of 18-10-3 KOs bumped heads with Tomas Barrentes, 27-7-17 KOs. It was to evenly matched. Their styles were identical and made for a dull fight. Both of these guys are real gentlemen. Rogelio and Tomas put on a good show. I had Barrentes ahead by one round on my card. Like I said their styles were just too much a like to be interesting. It was however, a hard fought battle. Neither fighter willing to concede defeat or surrender. Castaneda got the decision. I spoke with Tomas and his family in the parking lot of the Arena. He seemed like a real nice guy. He claims to have earned $18000.00 for the fight. Not a bad payday for a country boy from Texas.

I think Valanna McGee, 8-2-1 with 4 KOs who is the uncrowned princess of Sacramento's boxing had been pampered way too long. Valanna is a wonderful human being and I admit her kid is real cute. (Although, I would not want my baby around so much noise and drunken behavior). Valanna is attractive and always in great condition. However, she’s being “taken care” of and has padded her record with too many easy wins. She is not growing nor improving, as she should. To prove my point, Amber Gideon with only two fights gave Valanna the surprise of her career. Amber who is shorter and much less experienced demonstrated a heart bigger than Texas. Amber fought the smartest fight I have ever seen anyone fight against Valanna. I was impressed with Amber’s conditioning and her determination. Although she was about four inches shorter, she made up for her size with heart. In the past Valanna’s opponents have tired to out box her by staying on the outside. This has been a disaster. Valanna’s long jab and quickness has made them easy pickings. Amber decided to brawl and gave her a hell of a fight. Sadly, Amber did not get credit for her tremendous effort. The gods of war still only reward the victor. Valanna was awarded the decision. I must congratulate Valanna handlers. They will make certain she is pampered until they can cash in on her phony record. I know its how the game is played. But, I hope Valanna whom I believe deserves better, should be aware. The same people getting her easy wins are gotta want to get paid someday. Guess whose head they are gonna put on the chopping block? I suggest Valanna demand better opponents now. She should demand a better trainer, and more experienced sparring partners. I would suggest she take some time out and re evaluate her options. I suggest she start by learning some fundamentals, which for some reason her trainers have failed to emphasize.

I suggested Otis Griffin also get a better trainer, but I guess he misunderstood me. His new trainer was screaming bloody murder at the officials, who should have thrown him out. He also publicly insulted the promoter and his wife, not a smart move. Otis should pack his bags and go looking for a trainer, someone with a little bit more class. Or at least someone who knows better than to insult the man who hires you. The guy must have brain damage. I know he also train's Gilbert Martinez, and that poor guy is simply awful. Otis also fought the toughest fight I’ve seen him in. His opponent Moses Matova from Las Vegas was as wild and unpredictable as a drunken pelican. I swear he was winging his arms out so wide I thought he might start flying. It was an awful fight and I can’t call it boxing. Otis can the decision.

The best fight of the night was Vicente Escobedo. To bad it was so short. It was simply a thing of beauty. Vicente looked great. This kid looks as sharp as a young Oscar De La Hoya. He’s as quick as Mayweahter and punches as hard as Gatti. I’ve been following him around since he fought on the USA Boxing Team in Reno against the French. I can’t take any credit for any of his improvement. I can say I saw his potential before he was selected to go to the Olympics. I can also say I felt his loss when he failed to win gold. Vicente has the makings of a great champion. His last two fights have been textbook lessons in punching power, use of pivots and jabs. His body shots have improved as has his footwork and defense. Lets hope Vicente can manage the dark passages that surround boxing. The dark waters are full of sharks. Lets hope his brother, who is a class act can help Vicente navigate through professional boxing. I am proud to call Vicente and his brother my friends. Congratulations Vicente, go for it!

My readers will be happy to learn I have become syndicated. Yep, I can now claim a little prestige, for what its worth. I am heading to Monterey this Forth of July to cover a show put on by Jerry Hoffman, a local promoter who has been putting on great shows for a long time. He recently moved his ³ Riot at the Hyatt ³ shows to downtown Monterey. Jerry has always done a good job. Lets hope fight fans will continue to support him. Jerry has found the formula. He only puts on two shows a year and always sells out.

As our fighting men in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to take causalities, I hope boxing fans will continue to pray for them. Lets hope our Never-been-in-a-fight president will admit his mistake and start thinking of a way to get our guys out of harms way. As a former solider in the Persian Gulf, I can’t say I miss it. I never want to see that place again. As a Life Member of the VFW, I like to stay informed with what goes on in hot combat zones. We Americans have so much to be grateful. Let’s not forget Freedom is not free. Our guys are fighting and dying even as we speak. Things don’t always work out, and the bad guys often win, the rich get richer and the poor man’s sons go to war. That’s why I say Thank God For Boxing!

See you Ring Side  

Jorge A. Martinez